|By: Nico Stubler & Elan Abrell | Reading time: 5 minutes|
|On March 11, U.S. Senator Cory Booker and U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Bennie Thompson (D-MS) reintroduced the Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act, which would suspend all current and future waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that allowed slaughterhouses to increase slaughter line speeds during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the successful passage of this bill could be an improvement over current conditions at many slaughterhouses, it is just a start.|
|Big Meat—like Big Oil, Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma—is a ravenous exploitation machine pursuing profits at any cost. It readily treats its workers, the public’s health, and the environment with the same sacrificial logic as it treats the billions of terrestrial animals it farms and kills every year.|
It is clear that adequately addressing the harms of this industry requires ambitious policies that confront the problem head-on, such as banning the sale of meat altogether.
|FACTORY FARMING AND ITS OPPONENTS|
Industrial farms claim the lives of billions of animals around the globe each year to feed the global demand for meat.U.S. Meat Consumption Is Growing at an Alarming Rate: Despite an increasing number of companies producing meatless alternatives and growing interest among consumers in plant-based products, U.S. meat consumption is growing.
“As of 2017, America had the second-highest meat consumption in the world, surpassed only by Hong Kong,” writes Caroline Christen, who explores the questions: “How much meat do Americans eat, and what are the impacts of their meat consumption?”
Factory Farming Is on the Rise, But Communities Are Fighting Back: “The number of animals being raised in intensive confinement has increased significantly in the last decade alone,” writes Claire Hamlett. “This uncontrolled expansion is now a major driver of environmental destruction and pollution and a significant threat to public health,”
Yet, in the face of the industry’s growth, communities are turning against factory farming and taking action.
Why Protein Isn’t a Problem for Vegans: Among the most common questions vegans hear are, “How do you get your protein?” Yet, research shows that protein deficiency is not a problem among vegans.
Not only can vegans easily incorporate plant-based sources of protein into their diets, but Matthew Chalmers writes, “In the developed world, rather than failing to meet the daily requirement of protein, many exceed the necessary daily intake of protein by a substantial amount—the average intake of an American adult is around 90 grams of protein per day. This in itself can have bad outcomes for one’s health.”
Can Veganism Help End World Hunger?: Although veganism alone cannot solve the problem of hunger around the world, which as Matthew Chalmers writes, is “an issue that primarily hinges around the distribution of food and not necessarily the creation of it,” it could be part of the solution.
“The widespread adoption of a vegan diet would have enormous positive implications for the globe, freeing up large quantities of land and producing more food with fewer resources,” writes Chalmers.
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|The industry’s cruel response to the COVID-19 pandemic has in many ways highlighted the extent to which it is willing to sacrifice its workers.|
Slaughterhouses quickly emerged as epicenters of infection, and subsequent reports reveal Big Meat intentionally concealed early cases while continuing to force employees to work closely together without protection.
Just as the industry has become a leader in human rights violations and public health threats, so too has it become one of the most significant threats to the environment. Commonly cited reports from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimate that Big Meat contributes anywhere between 14.5 percent and 51 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Given both the quantity and quality of these collective harms, it is not a stretch to say that the animal industrial complex’s hyper-externalization of all these costs onto the public and the environment has brought us to the brink of multiple disasters.
Read the full story here.