top of page
  • Writer's pictureJoan Rothchild Hardin

Factory Farming Makes Us Sick

Did you know that factory farms use 80% of the antibiotics sold in the USA? The huge farms which grow most of the meat eaten in this country keep their animals penned in filthy, crowded living conditions. To prevent these animals from becoming diseased, Big Ag farmers add low doses of antibiotics to the animals’ daily feed. Remember your doctor’s telling you to make sure you finish the entire course of an antibiotic even if you feel better after a few days on it? The reason is to prevent the bad bacteria from becoming resistant to the drug in case you need more of it in the future. Yet Big Ag’s factory farming practices create a perfect breeding ground for producing antibiotic resistant bacteria. Bacteria are highly adaptable. So if you don’t take the entire course of your antibiotic prescription, the pathogenic bacteria that’s made you sick can mutate into a superbug with resistance to that antibiotic. The continuous low dosing of factory farmed animals creates the same situation for developing superbugs. Then these resistant bacteria get out of the farm grounds and into food and water supplies, where they do a great deal of harm.


Go to Food & Water Watch’s site to learn more about how antibiotics routinely given to factory farmed animals is harming animals, the environment and us humans. And while you’re there, sign their petition to  pass legislation to end the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms: …


FACTORY FARMING I haven’t chosen the most grotesque factory farming pictures to show here. Google ‘factory farming’ if you can stand to see those images.

Factory farmed chickens

Sow penned in a farrowing crate nursing her piglets on a factory pig farm. She can’t even turn her head to see her own babies.


Factory farmed cows 11 FACTS ABOUT ANIMALS AND FACTORY FARMS 1. A “factory farm” is a large-scale industrial operation that houses thousands of animals raised for food—such as chickens, turkeys, cows, and pigs—and treats them with hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease and maximize their growth and food output. 2. Animals are fed and sprayed with huge amounts of pesticides and antibiotics, which can remain in their bodies and are passed on to the people who eat them, creating serious health hazards in humans. Ask your school to create Meatless Mondays in the cafeteria to highlight the hazards of over consumption of meat. Sign up for Meatless Mondays. 3. The beaks of chickens, turkeys, and ducks are often removed in factory farms to reduce the excessive feather pecking and cannibalism seen among stressed, overcrowded birds.

4. A typical supermarket chicken today contains more than twice the fat, and about a third less protein than 40 years ago. 5. 2 in 3 farm animals in the world are now factory farmed. 6. Confining so many animals in one place produces much more waste than the surrounding land can handle. As a result, factory farms are associated with various environmental hazards, such as water, land and air pollution. 7. The pollution from animal waste causes respiratory problems, skin infections, nausea, depression, and even death for people who live near factory farms. 8. Dairy cows typically live to their third lactation before being culled. Naturally, a cow can live for 20 years. 9. Hog, chicken and cattle waste has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. 10. Egg-laying hens are sometimes starved for up to 14 days, exposed to changing light patterns and given no water in order to shock their bodies into molting. It’s common for 5% to 10% of hens to die during the forced molting process. 11. Worldwide, about 70 billion farm animals are now reared for food each year.Quoted from:

FACTORY FARMING VS ORGANIC FARMING OF ANIMAL In this short video (3:34), Joel Salatin, an American farmer, lecturer and author whose books include Folks, This Ain’t Normal; You Can Farm; Pastured Poultry Profits; and Salad Bar Beef, describes the differences between factory farming and organic farming – and also what he calls polyface farming. The video is part of an interview with Earth Eats Host Annie Corrigan on Sunday, January 23, 2009.

Joel Salatin in an interview with Earth Eats Host Annie Corrigan on Sunday, January 23, 2009. Essentially, Salatin’s technique is to capture the sun by growing grass.  At his farm, animals eat this grass as part of a “salad-bar diet”. He pastures them in small paddocks and moves them at least once daily. This lets pigs be pigs, enjoying their “piggyness”.

Piglet helping herself to healthy food at Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm. Michael Pollan has written extensively on diet, the environment and food politics. His books include Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation; Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual; In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto; The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals; and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World. The New York Times and the Washington Post both named The Omnivore’s Dilemma as one of the ten best books of 2006. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received numerous awards, including the 2003 Humane Society of the United States’ Genesis Award for his writing on animal agriculture. In 2003, Pollan was appointed the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, and the director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism. He also lectures widely on food, agriculture, health and the environment.

Michael Pollan It is often claimed that factory farming is needed to feed the word’s population. Pollan’s answer to this assertion was presented in his 2009 book Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. Filmmakers Marija Jacimovic and Benoit Detalle turned Food Rules into an award-winning short (2:13) animated stop motion video. It’s narrated by Pollan himself and offers an excellent introductory crash course on what to eat and why.

(Source: “Food Rules” Animation Video)

Half of the food we produce goes to feeding animals we raise to eat. As Pollan points out, half of the food we produce goes to feeding animals we raise in order to eat them.

One of Maira Kalman’s illustrations for Michael Pollan’s book Food Rules

I’ll end with this thought:

REFERENCES 11 Facts About Animals and Factory Farms. (no date). See:  See: … Jacimovic, M. (2012). Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. Animated video.  See: Pollan, M. (2009). Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual. See: © Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved. DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Comments submitted prior to 8/25/2021

Wow! These are the reasons I no longer eat any animal products: the health implications, the environmental catastrophe, and the immense cruelty. It must be very difficult to find meats and dairy products not tainted by the trends you write of. There are such small farmers, but no way can they feed everyone who wishes to eat meat and dairy. It almost made me weep to see the circle of cows regimented in the cramped milking battery or whatever that was. Cruel confinement. The little pig helping himself at the outdoor feeder will end up in the same slaughterhouse as his factory counterparts unless the small farmer kills him himself, but

few farmers do. Thank you for this sobering treatise! Great coverage of a difficult subject.


A friend sent this article:

6 terrifying reasons why it’s time to stop eating meat:

From disgusting slaughterhouse conditions to devastating health consequences, the evidence keeps piling up

Joan Hardin


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page