Sunday, July 20, 2008

Corporations and Global Warming

Occasionally there comes a news series that is so well written, so very important, that it speaks for itself. Back in 2005 Mother Jones published a special project on global warming titled “As the World Burns”. In it they documented how corporations are funding special interest groups to spread disinformation denying the reality of global warming and are working to stop legislation to combat it. This series is a must read for everyone.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Corporate Factory Farming

Not too long ago the majority of American food came from family farms. Gradually over time, with help from the US government, the family farm was forced out and replaced with big corporate factory farms. According to today as much as 40% of all farm animals are now raised on just 2% of the livestock farms in the US. And 62% of all agricultural products come from just 3% of the farms.

Technically known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) these corporate owned factory farms are massive operations. On a large CAFO one may find 1,000 cattle, 2,500 hogs, or 125,000 chickens. To manage the massive amount of waste they use a liquid manure system mixes the animal's urine and feces with water. Often this is held in huge open air lagoons.

It’s important to understand the seriousness of the threat CAFOs provide.

Pollution: CAFO’s produce large amount of liquid waste, which leaks into local water supplies. In addition, the greenhouse gases generated by such facilities are suspected as being one of the contributing factors to global warming.

Disease: Because so many animals are enclosed together in small places the animals raised in CAFOs are more susceptible to disease. As a result Big Agra has to pump them with antibiotics, which increases the chances of an epidemic of antibiotic resistant disease.

Pesticides: CAFOs use large amounts of pesticides, which run off into the creeks and rivers and contaminate local water supplies. The effects of such run off go far beyond the local area. The Gulf of Mexico has a reoccurring dead zone every summer due in part to the massive amount of pesticides dumping into it from the Mississippi.

Slaughterhouses: Today just a few corporations dominate the US meatpacking industry. We see the results of this near monopoly every time there is a recall of beef or chicken. The political power of these corporations is seen in the impotent food inspections by the USDA.

Workers: Just as the slaughterhouses use their political power to castrate the USDA they’ve also helped make OSHA a joke. The working conditions in CAFOs along with large corporate slaughterhouses are highly dangerous to the employees, many of whom are undocumented workers.

Treatment of Animals: The list of suffering that animals on CAFOs undergo is extremely long and is morally unjustifiable. Just as C.S. Lewis said in his condemnation of animal testing the same can be said of the suffering of the animals on CAFOs, “In justifying cruelty to animals we put ourselves also on the animal level.”

To learn more about the dangers of corporate farming visit (Source for majority of this article.)