Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
We wrote the other week that the coronavirus epidemic is wreaking havoc on the meat industry forcing farmers to euthanize animals. This coupled with new research showing that the next global public health crisis could come to us through industrial animal agriculture has made it clear that we need to rethink large-scale animal farming.
As Forbes explained, animals in large-scale farms are oftentimes diseased, infected, and closely packed together providing a perfect breeding ground for viruses to move from a weakened host to a human. And headlines of farm animals being killed as a response to COVID has drawn new attention to the ethics of large-scale animal farming practices.
Human benefit legitimates the erasure and subversion of animals’ inherent status as living beings. But this twisted reasoning is malleable, and we can still choose compassion over dominion.
Why This Matters: America’s per capita meat consumption has been on the rise. For reference, the average American ate roughly 220 pounds of meat in 2018, in what Popular Science called “an obsession.” We’re used to having access to cheap meat and as a society, we haven’t reconciled the destructive forces that allow meat to be an integral part of our diets.
Go Deeper: To address many of these very issues. Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren introduced the Farm System Reform Act in the Senate which would prohibit new large factory farms from going into business and force others to cease expansions before halting operations entirely within two decades.
As Senator Warren said in a statement,
“For years, regulators looked the other way while giant multinational corporations crushed competition in the agriculture sector and seized control over key markets. The COVID-19 crisis will make it easier for Big Ag to get even bigger, gobble up smaller farms, and lead to fewer choices for consumers.”
The Need to Rethink Our System: As Food Dive wrote, due to the unsanitary conditions where we often raise and kill animals, public health experts have been warning about the potential for a pandemic for years.
It wasn’t a question of if an outbreak would happen, but when. And right here in the United States, we are engaging in a practice that’s a tinderbox for the next outbreak.
So how do we fix it? As Newsweek wrote of the Farm System Reform Act, the original bill introduced by Senator Booker in 2019 was intended to support smaller farms by countering the influence of large, monopolistic corporations that had “run roughshod over the marketplace,” according to Booker.
Ultimately, factor farming makes it nearly impossible for smaller, more localized animal farming to be profitable for farmers. As Food and Water Watch explained, “the rise of factory farming has been driven by three factors: unchecked corporate power, misguided farm policy, and weak environmental and public health regulations.” That’s why legislation is needed to level the playing field.
BTW: FWW has a good tool for helping to understand what factory farming actually means, check it out.
Why This Matters: The fact that Bayer is likely to get approval for this new crop, which would be resistant to the active chemical in Roundup, suggests that the losses in court had and will continue to have little impact on the company’s trajectory. Just because these herbicides won’t “harm” GE corn does not mean they won’t harm us.
As Pride Month has come to a close, we wanted to recognize members of the LGBTQ+ community who are breaking down barriers — gastronomic and cultural. Earlier this week a blog on Ecowatch.com called Food Tank spotlighted 24 collectives, farms, and other organizations that are working to strengthen LGBTQ+ representation in the food system, which […]
With supermarkets running low on meat, seafood is a healthy option, and sales of frozen seafood like shrimp and canned seafood (much of which is imported) are up over last year, according to some retailers. Most of the domestic seafood landed and sold in the U.S. comes from small fishing businesses and goes to restaurants and those sales are down as much as 95% across the country.
Why This Matters: Congress provided $300m for fishers in stimulus funding, but it is only a “drop in the bucket” of what is needed to keep fishers afloat said Alaskan commercial fisher Julie Decker on Tuesday at a forum convened by the Ocean Caucus Foundation.
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.