When most of us think of farms and farming, we conjure a fairly idyllic scene: fresh air; lush pastures; quaint, rustic buildings; and happy, carefree animals.
This is an image we present to our children in books; an image that we associate with mythologized, rural America; and, an image that reassures us when, perchance, we wonder where our food comes from. But it is far from the reality, and it is not good for the public's health.
In 2008, the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, or IFAP for short, released a series of comprehensive reports about the public health, environmental, and animal welfare costs of animal agriculture. These reports, along with other investigations of industrial animal farming, show that it is associated with significant greenhouse gas production, antimicrobial resistance, food scarcity, airborne and waterborne pollution, the risk of zoonotic (transmitted from animal to human or human to animal) diseases, the decline in health of rural communities, and poor (to put it mildly) farm-animal welfare.
Read the full article, The Agrarian Myth and Industrial Reality of Animal Agriculture, on the Philadelphia Inquirer website.