Thankfully, our President was formerly a professor who lectured on Constitutional law. I'm sure he's going to sort this one out for us ASAP.
You joke, but that's one of the reasons I voted for him
That works out to less than a pound a day (~0.68 lbs). Large numbers have a way of being misinterpreted, it helps to put them in perspective.
That's a lot of meat for one person in one day. It's almost three quarter-pounder hamburgers every day . An entire package of deli meat is 6oz (I checked). So 0.68lbs a day is two whole packages of deli meat every day. Even with bones, included, that's more than two chicken drumsticks a day (four drumsticks are about a pound). Nutritionally speaking, 0.68 lbs is over 300 grams, which is far more protein than anyone needs (the RDA is 50-60 grams). It's not even healthy on the consumer end, let alone the production end.
Regarding what people would eat instead of meat, I don't know the answer to that. Maybe we could take the corn being used for high fructose corn syrup and make something nutritional out of it. Yes, that would involve sacrifice. The main problem seems to be overconsumption (which I mentioned earlier) and possibly overpopulation. We do have an obesity epidemic, after all.
you say this as if it's a new idea... It is cheaper to keep a pig healthy than it is to restore health to an already sick pig. This is one place where Human medicine could learn a thing or two in the US. The current health insurance system has no mechanism to foster disease prevention as opposed to disease treatment because it is too focused on the cost of each procedure and not on the total cost of providing health care of each patient under each scenario.
I admit that I am venturing into territory that I am not an expert in, but my understanding is that many of the practices of factory farming, including nutrition (not feeding animals their natural diet) and "housing" (cramming many animals in a confined space than is natural), is causing a higher rate of disease. That was what I was referring to. You mentioned stress as a potential factor. As presented by opponents of factory farming, animals are put into situations where they're more likely to get sick (due to cost-cutting measures), and then fed antibiotics to compensate. Perhaps that narrative is false, but that is what most opponents of factory farming believe.
I completely agree with you regarding human medicine. I believe prevention is starting to become more of a focus. Things like stress should also be more of a focus (if it's true for animals, it's definitely true for humans!).
Meat and Bone meal and Offal are ground up and fed back to recycle the high quality protein other high quality nutrients
I honestly thought this practice was banned after the Mad Cow outbreak. And cows are herbivores, so why would they need to eat animal-based protein? Unless they're being deprived of something else. Since you focus on nutrition, I'm sure you have insight into this. But it seems to me that this practice would increase the risk of disease.
All human activity has an effect on the environment, the problem is that we pick a couple of industries and target them to the exclusion of all others.
Maybe you just feel picked on because you're in the industry, so you're more aware of criticisms of it. I have plenty of concerns about practices in other industries. I generally don't actually hear many people talking about the meat industry at all. Most people don't care, or don't want to think about it. It's only since Michael Pollan's book came out that more people are even starting to question where their food is coming from.
I'm in New York, and the people who do care try to support local farmers who they actually get to meet and know. For example, Manhattan has seasonal Farmer's Markets several times a week in several locations, and they are very successful. That's in reference to your earlier comment about how 99% of people are disconnected. Some people do make an effort to get reconnected.
The question is not whether the meat industry is the primary cause of antibiotic resistance. It's whether it contributes, and what to do about that. There are certainly other factors (you mentioned hospitals several times) that also contribute. We need to look at those factors as well, absolutely. I never said we shouldn't. But if the meat industry is creating a potential health crisis (which no one knows for sure if it is or not), they're not off the hook just because hospitals are creating a potentially bigger threat. Society has to deal with both problems.
The point would be to reduce antibiotics usage overall, which I'm sure you would agree with. If a European-style ban is not working, and actually makes things worse, then I agree that that's not the solution. Maybe we should be looking at what makes so many animals sick to begin with, instead of whether to ban antibiotics or not.
As an aside, I don't only blame industry for these problems. Industry is simply keeping up with demand. One of the articles I read said that in America alone, *nine billion* animals are raised for slaughter each year. That's a staggering number. Industry isn't doing this for fun - that's just how much meat Americans eat. It means that even if 99% of animals are treated reasonably well, which I doubt is true, an appalling 90 million animals are mistreated every year (plenty of fodder for journalists and activists who are looking for industry abuses). Also, the study you mentioned that said that factory farming scales (environmentally speaking) better than other methods doesn't negate the fact that the meat industry is having a huge negative impact on the environment. It takes enormous amounts of food and energy (and fossil fuels) to raise nine billion animals, and they are going to produce an enormous amount of waste, no matter how they're raised. The problem seems to be that raising (and killing) nine billion animals per year is always going to be messy, inefficient, cruel, and bad for the environment. It's the law of truly large numbers again.
The primary solution is that Americans simply need to drastically reduce meat consumption (on average, we each ate over 250 lbs of cow, chicken, and pig in 2005 - http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=united+states+meat+consumption). Policies regarding antibiotics and so on are just band-aids, and probably mostly useless, as you point out.
It's analogous to a hypothetical increase of gas mileage from 20 to 25 mpg in automobiles. That's great, and a big improvement, but it pales in comparison to the potential efficiency of public transportation, alternative fuels, or even carpooling. One gas guzzler may be better than another gas guzzler, but it's still a gas guzzler with a big, bad footprint.
I want to thank you for your thoughts from "the inside", by the way. I do appreciate hearing the other side of the story, even if I disagree with your assessment.
In the study, researchers conducted in-depth analyses of 49 study participants, 16 working within the poultry industry and 33 community residents. Stool samples from the participants were tested for resistance to the antimicrobials ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, ceftriazone, gentamicin and tetracycline. Findings showed that poultry workers had 32 times greater odds of being colonized with gentamicin-resistant E. coli than other members of the community. "One of the major implications of this study is to underscore the importance of the non-hospital environment in the origin of drug resistant infections," said Ellen K. Silbergeld, PhD, senior author of the study.
The second is the 2005 study that I put in my "wall of links":
After first Denmark and then the European Union banned the use of antibiotics for growth promotion, say the authors, the prevalence of resistant bacteria declined in farm animals, retail meat and poultry, and within the human general population. This provides evidence that antibiotic resistant bacteria can move between animals and humans.
These two studies, at least, are claiming the exact opposite of what you've been saying. You're arguing that the people criticizing factory farming have a vested interest in selling FUD, as if the industry doesn't have a vested interest in the status quo and deregulation.
All I have a vested interest in is not getting sick and dying from some stupid super-bacteria created by greedy business practices.
Last but not least, the majority of links I posted were news stories, not the activist links. But it's easier for you to pick on the activist links, which you did, and used that to dismiss the rest of my post as FUD. Not cool.
I'm trying to get the clearest objective picture I can about what's going on the food industry, and it doesn't look pretty. Sorry. I'm sure you have access to information that I don't, and follow these things more closely. I rely on reports by journalists, researchers, government agencies, and activists who also have access to information that I don't, and who also follow these things more closely than I do. Just because I'm not in the field doesn't mean I can't try to find what's going on and form an opinion. I will see if I can find the Journal of Dairy Science report you're talking about.
Anyway, you can accuse me of FUD, but there are real, serious, and ongoing health consequences to food industry practices:
* Mad Cow Disease: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3355625.stm
* E Coli in Spinach: http://www.kwtx.com/home/headlines/4198816.html
* Salmonella in Eggs: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/23/business/23eggs.html?_r=1&ref=business
People die when industry cuts corners and regulatory agencies don't do their job.
More of my resources:
* Agricultural Antibiotic Use Contributes To 'Super-Bugs' In Humans - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050705010900.htm
* Denmark's Case for Antibiotic-Free Animals - http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/02/10/eveningnews/main6195054.shtml
* The above article cites Professor Ellen Silbergeld - http://faculty.jhsph.edu/Default.cfm?faculty_id=648
* The true cost of cheap chicken - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-true-cost-of-cheap-chicken-768062.html
* Agriculture Pollution report from Defra (UK government) - http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/landmanage/water/csf/index.htm
* Wikipedia page on Factory Farming - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_farming
Activists (I am listing them separately, to be fair):
* Food, Inc. (movie)
* Ominvore's Dillemma, Michael Pollan
* Eating Animals, Michael Safran Foer
It's Ryanair, a lot of these suggestions are never intended to be put into service or even investigated. It's a way of getting free publicity for always looking for ways of cutting costs. And the press falls for it just about every time.
Well it's having the exact opposite effect on me. Now that I know that Ryanair is willing to compromise my safety to "cut costs", I'm far less inclined to use them.
I'm sure that http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093894/ was a great movie, but I don't feel like clicking on a stupid obfuscated link just to know you are talking about The Running Man.
p.s. The book was a million times better, but there was no GPS tracking. In the book, the game show relied on defaming the hero's character and manipulating the public into turning him in.
Save the whales. Collect the whole set.