In the past, most of the food we consumed was from small family farms. You raised most of it for yourself and then went to town and sold the rest to the townspeople there. The chickens were free range, the cows fed on grass, and all of the produce was grown organically. Most of the farmers slaughtered their own animals so there never was any worry about salmonella and E-coli getting into the food system.
And everything was sustainable. Compost was used to fertilize the crops and on certain years some of the fields remained fallow so they could replenish their nutrients. The food wasn’t bombarded with chemicals, over processed, frozen or loaded with preservatives.
What you didn’t need for that season, you either sold or canned or kept in the root cellar. Oh, there was the problem of botulism in home-canned foods but that was extremely rare and at least it hit you all at once instead of slowly poisoning you over a long period of time.
Then we established the food network that we have today: massive factory farms that house cattle 100’s to a small lot and chickens are raised in terrible conditions. Then they are shipped off to the slaughterhouse where thousand of cows go into making your hamburger as well as other stuff like fecal matter that you don’t really want in there.
Chickens don’t fare much better. After spending their entire lives in a small pen with hundreds of other birds, they are then injected with hormones to make their breasts swell and if they develop chest infections, the pus is sucked out by a guy with a vacuum cleaner.
Doesn’t sound very healthy does it? Well, there’s a long-awaited movement in this country back to real, sustainable farming and food. Farmer’s Markets are popping up everywhere and some people are learning how to eat healthy again. But not everyone has gotten the word and the factory farms are still cranking out their garbage for most of us to consume.
According to Healthy Planet Magazine, a group of Midwest farmers and ranchers got together recently at an FDA listening session in Jefferson City to protect their rights to farm the traditional way.
One of the things that the farmers are protesting is a new system that would track all of the animals on the farm and their movements, even to another pasture or county fair. Each animal would be individually identified and tagged. The idea behind this is that if an animal gets sick, it can be identified and removed from the food supply.
The only problem with this is that large factory producers can identify their animals by lots of a thousand, essentially making them exempt from the regulation. But of all of the cases where sick animals are allowed into the food system and make people ill, they have all come from factory farms, not individual independent ones.