8 December 2018
The meat industry has been both an essential part of economic gain in the United States but has also caused a number of harmful effects on the environment and society. There are an abundance of examples of these harmful effects that the meat industry has caused to our society and our world as a whole. Growth hormones and many other liquid injections is the cause of all these issues that are corrupting our society. Our people are getting sick everyday from what the farmers disperse to our markets and grocery stores. The farms and the people that fund these farms only care about mass production and how much meat they can produce in the fastest manner. The art of farming without growth hormones is gone and it is something that is drastically hurting us. It may seem like it isn't doing that much damage to us now but in the long run it can have a lot of effects on the upcoming generation and how they live their lives.
Additionally, there are factory farmers that have slaughtered their whole farm just to restart from scratch due to them not liking the injections and how it all affects the animals that are raised and taken care of on these factory farms. Furthermore, pigs, chickens, goats, cows all grow to extreme sizes and start changing drastically then from a animal raised without any extra injections or creams. Animals that are on factory farms aren't just changing on the outside but on the inside also. There have been many accidents when pigs have bit their farmers, these instances usually have the farmers infected with virus that are impossible to get rid of because at that point you are now exposed to the same virus and liquids you were just injecting into the pigs. What follows in the next few pages is a brief history of the meat production in the United States. I will look at these problems with two different lenses; risk and hazards and environmental justice.
If people take a look at the bigger picture of meat production, it is easy to tell that it isn't headed in the right direction in the development of our world. We need to worry about our health for all people and animals. It all starts at the table where we eat our food and if we are eating meat that is injected with various of different antibiotics, steroids, etc., we will never be truly healthy in this world. If I’m not mistaken isn't that everyone's ultimate goal? Living a healthy lifestyle is the objective so if there is no change we won't change either.
Since prehistoric times humans have hunted and killed animals for meat consumption. With the arrival of civilization came slaughterhouses and meat industries that would contribute to the United States economic gain. The meat industry developed at central market points such as Philadelphia. In 1818, Cincinnati became the first meat packing industry and the city was called “Porkopolis.”
Fast forward a couple years the meat packing spread westward to Chicago, Kansas city and Omaha. In 1945, after World War II, two developments happened. The first development was local butchers which began to expand throughout the country. The second development was that there was new technology such as refrigerated cars that would allow the shipment and delivery of meat. With this new invention meat industries were able to expand and move to big cities.
With the innovation of meat industries throughout the the mid 1900’s, scientists became more involved and focused on understanding the risks and hazards that a lot of these meat productions came with. “The concern over food additives, and especially those used in the production of meat animals and the processing and preservation of meat, led to such research as sulfa residues in pork, the nitrite content of cured products and the preservation of meat through the use of irradiation” (Bray, 1997).
When looking at meat production from a risk and hazards you have to think about all the possibilities of your life and health risk before consuming certain meat.According to (CDC) Centers for Disease Control and prevention on average three thousand people each year die from foodborne illnesses. If you don’t think that is a wild statistic know that eleven to twenty eight percent of people every year consume ground beef or uncooked. With twenty five billion pounds of meat each year getting consumed in the U.S it makes all of us very deceptable to getting the foodborne illness that in the long run can kill you very quick. Also each year salmonella - contaminated eggs cause about seventy nine thousand cases each year causing on avg thirty deaths per year according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Furthermore there are many documentaries and articles including pictures that verify that many animals are getting fed other animals as their feed. It is mostly seen with cows eating dead cows, but how could you trust the meat you eat if they are feeding that animal something that is dead let alone a dead cows leftovers. When these situations happen the cows tend to get really sick or it shows in the meat and when someone consumes the meat that was once an cow eating dead cow for his feed that particular individual will then get very sick and be very vulnerable to getting foodborne sickness and other illnesses like tapeworms, food poisoning.Then these things will lead to people constantly vomiting,diarrhea, nausea. There are many risk when it relates to meat and the production of it all.
In addition eating meat regardless is very risky due to all the other health issues you can receive by eating too much or very little meat. Eating meat you can gain higher risk of getting cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Also it can lead to erectile disfunction for some men and it makes it harder to maintain body weight in men and women. Consequently due to how meat is processed and made you take risk every time you touch or eat meat you just gotta do your own inspections and research of which brands you will like best to eat.
When looking at meat production from an environmental justice perspective we can tell that it’s had a lot of harmful effects to the environment. As sea level rises and other extreme weather events occur due to the changes of climate change, scientists believe that the 21st century has brought the highest number of GHG emissions. The number one contributor of GHG emissions being animal agriculture. Animal agriculture has produced more greenhouse gasses than regular transportation. Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat into the atmosphere.
.. Greenhouse gasses are believed to have an impact on climate change today and is one of the biggest issues that we have going on which is often overlooked. The Food Agricultural Organization found that the animal agriculture emits almost 18% of GHG gasses into the atmosphere. (FAO 2006). “Large amounts of ammonia (NH3), leading to soil nitrification and acidification, are produced by livestock” (Dennis, 2010).
The other problem that meat production brings is fresh water pollution and loss of wildlife and biodiversity which ties in with the problem of climate change. Farming animals requires a large amount of land. For example, about 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been wiped out to create cropland to feed these animals. Climate change affects biodiversity which affects the ability of biological systems to support human needs.
Another problem that meat production brings to the environment is water use. Meat production uses one-third of the Earth’s fresh water, half of that water is given directly to the animals. For example, on average a cow will consume 30 gallons of water a day.
In conclusion the risk of eating meat and getting sick are very high and ultimately the safest thing for your health is to stop eating meat completely to not risk getting any of the above illnesses that I listed. The one that is most important being foodborne illness. In my introduction I said “ Living a healthy lifestyle is the objective so if there is no change we won't change either”. This statement I stand by one hundred percent because why would you risk your health knowing many things can affect your health severely. Your health should be nothing to gamble with,but it seems like the mass population feels otherwise. Is it the mass media propaganda that we should blame for being able to make such persuasive ads or should we blame it on these big corporations that make other food so expensive that we have no choice to eat what's truly bad for us like certain red meat and meat as a whole. Theres many choices in this world that we are left to answer on our own and many of those lye right in front of us when we are going to the grocery store and when we are eating in our homes. We have the decision to make a change for ourselves for our health. Isn't the objective in life to live a happy healthy life? If so we should do our research before we consume and not just eat the meat that is widely praised just because others like it. I’m not saying we should all be vegan or vegetarian, but we should be wise by what meats we eat on a consistent basis and just making sure we cook it fully and also read up on where your food comes from its all online or in a book somewhere. Many of us our too lazy to do these things, but nothing in this world comes easy and our health is something that should never be something we take lightly.
On the other hand, I was also able to provide further research on the impact that meat production has had on the environment. These types of impact requires us to reconsider how we use the limited spaces we have and the harm that we are doing to the climate and environment as a whole. Each day a person who eats a plant based diet saves thousands of gallons of water and 30 square feet of forest land. Even if a person does not decide to completely cut out meat from their diet there are other alternatives on how we could change animal agriculture and the way that people get their meat. This would not only allow a more healthy lifestyle for humans but a more safer environment for future generations to come.
Bray, W. Robert. 1997. “The History of Meat Science.” American Meat Science Association.
Dennis, G.A. 2010. “An Exploration on Greenhouse Gas and Ammonia Production by Insect Species Suitable for Animal or Human Consumption”
Food and Agricultural Organization. http://www.fao.org/about/en/
Centers For Disease and Control Prevention, “Burden of Foodborne Illness: Findings.” https://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/2011-foodborne-estimates.html
Robbins, P. Hintz, J., & Moore, S.A. (2014). Environment and society: A critical introduction (2nd ed). Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 9781118451564
Food Poisoning, Healthy Line Red. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-poisoning#preventi-