LETTERS – Time to rethink our food systems

During this unprecedented time of worldwide pandemic, it is vital that we take this opportunity to rethink our food systems. Zoonotic diseases, such as Covid-19, almost always have origins in animal to human transmission. The United States’ system of factory farming on a massive scale puts us at risk for multiple zoonotic diseases. Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are an environmental and public health disaster on an epic scale – polluting our environment and ruining our drinking water, ravaging rural communities, and harming the welfare of billions of animals. Industrial agriculture is the second biggest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution, biodiversity loss and puts a heavy strain on many of the earth’s finite resources.
The overuse of antibiotics in factory farms is widely known.
Antibiotic resistance is a very serious threat and many scientists are warning of superbugs and a “post-antibiotic” society in our near future.
How many scientists have to speak up about this extreme danger before something is done to stop it?
The extreme suffering that happens to animals in CAFO’s should not be discounted when weighing the heavy cost of industrial agriculture.
A quick internet search will show you the horror that happens on these farms.
Most Americans agree that animal cruelty is wrong and support laws to stop it.
Why are people punished for harming a dog or a cat, but big agriculture gets away with extreme cruelty to billions of farmed animals on a daily basis?
Plant-based agriculture generates around 1.5 trillion more pounds of product than animal agriculture and does so more efficiently.
The US food production system uses about 50% of the total US land area, 80% of the fresh water and 17% of the fossil energy in the country.
This is in no way sustainable.
We need to stop subsidizing meat, which is ruining our planet and our health.
Subsidies should be provided for farmers who want to transition from working for big ag to growing environmentally sustainable and affordable crops that can feed more Americans for less money.
Contact your elected officials and let them know that the agriculture industry needs to stop getting a free pass.
The lobbyists need to have their power limited.
Strict laws need to be put in place to ensure the basic needs of farmed animals are met.
This is not just basic decency but helps prevent the extreme stress to the farmed animals that can lead to illness and disease … including zoonotic diseases.
The continued farming of animals on such a large scale will inevitably lead to our next pandemic, whether it is a deadly zoonotic disease similar to Covid-19 or a massive antibiotic resistance that ruins our ability to treat common infections.
Study after study has come out showing that meat is bad for us and for the earth—what will it take for us to finally listen?
Katrina Reimer
Peaceable Kingdom

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