The Rotten Truth of Factory Farming
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What they documented exposes the torment of animals and the dire threat animal agriculture poses to human health.
Over 65 percent of egg-laying hens in the United States live crammed in cages.
Intensive production takes a heavy toll on the birds, and the overcrowded, unsanitary conditions at these facilities weaken the animals’ immune systems and create the perfect breeding ground for disease.
Some avian flu viruses are far deadlier than novel coronavirus. H5N1, which is currently circulating in chicken farms, has a human mortality rate of about 60 percent.
At one of the egg farms we investigated, about 900 hens died in a single day. Workers at the facility reported a “flu” among the birds.
Maggots squirm in the waste just feet below eggs destined for human consumption. These hens were forced to live in dirty, disease-ridden environments, among rats and maggot-infested manure.
We need to face the truth: Factory farms are the perfect breeding ground for diseases that can spread to humans.
Dense populations, high stress, unsanitary conditions, and unnatural food make it easy for viruses to cross species and infect humans.
Our investigation also documented hens receiving antibiotics. Some eggs had blue stains, having been splashed with the drug-laced water. But production was not stopped. The facility continued to ship eggs to markets every day.
This presents a possible risk to public health, since people consuming these eggs may ingest small doses of antibiotics, which can reduce the drugs’ effectiveness in treating disease.
Factory farming is also a major contributor to antibiotic resistance, as animals are often given antibiotics not only to treat but to prevent infections and to enable the animals to survive in crowded, stressful environments. Over 70 percent of antibiotics sold in the world are used on farmed animals.