Thursday, 5 November 2009

factory farms and disease

Scanning the science headlines today I came across a CNN opinion piece by novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, whose latest book – Eating Animals (Little, Brown and Co.) – is a nonfiction commentary on the implications and complications of consuming animal products.
(that I can even call on the commodity-oriented rhetoric of referring to meat, eggs, and dairy as "animal products" is, perhaps, a commentary in itself)

This particular article must be a promotional intro to his book, and focuses on food-related illnesses. There are two main threads to this here:
  1. diseases that we get from the food we eat, whether that's food poisoning or flus that originate in food-animal populations;
  2. the increased risk of human illness from antibiotic-resistant microbes caused by feeding food-animals antibiotics on a preventative basis.
Worth reading if you're concerned about these kinds of issues.

In one of those common but slightly odd coincidences, Safran Froer's focus on poultry farms is somewhat in tune with an old episode of the tv show Bones that aired last night. I didn't catch all the nuances of the episode (I was doing other things at the time) but I gather one of the threads involved the health hazards of industrial poultry farming.

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