The Treatment of Animals in Industrial Farms
Animal farming is considered as one of the most lucrative industries because of the consistencies in terms of the demand of animal products such as meat, cheese, milk eggs and other commodities derived from animal farming. In addition, the benefits associated with this business field is the presence of employment, high yields in terms of returns or profits to the farmers or corporations involved in this business field. However, this field has also been marred by the presence of criticism from health and animal activists as some consider this industry unregulated. Lack of adequate regulation or any form of regulation poses a great risk to the health of the consumer population of the animal products as well as the animals. Hence, a clear outline is needed in terms of the regulations and policies, which should be actualized in this field to ensure the wellbeing of the consumer population as well as the wellbeing of the animals.
Essentially pro-activists for the animal farming in industrial farms consider that the benefits associated with large-scale rearing of animals for commercial purposes far outweighs the negative aspects associated with the animals farms (Weber, 19). Food sustenance is the main argumentative point for the pro-activists of the presence of animal farms around the world. Food prices have been on an increase around the world because of the drastic weather and climatic changes resulting in the need for constant alternative sources of food. Animal products are able to ensure constant supply of food in the market irrespective of climatic or weather conditions. This is because they largely rely on synthetic foods, which are blended with natural products.
The public associates synthetic products with disease as unnatural elements, which are essentially unhealthy for living organisms. This is because synthetic products are indigestible in the metabolic processes in the bodies of organisms. Hence, when synthetic feeds are consumed by the animals they tend to remain undigested or broken down by the bodies. Essentially, they are usually in the form of free ions or radicals thus free to combine with other elements when they are ingested into the bodies of humans or animals in general. The health risks associated with the consumption of animal products, which are derived from commercial industrial farms, are numerous (Doerfler, & Peters, 53).
The modern world has been faced by a dire need to ensure the satisfaction of the needs of food by an ever-increasing population. Hence, the animal farms are an appropriate means of the achievement of food availability to a large population. Additionally, this has resulted in emphasis of quantity over the quality of food as people are driven by the need to acquire adequate food irrespective of the consideration of the quality of such food products.
Animal farms according to animal rights activists are filthy areas, which are lacking in terms of the standards of hygiene necessary for ensuring minimal contraction and breeding of diseases and infections. Poor brooding and growing conditions for the animals usually consist of inadequate air circulation in the rearing facilities. This is usually brought about the need by corporations and farmers to maximize small areas for maximum population of animals for eventual maximization of profits (Weber, 33). Dirt and pitiable diet are also amongst issues that contribute fundamentally to the existence of diseases in the farms. Dirt is brought on by inadequate spacing leading to packed rearing facilities, which cannot sustain extremely large numbers of animals.
Large numbers of animals in the farms are usually associated with higher returns for the corporations. This is achieved irrespective of the conditions of rearing as the managers associated such with economies of scale. It is cheaper to rear larger numbers of animals in smaller areas because the costs are constant whereas the returns are exponential. Small crowded areas are usually good breeding grounds for diseases, pests and infections that may be easily contractible amongst the animals as well as also to humans responsible for taking care of the animals.
However, animal farms are a critical asset to any economy. This is because they have enabled the reduction in food prices given the reduced supply of food products around the world all of which is attributable to unfavorable and unpredictable weather conditions. Additionally, the presence of animal products enables the population to maintain a good balanced diet given the presence of proteins from animals. Animal farms are responsible for provision of numerous employment opportunities to the public. Such positions are created directly and indirectly through the operations of the animals. Direct creation of employment opportunities takes place in the form of positions within farms whereas indirect opportunities are created through the entities, which deal in sale of such animal products such as restaurants and companies using the products to make unique product offerings (Doerfler & Peters, 54).
Nevertheless, some animal farms could be described as up to date in terms of the level of cleanliness as required by the authorities. However, this is achieved at the health of the consumers of animal products as well as the wellbeing of the animals. This is because the cleaning activities are actualized with the use of powerful chemicals, which are essentially contaminants to the animal food as well as to the health of the cleaners in the industrial animal farms. Pollutants in the farming activities in animal farms are usually a major cause for worry among the public. For instance, the use of pesticides and disinfectants on a large-scale setting usually results in large-scale pollution of the environment.
Additionally, natural feeds, which are usually grown for eventual consumption by the animals usually, use high levels of chemicals such as pesticides to ward off infections and pests. Hence such toxic chemicals are subsequently absorbed by the consumers are they are not easily broken down by the body. Hence, this has the potential to result in various chemical related diseases, which could be either chronic or acute. For instance, the use of Dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) could pose harmful effects to the health of the animals as well as the consumers of the animal products (Pluhar, 27).
Bioaccumulation of biochemical elements falls as one of the main causes of disease among humans in that chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are usually used in fish rearing processes are found in fish meat and related products. Additionally, in the processing of animal products such as beef meat there is the use of some chemicals such as ammonia in the cleaning process (Wren, 31). Ammonia is essentially a harmful chemical; hence when ingested, it could pose detrimental effects to the human body and the functional systems.
In essence, there is dire need for the establishment of regulations and policies, which ensure standardized procedures in the operation of animals’ farms. This would ensure the presence of minimal diseases or infections, which spread amongst animals and humans. Additionally, it would also ensure high levels of hygiene in the animal farms, which is a major concern for the public. Products used such as pesticides, animal feeds and the prevalent facility conditions in the animal farms should be subject to constant scrutiny and evaluation by authorities.
In essence, this remains a topic for greater discussions given the presence of both negative and positive aspects. However, the presence of health concerns is major issue, which should be addressed with immediacy by the relevant authorities to ensure the wellbeing of the society as well as of the animals. Adequate regulation would ensure ethical and moral execution of operations in the farms without interruption of the activities of the farms given the benefits accrued by the communities from the presence of such farms.
Doerfler, R.L, & K.J. Peters “The Relativity of Ethical Issues in Animal Agriculture Related to Different Cultures and Production Conditions.” Livestock Science. 103.3 (2006): 257-262. Print.
Pluhar, Evelyn B. “Meat and Morality: Alternatives to Factory Farming.” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 23.5 (2010): 455-468. Print.
Weber, Karl. Food, Inc: How Industrial Food Is Making Us Sicker, Fatter and Poorer -and What You Can Do About It. New York: Public Affairs, 2009. Print.
Wren, Geni. “Controversies in animal welfare” Dairy Herd Network. October 18 2012. Web. Accessed on 22 October 2012 from < http://www.dairyherd.com/e-newsletters/dairy-daily/Controversies-in-animal-welfare-174670601.html?email=yes&cmntid=104443105>