The Ugly Truth Behind Everyday Food Essay Example

The food system is failing tremendously, and for decades, the government has rapidly been transforming farming into a business that stresses quantity over quality. With modern-day agriculture, greedy industrial farming companies are earning skyrocketing profits, and there is no doubt that money-hungry business owners will do anything to keep their rates up. Industrial food companies slaughter more than nine billion animals every year for human consumption in the United States. Not only does this large demand put a strain on the mistreated livestock, but wreaks havoc in our environment. Careless management from industrial farms has caused the animals and the landscape to suffer. However, by involving the government into regulating the standards that factory farms follow, consumers can save not just the livestock and the environment, but the wellness of everyday food.

Many oblivious patrons do not comprehend that the poor treatment of farm animals is directly linked to the quality of the food they eat. Wendell Berry, a renowned American novelist, has realized this problem. In his article, “The Pleasures of Eating,” he describes that “...animals in close confinement are dependent on antibiotics and other drugs ” (3). It would not do for the buyer to know that the animal products they devour are not healthy or living in rural areas. Industrial farms produce food from stressed livestock that is filled with dubious, unnatural drugs. Similarly, an innovative and storytelling company, Free Range Studios, produced a short animation called “The Meatrix,” in which it exposes the unacceptable conditions that industrial farms force their animals to live through and how it affects patrons. It illustrates that “[corporations] started adding a constant dosage of antibiotics to [animals’] feed just to keep these poor wretches alive” (1:58). These antibiotics lead to drug-resistant bacteria, which results in untreatable infections that arise in humans. Farmers also inject numerous types of steroids and hormones to animals to increase their production. The major hormones used in the US have been linked to the increased risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancers. 

Equally important is the environment. Due to industrial farming, farmers douse fields upon fields of crops with harmful chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. A great number of patrons are oblivious to the fact that these toxins end up in numerous places. Michael Pollan is a professional writer for the New York Times and the author of “When a Crop Becomes King,” which describes the dangerous effects of industrial agriculture. “Runoff from these chemicals finds its way into groundwater… where it has killed off marine life in a 12,000 mile area” (2). In addition to groundwater, runoff also ends up in and pollutes sources of drinking water.

If they are powerful enough to kill wildlife, wouldn’t they be deleterious towards the human body? “It would not do for the consumer to know that the hamburger she is eating came from a steer who spent much of his life standing deep in his own excrement in a feedlot, helping to pollute the local streams…” (Berry, 3). The unsanitary management of excess manure from factory farms can lead to contamination in water sources, and contamination of the food supply by bacteria. In particular, illnesses such as E.coli and salmonella come from bacteria in food contaminated by animal feces.

Fortunately, including the government into monitoring and heightening the standards that industrial farms follow paves a way for the food system to become healthier and safer for consumers to eat. Mohamed Hage founded Lufa Farms, a company that builds rooftop farms as a better alternative to factory farms. In his TED talk, “How a rooftop farm feeds a city,” he clarifies that “responsible agriculture means using no synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides… [and instead] by using biocontrols, insects” (5:44). If the government was able to ban all disruptive chemicals and replace them by using natural means, it would not runoff into water sources, therefore causing no pollution. 

By utilizing organic alternatives, raffish chemicals will not find their way into any food. Ana Sandoui is a professional freelance writer for Medical News Today. She published an article on the dangers of the drugs injected into livestock in which she gives some insight into the issue from Nicola Evans, a doctoral researcher from King’s College London. Evans explains that “antibiotics are needed [...] to safeguard animal health and welfare, but should only be used when the animals are sick and not used for growth promoters or to prevent animals getting sick in the first place” (1).

With government regulations, the use of drugs in animals should be limited. If this standard is followed through, the number of drug-resistant bacteria will reduce, consequently resulting in less bacterial infections in humans. As described previously, there has been a complication with the management of excess animal manure on farms. A fix to this issue would be to recycle the feces into fertilizer for crops. With the surplus of manure directly transferred out of farms and into crop fields, the chances of contaminating the human food supply are lessened, and since natural fertilizers are produced and used on plants and fruits, the crops would be deemed organic and healthier for the human body. 

Although industrial farms have completely disregarded the health of our livestock and our environment, there is a plan to end their perfunctory management with the help of the government. The government can regulate the ways that farmers treat their animals and crops, and by switching to more organic processes, the health and safety of the human population will increase. If these regulations are followed, the government can have an efficient and robust food system that will further benefit everyone in the long run.



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