Like many of you reading this, I love eating meat! At least I thought so until half a year ago. I did not count food a meal unless it has some sort of meat in it, but now, I cut the amount of meat I eat in half. What changed my love for eating meat? learning about how meat is made. It never occurred to me about how the food is processed and served to us in the dish. To be honest, I never cared until I learned about it in CTW1&2 classes, but learning it for half a year changed the way I eat forever.
Let me ask you a question. Have you realized that the meat you purchase at grocery store is very cheap? well you might not think so, but compare it to vegetables at the same grocery store. I just went to Safeway the other day and I realized that vegetables are much more expensive than meat when you compare how full you get from purchasing the same price items. Have you ever wondered why that may be? Well that is because meat industry is deceiving you.
Many of us are so ignorant about how the food is served to our plates that it makes it so easy for industries to exploit the animals to make the meat that we eat everyday that when I found out about the animals exploitation and the whole hiding truth business disgusted me and lessened my appetite for meat.
To answer from previous statement of how the meat is so cheap compared to food like vegetables, factory farming is the most common way to grow pigs, cows and chickens for past several years. Factory farming puts many animals into small factory cages to grow and provide customers with more meat than ever before, decreasing the overall price of meat compared to all other products. Factory farming has dominated meat market because of how cheap the meat is.
Guilford argues that Factory farming has allowed more meat production than ever before, increasing production of meat by 600% as of now compared to 1950s. (Guilford) That provides more than enough meat to provide for everyone including poor people. Factory farming significantly increased the amount of meat and daily supply compared to how much we used to produce back before the factory farming is introduced. One major factor to this is technology. Technology has allowed companies to mutate DNA to create chicken that grow faster and fatter. Food companies can now produce their meat for cheaper and in great amount. Now only 3 percent of farms in the U.S. generate an astonishing 62 percent of its agricultural output! (Farrell).
Although it sounds like a great information to us, the quality of those meat has gone down to a point where it causes many problems, such as companies hiding what they do with their products, treating animals horribly and genetically modifying their animals.
Based on the survey I conducted at Santa Clara University, College students are one of the most affected people by the factory farming because they do not get to choose what kind of meat they eat. Based on a survey I conducted at SCU, to SCU students who often eat food at Benson, I asked whether they get more stomach problems from Benson food compared to the food they used to eat back in high school. As it turns out, more than 80 percent of students have fewer problems with their stomach such as stomachache, food poisoning or diarrhea after eating meat from farm to fork program. The farm to fork is a program to support local farmers by using their meat instead of the common factory farmed meat. This proves the point that organic foods tend to have fewer bacteria which leads to less stomach problems since organic meat do not have bacteria infection or go through unsanitary process to pack into packages like how it is done in factory farming. It almost certain that major meat industries are hiding somethings from us that causes these problems. While some may argue that it is not possible to determine if stomachache comes from bacterial infection, my data is a data of more than 30 students proving that there is high chance that local farmed meat is less dangerous if not fewer bacteria on the local farmed meat. This is just a tip of iceberg of what meat industries could be hiding from us.
If anything about meat that can drop sale in meat industry was to be aired on TV, it will be prevented beforehand. According to PBS frontline news, There are close ties between government and meat industries that meat industries have quiet a lot of voice when it comes to making laws about meat (Johnson). This means that laws that are supposed to regulate meat industry is made by the companies itself, often times resulting in ridiculous laws that makes more benefit to them. This proves not only how corrupt the system is, but also how much meat industries are hiding things that they don’t want you to know. Otherwise, they would have no problem with anyone making statements about their product, because they should be able to defend their product.
The second problem is the quality of the meat . Animal product is the primary source of saturated fat in American diet, which leads to heart diseases. Saturated fat is one of the primary reasons for heart disease, which to our expectation, number one cause of death in the United States (Farm). Not only will fat increase the risk for heart disease, it is also the major factor for obesity in United States. Americans well exceed the amount of fat a person should be taking per day, which could greatly affect how long they will end up living (Farm). While factory farmed and actually farmed animals are same meat, the content of the meat greatly differ because of the food animals are fed in different farms. The antibiotics and other products used on animals in factory farming creates nasty chunks of meat.
Of those meat, most are infected with dangerous bacteria such as E. Coli and Salmonella. Those bacteria are served to dishes all over the country inside the meat. While they go through processing, meat is dipped into bacteria infected soup to cool the meat down, which infects all their meat with bacteria shipping it directly to markets all over the country (Foer133). While there are no definite numbers on how many people are saved by cheap meat and killed by bacteria infection from food, all the factors that could potentially increase the amount of bacteria in factory farming have more than enough reasons to believe that it has some if not most causes for factory farming killing more people than it feeds. Chicago Tribune supports this idea in an article article. “Meat that are made using factory farming have critical health risk to consumers, possibly killing more people overall, including, not limited by cancer, heart failure, infection, and E. coli. While most of the bacteria can be killed with proper processing, there are very high chances that meat sold at the stores have those deadly bacteria in them.” (Costs).
Deadly bacteria in meat are also result from an overdose of antibiotics on animals. Too much antibiotics creates antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are harder to kill, leaving human vulnerable to them. (Costs) The question now is where this bacterial and overdose of antibiotic problem comes from. Well, as it turns out, the meat industries genetically modify their animals so they will get fatter and get bigger faster. The consequence of this is the problems mentioned above and it makes it potentially dangerous for human to consume such meat.
Another method companies use to make cheap meat is by reducing wage of its workers. Through decreasing the workers wage, they are able to cut on its spending, however, often causes a lot of stress for the workers, resulting in violent behavior towards animals.
This causes many problem and some which directly affects me, the safety of the meat. If some meat contain lethal bacteria, how do I know that I am not eating meat with those bacterias in them? The answer is I don’t. With such corrupt system to make meat cheaper, I could be getting lethal bacteria any minute and I could die. This concerned me when I first learned it because compared to the meat I eat in Japan, where I am from, and meat I eat in America, I definitely have had more experience of food poisoning eating food in America. Even though I love eating meat, I also care about my health, especially my life. I do not want to die young especially from dumb reasons like eating wrong meat.
After learning all about what meat industries do to their meat, I care a lot more about where meat come from. I completely avoid meat made by huge industries since chances are, they are using factory farming to make their meat; otherwise, they would not be able to produce such a huge amount of meat to sell all over America. This is what made me to cut the amount of meat I eat to about half. Whenever I see the major meat brand, I would not buy those products and go for smaller portion organic meat made by local farmers, which are pricier, but safer in my opinion.
I used the term “Organic” severals times, but the term organic can sometimes be very ambiguous. For example, the definition of organic according to the standard set by Tyson, for meat to be considered organic, the house that stores animals must have an access to outside. It doesn’t state anything about animals actually going outside, so what end up happening is that they are packed into cages inside the building without any lights or air venting to keep them sanitized and healthy.
This is why you should not trust the food companies. After learning about the meat industries and their meat, I decided to cut out eating food from big meat industries as much as possible and buy meat or food that uses meat from local farms.
I am not writing this to change your mind, but I am writing this to let you know the truth about meat industry. What you do with this information is up to you. Maybe you will want to start eating more vegetables like I did, or you might completely become vegetarian, or you might not even care. It is your life and it is your decision to decide what you will do.
I just want to give you the insight of what kind of meat are processed at meat industries like Tyson:
Think twice before you eat another meat.
“The Costs of Cheap Meat.” Chicago Tribune. Ed. Monica Eng. Chicago Tribune, 24 Sept. 2010. Web. 20 October 2014.
Farrell, Robert. “Factory Farms – Are They Good for Consumers?” Factory Farms – Are They Good for Co3sumers? The Real Truth, 1 Sept. 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2014.
Foer, Jonathan Safran. “”Influence/Speechlessness.” Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown, 2009. 133-36. Print.
Guilford, Gwynn, and Ritchie King. “The World is Approaching Peak Meat, Producing 7 times more than in 1950.” Quartz. Quartz, 13 June 2013. Web. 02 Nov. 2014.
Johnson, Steve. “”Politics of Meat.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2014.
Mattes. Meat Packages in a Roman Supermarket. Digital Image. Meat Packages in a Roman Supermarket, Wikipedia, 18 July 2009 Web. 2 Nov. 2014.