Quantcast

Appalling Lack of Progress in Factory Farm Policies Despite Increased Public Awareness

Food

A comprehensive analysis of the U.S. meat, egg and dairy industries in 2008 excoriated  producers for their business practices. A new assessment of progress since then says industrial livestock production remains just as destructive, and little has been done to address any of the problems.

 

The report, from Johns Hopkins University Center for a Livable Future (CLF), says the problems identified in 2008—which included non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in food animal production, liquid farm waste and intense and inhumane animal practices—have worsened. The CLF report blames an “assault on reforms” in Congress and finds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Congress have acted “regressively” in policymaking on industrial food animal system issues.

A commercial meat chicken production house in Florida. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

“There has been an appalling lack of progress,” Robert S. Lawrence, CLF director, said in a press release. “The failure to act by the USDA and FDA, the lack of action or concern by the Congress and continued intransigence of the animal agriculture industry have made all of our problems worse.”

 

The CLF report says that despite the continual emergence of new scientific evidence demonstrating the severity of the threats posed by the industrial meat, dairy and egg processes, remarkably little has actually been done to address any of the problems.

 

“If the last five years has shown us anything, it is that the public is more engaged than ever in the food system,” said Governor John Carlin, chair of the commission. “The results of this analysis show that our policymakers are really not listening to their constituents.”

 

The 2008 analysis by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP) recommended:

  1. Ban the non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in food animal production to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance to medically important antibiotics and other antimicrobials.
  2. Define non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials as any use in food animals in the absence of microbial disease or documented microbial disease exposure.
  3. Treat industrial farm animal production as an industrial operation and implement a new system to deal with farm waste, especially liquid waste systems, to replace the inflexible and broken system that exists today and to require permitting of more operations.
  4. Phase out the most intensive and inhumane production practices (such as gestation crates, restrictive veal crates and battery cages) within a decade to reduce the risk of industrial farm animal production to public health and improve animal well-being.
  5. Aggressively enforce the existing anti-trust laws applicable to food animal production and, where needed, pass additional laws to provide a level playing field for producers.
  6. Increase funding for, expand and reform animal agriculture research.

“In 2008, the recommendations were heralded by many in the agriculture community, the agencies and Congress as the catalyst they needed to make vital changes to a food supply that has been criticized as unsustainable and in some cases unsafe,” said Bob Martin, PCIFAP executive director. “Inaction was inexcusable five years ago, now it is unconscionable.”

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Scanning electron micrograph of Yersinia pestis, which causes bubonic plague, on proventricular spines of a Xenopsylla cheopis flea. NIAID / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A middle-aged married couple in China was diagnosed with pneumonic plague, a highly infectious disease similar to bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Milk made from almonds, oats and coconut are among the healthiest alternatives to cow's milk. triocean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.

Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Greta Thunberg stands aboard the catamaran La Vagabonde as she sets sail to Europe in Hampton, Virginia, on Nov. 13. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP via Getty Images

Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist whose weekly school strikes have spurred global demonstrations, has cut short her tour of the Americas and set sail for Europe to attend COP25 in Madrid next month, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
The Lake Delhi Dam in Iowa failed in 2010. VCU Capital News Service / Josh deBerge / FEMA

At least 1,688 dams across the U.S. are in such a hazardous condition that, if they fail, could force life-threatening floods on nearby homes, businesses, infrastructure or entire communities, according to an in-depth analysis of public records conducted by the the Associated Press.

Read More Show Less

By Sabrina Kessler

Far-reaching allegations about how a climate-sinning American multinational could shamelessly lie to the public about its wrongdoing mobilized a small group of New York students on a cold November morning. They stood in front of New York's Supreme Court last week to follow the unprecedented lawsuit against ExxonMobil.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Alex Robinson

Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.

The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.

Read More Show Less
People navigate snow-covered sidewalks in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on Nov. 11 in Chicago. Scott Olson / Getty Images

Temperatures plunged rapidly across the U.S. this week and around 70 percent of the population is expected to experience temperatures around freezing Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
A general view of the flooded St. Mark's Square after an exceptional overnight "Alta Acqua" high tide water level, on Nov. 13 in Venice. MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP / Getty Images

Two people have died as Venice has been inundated by the worst flooding it has seen in more than 50 years, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less