Tuesday, January 7, 2014

What's the TRUE price you pay for cheap meat? Feceiation, a new term by me.

Animal husbandry is the raising of domesticated animals for use as food.  I think that when the term was first coined it meant something different than it does today.  In ancient times, animals were kept in better conditions, close to the home and hearth, treated with respect, fed foods that were of a quality that was comparable to what those raising the animals would eat.  The waste was disposed of in a manner that allowed it to return to the environment in a manner that was conducive to improvements in the land.  And finally, the animals were held with high esteem and their slaughter was an event that commanded reverence, and a sacred practice that allowed many families to rejoice in the rewards of healthful protein with little fear of contamination, diseases, and of course, death.  The science of animal husbandry progressed along a distinct path where various breeds of each animal were cross bred and better, more viable strains of every animal were produced.  And then in the 1950's, everything went sort of backwards.  That's when it all came crashing down as the drive to make money overtook the need to produce viable healthy animals for consumption.

Last October there was another outbreak of Salmonella poisoning from Foster Farms chicken products. The CDC estimates that at a minimum, 2 million Americans are infected with Salmonella poisoning annually.  At least 23,000 die each year.  December 2013, just last month, "Consumer Reports" addressed the Salmonella problem in chicken by doing their good works and testing chicken across the country.  Their results are that 97% of the chicken in stores is contaminated with not only Salmonella bacteria but a large number of other bacteria found in animal feces and many of which are resistant to antibiotics.  From Consumer Reports -"It’s unrealistic to expect that the uncooked chicken you buy won’t contain any potentially harmful bacteria. That’s one reason we advise you to prevent raw chicken or its juices from touching any other food and to cook it to at least 165˚ F...Yet some bacteria are more worrisome than others—and our latest tests produced troubling findings. More than half of the samples contained fecal contaminants. And about half of them harbored at least one bacterium that was resistant to three or more commonly prescribed antibiotics.”

Back in the 50's the new modern method of raising animals in close quarters made sense.  Stick all the animals in a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) and you could maximize profits.  Fewer ranch hands needed, the mountains of feces everywhere could just be scooped up with front end loaders and taken and dumped where ever.  Feed was specialized, animals gained weight faster and all the stupid animals got sick.  Well, realistically they were living in their own shit.  They got sick.  Science triumphed and antibiotics came to the rescue.  Along with some other nasty stuff, like Arsenic.  When it was found out that animals could be fed Arsenic and antibiotics, they didn't get as sick and grew a little faster.  Even while sitting, standing, laying, eating, in their own feces.  Science is indeed a marvel.

Nature is as well, and the natural outcome of the process has been that bacteria are still thriving.  When you get sick, the doctor tells you to take all of the antibiotics, the full course.  That's because antibiotics never kill all the bacteria they come into contact with.  The object of treatment is to kill most of the infection, and then allow the human bodies' natural defenses to get rid of the few remaining stragglers.  The more you don't do that, the more bacteria are left that didn't get killed by the antibiotics.  And they soon begin to have resistance.  Same thing happens in chickens, pigs, cows and turkeys.  They all breed more and more bacteria that are no longer affected by antibiotics.  And as we all know, big business is profit driven, and so the orders go out to produce more, at less cost.  Pack the chickens and cows into the pens ever tighter, ever more feces, urine, uneaten food bits and antibiotic residues clinging to the bodies of animals that will soon be slaughtered for consumption by humans.  Feceiation.  The brand new symbiotic relationship that modern business has created that combines animals with bacteria and antibiotics in a pattern of growth wherein the fecal bacteria are so ingrained and so much a part of the entire animal that there is no way to remove them without destroying the end product itself, modern meat.

USDA regulations for the production of chickens allows each certified USDA inspector just one and a half seconds to inspect each chicken carcass as it passes before them.  They check each carcass for tumors, scabs, leftover bits of lungs, bile, organs and any feces that might be present from the mechanized slaughter, feather removal and eviseration.  And the USDA just allowed the carcass lines to speed up under pressure from the major chicken producers.  So they can make more money.

23,000 people die each year from Salmonella poisoning. EVERY YEAR.  The CDC estimates the death toll to be that high.  Estimates.  The reality is that we don't know how many are misdiagnosed by an ever overcrowded and overworked medical system. 

Ninety-Nine Cent Chicken sandwiches on sale everywhere at every fast food purveyor of fine quality healthy cuisine on every corner on every street in every city all across America.

Do you want that with or without a big ol' extra helping of the Hershey Squirts.

Feceiation, it's here to stay in corporate America.  The price to pay for profits and cheap chicken.

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