Monday, May 25, 2015

Factory Farming and Humane Bacon

In my Anthropology class, I had a reading titled "Hogs, Antibiotics, and the Industrial Environments of Postwar Agriculture" by Mark R. Finlay. According to Finlay, antibiotics’ role in creating indoor confined feeding operations was revolutionary during the time. Researchers found in the late 1940s what came to be known as the “antibiotic growth effect.” Antibiotic feeding also reduced disease among animals, which supported the idea for indoor confined feeding operations. “Although crowding animals together naturally increased their susceptibility to disease, scientists understood that antibiotics could overcome that natural burden. Antibiotics also played a role, challenging the notion that pastures were naturally more healthful environments than confined hog lots” (Finlay). In addition, manipulation of the swine diet enabled farmers to created fortified feeds with antibiotics and vitamins. An NPR article titled "'Tales' of Pig Intelligence, Factory Farming and Humane Bacon" mentions what industrial pigs are fed. It reveals: "It's pretty ugly. The basic ration is corn or soy. Rendered pig meat is also added, making them cannibals. Another addition to feed is something called "feather meal," which is what it sounds like; it's the feathers that come from chicken and turkey slaughterhouses. They can be fed chicken manure, the litter of the floor of chicken houses because manure has protein it. So there are all sorts of things that are quite frightening in the diet of an industrial pig."

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