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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Factory Farms Kill; Toilets Finger-Licking Good

What's more likely to kill you: licking your kitchen counter or licking the rim of your toilet?

Classic research from the University of Arizona says your kitchen counter has more fecal bacteria and other contamination that can give you food poisoning, thanks to the literal crap on the chicken and other meat brought to you by your friends at America's corporate factory farms.

This Huffington Post interview with Dr. Michael Greger (who works—gasp!—for the Humane Society) notes scientists have traced swine flu, bird flu, and other deadly pathogens to animal confinement and the concomitant overuse of antibiotics.

Those darned hippies at the Humane Society want us to treat chickens and other animals more nicely... in part because it would save human lives:

Studies have shown infection risk to be directly linked to overcrowding on factory chicken farms. In caged egg-laying hens, the most significant risk factor for flock infection is hen density per cage. Researchers have calculated that affording just a single quart of additional living space to each hen would be associated with a corresponding 33% drop in the risk of colibacillosis outbreak. This is one of the reasons many efforts to improve the lives of farmed animals is critical not only for animal welfare, but for the health of humans and animals alike [Dr. Michael Greger, interviewed by Kathy Freston, "E. Coli, Salmonella and Other Deadly Bacteria and Pathogens in Food: Factory Farms Are the Reason (Part 2)," Huffington Post, 2010.01.08].

Now I'm sure Troy Hadrick, along with his fellow ag-industrial marketing whizzes will have some evasive red herring reply about "uniting agriculture" to "tell our story"... when he gets back from hobnobbing with the Farm Bureau lobbyists in Seattle.

But I just can't buy the corporate marketing line Hadrick peddles that the Humane Society is trying to "destroy agriculture"—if, by any stretch of your etymological imagination, you can call cramming chickens and pigs into a building the "cultivation of land." Rather, it seems reasonable scientists like Dr. Greger are trying to keep "agriculture" from destroying us.

Now I'm hungry: time to set the toilet bowl.


  1. Last week, the organization for which I work published a new report on a related subject: "Public Health and Livestock Confinement: Identifying Threats to Human Health."

    The report was written by Donna Wong-Gibbons, Ph.D., a public-health specialist who works with Plains Justice. Some of its key points are in this Blue Planet, Green Living interview.

    Kelly Fuller
    Communications Director
    Plains Justice
    Vermillion, SD

  2. How long will it be before regular farmers realize that 'factory farms' and most farm agencies are no friend to them? they simply want to put them out of business.
    One 'dirty' little secret is the lagoon manure. There are studies that now show the manure from such places is responsible for antibiotics showing up in the crop that is grown on the land.
    Another thing, they make farmers pay for the privilege of using this stuff, some people have wised up and either get it free, or make the cafo pay them to take it, because the cafo owners are desperate to get rid of the waste. Still not a bargain in my opinion but to make farmers pay for accepting their toxic waste is adding insult to injury.
    Tis is different than manure that is mixed with straw and rotted before it is spread or the even better method of allowing cattle into the field after the crop is harvested to apply and spread it themselves.


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