America the land of the free. A place of opportunity and equal rights. That is if you are a human, or domestic animal. Sadly, animals that are simply bread to be used as a resource live in much worse conditions. This however is a modern phenomenon. Animal farms used to be used to simply to feed communities and families. However, in recent times, with the boom of fast food restaurants and increasing demand for produce, farming has become dominated by a few major companies whose animals are treated awfully. When this boom started the government failed to put regulations in place and to enforce them. The meat packing industry used to be spread across a large number of companies with the major companies only controlling 25 percent of the market however today 80% of the market is controlled by 4 major companies. This is due to fast food companies like McDonald’s, who is the largest purchaser of meat in the United States, wanting there to be constant taste across all their restaurants. The lack of multiple companies also meant that these companies had to up their production. This led to many cut corners and mistreatment of animals which would in turn create problems that could affect humans as well.
One might ask “How are these companies allowed to get away with this mistreatment?” It is quite easy to blame the government and intergovernmental agencies like the USDA. And one could say that blame is properly placed. The government has failed the people of the United States by not holding these large companies truly accountable. One mistake of the government that went on to have deadly consequences, was there failure to close down factories that tested positive for E.coli. This would later lead to recalls of meat and sadly the death of a 2-year-old boy who died from eating a contaminated burger. This is a tragedy brought on by a government who has failed to protect the common man.
One might ask what can be done if the meat industry is controlled by a few companies who do nothing to truly make things better, and a government who doesn’t hold them accountable. The answer would be that the power is in the people. These companies are only able to survive based on consumers, restaurants like McDonalds only produce what is in demand. If the people’s demands change what is produced changes. However, some people are only able to afford the lower quality and because of this companies still hold a large amount of power. This means people have to pressure the government because only the government has the true power to set rules that regulate these companies. However, until regulations are put in place and enforced that protect the health of animals, which will in return protect humans, these companies will continue to take advantage of animals and the American people.
Food, Inc. By Robert Kenner. United States: Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2009.