Practical Issues >
Factory Farming - Index >
Corporate-owned operations are danger to people, animals.
Agroterrorism was the topic at a meeting of the Lancaster County
Chamber of Commerce & Industry last week, and it featured a visit from
a counterterrorism expert with the FBI's Philadelphia office. Perhaps
officials in Lancaster - the agricultural heartland of Southeastern
Pennsylvania - were concerned with sinister plots to poison feed
supplies, or to infect farm animals with mad cow disease?
Hardly. Their concern: Animal activists with video cameras going
public with undercover footage taken inside massive egg production
Lancaster County's peaceful and pastoral way of life has certainly
been shaken in recent years, but not by a few camera-toting citizen
investigators. The change is due primarily to the growth of
large-scale animal farming, often called "factory farming" or
"industrial farming," in which family-run farms and green pastures are
replaced with corporate-owned farms with large-scale agricultural
operations. The result of this growing trend is loss of control - if
not bankruptcy - for small farmers, health and environmental hazards
for those who live nearby, and intense animal cruelty.
My organization, Hugs for Puppies, conducted an investigation of
Kreider Farms, which houses a whopping 3.5 million chickens at its
five egg-laying plants in Lancaster County. The investigation (online
at www.KreiderCruelty.com) revealed conditions standard in most large
egg-laying facilities: hens and eggs covered in feces; live hens
living in cages with the decomposing bodies of dead hens; and hens
packed so tightly in cages that they could not turn around.
Those concerned with the impact of factory farming would do wise to
"shell" out a little more money for organic and free-range eggs, or
eliminate eggs from their diet altogether. And if Lancaster County
officials want their community to return to a more peaceful, pastoral
way of life, they would do best to make factory farming a thing of the
Nick Cooney (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the director of Hugs for
Puppies, a Philadelphia animal-rights group.