Now Is Not the Time/ / Jake Steiner

According to the dictionary the definition for change is: to make different in some particular, to give a different position, course, or direction to.  Also according to the dictionary apathy is defined as: lack of feeling, interest in, or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.  These words relate to my attitude even after I learned about the horrors of factory farming. 

I am apathetic towards making a change in the way our food is processed and the farming methods that are used today.  Judging by how nearly all of the students in my class reacted to learning about factory farming I am confident enough to say that I believe that now is not the time to make a change in the factory farming system.  Outside of my class that learned so much about factory farming and the few people who actually know where our food comes from most of the people in the United States do no know where their food comes from.  I am sure that if everybody knew as much as I did about factory farming things would change, but not dramatically.  Even with knowledge about the subject I do not feel like changing my eating habits.  Since this is the case, what is it going to take to change the average person’s eating habits to reduce the amount of factory-farmed meat?  It is not because people do not think that factory farming is bad that change does not occur, instead it is the lack of knowledge and interest that people have about factory farming that does not allow change to occur.

After learning about and working on addressing opposition in my freshman English class at Santa Clara University I feel that it would be a good time to note that there are people in American society that feel now is the time to take action against factory farming and the large food corporations.  Doing research about factory farming and some of the criticism against it I would always find something from PETA, the nonprofit organization named People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  They are an animal rights group that is most well know for their more radical claims and actions.  They believe now is the time for action against factory farms and the large food corporations that control much of the food we eat.  Another group that I have come across that feels that now is the time for action and change is Mercy For Animals or MFA.  Mercy For Animals is also a nonprofit organization that fights for the prevention of cruelty to farmed animals and promotes compassionate food choices and policies.

I am glad that there are people in American society that believe now is the time for action against factory farming.  They do a great job educating the public and keeping the issue in the mainstream media.  We need those exact people right now to make sure that the issue does not disappear.  Even though the rest of the public is not ready to make that changes that, I agree, do need to be made the most important thing is that they are being educated about it and are still thinking about these issues instead of forgetting about it.  Now is the time for education about the issues of factory farming and keeping it in the national media’s.  I think that we need to stay aware of the issue and keep it in everyone’s minds.  In my current situation I know I am not ready to change the way I eat even though I know all about the horrors about factory farming and our horribly incorrect ideals about food.  I believe that most people at this point in time will react the same way as myself, unwilling to change unless we have to.

One of the things I learned about while in my English class is the hard life of a pig on a factory farm.  Pigs generally live in very harsh conditions where there are many pigs crammed into a small space.  According to the 2007 census the average number of hogs per farm nationally were 5,144 an increase from 3,612 in 1997 while farm size has remained the

Hamburger

same (factoryfarmmap.org).  This means that more pigs are now being squeezed together.  This increase in the number of pigs allows for the easier transmission of diseases, more time spent in feces because the slats in the floor get clogged up and there is no other place to go to the bathroom, and a higher chance for cuts and scrapes which leads to a lower quality of meat.  Another horrifying aspect to the pork industry is in what they eat.  One item found in pig feed is pig carcass.  According to the Union of Concerned Scientists “pig carcasses can be rendered and fed back to pigs.”  Even though I know both of these disgusting facts, I still would really love to eat pork tenderloin right now.  Maybe it is because I am used to the dinning hall food that does not serve pork and would like something other than beef or chicken or maybe it is because I miss my mother’s great cooking and the pork tenderloin that she would sometimes make.  For me, even knowing these facts does not want to make me change the way I eat.  I am apathetic to this issue because I still want to be able to eat the foods I like to eat.  From my perspective I feel that most people will agree with me and want to continue eating the things they have grown accustomed to eating, which is why I think that now is not the time for change.

As I have unfortunately learned the life of a dairy cow is similar to the life of a pig.  I thought that maybe since they are not killed that dairy cows had an easier life, but unfortunately that was not the case.  In January of 2010 Mercy For Animals released hidden camera footage of an undercover investigation of the Willet Dairy Farm in upstate New York.  The video footage consistently showed “workers kicking, punching and electrically shocking cows and calves” and “cows with
debilitating leg injuries, abscesses, open wounds and prolapsed uteruses
Willet_Downers_3, many caked with feces” (Runkle).  The television network ABC did a story on it for their nightly newscast using the video footage from MFA.  This got the dairy farm into a lot of legal trouble.  There was video footage of an employee striking a cow on the head with a wrench whose face was caught on camera.  After the piece aired he was suspended and the farm was investigated.  This shows that the problem of factory farming is in the national media’s attention and that people see physical first hand evidence.  Thankfully, a story like this will pop up in the nightly news once in a while so that the public is aware of the problem, but nothing has changed.  Overall as a society we have not taken enough action to change the way our food is produced.  I think this come from the fact that people do not care enough to want to make this change.  They are apathetic to the issue.  Since it is not affecting them directly people, including myself, do not feel the need to push for change.

Instead of telling people that they need to become vegetarians or vegans and reject everything that comes from animals or a factory farm, (I’m looking at you PETA) I think finding ways to reduce people’s consumption of meat is a more effective way to deal with the issue of factory farming and may also help with obesity.  I do not want to completely cut out my meat intake.  I become less interested in the issue of factory farming when I am told to stop consuming meat.  By compromising and allowing people to eat meat, but educating them on how much meat they should eat and the possibility of cutting meat out for a day I think this process can damage the large food corporations and cut down on factory farming.  As long as it is not a dramatic issue people, like myself, are going to be unwilling to change their ways, it is just human nature.  That is why major change to the farming and food production system has not changed much.  This is exactly why we need people to educate the rest of the population about the issue so that when the time comes when it is a major problem people can fix the problem, so please, go out and learn about factory farming and food production so that you can be aware and informed about this important issue.

Works Cited:

“Factory Farm Map.” Factory Farm Map. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

Runkle, Nathan. “MFA Willet Dairy Investigation Leads to Criminal Animal Cruelty

Conviction.” MFA Blog. Mercy For Animals, 30 Mar. 2011. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.

“They Eat What? The Reality of Feed at Animal Factories.” Union of Concerned Scientists. N.p.,             08 Aug. 2006. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.

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