Microbes linked to factory farming

E.Coli O157:H7

Escherichia Coli is a gram negative bacteria that is found in the flora of the gut and can benefit their host, and often very harmless, however there are some deadly strains that can cause severe food poisoning and they are know as the E.Coli O157:H7. Research indicates that many meats especially ground beef is shown to be one of the most contaminated foods and it is believed that is due to the conditions in which they’re raised.


Is a gram-positive bacterium found in the intestine they are the cause of many infections of the body such as U.TI, meningitis, bacteremia, and diverticulitis. One of the features of this bacterium is that it has one of the highest levels of resistance to antibiotics. In the U.S Vanomycin-resistant Enterococcus is used to treat this, and it has become resistant to this drug as well as to another antibiotic called synercid, which is the last-defense drug for patients. One of the reasons behind this is due to a link to agricultural use of avoparcin.

Is a gram-negative bacterium and is closely related to the Escherichia genus bacteria. This bacterium has over hundred of strains and some that are not found in humans but maybe introduced. Its food borne illness and very deadly, it is responsible for 1.4 million cases in the U.S every year with an estimated 600 deaths. They are also capable of being transferred between humans. This is a rising bacteria and one of the strains known as DT104 is linked to factory farm animals and has become resistant to five different antibiotics.

Is a bacterium that is found to be difficult to treat with antibiotics because of its increased resistance over time. Like some other bacteria it is harmless and found in the environment, but can be extremely deadly in those that are infected. This bacterium is linked to factory farms where they are carried and acquired in crowed populations by animals and humans. Many factory farms were tested and found that the pigs contain MRSA with no physical signs of illness.

Is a gram-negative bacterium, and gets its name for its spiral shape. Its known to be one of the most common bacterium that causes foodborne illnesses. It is responsible for over 2 million cases annual in the U.S. This bacterium is mainly found in chickens and turkeys and they have become resistant to antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, which have largely been used in poultry. The FDA has now put a ban since 2005 on this drug for that purpose.

This is not a comprehensive list keep in mind there are more, but these are the most common, there are also some that have not been yet identified.

Disillusioned: How our unconscious plays a role in how we understand environmental issues

How our unconscious plays a role in how we understand environmental issues

Did you know that factory farms give antibiotics, to make their animals grow bigger and that accounts for almost any animal products you buy at major stores? When I came across this information I was completely shocked partly because I had a hard time believing it. I was already aware of the terrible living conditions but antibiotics were news to me. However it all makes sense; when animals are forced to live in crowed conditions and fall to their own feces as a result of their heavy bodies, they become more susceptible to disease.

Initially I found it hard to believe, because like any informed person I asked my self: How could the practices of factory farming impact my health when I am perfectly healthy 365 days out of the year, and all my doctor check ups indicate that I am in great condition? To Add to that, almost all grocery stores and super markets receive about 90 percent of their products from factory farms. These places are the main sources of where almost all Americans get their groceries, so to extend this question, we might also ask: If we are all consuming these harmful products then shouldn’t we see a spike in diseases and the quality of health dropping everyday? A suitable answer to this question would require a close look at the book by Howard Gardner called “changing minds”.  

The reality is that the statistics surrounding the health of many Americans is dropping; and the prevalence of diseases and food born illness is increasingly getting worse, so why are we disillusioned to think otherwise?
According to Gardner most people don’t make direct associations between two separate constituents when they are far from our regular lives. Factory farms are far from where we live, we don’t know what’s happening because they are closed off from us, so when people go to buy groceries they are more often reading nutrition labels to make healthier choice. They are not always thinking about the condition of the food because there’s an assumption that the food would not be there if it was bad for them. The other part of the story is that, while the foods may not cause instant health issues, they are however detrimental in the long run. Since the risks increase over time people also don’t make the connection that it has something to do with what they are eating. Many people are resistant to changing their views because they cant make the connection. Many individual can go on eating red meat and all the junk in the world and it doesn’t show physically, then one day they become sick from it and decide that well I’ve been eating whatever I want all my life it never effected me so it can’t be that. Another unconscious mistake that many make is: they don’t think that they have an impact because they aren’t the ones performing the actual job. How could I possibly be responsible for factory farming malpractices if I am not even a farmer? They don’t know that by simply changing their shopping habits they can make a huge difference. It’s because we think we are the only ones engaging in such behaviors therefore no change can be made. However we must all be conscious of our choices and aware of our impact on every level of our human experience. 

What you can do to reduce the effects of factory farming


Reduce meat consumption- many factory farms are driven by a growing demand for meat, reducing your intake by any amount can have a positive effect if we all contribute a little. You will also save money and have some left over to buy other healthy products.

Do some research- if you do buy meat or other animal products do a little research on places that exercise humane and sustainable methods. Most people don’t want to go through that trouble because they think it might take up too much time, but in reality it’s a one-time thing. Once you’ve located a few places you are already done and on your way to improving your health.

Demand more labels on products- currently the majority of products you see will not include labels that tell you anything about the condition of the animal, or if they were feed antibiotics or other harmful substances.

Contact your congressional delegation- in 2007 congress
Introduced: the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, and one of the first attempts to address the public on this issue. This bill was an attempt to remove 7 of the antibiotics that are important for the value of human medicine, it would also require companies to stat what antibiotics and how much was given to animals. If more bills like these are introduced and take effect, it will drive the sales of these products down. There will be a higher demand for natural organic products, which local farms will definitely provide. It would also reduce the price of healthier foods in the market.

Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday is as friendly as the name suggests, and as the Washington post describes it, “ it’s a movement that has legs”. With the growing concern around health related risks rising with modern day food consumption, there has been a strong push towards other alternatives. Many hospitals, universities and other corporate cafeterias along with colleges are among many that are recognizing risks and benefits with what types of products they serve and aiming to incorporate healthier foods. Meatless Monday is like any other day, except you simply don’t eat any meat. Why did they decide on Monday of all the other days of the week? My guess is that they both start with the letter M, so it doesn’t matter which day you eliminate meat as long as you do it for one day in a weekly routine. What’s the reason behind meatless Monday? What this video to find out! 

You can also learn more about it on the human society website and get a full list of places and people that are participating in this effort: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/eating/facts/meatless_monday_participants.html