Factory farming has become an industry, where cows, pigs, calves, turkeys, chickens, geese, ducks, and many others are raised in order to produce flesh, milk, and eggs. These animals live in extremely stressful conditions in order to satisfy consumers` needs in food. There is no doubt that factory farming affects animals, though many people have not ever thought about it. People are used to eat animals from ancient time, and the majority is sure that meat is a source of humans` energy and strength. Though, there is other opinion about not eating meat due to different reasons, such as religious, ethical or cultural. Factory farming pollutes environment, affects animals, public health, especially those, who live close to such farms. Nowadays, there are many debates about factory farming. This paper tends to discuss inhuman effect of factory farming on people and the human costs of this practice.
Human Costs of Factory Farming Practice
Factory farming is a fast-growing industry that comprises almost 99 percent of all farmed animals raised and slaughtered in the United States. Animals` suffering is not taken into consideration by consumers and producers of meat, dairy products, and eggs. Producers do not want to stop killing animals or even change their methods or personal approach to this problem, searching for high profits. Research asserts that the true cost of meat is not reflected in the price. Unfortunately, humans do not give meaningful consideration to the animal suffering (Abigail 15). The future of American livestock industry is one of the most important issues in the agricultural sector. The question is whether animals should be raised in small family farms or produced in large factories that deliver animals in large quantities. Many experts consider that family farming has to be the main source of meat, eggs and dairy producing, because they are the only ones who can care about air, water, and soil. A lot of rural residents and family farmers are alarming to the public and government authorities of the damages of factory farming in the United States. Many organizations, which support family farms, care about protection of public health, environmental preservation, food safety, and animal welfare. Moreover, factory farming drives rural farmers out of business, threatens the quality of life, as well as individuals and their families, who have to live near these farms. Thus, family farmers and rural residents are really worrying about this problem.
Factory farming provides much lower prices for its products. That is why many people prefer to buy their relatively cheap products. The question is whether these products are really cheap. The available information asserts that the present system of producing food animals is unacceptable, because it contains risk to humans` health, damage to the environment, and harm to the animals (Abigail 25). Opponents of factory farms provide protection programs nationally and internationally. Their number is increasing every year all around the world. Many experts consider that animal agriculture is the main contributor to global warming. It even outstripped the transportation industry and the greenhouse gases production. Therefore, many scholars consider that independent family farmers, who used to raise most of the nation`s farm animals in the past, have to displace industrial animal production facilities. It is important, therefore, to understand that economic, ethical and ecological aspects of raising animals for meat must be taken into consideration.
Ethical Charge Against Eating Animals
Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of Eating Animals, discusses the human costs of factory farming and its effects on humans` health, environment, and ethical issues of this practice. He is one of the most important chroniclers of violence and morality in contemporary literature, who directly addresses the question of the meat industry`s ethical, economical and ecological sustainability in the United States. In his book, Animal Eating (100-145), Foer argues what is wrong with the modern way of producing animals that most people eat today. He raises the problems of antibiotics’ usage by factory farming, disregard to the animals` wellbeing for the sake of large profits and the way the animals are killed. If the same abuses were done upon cats and dogs, cruelty to animal charges may be warranted in all 50 states. There is no federal law, which can protect animals on the farms.
Fores underlines that his book is not an argument of vegetarianism. He appeals to treat animals as equals. Though, Fores does not consider his book as the argument of vegetarianism. He describes the process in such a way that readers should admit to cease eating meat altogether. Some readers may consider him realistic, while others sentimental. According to Fores, once humans are identified with animals as equals, they are likely to deserve people`s protection. Therefore, people have to protect them and not eat. In case people regard animals as lesser and subservient, it is acceptable to eat them (Fores 135). The decision to eat meat is central in the book, though such dilemmas as ethical, moral and economic are of the greatest concern too. Fores` arguments to change eating habits sound differently for readers. But even those, who chose not to change their eating habits, start to think more critically about food.
Fore`s ethical approach against eating meat is rather brave because it is characterized as not popular, unmanly, and juvenile. Most Americans are sure that they are capable to make their own decision what to eat. It can be stated that Fore`s arguments against eating meat are not convincing. Foer shows in his book that everybody is thinking along the same way “We are not them”. He argues how to identify who we are. Investigating the modern factory farming industry, Foer discusses the issue of human morality and life in America. Foer considers that animals, who are suffering all their lives on factory farms, are not good to eat from the moral point of view. He blames the most important ethical principles on how animals are raised. Though, he is hesitating to give a direct answer whether it is right or wrong to eat animals, which are raised in more comfortable environment. Foer devotes most of his thoughts and discussions to providing detailed investigation of moral and ethical values of a personal decision whether to eat conventional meat.
It is a well-known fact that factory-farmed animals are kept in bad conditions, such as small and crowded enclosures and cages. The animals` natural behavior is disrupted, what leads to great suffering during their entire lives. Many people are well aware of this fact, but they do not consider that animals can suffer the same way as humans. Therefore, they do not pay any attention to this problem, especially those, who have profits from factory farming. Foer is the first author, who has reviewed the issue of eating conventional meat in regard of morality and ethics. His book Animal Eating is the most readable in the world by those, who argue whether to eat meat. Foer asserts that meat is ecologically harmful for human`s health, but for those, who used to eat meat and feel uncomfortable without it, it would be morally ineffective to get rid of their eating habits. Opponents may find Foer`s arguments about animal suffering inacceptable, as they believe that it is irrelevant to apply human morality to animals.
The decision whether to eat meat is very personal. The power of Fore`s book is in the portrait, where he depicted animal agriculture in the contemporary America. Many researchers are paying their attention in what way factory farming may be harmful to the environment and human health. Foer was the first, who devoted his discussion and arguments regarding moral, ethical, and economic problems of animal production in the big factory farms. Those, who do not want to change their eating habits, do not have to stop eating meat. Foer`s arguments are more compelling and accessible than most arguments for vegetarianism. Therefore, it is worth noting that the main purpose of Foer` ideas is to prevent eating meat of the animals, which were raised in inhuman and immoral environment. The purpose of his arguments is not to prevent people from eating animals but to think about morality and ethics of factory farming.
In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that the present situation with factory farming and producing meat there is rather challenging. Many debates are held by experts and specialists about this issue. Animals in the large factory farms live in stressful situations that make them suffer all their lives. It is important to realize moral, economic, and ethical issues of this problem. Factory farming pollutes environment, affects animals, public health, especially those, who live close to such farms. The factory farming industry is harmful for human life as well as environment and global warming. Therefore, scholars, government authorities and experts have to pay their attention to this problem. The idea to turn back to small family farms is worth to be more investigated and overviewed. Those, who eat meat, eggs and dairy products, have to think about conditions, where animals were raised. Moral and ethical norms are important in raising animals with the aim of healthy eating.