[New York Times - opinion]
THE industrial production of animal products is nasty business. From mad cow, E. coli and salmonella to soil erosion, manure runoff and pink slime, factory farming is the epitome of a broken food system.
There have been various responses to these horrors, including some
recent attempts to improve the industrial system, like the announcement
this week that farmers will have to seek prescriptions for sick animals
instead of regularly feeding antibiotics to all stock. My personal
reaction has been to avoid animal products completely. But most people
upset by factory farming have turned instead to meat, dairy and eggs from
nonindustrial sources. Indeed, the last decade has seen an exciting surge
in grass-fed, free-range, cage-free and pastured options. These
alternatives typically come from small organic farms, which practice more
humane methods of production. They appeal to consumers not only because
they reject the industrial model, but because they appear to be more in
tune with natural processes.
James E. McWilliams is the author of "Just Food: Where Locavores Get
It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly."