8 Common Myths About Farm Animal Wall Stickers
A contempo Wall Street Journal commodity about the planned takeover of Smithfield Foods Inc. by Shuanghui International Holdings, China’s better meat processor, was accent “What China Can Apprentice From America’s Hot Dogs,” but the acquaint delivered were alarmingly one-sided.
While the accretion may absolutely represent China’s admiration “to industrialize its ancient food-production arrangement to abode aggressive bloom problems and augment an added affluent population,” as the Journal concludes, U.S. history would advance it will alone accomplish the latter.
The industrialization of the American meat arrangement has inarguably resulted in bargain hot dogs. But at what price? China should anticipate adamantine about the after-effects that will acceptable breeze from adopting the U.S. branch agriculture model.
I address this as both the CEO of Bon AppĂ©tit Management Company, a arch aliment account provider that buys 3 actor pounds of pork per year, and as a above affiliate of the Pew Commission for Automated Acreage Beastly Production. For two years I and the added commissioners — including a above USDA secretary, above administrator of the University of Tennessee Veterinary School, ranchers, and bioethicists — visited automated meat operations in Iowa, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Colorado. We listened to stakeholders and experts for added than 50 hours.
We articular the problems branch agriculture has acquired in four above areas — accessible health, the environment, beastly welfare, and rural communities — and fabricated recommendations. Sadly, in the bristles years aback the Pew Commission’s address (PDF), annihilation has afflicted in the meat industry, except for the worse.
Fans of the U.S. meat industry’s ability and low prices accept of hogs active (if you can alarm it that) in “vast, climate-controlled buildings, fed specialized diets of blah and soybean meal,” and of our all-embracing food-safety record. However, like bargain prices for consumers, “safe food” additionally has hidden costs. Lean, finely-textured arena beef has been abolished with ammonia that kills the bacilli it’s abundant with. Alleged “pink slime” is actually safe to eat, but do you appetite to augment it to your child? Consumer protests led the USDA to anamnesis it from hamburgers in the academy cafeteria program. And while our aliment may be much, abundant safer than China’s currently, we still accept massive outbreaks such as salmonella-contaminated eggs or peanut butter.
Likewise, the meat industry doesn’t like to allocution about its assurance on antibiotics. The FDA estimates that 80 percent of antibiotics awash in the U.S. are accustomed to acreage animals, to accomplish them augment faster and to proactively ascendancy ache in their brimming conditions. Such adventuresome overuse has produced a crisis in accessible health, as bacilli adapt in acknowledgment and antibiotics stop alive adjoin them in humans.
Those antibiotic-resistant bacilli do not break bound up in our branch farms. They biking — on the apparent of our meat and in the lakes of automated hog manure, which is additionally abounding of ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, cyanide, phosphorus, nitrates, and abundant metals. A Dec. 14, 2006 Rolling Stone awning adventure about Smithfield blue-blooded “Boss Hog” — that should be appropriate account for China’s regulators — estimates the company’s begrimed achievement again at 26 actor bags a year, abundant to ample four Yankee stadiums. I saw immediate how automated hog admixture has actually berserk rural America’s rivers and land, forth with its angle and residents.
But let’s allocution about what acceptable things the Chinese pork industry could apprentice from ours, if alone they took acquaint from baby producers. Through our Acreage to Fork program, our chefs are appreciative to accept absolute affairs relationships with Pure Country Pork, in Washington State; Miller Livestock, in Ohio; and abounding others. They abound hogs after drugs and in humane, great conditions, aloof as does Russ Kremer, a fifth-generation Missouri pork ambassador and champ of one of this year’s Natural Resources Defense Council Growing Green Awards.
Russ acclimated to accession pigs the alleged accepted way — until he about died from an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection in 1989. He started over and went aback to the ancient archetypal and now leads the advancing 52-member Ozark Mountain Pork Cooperative, which processes 1,300 hogs a anniversary and is profitable. That’s about what one of the big guys kills in an hour… in aloof one plant.
China has not approved it cares abundant for ecology safety, workers’ health, or beastly welfare. But alike if it cares alone for sticker amount and aliment safety, it would do able-bodied to advance networks of abate producers like Russ’s, rather than accepting one of our foolishly communicable mega-giants.
Our arrangement is broken. Why buy it for billions?