Anyone who has read Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Eating Animals’ (2010), knows how pigs, chicken and cows are being treated by the food industry.
‘Maltreated’ seems to be a more appropriate word choice, considering the cramped spaces where far too many chickens have to live in amidst their own squalor, shit and corpses of prematurely deceased birds. The vastly dispensed antibiotics to fight these hotbeds of germs can easily be traced throughout the complete processing chain, right onto our diner table.
The story of heightened resistance of bacteria against all kinds of antibiotics for treating diseases in humans thus takes on a new dimension, besides the so often blamed excessive prescription behaviour of doctors.
Deformed animals whose legs can’t bear their own body weight are the norm. They are being slaughtered after just a few months in which they have reached their peak weight long before any sign of sexual maturity becomes apparent.
The way cows are being butchered in the industry may also cause many western citizens to reconsider the attempts by some authorities to ban ritual slaughter traditions in religions such as Islam.
As for the fish, Saffran Foer mentions the floating fish farms that deep freeze on board and dispel of sub-sized, younger animals, thus destroying offspring and in the long run the future of the entire fish population.
In the meanwhile the Norwegians have finetuned the process of fish farming for the salmon, applying the same, pernicious processes of overcrowding, overfeeding and overdosing antibiotics that the meat industry has been using for already so many years.
Some research showed farmed salmon now contains more chemicals than that other icon of fastfood with a bad name, the hamburger.
Apparently, since (because?) the book was published, some serious improvements have been made (see links at the end of this article).
And it just doesn’t stop there: in her book ‘Vino Business’ (2015), and in the documentary she made together with Damien Vercaemer, journalist Isabelle Saporta paints the picture of the vineyards of the ‘grands crus classés’ of de Bordelais region in France.
And though there have been discussions before about the amounts of sulfites added to wine, this time there is much more at hand.
Recent investigations showed that wine contains three hundred times as much residues from pesticides (mostly fungicides) than drinkable water in France.
And France is already well-known for the very extensive use of pesticides in farming as a whole, compared to the rest of the world.
Almost as adding insult to injury, a change in the classification system for the prestigious Saint-Emilion is completely incomprehensible.
The taste now accounts for … 30% only.
The rest of the score is granted for having a visitors parking, a seminar room, English product information and so on.
The motives behind this change become much more comprehensible when one realises that a superior qualification not only augments the prices being paid for the wine itself, but may also quadruple the value of the domain where it’s being cultivated.
Currently, industrial farming has much more to do with the investment business than with the food industry.
The final reckoning for this investment farming approach will come when profits become largely overshadowed by the health hazards spinning out of control.
After all, a dead patient can not be cured.
For more information:
Eating Animals (2010) – Jonathan Safran Foer
Is it OK to eat farmed salmon now? (September 2015)
Can farmed fish meet the world’s appetite for seafood?
Vaccinating salmon: How Norway avoids antibiotics in fish farming (October 2015)
Vino Business: The Cloudy World of French Wine (2015) – Isabelle Saporta
Vino business – YouTube