Would that really happen?
Well, sort of. If you owned a bunch of cattle and kept them in a big lot to feed them and get them a bit fatter before you sell them and let's say that it would cost you a hundred thousand dollars to set up a correct completely safe disposal system for all the cattle waste. Or you could just wait and dump it into a big pond and when it rained hard the runoff would wash most of it out into the environment. Away from your place and then it wouldn't be your problem. Would you spend the money? It is perfectly legal to allow all that shit to flow away, the Second Circuit Court of the United States has decreed that owners of feed lots do in fact need to make a plan and provide for handling the huge piles of animal wastes, but that should rain wash it all away into local waterways and ultimately into fields of produce, or even into local municipal water supplies; then that's okay. If you don't believe me, check out this page on the EPA website (EPA CAFO) where they interpret the Circuit court ruling for everyone. And it's interesting to note on page two, the Court rejected the premise that zero discharge needed to be enforced in areas with high rainfall.
All this leads us into the information as stated in the title. What is the TRUE and REAL cost to you? You can buy cheap burgers, cheap chicken sandwiches, cheap meat really, pretty much everywhere. But the question truly is, what is the true cost. If we START here at the end, we begin to see how so much of the costs of cheap meat are passed onto all consumers and in fact are one of the main reasons for increases in cost of living for each and every citizen and illegal alien living in this country today. Yeah, strong statement, but let's start to look at the hidden costs of cheap meat and how everyone pays the ultimate cost for it.
Waste disposal at Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) should be simple. Food is brought in, some of it goes into meat, the rest is manure. That manure should be removed in the same manner that the food is brought in. It isn't. Sustainable farming techniques show us how beneficial it is when the manure is put back on the soil. Yet in today's world of agrigiant commercial farming, the manure is a waste product and is treated as such, meaning as little money as possible is spent on removal and disposal of the stuff. That's why so much of produce that is grown commercially is contaminated with animal fecal matter and has bacterial contamination. It happens every week, the FDA recalls foods, especially produce. Here is the FDA recall site that is updated DAILY with recalls for contaminated food products. (FDA Recall) Corporate savings for not treating manure would be hard to estimate. I've never read anything about it. However the cost to the people for the corporate agrigiants refusal to spend the money is astronomical
- From 50 to 70 million cases annually of illness from exposure to bacterial contamination such as salmonella, listeria, e.coli and others less well known generally from produce and meats. (CDC)
- 22,000 deaths annually from that exposure and illness (CDC)
- Economic costs such as lost wages and lost business range up to 40 BILLION annually (USDA ERS)
- Just this one aspect of producing cheap meat raises costs of healthcare, healthcare insurance, life insurance and drug costs. That being because most of the bacteria causing these illnesses are now antibiotic resistant and newer stronger ones are needed, costing us money
- Farm subsidies have cost taxpayers 260 billion dollars in the past ten years
- I have no idea what that cost is per burger or chicken sandwich
- But it is about a hundred bucks a person each year
- Sustainable farming methods where the manure is returned to the soil and helps capture carbon dioxide and reduces greenhouse gases as opposed to the current agrigiant model of allowing the manure to ferment and decay in ponds or in worst cases, flow out into waterways in rain storms
- Degradation of soil due to extensive use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides keeps the natural cycle of carbon dioxide capture from occurring
- The manufacture of chemical fertilizers, pesticide and herbicides all use huge amounts of petrochemicals and increase greenhouse gas emissions
- The corporate drive for ever greater quantities of cheap animal feed has led to corporate agrigiant farms in South American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Peru where native forests are being stripped away and soy farms take their place
- This removes huge tracts of land of forests upsetting the world wide ecosystem and increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
- This also increases the use of petrochemicals not just for the production of the feed, but for the transportation of that feed to the meat production facilities in the US and Europe