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SUBMITTED by Nancy Kasper (5-Apr-2011)

Letter to the Editor

The guest speaker at last Thursday's public meeting in Rose on "Introduction to NY CAFO Regulations for Neighbors and the Community", Cornell University Sr. Extension Associate, Dr. Karl J. Cyzmmek, said he foresees the eventuality of corporations becoming the owners and regulators of concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. He may be right as we're already experiencing corporate take-over of family farms. Do you remember those colorful family farm scenes and the heart-warming feeling they evoked? Scenes of abundant life now replaced by large factory farms with massive steel structures, industrial production facilities warehousing thousands of animals inside and out of sight. With that loss we also have the elimination of important DEC positions, specifically the inspectors and officers assigned the responsibility of enforcing agriculture regulations put in place to protect public and environmental health. That responsibility will pass to corporate interests, in effect allowing profit-motivated corporations to self-regulate. Is there a conflict of interest there? Profiting in business is fine if it doesn't come at the expense of our overall health.

We can't allow the industry to self regulate because of all the unacknowledged costs associated with industrial business practices, such as degraded air, soil and water quality, and the cost to human consciousness when we get disconnected from our food source. Costs not factored into the business equation when efficiencies and cost-cutting strategies are implemented to increase profits. Many experts claim that concentrating or industrializing food production is the only answer for meeting increasing global food demands and providing affordable food. But if we added back the toll industrialization takes on the environment and all the creatures that have a place and purpose in it, we would see the error in that belief and place greater value on sustaining natural systems.

The cost of food is held artificially low by corporate owners, processors and distributors because they don't account for the costs to the environment and humanity. Costs we can't pretend don't exist. We pay for them eventually. We can't be fooled into believing cheap food is good or even possible. We have to look at the big picture, beyond the flashy ads and promises of more for less and consider the true cost of food production.

We must not overlook the impact to the human psyche when we become aware that the animals we eat are being raised in artificial and often inhumane conditions, never allowed sunlight, fresh air or space to move or behave naturally; when we use animals as mass produced commodities to be exploited for profits, not honored as God's creatures deserving respect and gratitude. When we disrespect the very food we eat, how can that be of benefit to us physically or spiritually?

We could also make a direct connection between the exponential growth of industrialized food manufacturing and increased costs for health care if one looks at what goes into making food. The massive quantities of chemicals and pharmaceuticals used in industrial agriculture are proving to have far-reaching health implications. Along with the expansion of agri-industry are soaring health care needs and medication (pharmaceuticals) costs. Medical care is a growth industry. Our society is getting sicker. Is that a coincidence or a correlation? Follow the money and it becomes clear who is benefiting. We need to connect the dots, recognize and understand the truth in the maxim, "we are what we eat". When we eat pure, healthy food we become healthier people. When it comes to nourishment, you get what you pay for. If we could redirect some of what we pay for health care to buy food that has been ethically and sustainably raised, food that truly nourishes us, we would end up not seeking remedies for ills caused by the imbalances we've created.

We can ill-afford to squander the resources we rely on or impair the health of the earth and it's ability to sustain life. This beautiful planet provides us the means for survival and we must acknowledge the significant roll we have in caring for the source of our sustenance. If we continue over-burdening our support system by continually taking more than we give back, ignoring nature and disregarding the exquisite Guiding, Organizing and Designing process within a balanced ecosystem, we limit our own evolutionary potential as beings connected to creation. Appreciating the source of our food, knowing where it comes from and understanding how it is raised and prepared, more closely connects us to the divine origin of life.

Gaining that understanding will help us to survive and advance as more intelligent, compassionate and humane beings.


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5 Comments to "Unsettling News on CAFO Regulations and Food Production"

  1. Anonymous Said,

    when we use animals as mass produced commodities to be exploited for profits, not honored as God's creatures deserving respect and gratitude.

    We have become a truly sad greedy society; Corp. America needs to be put back in its spot working for the people not the reverse.

    This sums up this disgusting practice for me.

    Posted on Thu Apr 07, 08:39:00 PM EDT

  2. Anonymous Said,

    Sodus bay suffered under manure spreading.By a large farm I have heard.

    Posted on Thu Apr 07, 08:41:00 PM EDT

  3. Anonymous Said,

    What are the ways we can build better farm communities? John Cieslinski

    Posted on Thu Apr 07, 09:42:00 PM EDT

  4. Gerry Benedict Said,

    With less than 2% of the US population directly involved farming, how can we not expect large farms?
    We raise most of our own food, so I am concerned about food quality and certainly want animals housed and treated with respect. A 'return to the land' and people having small farms selling local produce sounds idyllic ...but in reality is not going to happen unless there is a major change in our society.
    I enjoy growing much of my own food, but it is time consuming and hard work.

    Gerry Benedict - Newark, NY

    Posted on Sat Apr 09, 07:11:00 AM EDT

  5. Anonymous Said,

    Thigs can be done. For one I buy range free eggs. This allows chickens at least to have freedom to move around and see the outside. Instead of the slightly cheaper eggs which have chickens crammed in body sized boxes.

    I see that all animals if adopted have individual personalaties and deserve some respect.

    Another thing is healthy eating habits. Smaller sizes with less animal products is linked to longer life and less dependency on factory farms.

    Posted on Sat Apr 09, 09:18:00 AM EDT


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