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.

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

 

Corrupt FDA

The American government should feed, educate, and protect its people. Government food companies like to increase the profits, while decreasing costs. This has resulted in less money allocated in the regulation of healthy food. No matter how diseased the animals are, they are still money in the eyes of the meat packagers. The Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has not been imposing safety regulations for their desire of profit.

According to Quartz Media; the meat industry has contributed about $894 billion dollars to the US government. The immense lobbying and political campaigning has resulted in companies influencing the government. The government protected the tobacco companies when the linking of lung cancer to tobacco emerged. This was because they brought immense revenue to the government.

The FDA purpose is to regulate and approve the administration of Drugs and Food products. In an article by the Huffington post, stated how the members of the FDA that determined if the food additives companies were using were safe, all had ties to the companies they were researching. The infiltrated members of the FDA protected their companies leaving them to decide whether the additives were safe or not.

The FDA not imposing regulations on the meat, has brought many consequences to the people. This is due to the fact of how the production of the meat is. What took ten weeks to make a four-pound chicken forty years ago, today only takes five weeks. (Modern) Companies produce while ignoring if the chicken has diseases. If the FDA does not regulate the companies, they will only be poisoning American people.

The FDA has also failed to ban the use of anti-biotics in factories. By giving animals antibiotics, they will get fatter, while reducing the chances of diseases from the extremely nasty conditions they live in. The use of anti-biotics has been linked to diseases which are resistant to anti-biotics. This has caused 23,000 deaths each year according to the Center of Disease Control(CDC). Our government which was formed to protect us, has not done anything about these deaths.

Today, anyone with money can influence the government. The government, which was meant to protect us, has turned against us. The FDA is a perfect example, as they have not imposed strict regulations on food companies. The infiltration of company officials has made the FDA look the other way to healthier food.

–Luis Samaniego


1. Bartolotto, Carole. “4 Ways the Food and Drug Administration Is Not ‘Protecting and Promoting Your Health'” The Huffington Post. October 29, 2013. Accessed April 18, 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carole-bartolotto/fda-problems_b_3904329.html.

2. Figure 1

3. “Modern Meat Chicken Industry (Poultry).” Poultry (Penn State Extension). Accessed April 18, 2017. http://extension.psu.edu/animals/poultry/topics/general-educational-material/the-chicken/modern-meat-chicken-industry.

4. Shanker, Deena. “Big Meat’s wildly successful, 40-year crusade to keep its hold on the American diet.” Quartz. October 22, 2015. Accessed April 18, 2017. https://qz.com/523255/the-us-meat-industrys-wildly-successful-40-year-crusade-to-keep-its-hold-on-the-american-diet/.

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