So I just chose random parts that I found interesting in the reading….
In this class and the environmental ethics class, we’ve been discussing a lot about how people are disconnected from the food we eat. Being disconnected makes us blissfully unaware of how the animals are treated and how unhealthy meat is. They have no idea about how unethically farm animals are treated in factory farms, which constitute 99% of meat and animal byproduct production. However, I thought this disconnect would have originated when factory farming started because that way we could block out the inhumanity of it. However Urbanik suggests that the divide between humans and farm animals began during Victorian London. The trend of domesticated pigeons, pets, and mice beginning to come into the city while the agricultural animals were being pushed out of urban society. The livestock used to roam the streets of the city, but people began saying that the animals went against standards, morality, and safety. People did not want to see the slaughter or abuse of the animals occur inside the city. Instead of addressing the problem, they sent them out of the city so they did not have to witness the problems. This is what they believe is the first disconnect between humans and animals.
A tool they use in the agricultural industry for making products that I did not know existed was the estimated breeding values (EBV). EBVs are measurements of genetic value, which is based on performance traits so breeders can choose the best genetic quality to ensure better products through generations. The performance traits they can select for is gestation length, birth weight, mature cow weight, milking ability, and calving ease etc. (http://abri.une.edu.au/online/pages/understanding_ebvs_char.htm) I knew that farmers were selective in their cattle to produce the best product, but I did not know the amount of control they had over the animals. Like they can sell genetic material to either genetically modify or clone a cow. At what point will the producers realize that the cattle cannot keep being genetically modified? We have domesticated pigs so much that the domestic pig is its own species in the taxonomic family Suidae (Urbanik, 116). Before we know it a cow will not be the same cow because we are getting so far away from what the original species was.
I really liked the part when they say “healthy animals means healthy humans” (125). The quote is so simple and makes complete sense, yet it appears so hard for our culture to change farming animal practices. Today factory farming has taken over with unethical treatment of chickens in battery cages or pigs in gestation crates. We put so much money into this industry for a crappy product in return. Especially when 8% of our global water supply is used just to water the crops that are fed to livestock (Urbanik, 129). While not being aware is a big issue in why there is not more backlash towards the meat industry, it amazes me how money hungry producers are that they are not concerned that their treatment of the animals makes for bad quality products. Thus this products are making us sick without us even realizing it.