Monday, December 20, 2010

Industrial Agriculture a moral issue?

The number of people occupying Earth has increasing dramatically, it is estimated that 4.17 babies are born every second. All these babies are in need of food to survive, and to keep up with this increased demand for food, industrial agriculture is being used at a high demand. Industrial agriculture is a modern farming method in which genetic technology is incorporated to produce large amounts of livestock, poultry, fish, and crops at cheap prices. You might think that industrial agriculture is doing a lot of good as it is able to maintain with the high demands of our increased population, yet the way in which they are doing so is not healthy, and in many ways morally wrong. As you go on to reading this blog remember the phrase “ Its not about the quantity but the quality”.

Positive effects of Industrial Agriculture:

reduction in many Asian countries including China. Higher agricultural productivity has not only helped millions climb out of poverty and provided cheap and abundant food, it has also freed up farm labor to propel industrial progress. For a country like China, tasked with the responsibility of feeding a fifth of the world's population with less than a 10th of the world's farmland, industrial agriculture is the simplest choice.

Negative effects of Industrial Agriculture:

As modern farming techniques were introduced , this established the bedrock of rapid economic growth, food security and poverty. Using Industrial agriculture techniques, destroys soil tilth  by the use of heavy machinery, which compacts the soil. Very little organic material is added to the soil thus decreasing the amount of nutrients that are naturally produced. Instead, inorganic nutrients are added directly to the soil in the form of synthetic fertilizers, which are manufactured from raw materials. These fertilizers are often applied at an excessive rate. As a result, they pass through the soil to contaminate groundwater and flow along the surface of soil to pollute surrounding bodies of water, threatening native species. In Industrial Agriculture, Livestock animals are generally kept together under extremely crowded and foul conditions. Because of this, they are highly susceptible to diseases and infections. In the United States animals with cancer are still deemed healthy to be slaughtered and served throughout the country. Conventional farmers rely on antibiotics, which are given not only when animals are sick but often on a continued basis in the animals' feed. Industrial farms, also called factory farms or CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) pollute the air in many ways, emitting foul odours, airborne particles, greenhouse gases, and numerous toxic chemicals.

*  the video you are about to see can be very disturbing but it shows the harsh reality on what is occuring to animals in CAFOs. There are choices you make everyday, and by eating meat through Industrial Agriculture you are making the choice to support such cruel behaviour *

what about our Biodiversity?:

Industrial Agriculture does provide us with cheap food that is produced in a short time period to reach our high demands thus being able to keep up with the growing population. Nevertheless  it is causing many problems that are leaving our environment polluted, while also reducing our biodiversity There are 80,000 species of edible plants known on Earth, but 90% of the world’s food comes from a mere 20 of these species. Edible plant species, both those we know of and those we don’t, offer a tremendous resource of possibilities that could greatly add to the security of our food. Biodiversity is the life support system of our planet. We depend on it for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Wetlands filter pollutants from water, trees and plants reduce global warming by absorbing carbon, and bacteria and fungi break down organic material and fertilize the soil. It has been empirically shown that native species richness is linked to the health of ecosystems, as is the quality of life for humans. You have to ask yourself if cheap, efficient food is more important than our environment’s biodiversity?

Sustainable Agriculture:

There is another alterative to industrial farming that is increasing in popularity called, sustained agriculture which integrates three main goals: environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity. Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Therefore, stewardship of both natural and human resources is of prime importance. Stewardship of human resources includes consideration of social responsibilities such as working and living conditions of laborers, the needs of rural communities, and consumer health and safety both in the present and the future.

I hope this information has opened your eyes, to the food that you eat and how is got unto your plate. I believe that Sustainable Agriculture is the right way to go. Just like Industrial Agriculture it can still meet the needs of our growing population without sacrificing our environment and biodiversity. You can eat your food knowing that it is healthy and not raised in captivated, unsanitary areas, you will also be getting all the nutrients you need from naturally grown crops. Yet  for the transition to be made, we all need to make a choice. what will yours be?