A Startling Realization | Teen Ink

A Startling Realization

November 21, 2009
By Anonymous

A few days ago in one of my A.P. Courses, we did an in-depth study on the current state of agriculture, especially here in the United States. I found what we learned to be sufficiently able to alter my viewpoints, to say the least. Now, that is not to say I'm going to go vegetarian or anything; I like my meat as much as the next man. However, I could easily see that there is something wrong with how much of our food is being produced today.

The thing that jumped out at me most was the sheer scale of production in the industrial complexes that have evolved from what were once farms. Who knew that merely two percent of all livestock farms raise an more than 40 percent of all meat consumed in the United States? It is both amazing and slightly disturbing, that one facility can process 5,000 cows in a single day. This doesn’t seem possible to me, at least, not if this processing is done correctly. The only way I can imagine for production to be performed on so huge a scale at so fast a rate is to cut corners, and a lot of them. This is confirmed by what the websites and their videos stated. The corporations that are taking over the agricultural industry have few cares for the safety of their employees; they feel no qualms if their meat ships full of unhealthy hormones, germs, and antibiotics sealed in the same package. All these corporations care about is how much cash flows into their pockets.

Honestly, I don’t know if this information would have a major impact on the average American consumer even if they were well aware of it. America is a state of convenience. The population cannot live without a microwave or cellphone, let alone leave the care at home and ride a bike into town. If we cannot stand to leave a car in the garage and walk a mile, how can we be expected to change our eating habits? Americans are unwilling to cut back on fast food, even when it is an obvious factor in health deterioration. Americans continue to leave the lights on for hours, or let the water run – what do the environmentalists know anyway? If an American cannot cut of the lights or turn the water off, why would we take an extra second at the grocery store to find the meat produced on a free-range farm, or check the milk label to see if it is organic? A change in the agricultural industry depends on the same thing as a change in our environment for the better, or a change in our health. It would call for Americans to get off of our rump, dispense of the laziness, and make a real effort to make the world better. A number of people are working to fix things, but they remain in the minority, and until this minority becomes a majority, I don’t see much change in the future, at least not for the better.

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