Major groups, speakers converge for first annual national conference to end factory farming

Monday, November 07, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: factory farming, conference, health news

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(NaturalNews) Last weekend, the first annual National Conference to End Factory Farming: for Health, Environment, and Farm Animals (NCEFF) took place in Arlington, Virginia. The event, which was sponsored in part by Whole Foods Market, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Environmental Magazine, and Freedom Press, among others, represents a growing trend towards ending the factory farming practices that are destroying the integrity of livestock, environmental, and human health.

Organized by Farm Sanctuary, a group devoted to ending animal cruelty, the conference featured 30 prominent speakers. Sarah Alexander and Wenonah Hauter, both from the organization Food and Water Watch, spoke at the event, as did John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market. Various other advocates of small-scale, compassionate farming were also featured at the event.

"Industrial farm animal production systems are largely unregulated, and many practices common to this method of production threaten public health, the environment, animal health and well-being, and rural communities," concluded a recently-released Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP) report.

Factory farming practices involve a lot more than just cruel treatment towards animals. Many people are still in the dark about how the food they eat is actually raised -- whether it is the chemicals applied to conventional fruits and vegetables, or the feed and living conditions of animals raised for conventional meat and dairy products -- and how these factors affect their health (

Animals raised on factory farms, for instance, typically live in densely-populated feedlots that produce heavy concentrations of manure and other disease-ridden waste. Much of this waste ends up contaminating nearby agriculture fields, which is a primary cause of the numerous food-borne illness outbreaks that have occurred in recent years (

Factory farm animals are also typically fed a diet of genetically-modified (GM) corn, soy, and other crops, which often makes them sick. Farmers then gorge these animals on various antibiotics and growth hormone drugs just to keep them productive and alive -- and consumers end up eating the end result of this destructive, greed-based system.

"According to agribusiness research, more than 40 percent of consumers think that our country is on the wrong track in terms of how we produce food, with another 20 percent uncertain about the soundness of our food supply," says the NCEFF site. "And yet the majority of people are not acting on these misgivings."

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