Friday, Aug. 21, 2009
Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food
By Bryan Walsh
Correction Appended: Aug. 20, 2009
Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009. Read More
In the first paragraph alone, the reporter (using that term loosely) manages to fit in nearly every stereotype that isn’t accurate about modern agriculture. This is more like hearsay than reporting. No matter what type of production system is used, there will be advantages and drawbacks. To read this, you would think there is a perfect model that can be easily followed. If a reporter wants to be taken seriously, they should fairly and accurately report both sides of an issue and let the reader decide for themselves what their opinion will be.