Crop farmers have the most important job in the world. Without crop farmers, our civilization wouldn’t exist. However, many people confuse those Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) with agriculture, who couldn’t exist without the grain produced by crop farmers. CAFOs, where animals are raised indoors or in feed lots in filthy, overcrowded conditions, are factories that produce meat, milk and eggs. That’s why they are called factory farms. CAFO operators say their inhumane treatment of animals is morally correct because they are “feeding the world” and the average consumer just doesn’t understand that inhumane methods are unavoidable to meet the demand.
However, the truth is they are not feeding the world, they are starving it. The U.S. produces about 90 million metric tons of soybeans every year, and according to www.indianasoybean.com, 98 percent, or 88.2 million metric tons, is used to feed CAFO animals. Soy is an excellent source of protein. We are feeding protein to animals to get protein.
Every year, about 10 billion CAFO animals are slaughtered. Their combined weight is about 38.4 million metric tons. Compare that to the amount of soybeans the animals are fed. It’s like putting $88 in the bank, and when you want to withdraw it, they give you $38. And I didn’t even take into account the 60 percent of corn, or 7.5 billion bushels, used to feed these animals.
The last time you saw news coverage of food relief efforts, did you see meat, milk and eggs being handed out to starving people? We got along without them before they were invented, and there weren’t as many obese people. The bottom line is this — we can feed a whole lot more people with the grain we produce than we can with the meat. We don’t need CAFOs.
From the Nov. 9-15, 2011, issue