Monica W. Massachusetts

Factory Farming

The practices that factory farms are currently engaging in are extremely inhumane, and this treatment needs to improve in order for factory farming to continue.

Dear Future President,

Factory farming is something that people in the food industry do to produce as many animal products as quickly and cheaply as possible. Although this may work, it’s taking advantage of the animals. Millions of animals live on factory-farms, where they are treated awfully. From living in confined spaces, being overfed and having outrageous amounts of drugs in their diets, to being neglected and then slaughtered inhumanely, this is what happened to the animals that you’re eating everyday. Along with this horrible treatment, their environment is unsanitary and cramped. Because of this, according to the article “Poor Animal Welfare Increases Foodborne illness” 48.7 million people each year get sick from eating foodborne pathogens and around 3,000 are killed. Something needs to be done about this, and fast. The least you could do, Mr. or Ms. Future President, would be to ensure that the animals that are to be killed for food live in a sanitary and comfortable environment. This would prevent lots of illnesses from spreading as well as preventing deaths. We want our President to enable that those animals in the fast-food industry will experience less distress and have a change in their surroundings.

All animals that were killed for food in the fast food industry, no doubt, for the short amount of time they lived, every second was miserable. The article “The Fast Food Industry Abuses Animals.” states that “The fast-food industry takes full advantage of the factory-farming system of modern agriculture, which strives to produce the most meat, milk, eggs, and fish as quickly and cheaply as possible in the least amount of space.” It's clear they don't care how the animals feel when they are treated so incredibly poorly, but animals are aware of their surroundings, just like us. How would you like to be abused and neglected and afterwards get slaughtered in the most painful way possible? It would feel horrible, right? Cows, pigs, and chickens are fed drugs to fatten them so when we eat them they have a lot of meat, this is wrong because it harms the animal by making them produce more than they do naturally, and when people are consuming these drugs in their food everyday unknowingly, it can make them very sick. Along with being fed these harmful chemicals, the cattle’s diet consists of poultry feces, leftover restaurant food, and expired cat and dog food. If these animals are fed food that they would eat in the wild or if that isn’t accessible, feed those animals the food they would receive at a small, family-owned farm.

As if this awful treatment wasn’t enough, they don’t pity these animals when they’re slaughtered either. The article “The Fast Food Industry Abuses Animals” proves “Slaughterhouse workers have testified that cows and pigs are skinned alive regularly and that chickens enter the scalding pot fully conscious.” After a mother cow gives birth to her calf, it’s taken away just hours after being born so we are able to use the mother cow’s milk. It isn’t unusual for cattle that are in the meat industry to be hung upside down by their hind legs and be dismembered fully conscious. Meanwhile in the egg industry, according to the article “The Fast Food Industry Abuses Animals”, “Millions of newly hatched male chicks are killed every year because they are worthless to the egg industry.” Chickens have to go through the process of getting their throats slit while hanging upside down from metal shackles and getting fully immersed in scalding hot water, fully conscious. Because of genetic manipulation, young poults hearts are growing 2 to 4 times their natural size and rupture. The pigs that are slaughtered are about as intelligent as 3-year-old children, and they are killed by being hammered and slammed against walls. The practices that the farms are engaging in are truly harrowing, and they have negative impacts on both the animals involved and the people eating the food they produce.

Many people don’t believe that this abuse is actually happening, because they figure that people would easily find out and it would be stopped immediately. But the article “Poor Animal Welfare Increases Foodborne Illness” proves that “The US Department of Agriculture cannot keep tabs on all farms at all times”. That's why some environmental groups decided to file a lawsuit to overturn Idaho's new "ag-gag" statute. The statute finds horrifying activities in factory farms and slaughterhouses. With evidence they give from recordings, audio and more the people who commit these crimes face up to one year in prison which is less than the amount of time they deserve. The article “Poor Animal Welfare Increases Foodborne Illness” says that the ag-gag laws seek to help the 99% of chickens and 78% of beef that are raised and slaughtered in factory farms. These animals are living in dirty and crowded living spaces, where they are forced to stay close and are be in contact with fecal matter all the time. In “Poor Animal Welfare Increases Foodborne Illness” it claims that “These serious threats to food safety occur in facilities that are supposedly being monitored by the USDA [US Department of Agriculture].” The USDA food safety and inspection services admitted they took short cuts when inspecting cattle before slaughter. An investigator for the Humane Society arranged and documented "egregious" violations of federal regulations at the Hallmark/Westland slaughtering plant. One investigator filmed a cow being forcibly pushed with heavily machinery, electrically shocked and dragged to slaughter. There’s a lot of proof that there is abuse happening on these factory farms and the animals being mistreated, but the industry tries to hide it from us, the consumers, so they can continue to make money.

We’ve told you how cruel these practices are, but there are people that claim that factory farming needs to continue because we’re going to have more people to feed and there’s nothing wrong about what they’re doing inside the factory farms. It’s true that our planet’s population is rapidly growing, and the need for livestock will increase to make sure everyone has enough food. From the article “Factory Farming is Essential to Feed the World” it states that “To maintain these rates of growth for another four decades would require a further doubling of poultry numbers, 80% more sheep and goats, 50% more cattle and 40% more pigs.” To prove their point, they also added that the amount of space and natural resources will be limited, so factory farming is one of the only ways to go. In order for factory farming to continue it needs to become more humane, and the first step down this path is to raise awareness of what’s happening currently.

This argument has some valid points, but the part that we disagree with is that they are saying that people who are against these practices are implying that turkeys, pigs, and chickens feel that they are in pain and distressed as if they were humans and in their point of view, they think that animals don’t feel emotions like we do. Actually, there’s growing evidence that animals have awareness just like us. The article “Factory Farming Is Essential to Feed the World” claims that “If the animals were suffering from the unspeakable cruelties often attributed to factory farming, they would be dying like flies.” We don’t see it, but they are “dying like flies.” This is because of the artificial growth hormones they receive as well as the drugs they eat in their diet that make them either produce more eggs or fatten them up to get more from the animals than they would naturally. Due to this, animal die from ascites, the presence of excess fluid in the abdominal cavity, round heart syndrome, where their hearts grow 2 to 4 times their normal size and rupture, or their skeletal growth rate is too fast for their hearts and lungs to keep up with. Part of their argument is agreeable and logical, but they get to a point where they start assuming things to back them up and don’t have enough evidence to prove these statements.

What’s happening to these poor animals is truly barbaric, but there are plenty of things our next president can do to help to stop this. We agree to the statement from “Factory Farming is Essential to Feed the World” that factory farms are obviously “no place to be naming each animal or treating them as pets”, but it should be required to give them painkillers if they are going to do things that will cause them to feel pain, for example cut off a chicken’s beak with a hot blade, or have them be unconscious when they are being killed. To keep things sanitary in the farms, there should be several changes and rules, for the health benefits of the public and for it to be more comfortable for animals. First things first, in the poultry cages it has been shown that the dead birds aren’t removed from cages and they aren’t cleaned, the chickens are living their lives not being able to take one step or even open a wing, and to make it worse are surrounded by fecal matter. This obviously needs to be changed so that the cages are cleaned often enough for it to be clean for the animals. We agree with the fact that factory farming will be necessary for feeding everyone in the future, but there needs to be some changes to make it more humane, on the animals’ behalf, and more sanitary, on the public’s behalf.

To conclude, we believe that there needs to be some changes made to how factory farms are treating their animals and improve the animal's’ surroundings. We do also believe that factory farming will need to continue in the future, as long as these crucial change are made. Overall, the quality of factory farms need to improve to make them a better place for animals to be, and these improvements will reflect in our health.

To sum it all up, we thank you very much that you took the time to read what we wrote and strongly believe that you should take our requests into consideration. We understand that you have many other things to attend to and to fulfil the needs of our country, and we brought this issue to your attention for this exact reason. We thank you for the precious time you took to listen to our thoughts on this topic, and we wish you luck in running our country,

With great admiration and respect,

Monica Witoslaw and Kathryn Chase

Glenbrook Middle School

Grade 7 English Language Arts

The seventh grade students have researched, discussed, and thought carefully about a variety of issues that challenge our nation and the next president. Here are their thoughts about what the next president must do to improve our country and all of our lives.

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