You Are What You Eat...
I am an organic pescetarian. I do not eat meat. I have never eaten pork. I only eat fruits, vegetables, grains, seafood, etc. Everything I eat is organic, fresh and I am also sure to purchase sustainable, wild caught fish, etc. The following is a brief overview of factors they led me to this lifestyle. For more information, “Food, Inc.” is an informative documentary I suggest.
The current mainstream methods of producing food (factory farming, genetic modification, antibiotics, hormones, additives/preservatives, etc.) are simply not responsible. These methods are detrimental to both animal welfare, human health and the health and sustainability of our planet.
Animal welfare: Factory farming is a system of rearing livestock using intensive methods, by which poultry, pigs, or cattle are confined indoors under strictly controlled conditions. Some of these animals literally never see the light of day. Currently 99% of meat in the United States comes from factory farms. In 2011, over 80% of the antibiotics produced in the United States were fed to livestock. Most antibiotic use in animals is done to promote rapid growth. Fast and disproportionate growth causes chronic pain, mobility problems and heart problems in animals. Antibiotics are also administered to these animals so that they stay healthy in otherwise deadly conditions (e.g. living in packed “farms” and next to their own and other animals feces). This major use of antibiotics is one of the major contributors to the rise in resistant bacteria as the antibiotics are passed along to humans in consumption. This is all aside from the animal cruelty that also takes place in many factory farms with often no veterinary care.
Human health: Factory farms can be breeding grounds for salmonella and E. coli which can be passed along to us through consumption. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) began keeping record of foodborne illness outbreaks in the 70s. By 2012, an approximate 130,000 people were hospitalized and some 3,000 have died. However, meat is not the only culprit. Plants are often genetically modified so that they can tolerate being sprayed with herbicides and insecticides. This means they have been manipulated in a laboratory. GMOs (genetically modified organisms) often have lower nutritional quality due to some nutrients becoming unavailable or indigestible to humans. A main concern of GMOs is allergies. Because GMO foods contain genes/proteins from other organisms, it is hard to say what you are actually eating which can be a major health risk for people with serious food allergies. Over 60 countries currently either restrict or have completely banned the use of GMOs. However in the United States, GMOs are still used at a rate of about 80%. Other risks are still being researched. The use of sex and growth hormone injections and/or implants in foods is becoming a concern and being attributed to the rise in cancer and increase in early puberty in girls.
Health and sustainability of our planet: Factory farming has many environmental implications including the pollution of water, land and air as well as enormous consumption of water and fossil fuels. Increased pesticide use due to GMOs also has its own detriment to the environment. The current way we produce food is destroying the environment and using resources at a massive rate.
This is by no means a thorough essay on the matter. Please, do your research and be responsible for your own health. This is also not a campaign. Please, make your own choices, but make those choices informed.
Thank you for your attention.