Animal or Dollar Sign?

People have been slaughtering animals since the very beginning of time for food. Before factories and machinery became prevalent, farmers had no choice but to grass feed their farm animals and then slaughter them near home. The animals were able to roam freely and grow naturally in their own time. They received vitamins and nutrients from the sun and the earth. In many situations people needed the meat to survive.

Over time, the meat farming business changed in multiple ways. One change was that the demand for meat became much higher and pressure was laid on meat farmers to produce much more and faster. Another change was the way in which the animals were raised. Because of the pressure to produce more meat, more animals had to be raised and faster. This made it nearly impossible to raise a large bulk of animals outside because of the space they would take up and the slower pace it would take them to grow.

Although it seems that many meat farms are still treating and raising their animals with dignity and health because of the way the companies are advertised, the demand for more meat and the demand to produce it faster has brought on many significant changes for the animals themselves. Animals began to be seen less as a survival tool and more as a production in order to get paid. As animals became more of a means to get paid, the way they were treated began to severely decline. In a recording caught on a meat farm, the footage this person saw was written down. This is what they saw, “A worker demonstrated the method for euthanizing underweight piglets: taking them by the hind legs and smashing their skulls against the concrete floor—a technique known as ‘thumping.’ Their bloodied bodies were then tossed into a giant bin, where video showed them twitching and paddling until they died, sometimes long after.” Stories like this are much more common than the majority of people in America realize. The problem is that instances like these are hidden from the common eye frequently, for two reasons. The first reason is that meat farmers do not want anyone finding out about these unorthodox ways and trying to change things because that would harm the farmers’ fast rate of production. The second reason is that many consumers do not truly want to know that horrific things like this happen.

If animals continue to be raised this way, the quality of meat will continue to decline and the health of those that are eating this meat will be endangered. In order to produce quality meat, be conscious about our environment, and continue to help our economy there needs to be a change. Animals need to be raised organically and treated humanely and consumers need to be made aware of what is in their food and how their meat was raised.

Ashley DeWitt


  1. Figure 1, “Farm Cows.” Photo taken from https://www.pinterest.com/alaynesanmarco/cows/
  2. Ted Genoways, “Animals Suffer Needlessly for Food Production.”  Vegetarianism, 2015
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Animal Rights

Fast food has become an integral part of the United States, but despite being so widespread, it lacks nutrition and promotes unhealthy food choices. Furthermore, the preparation of these foods often consists of brutal exploitation of animals. The documentary, Food Inc, portrays the inhumane behavior towards animals destined to be meat. Although representatives of the meat industry may argue that the processes are efficient, the production of meat should not include cruel treatment of animals but should strive towards increasing sustainability and animal welfare.

Most pet owners treat the animals in their house as a human child, providing love, food, and shelter. Cows, chickens, and pigs, which are not as different, do not even have space to move around freely. According to the lawsuit case Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Otter, over nine billion animals are killed in one year to cater to greedy corporations and hungry consumers2. Moreover, the waste of a single pig operation with 500,000 animals, surpasses that of Manhattan’s population of 1.5 million1. To accelerate the animals’ growth, workers force antibodies into them, leading to serious physical and physiological issues. This industrialized cruelty and abuse of animals is appalling enough but is becoming normalized. As displayed in the documentary, chickens are slaughtered and disassembled while still alive and screaming for their lives.

Many recognize the problem but don’t realize how debilitating it is to directly experience unhealthy meat production. The film describes the case of Kevin Kowalcyk, who died young from consuming E.coli infected beef (a result of using corn feed). In addition to unsanitary living conditions, the animals undergo physical abuse and sustain untreated injuries. Authorities and contracted farmers believe that to garner the most profit, they must produce meat in the quickest way possible, ignoring the consequential health issues and immoral actions; however, surveys conducted by the Journal of Food Law and Policy proved that 73% of Americans will support laws that provide animals with basic rights2.  An article written by University of Leeds’ professors Rory Sullivan, Nicky Amos, and Heleen A. van de Weerd at the school of Earth and Environment states that only 44% of meat producing companies have published farm animal welfare policies, indicating that more than half have not implemented care systems for animals3. Bringing the brutal handling of farm animals to light can hurt the reputation of a meat producing company, but raising awareness can result in healthier produce and more satisfied consumers.

            Basic rights, such as ability to move around freely, clean living conditions, healthy food, and painless death, should be granted to livestock. Many people consume expensive organic meat because the quality of the meat is important to them; therefore, if the cost of meat produce were to increase to cater to livestock welfare, profit would not decrease significantly. Although the problem may appear trivial, animal rights are an important and integral part of the food industry and society, and it must be addressed and fixed as soon as possible.

-Young Choi


  1. Fearing, Jennifer. “What Food, Inc. Can Teach Us About How We Treat Animals.” Civil Eats. James Beard, 01 June 2009.
  2. Holifield, Lucy L. 2016. “ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND V. OTTER: INDUSTRIAL FOOD PRODUCTION SIMPLY IS NOT A PRIVATE MATTER.” Journal Of Food Law & Policy 12, no. 1: 16-52. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost
  3. Sullivan, Rory, Nicky Amos, and Heleen A. van de Weerd. 2017. “Corporate Reporting on Farm Animal Welfare: An Evaluation of Global Food Companies’ Discourse and Disclosures on Farm Animal Welfare.” Animals (2076-2615) 7, no. 3: 1-21. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost
  4. Fig 1. Animal equality. http://www.animalequality.net/node/844

Do you know what you are eating?

A study by Vegetarian Times shows that only 3.2% of Americans follow a vegetarian diet, meaning that most of the people in this country are meat eaters. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a meat eater, and we all know that being vegetarian or vegan is way healthier. The truth is, meat tastes good, and we will continue to eat it regardless of what our vegetarian friends tell us. Here is the problem: meat is so widely enjoyed that the farmers and big companies that raise, produce, and sell them need to keep up with the large demand. They managed to figure out a way in which they can keep up with our eating habits, but the way in which they are doing it is not only producing more but also hurting the animals and putting the consumers in jeopardy. As consumers, we have a right to know the process through which our meat goes–not only to protect ourselves but also to protect the animals.

When you go to the supermarket and try to decide the meat product you are going to buy, the meat section is filled with pretty pictures of big farmland spaces with cows standing fifty feet from each other eating grass, surrounded by sunshine and butterflies. The reality is the absolute opposite. First of all, it is not even farming anymore–it is “Factory Farming.” That should give someone an idea of what “farms” today are. They are no longer large acres of land where animals can move freely, but a confined space where animals are clustered together and can barely move, without appropriate ventilation or natural sunlight. Jonathan Anomaly, a professor at Duke University says that “crowding animals together in close confinement can induce stress and suppress their immune systems, raising parasite loads and making animals more susceptible to infections…(Anomaly 246).” If the animals’ immune systems are not in good shape, who is to say that the meat we put on our tables is free of infection?

One may wonder, why are they treating the animals this way if it’s not safe? The answer is very simple, it’s cheaper. Everything in the current food industry is about money. Whatever is cheaper for the companies will ultimately make it cheaper for us.  This is truly a moral dilemma– how can we really justify the treatment that we are giving to the animals just to obtain lower prices in our meat? Why are these treatments being hidden from us, the consumers? We are the ones eating this product; we must know where it came from. The answer is given to us by Christine Parker and Josephine De Costa from Melbourne University. They say that practices like this are “seen as cruel by many consumers and activists (Parker 16).”  If the consumers were aware of the process that the animals go through before getting to their tables, they would willingly stop consuming them until the farming practices changed.

 

So, do you still want that cheeseburger?

 

Loyda Simpson


  1. Anomaly, Jonathan. 2015. “What’s Wrong With Factory Farming?.” Public Health Ethics 8, no. 3: 246-254. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost
  2. Parker, Christine, Josephine De Costa. 2016. “MISLEADING THE ETHICAL CONSUMER: THE REGULATION OF FREE-RANGE EGG LABELLING.” Melbourne University Law Review 895-949. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost
  3. Fig 1. Blindfolded woman. http://www.emaxhealth.com/8782/simple-trick-eating-less-suggested-new-study-science-eating

The Food Dictatorship

What we eat is vital to our health, and were we get it from directly effects how good it will be for us. People are always on the run and constantly eating fast food. They want to be healthy but it is so hard to be when the fast food that they are eating is made from processed junk. The goal would be healthy fast food right? Unfortunately that is impossible because of how our food industry operates.

There are only a few large corporations that comprise the food industry in the US: Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Associated British Foods, and Mondelez (Taylor). These companies have monopolized the food market. They are the companies that engineer, raise, process, and pack the food that is sold to the fast food companies. These companies are not concerned with our health, they are only concerned with profit. They know that we crave three ingredients: sugar, salt, and fats (Food Inc.). The industry knows that when one takes a bite and taste one or more of theses three ingredients, dopamine is released in the brain. As a result, the fast food industry has manufactured food that is packed with these pleasure ingredients.That is not the only problem with these companies though. They are responsible for concentrated animal feed operations (CAFO) and all the negative environmental effect that these operations cause; as well as the diseases that people get from this poorly managed meat. Diseases like E. coli 057:H7 cause 73,000 illnesses a year, these illnesses lead to approximately  2,170 hospitalizations and 61 deaths (Rangel). It is interesting to find out that the government has the authority to recall bad products like toasters, but does not have the authority to recall contaminated, and potentially lethal meat (Schlosser).

How do we get out from underneath this dangerous food dictatorship? I purpose that family-owned farms with free range live stock and organic produce need to organize a system where they can combine forces to supply the large demands of the industry. A few cooperation’s should not be able to control the majority of the food production. The only way that this change is possible, is through legislation. This legislation will take time, and so will the healing process that the land that has been contaminated by CAFOs needs go through. The land and legislation is not the only thing that needs time; people still desire these highly processed foods and it will be a slow process to acclimate them to more healthy food choices. The change is possible, and cooperate food control will not last for ever if we start making changes now.

–Joshua Wolcott


1. Robert Kenner, Richard Pearce, Eric Schlosser, Melissa Robledo, William Pohlad, Jeff Skoll, Robin Schorr, Diane Weyermann, Elise Pearlstein, Kim Roberts, Michael Pollan, Gary Hirshberg, Joel Salatin, and Mark Adler. Dir. Richard Pearce. Perf. Eric Schlosser. “Food Inc.” TakePart, 2008. DVD.

2. Schlosser, Eric. “Fast Food Nation : The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2001. EBSCOhost.

3. Taylor, Kate. “These 10 Companies Control Everything You Buy.” Business Insider, 04 Apr. 2017. http://www.businessinsider.com/10-companies-control-the-food-industry-2016-9.

Animal Lives Matter

Animals, the living breathing creatures besides humans. Some people have them as pets, others run free in the wild, but the majority of animals are used for food. Around 9 billion land animals are killed each year in the U.S. to produce meat, dairy, and eggs. That is about one million every hour. On the other hand, the number of aquatic animals killed for food is in the trillions. These animals don’t even get to live a healthy normal life, Because the demand for animal based foods is very high, that the need for certain animal rights is being compromised.

Animals need water, food, oxygen, temperature, and a habitat to live. Most of the animals that are raised for food tend to have all these five elements, but majority of them do not have the proper forms of these elements. Animals that are raised by major food industries do not have the rights that they deserve. I am not saying that animals need to have the same rights as humans, but they need to be entitled to certain living rights for their benefit and consumers benefits.

A lack in quality of the elements and animal needs, can lead to major issues. These issues can range from things like diseases, deficiencies, and death. Any of those issues that develops in an animal will later be present in that animals meet, milk, etc, which the consumers then purchase and get sick and can possibly die.

Unfortunately, animal food products will most likely continue to be consumed, because animal products contain many nutrients and tastes good. Therefore, it is so important to give animals certain living rights that gives them a better quality of life, not only for them but also for the consumers. First, water should be clean and available to them all the time. Second, food should be clean and matched to the animal. Both food and water are ingested through the mouth, which means if unclean or not the right kind, they can easily cause the animals to develop sicknesses and diseases. Third, the animals should have access to air from the outside. This helps clean out their system, and helps them not to spread the disease as fast. Fourth, the animals need to have access to the right temperature and not whatever the farmers deem right. Fifth, the animals should have more space to move around and clean manure free floors. This will keep most of the diseases away. This will cause animals to be healthier, which in turn gives us a better quality in animal produce.

-Rodny Aquino


  1. Skip Davis, “5 Basic Needs of an Animal,” Sciencing, , accessed April 17, 2017, http://sciencing.com/5-basic-needs-animal-12001250.html.
  2. Food, Inc., dir. Robert Kenner, by Elise Pearlstein and Kim Roberts (USA: Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2008), DVD.
  3. Fig. 1. Chickens born and raised in a nasty spaceless room. http://www.occupy.com/article/factory-farming-divestment-movement-puts-animal-welfare-spotlight#sthash.YujMpXFc.dpuf