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Factory Farming Is Not the Best We Have to Offer

By Gene Baur

Farming has been drastically altered in the U.S. over the last 25 years.  Small farms have been replaced by large, industrialized factory operations, and animals and the natural world have become mere commodities in the process.  While agribusiness has mastered the art of “growing” and killing animals faster and on a larger scale than ever before, the costs and negative results of this so called “cheap” food system are severe for us all.

The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP), which included experts like former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman, conducted “a comprehensive, fact-based and balanced examination of key aspects of the farm animal industry.” This research concluded: “Industrial farm animal production systems are largely unregulated, and many practices common to this method of production threaten public health, the environment, animal health and well-being, and rural communities.”

Against Our Better Natures

Factory farms confine animals by the thousands in massive warehouses, treating them like production units rather than as living, feeling individuals. Millions are packed in cages and crates so tightly that they can’t walk, turn around or even stretch their limbs. Mahatma Gandhi was correct when he said, “The moral progress of a nation can be judged by how its animals are treated.” We have some soul searching to do here in the U.S., where we currently subject more than 9 billion farm animals to appalling cruelties. Acting with callous disregard for the feelings of other animals undermines our empathic natures and humane sensitivities.

Recent research conducted by representatives of the meat industry surfaced our feelings on this matter.  More than 40% of consumers surveyed agreed that our country was on the wrong track in terms of how we produce food, with another 20% uncertain about the soundness of our food supply.  We feel that there is something wrong but we may be too busy, tired or confused to do much about it, so we have accepted the status quo without appreciating its long term implications.  Agribusiness counts on our complacency.

Against Our Better Interests

Animals who are raised for food are denied their most basic needs and suffer both physical and psychological disorders as result. Stressed and confined in filthy, cramped quarters, the animals we eat are constantly at risk for disease. In response, agribusiness depends on regular quantities of drugs and other chemical inputs to keep the animals alive and productive. The majority of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to farm animals. This excessive and irresponsible use of antibiotics has contributed to the development of virulent, antibiotic-resistant pathogens, which render these formerly life-saving drugs useless for treating illnesses in people.

The spread of disease from factory farming is exacerbated when waste products, including manure and the remains of animals who have died, are used to feed animals being raised for meat, milk and eggs. Hundreds of millions of farm animals die in the factory farming system each year, and by turning their carcasses into feed, the animal agriculture industry can save on disposal costs and feed costs at the same time. The whole system is unhealthy and irresponsible. Disease is so rampant, that the U.S.D.A. explicitly allows diseased animals to be slaughtered and sold for human food, because excluding these animals would result in financial losses for agribusiness.

We subject animals to unnecessary suffering and early deaths, and in turn, we experience the same. Food-borne sicknesses infect millions of Americans every year, killing thousands, and whether these illnesses spring from animal products or other foods, the source of the contamination is often traceable to factory farms.  Consuming too many animal products also clogs our arteries and leads to heart disease, which is our nation’s number one killer. We suffer from preventable illnesses and premature deaths, while heath care costs skyrocket. Leading health experts estimate that 70% to 80% of U.S. health care costs could be eliminated by replacing animal products with a whole foods, plant-based diet. We eat food that makes us sick, then take drugs to keep us alive.  This system makes no sense.

Against Our Future

Factory farming is one of the top contributors to our planet’s most significant environmental problems according to a report by the United Nations, which cited “problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution and loss of biodiversity.” The report said that the livestock industry is a greater contributor to global warming than the transportation industry. It’s important to lessen our transportation footprint, but we could have an even larger impact by changing the foods we put on our plates.

Stock photo by Scott Bauer/USDA

 

Raising animals for food is terribly wasteful. It demands vast quantities of increasingly scarce resources, including water, topsoil and fossil fuels. Growing plant foods and consuming them directly is much more efficient and sustainable than growing corn and soybeans to feed animals before we consume them. Industrial animal farming depletes and squanders precious natural resources, and pollutes what remains. The amount of manure generated by animals in factory farms is too much for the environment to absorb. It poisons the land and water, and sends noxious fumes into the air, threatening ecosystems, wildlife and people who live nearby.

For Change

Our food system is in desperate need of reform; people, animals and the Earth are suffering. Thankfully, we are beginning to pay attention. Many citizens are demanding more transparency around how food, and especially animal products, are produced.  We are no longer comfortable accepting how agribusiness keeps animals who are raised for food hidden from us. When agribusiness has introduced legislation to ban the average person from documenting abuses on factory farms, their proposals have triggered widespread popular revulsion and have been defeated.  We are waking up to the cruelty inflicted on animals and demanding better for them, and for ourselves.

And, we should continue to press producers, distributors and our government representatives for even more transparency about animal agriculture and healthier food options. Each of us should speak out about local legislation exempting factory farms from environmental standards, subsidies in the upcoming Farm Bill that favor producing crops for animals on factory farms instead of for people, and the lack of legal protections for farm animals, which allows the meat industry to neglect cows, pigs, chickens and other animals in ways that cause contamination, illness and egregious suffering.  Encourage your grocery store to carry more plant-based alternatives to common animal products.  Choose a veggie burger, instead of a beef one; soy milk, instead of cow’s milk.  These individual actions can make a tremendous difference.

Stock photo by Scott Bauer/USDA

 

In fact, more people are opting out of our industrialized food system in favor of local and sustainably produced foods.  Farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are sprouting up across the U.S., while restaurants and other food retailers are providing more sustainably produced healthful plant food options. As I drove across the country earlier this year, on a culinary tour of vegetarian eating, I also saw community gardening projects sprinkled among urban and suburban areas.  These programs allow us to grow healthy foods and recreate a sense of community. I am very happy to see more citizens thinking about their food choices and making decisions that are more aligned with their values and interests.

By learning about factory farming’s impact on your local community and our country, urging our elected representatives to support reforms and requesting more plant-based foods in our grocery stores and restaurants, we will be the change our food system needs.  Through our farmers markets, CSAs and community gardens, we can share foods, recipes and meals that represent a better, healthier and more humane food supply.  One that centers on eating plants instead of animals; one that supports our health instead of undermining it; and one that helps us preserve the natural world, and our relationship to it, in a way that connects us to our better natures and the best we have to offer each other.

Photo of Gene Baur by Derek Goodwin

Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, campaigns to raise awareness about the negative consequences of industrialized factory farming. He has conducted hundreds of visits to farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses to document conditions, and his photos and videos exposing factory farming cruelty have been aired nationally and internationally, educating millions. His book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, a national best-seller, is a thought-provoking investigation of the ethical questions surrounding beef, poultry, pork, milk, and egg production — as well as what each of us can do to promote compassion and help stop the systematic mistreatment of the billions of farm animals who are exploited for food in the U.S. every year.

Baur, and more than 30 experts from across the public health, environmental, and animal welfare movements, will be speaking about the consequences of factory farming at the first-ever National Conference to End Factory Farming: For Health, Environment and Farm Animals in Arlington, Virginia on October 27-29. Click here for more information.

The views expressed in this guest blog post are those of Gene Baur and/or Farm Sanctuary, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Readers are invited to join the discussion through comments, but please note that in terms of the National Geographic Community Rules, all communications should be civil and respectful,  and on topic. Abusive comments will not be published.

Comments

  1. […] photo courtesy of National Geographic […]

  2. [...] hope for relief.  Sam says this is called “factory farming” and it’s horrifying, this is not how my parents treated their animals.  Nor did they dump pesticides, insecticides and every other kind of toxic substance on our [...]

  3. FeatherWriter
    St. Pertesburg, FL
    March 1, 2013, 9:35 am

    i know their are some people who are saying that we have the think “realistically” and that what is happening to these animals are to protect them but that itself is unrealistic. The way these farms are being conducted is unacceptable, there are different ways to handle these animals then to act like barbarians! I have seen enough to know that this is beyond disturbing and it needs to stop. I cannot believe how these poor diseased filled animals are being slaughtered then packaged away to stores. People consume them then wonder why they experience epidemics like cancer and diabetes. This is really madness! i dont know about anybody else but we are in dire need for a reform. This is ridiculous and it gets me so upset! This NEEDS to stop NOW!

  4. Bridget
    Finland
    February 4, 2013, 9:27 am

    The blogist gives a bit of outdated info.
    It is NOT due to the amount of the meat / animal fat we eat that’s causing the heart diseases, but the quality .
    In Finland, the results of the globally famous Nothern-Karelia project, started out in the 70s, have now been defined as untrue. It is the quality of the fats, for example, you have to drink the whole, non / minimum processed, biologically produced milk to get the total benefits / covers for your body / cells.

  5. Marshall
    Minnesota
    January 31, 2013, 12:45 pm

    Mr. Braun uses disturbing rhetoric and leaves much to the imagination to scare the public. As another commenter states the USDA has inspectors in meat plants and the practices Mr. Braun casually describes would never be allowed.
    People have to quit anthropomorphizing animals. We all do it whether it’s our pets or farm animals but we have to be honest with ourselves and realize that we’re being unrealistic. Some of these farming practices that seem so cruel were actually for the protection of the animals.
    Farrowing crates were first used to try to save newborn pigs. Sows have a tendency to roll over their newborns and smother or crush them. The crates were a way to stop this and save baby pigs.
    Yes, cutting beaks on chickens seems bad, but again, chickens can begin pecking each other and if blood is seen they can peck each other to death. Therefore the cutting of the tips of the beaks.
    As an aside, we used to raise free range chickens and didn’t cut their beaks. We also had to watch carefully in case one chicken was getting attacked. We had maybe 100 chickens so we could do that. If you have thousands you can’t be watching all of them all the time, free range or not.
    I like it myself when animals are able to exercise as I think it makes for a better product. I like to see animals in pastures and able to roam a bit. But the gist of this article is very misleading and paints everything with a very broad brush to push a vegan agenda.

  6. Renee witt
    Petoskey,MI
    October 16, 2012, 8:06 am

    Factory farming is not a good thing the book Eating Animals tells on person’s view of factory farming and tells about what happens in a factory farm!

  7. [...] National Geographic “Factory Farming Is Not the Best We Have to Offer” [...]

  8. [...] National Geographic “Factory Farming Is Not the Best We Have to Offer” [...]

  9. [...] National Geographic “Factory Farming Is Not the Best We Have to Offer” [...]

  10. [...] National Geographic “Factory Farming Is Not the Best We Have to Offer” [...]

  11. Is a vegetarian diet best for diabetes? |
    August 26, 2012, 12:59 pm

    [...] National Geographic “Factory Farming Is Not a Best We Have to Offer” [...]

  12. [...] single day, i am not the only one who thinks this way, according to David Braun, a researcher at National Geographic “We have some soul searching to do here in the U.S., where we currently subject more than 9 [...]

  13. RON
    usa
    January 24, 2012, 10:41 am

    I FIND THE REMARK ABOUT THE USDA ALLOWING PROCCESSING OF DISEASED ANIMALS FOR MEAT, VERY OFFENSIVE!!!!! I worked on the kill floor at a place with USDA inspectors, IF IT WAS DISEASED IT WAS DISPOSED OF, NOT EATEN AS YOU SAY!!!! I was new and made a mistake by touching a diseased tray, thr inspector shut the line down, and chewed my ass infront of everyone for the mistake!!!

  14. Joe
    Kansas City
    January 23, 2012, 11:20 pm

    An organism expires, passing energy and life to another. And so the Vegan exploits and ravages the soul of mother earth for survival; vehemently and audaciously. Yet, stripping leaves of dignity as secondarily to amino proceeds. If only we could synthesize darkness to life. The humane endure. The gentle mammal slumbers in warm heavens.

  15. Falicity
    Marion, IN
    January 23, 2012, 9:23 am

    Factory farming is somean and cruel im a vegetarion because of the way animals are treated and slaughtered. Animal abuse is illegal and a crime. People are arrested everyday for animal abuse, but isnt what were doing to the animals in factory farms abuse too? Why aren’t we doing anything about it?

  16. Raghu
    Bangalore
    January 19, 2012, 8:25 am

    Unfortunately we Indians who one thought the world how good veg food is , are now slowly moving towards Mcdonalds & KFC culture. Veg is more energitic and easy to digest than non veg. We still prefer Veg in our home for daily meals and hook for Non veg once in a while. Nice article :)

  17. me
    January 15, 2012, 7:59 pm

    Yes as someone else said, please do another story from the view of the farmers. some of these facts aren’t true and you should show always both sides, this is fairly biased.

  18. Brandon
    USA
    December 3, 2011, 3:57 pm

    Which report by the UN implicates the livestock industry in contributing more towards global warming (archaic, this should be climate change) than the auto industry? This is the first I’ve heard of it. Perhaps they are referring to the influence of methane being stronger than CO2?

  19. David
    Kansas
    November 25, 2011, 8:51 pm

    Vegetable and fruit farming is sad too. Think about those poor little broccoli crowns just sitting there waiting to be stripped naked and seperated from their broccoli family. What about the potatos dug up from their homes and sent to processing plants. Don’t forget those innocent grapes waiting to get smashed up to make people’s precious wine. So sad.

  20. Mikek
    France
    November 17, 2011, 12:15 pm

    This is the article I have been striving to see. I recently went vegetarian AGAIN after watching all of this nonsense and I’m hoping to turn vegan [which I have been starting to do by weeding out dairy every day] These animals deserve a good normal life- and people deserve to know what they are eating [if they care.] The reason why the U.S. gets obese quicker
    http://www.google.com

  21. Ofek
    NY
    November 9, 2011, 8:24 pm

    paleolitic diet!

  22. Kaylee
    November 4, 2011, 9:22 am

    This is the reason why im a vegan. humans are so selfish.

  23. Val
    October 31, 2011, 12:18 pm

    Thanks for this article! I have so much respect for what Gene Baur does. It’s nice to see someone present their view in a rational way instead of being so polarizing as some environmental/animal right groups. I would encourage everyone to be more aware of how food gets to their dinner table. No matter your view on animals, it is obvious factory farming is not sustainable in a growing world.

  24. [...] Farming Is Not The Best We Have To Offer (National Geographic) AKPC_IDS += "19320,"; Share  E-mail [...]

  25. Hillary Kusko
    Hawaii
    October 21, 2011, 5:45 pm

    Please just TRY being vegetarian! Maybe start with meatless mondays! Maybe just eat less meat and see how you feel. Do some research, watch some videos, look at some pictures, and you will certainly see that eating less or no meat is better for your health and the health of the earth. Animals are wonderful creatures that deserve a decent life!!

  26. Adam
    Amanda,Ohio
    October 21, 2011, 12:11 pm

    98 percent of the farms in America today are family owned and operated! I have been a big fan of NG for many years, but this story is one of the most disappointing i have ever read in your publication. The American farmer and his/her technological achievement should be celebrated the world over for the massive advancements in feeding a country and world while producing nutritious, affordable, safe food and all while improving animal care and the environment! Check your facts. Why is no one calling for the removal of advancement and technology in other industries? Lets all ditch our smart phones, flat screens, iPads, text messaging and once that happens those of us who actually farm, versus the self appointed urban food philosophers who decry agriculture achievment, will consider their arguements.

  27. Elinor
    Minnesota
    October 21, 2011, 10:46 am

    I demand that National Geographic now have another guest post from someone who is actually involved in animal agriculture. This vegan activist has stated and extremely biased opinion, and since it says right at the bottom of the article, “The views expressed in this guest blog post are those of Gene Baur and/or Farm Sanctuary, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society.” You should prove it by allowing a fair and balanced treatment of this important issue.

  28. jebus
    October 20, 2011, 5:53 pm

    Im not disagreeing that we treat our animals badly, only that assuming eating highly processed veggie based foods is the way to go.

    Yeah, farming is done pretty bad, but this article had as much fact as the The Globe.

  29. Bill
    Lewiston, MN
    October 20, 2011, 10:05 am

    What concerns me about articals like this one is the way they use the consumers lack of knowlegde on how there food is grown or raised. Social Media is a great place to connect with real farmers of all sizes an production types. Please take the time to learn how farmers run their farms and care for their animals. I believe you will find that your values and the values of farmers are the same.
    Thank You

  30. Jan
    AL
    October 19, 2011, 11:22 pm

    Very disappointing to see National Geographic hosting OPINIONS stated as FACTS. There are regulations for the meat processed for human consumption and it does not include down/diseased animals. A vegan running a vegan sanctuary that won’t even allow chickens to go to a home that isn’t vegan (because you might eat their eggs) is hardly an unbiased source of information when writing on something he doesn’t agree with. There ARE choices right now – in food and in farming. When people exercise food choices to small farms agriculture will change.

  31. David Buchanan
    Fargo, ND
    October 19, 2011, 10:17 pm

    Good grief. I would think that National Geographic would actually be interested in a few facts from the authors of their articles. Instead we get diatribes that are not based in fact at all. As an example “Animals who are raised for food are denied their most basic needs and suffer both physical and psychological disorders as result. Stressed and confined in filthy, cramped quarters, the animals we eat are constantly at risk for disease.” Animals in the kinds of production units that this author is complaining about are in environmentally controlled conditions with comfortable temperatures and are kept remarkably clean. Rather than being at constant risk for disease, they are, typically, in very good health. They are certainly not stressed nor do they suffer from psychological disorders. Bias is not pretty in a normally respected journal like National Geographic. The editors can do much better than this.

  32. Dannielle
    October 19, 2011, 10:11 pm

    when the information being presented is from Mr Bauer- and he isn’t disclosing that he’s a vegan whose organization Farm Sanctuary is against ANY animal being used for food, you have to wonder about the objectivity of the article

  33. Jeremiah
    London
    October 19, 2011, 6:17 pm

    I have researched in university factory farming, slaughterhouses and the debates surrounding animal rights for the last few months and I have concluded without doubt, that it is immoral to slaughter and eat an animal, it doesn’t matter if its a cow or a dog, I use to eat meat without thinking what is behind this packaged illusion. It was only after I applied critical thinking and researched these matters, which the meat industry, the biggest industry in the world does everything in its power to prevent such knowledge, they have governments in their back pocket, they regulate and supervise themselves, they are PURE EVIL. Even those who argue that we should be able to eat meat, with good conscience, if you go and slaughter an animal to eat from and provide food for your family, it is illegal, only if you slaughter within a space, that is owned and terms dictated by these meat corporations, is it permitted, so it is about profit, there is no ethical consideration or equal rights given to citizens about this slaughter and its processes.

  34. Mark Klaus
    South Dakota
    October 19, 2011, 2:51 pm

    Mr. Baur-

    A fine written article, however I just have to say that I find it to be at best extremely misleading and full of false information, and at worse no more than the typical Vegan group’s propaganda we have all seen time and time again.

    Your suggestion of vegan burgers and milk are indeed an individual choice, and agriculture also thanks you for those choices as we have a role in producing those as well.

    However, as you know quite well yourself, your portrayal of animal agriculture is false and nothing more than scare-mongering geared towards an un-assuming public with little knowledge of agriculture.

    Without knowing Mr. Baur’s definition of “factory farm”, since there is no definition, on purpose, leading everyone to conger up their own horrid image, I will assume he means an indoor confinement facility. Let me point out the purposes for these facilities:
    1. Protection from the elements.
    -often such facilities are 20 degrees, or more, cooler on hot summer days than outdoor temperatures, leading to less stress on the animal. Animals are often misted with a light spray of water to cool them further during extremely warm temperatures. They are also heated to an appropriate temperature during winter months, depending upon their stage in life. I find it in no way to be “more humane” to leave an animal outdoors in the -25 degree weather often found in the upper midwest where a great portion of animal agriculture is located. I would rather such animals live in their comfort zone of 60-100 degrees, depending on life stage and species in question.
    2. Protection from each other.
    -Hogs and poultry have, as a natural instinct, the tendency to fight with each other over dominance. This is a part of nature, not a symptom of a fault in any farmer’s production system. Animals will often severely injure, and oftentimes kill a herd or folk mate over dominance, thus it is vital to control herd or flock size to an appropriate level to prevent these issues.
    3. Protection from exposure to disease and parasites.
    -The modern animal agriculture facility can be completely cleaned and sanitized often, and by design does quite a bit of cleaning automatically. After cleaning and sanitizing, not only would I personally eat off the floors, but would feel more confident having major surgery in such a facility compared to a hospital setting. Outdoor “traditional” systems of animal production often occur on dirt, which by nature can not be cleaned and sanitized, and can harbor disease and parasites for decades, re-infecting new animals brought into the system. These animals often need to be treated with a parasiticide or other medical treatment, including anti-biotics.
    4. Environmental protection
    -In a modern animal-agricultural system, excrement from the animals is contained generally in concrete sealed containers, assuring no run-off occurs. Manure is tested for components needed for crop growth, as well as the soil in farm fields is sampled as well. Manure is applied in the proper amount, based on the samples, several inches under the surface to assure that no run-off into streams or other waterways occurs, and also so just the amount the plant needs, and no more, will be applied to the land. However, in a “traditional” systems, animals are left to deposit their waste as they see fit, as few are most likely potty-trained, and their choice maybe often times near a pond, stream, and other environmentally sensitive areas. In more simplistic terms, in a modern facility animal waste can be contained for valued use later, wherein an outdoor system it can not be to quite the extent. To release the entire herds and flocks in american agriculture into the outdoors would have devastating effects on the environment; unless, as the author appears to suggest, the american public goes completely vegan, void of animal agriculture, and I suspect very few readers will abandon bacon and eggs as a proven nutritional breakfast.
    5. Protection from predators
    -One can imagine the devastation wolves, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lion can have on an animal outdoors, but their are many other species that are destructive to animals in agriculture also. Mink, weasel and birds of prey can be more damaging to poultry flocks left outdoors as well. In an outdoor farrowing (birthing) system for hogs, weasels are often times the largest killer of small pigs, arriving very quickly and can kill several young piglets before the mother sow can scare the animal away. As an aside, the weasel is the greatest threat to all bear species for just the same reason.

    The picture being painted in the above article is in no means factual. Animals are not crowded, as there would be no advantages to the animal, and thus the farmer, in doing so. Animals are protected from predators, adverse weather conditions, as well as themselves in a modern livestock system. Since group or flock size is limited, adequant food can be better guaranteed to each individual animal, assuring they receive the proper nutrition needed. There is little to no need for a parasiticide, and illness and disease are kept to a minimum due to the ability to completely sterilize the modern facility.

    Ask yourself what advantage it would be for a farmer to have sick, overcrowded animals on their farms and ranches. Such animals would not grow properly and would lose the farmer money, which, after all, is a major consideration why all the hard work is done to provide the consumer safe and nutritous food. We consume our farm products as well, and for sure would do everything in our power to make sure the environment we live in is clean and contamination free as well.

    It is an insult to every family farmer, 98% of farms today,, to assume that we are somehow influenced by “large corporations” when it is us that make the day to day decisions at the farm level.

    My hope is that the critically thinking public can see through articles such as the above, and research this further if any questions shall arise. Farmers everywhere are willing–and waiting–to hear any questions and concerns consumers have. Seek us out to learn “the other side”.

    Thanks in advance for allowing me to comment.

    Mark Klaus

  35. Cecilia
    NYC
    October 19, 2011, 11:47 am

    I wish you would report on the horse slaughtering and the barbaric life that they have to deal with. Not the regular consumer is aware. From racehorses to the regular farm horse that is no longer needed is sold and sent out to Mexico or Canada for slaughtering. It is being discovered that many of these horses contain Bute, a carcinigic chemical that stays in their body for some time and for humans causes cancer. After slaughtering the meat is sent out to European countries, they are now discovering what they have been eating aside from horsemeat. There is a bill in the US, S.1176. If it passes, it will stop the slaughtering of American horses !00%. I hope you will report on this. Look it up on Animal Law Coalition for more details. Thanks. Cecilia

  36. Tonya
    October 19, 2011, 6:37 am

    I love Gene Bauer and admire and respect the work that he’s done and the accomplishments achieved thus far. I read his book Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food and it was so emotionally difficult to read I can’t imagine physically being able to do what he does or has done to educate and advance the cause. Having said that, because the gains are relatively so minimal I just find it so sad that the situation doesn’t speak to the people and our law makers more and that the battles are long and hard to achieve the tiniest of humane practices for the animals. Local farming is definitely the way to go. Industrial farming has only one interest which is to make a profit and in order to achieve that, it is necessary to turn animals into nothing more than a machine to be tweaked and optimized where they unnaturally accelerate their growth and keep them just healthy enough (sometimes barely so) until they can make it to slaughter where sadly, the end is probably their best day :(

  37. Danielle Paquette
    United States
    October 16, 2011, 11:22 am

    corporate is the empire who offers up his evil seed for plentiful orchards in return and feasts on the debauchery he’s created in the name of big agriculture; his children and animals are sick and dying alone in his withered fields of famine

  38. Danielle Paquette
    Lenox, MA
    October 16, 2011, 10:19 am

    good time to end the Animal Industrial Age-havn’t they suffered a thousand times over the pain threshold that a human being could ever bear to withstand over and over every single minute of every single somber day when all we do is keep forcing medicine down the throat of the sad and obese old man who’s main obsession is his burger and fries, and it’s killing him but corporate doesn’t care. One’s called agriculture and the other called nursing, and this is what it amounts to: CAPITALISM; good time to end that too

  39. Elena Cinque
    Switzerland
    October 16, 2011, 4:52 am

    [Mahatma Gandhi was correct when he said, “The moral progress of a nation can be judged by how its animals are treated.”](sic)
    In Switzerland we don’t have this same problem any more. Our “Animal-Law” (food production resp.) has been adapted accordingly. That means also less bad or moral conscience to eat meat,eggs, cheese to drink milk, wear leather goods produced from “happy animal sources”.
    You better fight for it too! Until then just do not bye immorally produced stuff any more.

  40. Alex Thomson
    Waterloo Ontario Canada
    October 15, 2011, 6:35 pm

    This is a great article. More people need to understand that the world is not full of mom and pop little country farmers anymore. North America has been taken over by corporate giants who’s greed far exceeds the welfare of the people and the animals. Animal cruelty has become the “norm” in factory farming. It is wrong and cruel in so many ways.
    I wish Nat Geo would do a peice in the magazine on this subject so it could open the eyes of millions.

  41. Karin Hoad
    Coronado California
    October 15, 2011, 6:15 pm

    It’s not only how we treat our food animals but non human animals in general. The majority of humans have no feelings, they are made aware of animal suffering and continuing buying products caused by animal suffering and eating animals who live and are killed inhumanely. Maybe it is the animals revenge that people die of illnesses caused by their own cruelty – eating animals.

  42. Ken
    Ilinois
    October 15, 2011, 10:29 am

    I think an author of an article in the National Geographic should do a little research before they print an article. I am sick and tired of main stream media assuming that because there may be one or two “bad” apples in the livestock industry that that is the way all livestock producers treat their animals! I feed cattle for a living, realize I said a living? I don’t walk into your place of work and tell you how to do your job. Stop telling me how to do mine!!!! My cattle sleep on a bedding pack that is as clean and comfortable as my own bed! And get your facts straight!!!! It is illegal to process deceased carcasses for blood meal or protien for livestock. I have to sign documentation in regards to that or my cattle won’t be killed and I can’t make a living! It is also illegal to slaughter “downer” animals, and has been for 8 years now. Also how many of you vaccinate your children against certain diseases? Well guess what we have to do that also in the livestock industry. And when your children get sick? You take them to the doctor for medicine? Well we also have to do the same thing, animals get sick!!! So I would appreciate it if you would get your facts straight before you print an article in a national publication bad mouthing how I make a living!!!!

  43. Jessica Bell
    Chicago, IL
    October 14, 2011, 5:32 pm

    Thank you for this story. This is an important issue from a human health, environmental, and animal welfare standpoint. Please continue to do articles on this topic.

  44. Amber Minnerick
    Dallas, Texas
    October 14, 2011, 10:55 am

    “Agribusiness counts on our complacency.” Thank you National Geographic for making this issue more visible to the public, who is so often unaware and misinformed by marketing and media who are motivated by profits and not by transparency.

  45. [...] Factory Farming is Not the Best We Have to Offer. – National Geographic (News Watch) [...]

  46. Mark
    USA
    October 14, 2011, 3:02 am

    if you are reading this- when is the last you gave glory to God for providing and meant it?

  47. Mary Ann Henry
    Nashville TN
    October 14, 2011, 12:53 am

    May God richly bless you for what you are doing.

  48. [...] Factory Farming Is Not the Best We Have to OfferNational Geographic… recipes and meals that represent a better, healthier and more humane food supply. One that centers on eating plants instead of animals; one that supports our health instead of undermining it; and one that helps us preserve the natural world, …and more » [...]

  49. Carol A Robinson-Ashburn
    Westlake, Ohio
    October 13, 2011, 8:13 pm

    I recently walked with three of my girlfriends for the Farm Santuary in Ohio and it was for such a good cause and we will do it again for the Ohio animals next year. It is a great way to raise awareness and the walk is fun anyway. I truly enjoyed it and thank you very much for the idea to pass on awareness. I am a vegetarian. This was a perfect cause for me in Ohio and I felt like I contributed to the animals. Best regard, Carol

  50. ashley kuntz
    Wyoming, Mi
    October 13, 2011, 7:51 pm

    This is the article I have been striving to see. I recently went vegetarian AGAIN after watching all of this nonsense and I’m hoping to turn vegan [which I have been starting to do by weeding out dairy every day] These animals deserve a good normal life- and people deserve to know what they are eating [if they care.] The reason why the U.S. gets obese quicker and unhealthier faster is their diet and meats full of hormones..