Meet the Real Meat IndustryLifestyle Vegan Health & Wellness
“The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you’re eating because if you knew, you might not want to eat it.” – Food Inc.
With the holidays soon approaching, a time when many of us will have the opportunity to gather with loved ones over warm, home-cooked meals, it brings us to the thought of where many of these classic American entrees truly come from. If your meat is not actually farm-to-table, does it make you wonder what processes have taken place to have it packaged and ready for the taking?
Unpacking a topic like this is very multi-layered, and honestly quite controversial. Perhaps it is something most people want to sweep under the rug because at its core, digging into this hits on our most personal habits, societal conditioning, and even our emotional connections to our family or genetic make-up. It is a topic that does need the light shone upon it though because it is only when we know the truth that can we stand for change and create alternatives. When you lift the veil and see more clearly as to how meat industry, factory farming, and our agricultural systems work, it is nothing short of a huge let-down when you consider the negative impact it is having on our planet as a whole.
Raw Republic is a company built on the foundations of health, wellness, and cultivating a forward-thinking community. Our menu will always remain to be plant-based but full of an array of nutritious options. In this blog, we aim to reveal some alarming facts about the shadow-side of the meat industry and show you why we make the choices we do in The Republic day in and day out.
Animal food production is one of the world’s leading causes of climate change
Truth be told. Animal food production now surpasses both the transportation industry and electricity generation as the greatest source of greenhouse gasses. We are reaching a point where extinction could be our very reality. Sea levels are rising, climate wars are approaching, entire countries are sinking underwater. With such a huge demand for animal products, corporations have gone the length to strip our planet of its natural resources and create a monster out of the industry.
“Even if we do not use gas oil or fuel from this day forward that we would still exceed our max carbon equivalent gas emissions (565 gigatons) without even energy or electricity sector involved, we would exceed that by 2030” – Cowspiracy
The Amazon rainforest is in great danger of being completely wiped out within the next 10 years, by 2048 we may be seeing fishless oceans, and most of the country’s leading environmental agencies are silenced on this issue… go take a look for yourself! 1100 activists have been killed in the last 20 years in Brazil for trying to protect the land, one could only imagine why they were being wiped off the face of the earth they love! Now a lot of people want to keep their mouths shut just to save their lives.
Forests are being cut down to raise cattle and produce soybeans because if you take a closer look, the majority of our industrial food turns out to be several arrangements of corn. 30% of our land base is being used for planting corn, and 90% of the products on our shelves in supermarkets contain corn, soy, or both. Have you seen any of these ingredients listed on your products? High fructose corn syrup, xanthan gum, maltodextrin, starch, vanilla extract… Beyond cattle and livestock, even fish are being taught to consume corn. Corn is cheap and makes animals fat quickly.
It takes dozens of times more water and five times more land to produce animal protein than equal amounts of plant protein. Unfortunately, even “green” alternatives such as raising animals locally, organically, or on pastures can’t overcome the basic math: The resources just don’t exist to keep feeding the world animal foods at the level it wants. Half of the US is already dedicated to agriculture, to have all grass-fed beef we would need the ENTIRETY of the USA + Canada and most of South America combined. We are not well fit for this level of consumption of meat, and unfortunately, even grass-fed is not necessarily a more sustainable option.
Imagine this: it takes 6 gallons of water to create a single quarter-pound hamburger. 2,500 gallons to produce 1 pound of beef, 477 gallons for one pound of eggs, and 900 gallons for a pound of cheese.
To feed one family with a vegan diet takes one plot of land, vegetarian diet with dairy would be 3 times the size or 18 times that for a diet with meat. You could have 37,000lbs of veggies or 35lbs of meat on the same plot of land.
The undeniable correlation between the rise of health problems and an increase in meat consumption
We thought secondhand smoking was the big issue, but it is nothing in comparison to the issue of secondhand choices in meat consumption.
We have been hardwired to go for the tastes of salts, fats, and sugars. This has skewed our food system to the bad or “empty” calories, which are also heavily subsidized.
We are now facing an unprecedented rate of obesity, cancer, and other major health concerns…
1 in 3 children born after 2000 will most likely contract type 1 or 2 diabetes. Type 2 used to be found only in adults, but as our consumption of these products continues to escalate, so do the consequences.
Antibiotics are used to make animals grow faster and to keep them alive in the unsanitary conditions. The majority of antibiotics in the nation are administered to healthy livestock! Research shows that factory farms’ widespread use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health. Some growers literally become allergic to antibiotics and cannot take them if needed.
Consumer influence by engineered marketing tactics
“The reality is not a farm, it is a factory” – Food Inc.
It is undeniably tough to avoid the signs all around us that are strategically placed by marketing executives and promotional programs. It is reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture spends $550 million per year on clever slogans and tactics to entice our palettes towards meat and dairy products.
Hidden expenses in the meat and the fast food industries
Over $414 billion in hidden costs are imposed upon the American society on an annual basis. It all relates back to consuming meat and dairy products. If McDonald’s sold a Big Mac for its full retail value, it would cost much closer to $13, which is much more than what it is listed for on the dollar menu.
Many families who cannot afford vegetables, or even afford the time to shop in the grocery store when working long hours in the workforce are cornered into feeding their families these subsidized meals.
A shocking fact: There are truly only 4 companies in control of 80% of our food systems nowadays.
If you cause a disruption in the profits, you are guilty under the patriot act. The FBI even considers environmentalists to be one of the worst threats because directly threatens corporate profit.
“You cannot be an environmentalist and eat animal products” – Cowspiracy
Where to even begin when it comes to this sub-chapter! From the unfathomable harm that occurs inside dark chicken coops, to the real-life sufferage / near extinction of many species from the wild due to the demand for more land to raise cattle. For the sensitive ones, brace yourselves, if you go to search for images or watch any of the various documentaries that are listed at the end of this blog, remember that this subject is not for the faint at heart.
“We are not producing chicken anymore, we are producing food. It is a highly mechanized system to create a lot of food on a small amount of land at a very affordable price.”
Industry has changed the ways in which chickens are raised. They are now slaughtered in half the time and grown to have larger breasts because people prefer white meat. Chickens that are grown by Tyson suppliers never see the light of day. They also raised to grow at such a rapid rate that their bones cannot keep up with the weight in such a short amount of time, that this weighs them down heavily, and they suffer from starvation or dehydration when they can’t walk to reach food and water.
The United States raises and slaughters almost 10 times more birds than any other type of animal. Approximately 8.5 billion chickens are killed for their meat every year, while another 300 million chickens are used in egg production. All birds—egg-laying hens, meat chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and others—are excluded from all federal animal protection laws.
We could go on about pigs and cattle to elaborate, but you can imagine that the results are equally as shocking. Babies are removed from their mothers within a day or two. These animals are stored in confined, unsanitary living spaces, and truly the list can go on.
Mistreatment of workers and illegal immigrants
According to National Agricultural Workers Survey statistics conducted from the year 2007 until 2009, 38 percent of farmworkers do not speak the English language and staggering in numbers, 48 percent of farmworkers do not have legal authorization to work in the United States. Whereas, despite employing half a million workers annually factory farm jobs have the largest turnover rates in the United States, exceeding 95 to 100 percent a year. Statistically, it has also been noted that these workers come from low-income families and 72 percent are born outside of United States; the majority of which are Mexican.
Slaughterhouse employees can be fired any time without notice; there is no union to support or protect them. Many illegal immigrants put up with mistreatment, work long hours, earn little pay and ignore hazardous environments for fear of losing their job. Employees that remain employed for years are more susceptible to injury, ranging from contracting diseases from handling the animal carcasses, respiratory issues, to severe injuries and possible death from using line equipment. On an average workday, employees inhale a range of toxic chemicals such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, as well as a variety of airborne bacteria. Many of whom are illegal in the country and don’t have insurance or financial means to cover their medical expenses caused by their job. According to the Center for Disease Control in 2012, there were about 20 deaths per 100,000 workers. On daily basis, about 167 workers in the agricultural field get injured, whereas, five percent of these injuries result in permanent impairment. To add to this inhumane mistreatment some investigations have reported employee as young as 15 years of age working in these industrialized farms.
Employees that remain employed for several years in this industry are more susceptible to injury, ranging from contracting diseases from handling the animal carcasses, respiratory issues, to severe injuries and possible death from using line equipment. On an average workday, employees inhale a range of toxic chemicals such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, as well as a variety of airborne bacteria. Many of whom are likely to be illegal in the country and don’t have insurance or financial means to cover their medical expenses caused by their job.
According to the Center for Disease Control in 2012, there were about 20 deaths per 100,000 workers. On daily basis, about 167 workers in the agricultural field get injured, whereas, 5% of these injuries result in permanent impairment. To add to this inhumane mistreatment some investigations have reported employee as young as 15 years of age working in these industrialized farms.
Slaughterhouse employees are not only exposed to a multitude of physical dangers in these factories but also experience severe psychological impacts that in some cases have lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
An employee in the book Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry states the following, “The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. If you work in the stick pit [where hogs are killed] for any period of time—that let’s [sic] you kill things but doesn’t let you care. You may look a hog in the eye that’s walking around in the blood pit with you and think, ‘God, that really isn’t a bad looking animal.’ You may want to pet it. Pigs down on the kill floor have come up to nuzzle me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them… I can’t care.”
Withholding the process of acknowledging their emotions of terror and grief as well as recognition of the impact of such actions, creates an emotional dissonance in these individuals. Much resulting in social withdrawal, drug and alcohol abuse, violent outbursts, and otherwise, severe anxiety and paranoia. There is truly a whole cocktail of other psychopathic behaviors that can arise as a result. Research also shows that employees working for slaughter-houses are in increasing numbers are being treated for post traumatic stress syndrome and/or are linked to committing serious crimes.
References and recommendations for further research:
Forks Over Knives
Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
What the health
“The Omnivore Agenda”
“Glass Walls” by Paul McCartney