Meet the Meat

Chicken Little? When it comes to confronting corporate abuses, chicken farmers chicken out. Now we’re left with oversized chickens, corporations, and jeans. It’s time to see what’s really in the butcher’s bucket.

The meat industry seems to have ingeniously invented a way to make food cheap, quick, and uniform, but in the process they are crumbling animal rights by inhumanely turning their farms into factories, destroying the natural environment while negatively affecting consumers, and gaining immense power while abusing chicken farmers as they construct a deceptive environment behind the scenes.

McDonald’s may be known for being unhealthy, but that doesn’t stop the food chain from being one of the most powerful fast-food chains in America. Their game-changing idea of making interchangeable food has paid off. According to Food Inc, suppliers had to create a factory environment to match the fast-food market in order to stay on top of the economic game. Chickens are raised and killed in half the time they were 50 years ago and are now twice as big (Food Inc.). In order to make the animals plump enough for business, they are fed growth-inducing hormones that can cause painful inflammation of the udder known as mastitis (Geer). The animals are forced to live in crowded warehouses where they will walk the crammed spaces on their own feces. Because of the unnatural size, they acquire due to what they are fed, many become too heavy to walk on their own two feet and die of starvation or dehydration (Food Inc.). Old-fashioned farming has disappeared, as money and speed have become the two predominant factors to suppliers, taking precedence over health, quality, and human decency.

Moreover, many of the health issues that plague the animals have now translated to humans. The hormones have caused an increase in the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer in meat consumers (Farm Sanctuary). Huffington Post says that more than 80% of antibiotics produced were fed to livestock because of unsanitary conditions. These drugs are actually contributing to the spread of super bugs that thrive in the absence of weaker microbes (Huffington Post). Diseases like E. Coli, salmonella, swine flu, and avian flu are communicable from animals and are being passed on to humans.

Worse still, the top four meat-supplying companies control 80% of the market, as opposed to the 25% that was controlled by the top five companies in the 1970’s (Food Inc.). Farmers go into debt buying resources and stay in debt because of all the forced upgrades. They have no say in the treatment of the chickens and if they refuse to upgrade to a dark tunnel-ventilated house system, their contract can be terminated. Because of the payment system, farmers who produce fatter chickens with less feed get raises while the others get pay cuts. Last Week Tonight states chicken farmers live below the poverty line. If a farmer dares to speak out, companies will retaliate through pay cuts and inferior supplies (Oliver). Nothing is done about this because these large companies sponsor many of our representatives in congress. Protective rules for poultry farmers were written, but they are not being enforced because a rider is inserted into the Agricultural Appropriations bill that forbids the USDA from enforcing these rules (Oliver).

The path humans now tread is one of misery for animals and consumers alike. In a capitalist system, it is not surprising that corporations will go the extra mile to rake in more dough, but some are now arriving at surreal ends through despicable means. The public cannot continue to ignore the fine print. Together we can make the issue a more prominent topic until change becomes a reality.

-Christine Magnuson


1. Food Inc. Dir. Robert Kenner. Official Food, Inc. Movie Site – Hungry For Change? N.p.,n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017. http://www.foodincmovie.com/.

2. Oliver, John.”Scandals.” Last Week Tonight. 17 May 2017. Youtube. Web. 28 Mar.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9wHzt6gBgI&t=821s.

3.”9 Facts About Factory Farming That Will Break Your Heart.” Huffington Post. Huffington Post, 17 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/factory-farming-facts_n_4063892.html.

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The Dollar Menu and Its Risks

Homemade Burger

Fast foods and processed foods are a big part of American lifestyles today. Fast and processed foods are easily accessible and affordable which is why they maintain their popularity. However, only a few consumers are fully aware of the contents that are in those foods. Because fast food and processed foods are cheaper than healthy foods, they are more affordable for low-income Americans. However, they are negatively affected by the processed foods over time. Every American should have the right to know what exactly is in their food and have the right to access healthy food without worrying about costs in order to avoid health issues such as obesity and diabetes.

Many nutritional professionals believe that all Americans, regardless of income, have equal access to a nutritious diet of whole grains, lean meats, and fresh vegetables and fruit. In reality, food prices pose a significant barrier for many consumers who are trying to balance good nutrition with affordability. “When incomes drop and family budgets shrink, food choices shift toward cheaper but more energy-dense foods. The first items dropped are usually healthier foods – high-quality proteins, whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Low cost energy-rich starches, added sugars, and vegetable fats represent the cheapest way to fill hungry stomachs.”¹

A consequence of regular and habitual consumption of these types of food is potential of chronic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. In fact, diet-related chronic diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the United States and they tend to greater affect those having low income. “Low-income [Americans] tend to have diets that promote obesity, morbidity, and premature mortality, are low in fruits and vegetables, and are high in processed and fast foods.”²

Sustainability is the capacity to endure or continue. According to the Weisser essay on sustainability, “if a thing or an activity is sustainable, it can be reused, recycled, or repeated in some way because it has not exhausted all of the resources or energy required to create it.” Based on this definition of sustainability, fast and processed foods are not sustainable at all. All ingredients that are put into fast and processed foods are not used appropriately to increase the nutritional value of the foods. Instead, they are used to increase the energy put into the food but at the same time are used to decrease its nutritional value because of all the negative counter-effects such as higher risk of diet-related chronic diseases.

In order to increase sustainability related to the issue of food, which is a necessity in maintaining life, each and every American should know exactly what is in their food and should have the access to healthier food choices that they can afford. A way to solve this problem is nutrition profiling. “Nutrient profiling involves systematically ranking or classifying foods on the basis of nutrient content, through calculation of key nutrient content, relative to dietary energy. Nutrient-rich foods provide relatively more nutrients than calories.”¹

When every American gain access and the right of way to healthy foods, there will be an increase in sustainability.

Hyunji Park


1. Drewnowski, Adam, and Petra Eichelsdoerfer. “Can Low-Income Americans Afford a Healthy Diet?” Nutrition today. November 2010. Accessed April 20, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2847733/.

2. Lucan, Sean C., Frances K. Barg, and Judith A. Long. “Promoters and Barriers to Fruit, Vegetable, and Fast-Food Consumption Among Urban, Low-Income African Americans—A Qualitative Approach.” American Journal of Public Health. April 2010. Accessed April 20, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836356/.

Picture credits: http://topreviewtracking.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Dollarphotoclub_61600915.jpg

 

The Potential of Food Labels

Today, about 80% of the food that are processed and bought by the consumers are genetically modified, or known as GMOs (Hemphill). As food technology and nutirion science advance and companies seek profit over nutrition in the food, clear food labeling is no longer there for the people to understand what is in the food that they are eating everyday. The GMOs are products that are made by the scientists who are experts in this field, and it is difficult for those who are not as educated as them to understand how modified foods are made and composed of. Even though it may be difficult to get rid of GMOs due to increase in number of companies that profit off of GMOs, the regulators and companies should label and inform about the GMOs in their product with easier descriptions that many could easily understand what is inside their food.

GMOs are known to cause many health problems in our body. According to an article, “Spilling the Beans: Unintended GMO Health Risks,” the rats were fed with Bt corn, which is a genetically modified corn, for up to 120 days. The result was that the rats developed myriads of health problems such as changes in blood cells, kidneys, and livers (Smith). Likewise, a study shown in an article “Arpad Pusztai and the risks of Genetic Engineering,” DNA of soybeans were altered with a gene from Brazil nuts. While after, scientists saw that those modified beans were altered to cause allergic reactions. These genetically modified foods are hard for us to evaluate due to lack of knowledge on them. However, easy-to-understand descriptions and clear labeling would help consumers to be aware of what they are eating and know how consuming the product can impact their health, helping them to make better food choices. 

The current problem of labeling food product is that big companies have too much power over the regulations with their immense money. An example can be seen in lobbying process by Monsanto, the largest seed corporations in the world. This company produces seeds that are genetically modified in way that the seeds resist herbicides and weed killers. When the citizens try to protest or take action against the GMOs that they are making, Monsanto prevents any laws from passing by paying immense money to the lobbyists. This corporation is said to spend an average of six billion dollars on lobbying every year (Sarich). If their modified products are as safe as they say they are, corporations like Monsanto should not be afraid of labeling their products. And by adding these labels, it would make consumers should feel safer as some may feel cautious of eating GMOs. Even though labeling more on the products may cost more money for the companies, it should be regulated as spending on lobbying costs a lot of money as well, and companies should know that trust from the consumer is a big factor that will make their business more successful and sustainable.

It can be overwhelming to think about the corruption of our government and big businesses that only revolve around making a profit. But we need to take time to learn and look deeper into how things are regulated and what we are eating on daily basis. We need to realize these hidden facts that the big companies are hiding and fix it for the sustainable food system and future generations to come.

Edward Choi


1.Hemphill, Thomas A., and Syagnik Banerjee. “Mandatory Food Labeling For Gmos.” Regulation 37.4 (2014): 7-10. Business Source Premier. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.

2.Smith, Jeffrey . “Spilling the Beans: Unintended GMO Health Risks.” Organic Consumers. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr 2013.

3.Sarich, Christina. “The 10 Companies Controlling the World’s Seed Supply.”Nation of Change.   N.p., 21 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Apr. 2015.

4.Fig.1. GMO Bell Pepper Injection. http://www.naturalnews.com/052550_Venezuela_GMOs_Seed_Law.html#

Is it really “Farm Fresh?”

In the present time, our food is usually marketed in stores as being “Farm Fresh,” which gives shoppers a sense of trust of the idea that farms still make and produce foods like they did in the early 1900’s. However, modern food production appears to be more of a factory than an idealistic farm setting. Though people may think differently, thousands of chickens are packed into dark, poorly ventilated houses. On account of these corrupted companies compete over the domination of the market and keep turning profits, production animals everywhere are suffering.

In my research, my interest was taken in the subjects on if the animals in the farms have the right to have a certain quality of life. In the food production industry, the major corporations control the quality of the products being produced by major providers. These providers tend to only care about profit and not the well-being of the animals they produce. One example in the documentary “Food Inc.” was related to chickens. The chickens were mass produced by big corporations such as Tyson and Perdue and have been engineered for the chickens to grow four times the size of a normal chicken in a short amount of time. Though the skin and muscle have been designed to grow very quickly, the bones and internal organs of these modified chickens can not keep up. The documentary showed several clips of these mutant chickens taking a few steps and then having to lay back down because their bodies can not support their weight. Production animals such as cattle should be fed grasses and roots of the land instead of corn, which they are not meant to consume and digest.  If we decide not to abide by these rules, society’s actions of pertaining food can be detrimental to our planet.

I believe that these food and animal processors should aim toward using renewable energy or process wastes to produce energy. Providing safe and nutritious food remains a leading priority for the food industry. It is so important to continue this life cycle of food products where we can use our resources effectively and harvest the foods, so it will not be permanently damaged.

Jamison G. Tsuchiya


  1. “Harman’s Place!” Do Animals have the right to a certain quality of life? Accessed April 18, 2017. http://harman-thes-classover7-series.blogspot.com/p/do-animals-have-right-to-certain.html.
  2. “Factory Farming: Misery for Animals.” PETA. Accessed April 20, 2017. http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/.
  3. “Chickens.” Farm Sanctuary. Accessed April 20, 2017. https://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/chickens/.

Fig. 1. The Chicken of Tomorrow needs to be the Chicken of Yesterday (http://heritagefoodsusa.com/)

Animal Rights to a Certain Quality of Life

Humans have excluded themselves as the superior group of animals placing themselves on top of the food chain. The idea of humans as the superior specie in the animal kingdom is excused by many because of their more developed cognitive abilities. This superiority causes humans to ignore the rights of other animals or simply blinds them to the issue of animal abuse already occurring. Animals should have the right to a certain quality of life because they are conscious beings capable of experimenting emotions, their importance in everyday human life, and the knowledge gained from studying them.

The school of thought that advocates for the lack of emotions in animals has roots in an ancient Greek philosophy that animals have no soul, therefore, are incapable of feeling emotions. Famous philosophers such as Aristotle were strong promoters of this idea (Allen, Colin). Animals were portrayed as mere reflex-driven machines with no intellectual capacity. This image has been passed down throughout history and is very much intact today. The lack of care for animal rights is exposed every day in slaughterhouses where thousands of animals live their whole lives in filthy, tight spaces, are fed with harmful growth hormones, and are killed in horrendous ways. Major food companies are looking to meet the demand for fast and cheap animal produce without a concern for the lives of the animals. Although the U.S government has passed Humane Slaughter laws, they are hardly ever kept (Library, National). These animals are raised in their own manure, and are often tortured before they die. Jonathan Balcombe, the director of the Human Society Institute for Science and Policy, has executed experiments that prove his hypothesis of the presence of animal emotions. He observes animal behavior when petting takes place. In 2014 he studied the behavior of goats and sheep. Each individual animal had different preferred petting spots; they all reacted differently when the petting stopped. Enjoyment was a clear emotion shown; aggression also took place when one of the animals was not petted correctly. Balcombe states, “Watching these creatures pursue their wants and needs reminds me that they are individuals with intentions and preferences” (Balcombe, Jonathan).

It is reasonable to assume that not every person in the world will leave animal products as a food source; they do contain nutritional value after all. The change does not have to be found in the overall termination of animal farming, but in the alternatives to factory farming. Large industries see animals as unit numbers of production or property. The degrading conditions animals live in can be reduced if local and smaller farms, businesses, and movements are able to complete the process (Farming, Beyond). This system will unleash a chain reaction of animal care that will be reflected in other aspects of animal abuse. Many animals experience as much or more emotions than a human baby; therefore, they deserve better treatment than what they have been receiving for decades.

Sergio Monterroso


  1. Allen, Colin, and Michael Trestman. “Animal Consciousness.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University, 23 Dec. 1995. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
  2. Library, National Agricultural. “Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.” United States Department of Agriculture. United States Department of Agriculture, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
  3. Balcombe, Jonathan. “Yes, Animals Have Feelings.” LiveScience. Purch, 10 Dec. 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
  4. Farming, Beyond Factory. “Beyond Factory Farming.” Alternatives to Factory Farming | Beyond Factory Farming. N.p., Oct. 2015. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
  5. http://www.godvine.com/read/10-hugs-from-animal-friends-489.html