In part 2 of his talk about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, Dan Imhoff speaks to an audience of Friends of Family Farmers that is concerned about the health and wellbeing of their communities, and supports the creation of more sustainable and environmentally healthy alternatives to our heavily industrialized food system.
Much of Imhoff's talk centers around ideas that are found in his newly published book, CAFO -- a collection of thought-provoking essays and gut-wrenching images that depict the world of factory farm livestock: cattle, dairy cows, hogs, chickens and turkeys.
As the book explains, the primary purpose of a CAFO is to feed livestock and prepare them as quickly and inexpensively as possible for slaughter. Maximizing efficiency and minimizing costs are the basis feeding, housing and caring for animals in these types of operations. The images contained in this coffee-table size book may only begin to convey the true horror of their living conditions. Pigs crammed so tightly together, their fecal waste falls through metal grates upon which they stand throughout the day and night; chickens housed together in a sea of other chickens, warehoused together under one roof, their bodies caked with feces. Nothing about these images suggest a "farm," there is also nothing in these images that suggests the faintest hints of compassion, respect for living things, or even a basic display of humanity toward livestock that have served the interests of man since the dawn of civilization. Indeed, these are not true factories either -- they are livestock prisons designed ultimately to preserve and engorge the economic coffers of large corporate behemoths increasingly at the expense of smaller producers, local communities and arguably the eater.
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