The cost of steak
Factory farms produce cheap meat, until you consider the rivers of sewage, the contaminants and the superbugs.
By Paul Roberts August 23, 2008
If you are searching for signs that today's high food prices won't last, the latest report on the meat industry isn't promising. In May, a distinguished panel of scientists and meat industry officials concluded that the current "factory farm" method for mass-producing meat poses so many threats to public health -- from contaminated water supplies to deadly epidemics of E. coli E. coli -- that the whole system needs to go. The good news: Even meat companies agree that change is unavoidable. The bad news: Replacing factory farms with something "sustainable" likely means an end to 50 years of falling meat prices.
The report, from a Pew Charitable Trusts commission, takes a hard look at "confined animal feeding operations," or CAFOs, which produce most of the U.S. meat supply. These massive facilities house tens of thousands of cattle, hogs and chickens and generate not just huge amounts of meat but rivers of sewage, clouds of contaminated dust and nearly a fifth of all greenhouse gases. Read More
Following in the footsteps of Michael Pollan’s crusade to scare people from eating meat, Paul Roberts, the author of this op-ed, has written a book which talks of the evils of animal agriculture. The anti-meat crowd has been using the often criticized Pew Commission report hoping to legitimize their arguments for eliminating animal agriculture. The truth about animal agriculture is that we are able to utilize certain natural resources on this earth, such as forages and grains, by using animals to convert it into protein that is easily digested by the human body.