FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

How Factory Farms Make You Sick

Factory farms makes you sick.

Let us count the ways.

Just last week, more than half a billion eggs recalled.

Why?

Salmonella poisoning.

More than 1,300 people sick.

Just last week, a recall of more than 380,000 pounds of deli meat products distributed nationwide to Wal-Mart stores.

Why?

Possible contamination with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

The bacteria can cause listeriosis – a rare but potentially deadly disease.

Move over Animal Farm.

Here comes Animal Factory.

And the animal factories are dominating the agricultural landscape.

Making us sick and poisoning the environment.

The Obama administration, which ran on a platform to confront factory farming, has done little to confront the problem.

“They don’t have the stomach to take on the factory farms,” David Kirby, author of the book Animal Factory (St. Martin’s Press, 2010), told Corporate Crime Reporter last week. “They are gun shy. I’m disappointed.”

While the Justice Department and the Department of Agriculture are holding hearings on concentration in agribusiness, Kirby see the exercise as a glorified listening tour.

He doesn’t anticipate federal intervention to prevent a disaster.

But he says what needs to be done is clear – move from factory farms to family farms.

How?

Ban non-therapeutic antibiotic use in animals.

Bust up the processing cartels.

“There are so few processing plants now and they are so centralized and big they want to process only factory farm animals,” Kirby says.

Cut the billions in subsidies to agribusiness.

“And by the way, why aren’t the tea partiers out there screaming about the billions of dollars we give away every year to these massive farms?” Kirby asks.

“And then take some of those subsidies and give them to small independent farmers who can really use it to compete.”

He says that the Obama administration ran on a platform to do some of these things.

But it refuses to take on big agribusiness.

Kirby says it will take a disaster to change the system.

“You can pass all the laws you want, organize all the boycotts,” Kirby said. “But ultimately when you cram thousands of animals into a single confined space without access to fresh air, outdoor sunlight, pasture, natural animal behaviors – you are asking for problems in the form of diseases that attack people.”

“Mother nature will have the last word. Mad cow disease was a warning. Swine flu was a warning. MRSA was a warning. The egg recall was a warning.”

“But we haven’t hit the big one yet.”

“Things are changing. Consumers are waking up.”

“I understand that there are lines around the block at farmers markets where eggs sell out by noon.”

“Demand for sustainably grown eggs right now is huge. That will make companies sit up and take notice.”

“Things are changing. But for a massive shift away from factory farming, it will probably take some new super-virus combining the killer bird flu and some killer swine flu.”

“And that could happen. These chicken farms in Iowa are just down the road from the hog farms.”

“And birds and rodents and insects are moving in and out of these places.”

That disaster would force public action. But what about preventable public action by the Obama administration.

“It won’t be enough to have a serious impact on the structure of the factory farms,” Kirby says. “We are awash in apathy in this country.”

[For a complete transcript of the Interview with David Kirby see 24 Corporate Crime Reporter 33(10), August 30, 2010, print edition only.]

RUSSELL MOKHIBER is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.

More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Marc Levy
All My Vexes Are in Texas
Jim Kavanagh
Avoiding Assange
Michael D. Yates
The Road Beckons
Julian Vigo
Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government
Ted Rall
Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous
Tracey Harris
Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?
Dana Johnson
Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska
Norman Solomon
Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail