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NY Times editorial on industrial farm animal abuse

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  • carmen_cebs
    May 31, 2008 EDITORIAL The Worst Way of Farming In the past month, two new reports have examined how farm animals are raised in this country. The report funded
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2008
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      May 31, 2008
      EDITORIAL
      The Worst Way of Farming
      In the past month, two new reports have examined how farm animals
      are raised in this country. The report funded by the Pew Charitable
      Trusts calls the prevailing system "industrial farm animal
      production." The report from the Union of Concerned Scientists
      prefers the term "confined animal feeding operations."
      No matter what you call it, it adds up to the same thing. Millions
      of animals are crowded together in inhumane conditions, causing
      significant environmental threats and unacceptable health risks for
      workers, their neighbors and all the rest of us.
      The astonishing increase in the number and size of confined animal
      operations has been spawned largely by the very structure of
      American farm supports, which always has been skewed in a way that
      concentrates farming in fewer and fewer hands. As both of these
      reports make clear, the so-called efficiency of industrial animal
      production is an illusion, made possible by cheap grain, cheap water
      and prisonlike confinement systems.
      In short, animal husbandry has been turned into animal abuse.
      Manure — traditionally a source of fertilizer — has been turned into
      toxic waste that fouls the air and adjacent water bodies. Crowding
      creates health problems, resulting in the chronic overuse of
      antibiotics.
      And, because the modest profits in confinement operations require
      the lowest possible labor costs, including automated feeding,
      watering and manure-handling systems, these operations have helped
      empty and impoverish rural America.
      The Pew report recommends new laws regulating pollution from
      industrial farms as rigorously as pollution from other industries, a
      phasing-out of confinement systems that restricts "natural movement
      and normal behavior," a ban on antibiotics used only to promote
      animal growth and the application of antitrust laws to encourage
      more competition and less concentration.
      These are all useful guideposts for the next Congress and a new
      administration.
      Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
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