Stop and think about what you are doing


On Thanksgiving, Americans will consume around 45 million turkeys.  Wild turkeys were abundant around the Plymouth Colony in when they arrived on the East coast of North America.  So, serving turkey for the first thanksgiving meant eating nutritious, local fare.  Not so today.  96% of the turkeys eaten today were raised in abdominal conditions in facilities crowded with over 30,000 birds.  Over the last 50 years, there are 150,000 fewer farms raising turkeys for the market.   You may think, So what?  Well, my choice of words is factory farming.  Animals are treated as “things;”  machines so to speak.  Many of these turkeys are bred such that their breasts are so large that they can hardly stand.  They hold each other up from lack of room.  Their weight causes many to develop damaged feet and legs making for a painfully, albeit short, life.

And what about their manure?  Across the industry, the 248 million turkeys generate about a billion tons of manure each year. Spread it on the land you say, as fertilizer.  Sounds good, but in most cases, there is just too much of it in too small an area.  The price of hauling it too far away is high and so it is most often spread too thickly resulting in huge un-absorbed amounts which run off into the streams and rivers; causing death and putrefaction.  Excess nitrogen and phosphorous, for instance from factory animal farms along the Mississippi River have caused “dead zones” of over 8,000 square miles.  “Because the waste is untreated, it can also contain bacteria and viruses that are harmful to human health, as well as toxic metals and even antibiotics.”  *

Why antibiotics?  If you just think about how humans, for instance, could stay healthy enough to survive you would realize that these turkeys are fed prophylactic doses of antibiotics that in turn end up in the manure, which goes into the soil, which is picked up by the crops and which we eat.  So then our bacteria develop immunity making the antibiotic useless for our possible treatment.  “In 2009, drug makers sold about seven million pounds of antibiotics to treat sick people, but they sold about four times that amount—29 million pounds—to aid in the production of meat and poultry.” * You can check the sources in the article cited below to discover that most of the regulatory and well recognised organisations dedicated to public health agree that we are threatened.

Obviously we can vote against factory farms with our pocketbooks and wallets.  Good idea.  Unfortunately, if everyone did so, it would take a few years for the supply of clean fowl to be made available and many would not be able to buy a suitable turkey. Meanwhile, the price of a clean bird would skyrocket due to the principle of supply and demand.  With so much land and farming industry, in the hands of huge multinationals, not to mention the lobbying power of the pharmaceuticals, I don’t see it happening soon.

At least, they don’t have to feed antibiotics to vegetables: not yet.

“The White House turkey deserves a presidential pardon. Industrial animal agriculture does not.”