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Pew Commission Says Industrial Scale Farm Animal Production Poses 'Unacceptable' Risks to Public Health, Environment
Date:4/29/2008

ger be assumed based only on the absence of disease or productivity outcomes. Intensive confinement (e.g. gestation crates for swine, battery cages for laying hens) often so severely restricts movement and natural behaviors, such as the ability to walk or lie on natural materials, having enough floor space to move with some freedom, and rooting for pigs, that it increases the likelihood that the animals suffer severe distress.

Good animal welfare can also help to protect the safety of our nation's food supply. Scientists have long recognized that food safety is linked to the health of the animals that produce the meat, dairy, and egg products that we eat. In fact, scientists have found modern intensive confinement production systems can be stressful for food animals, and that stress can increase pathogen shedding in animals.

Rural America

Life in rural America has long been challenged by persistent poverty. The causes are many, but among them is the lack of economic diversity in rural economies. Workers have few options in the event of a plant closure or other dislocation, and unemployment rates are high. Consequently, IFAP is frequently considered an attractive new source of economic opportunity by local economic development officials, but with this transition comes significant change including public health threats.

The industrialization of American agriculture has transformed the character of agriculture itself and, in so doing, the face of rural America. The family-owned farm producing a diverse mix of crops and food animals is largely gone as an economic entity, replaced by ever-larger operations producing just one animal species, or growing just one crop, and many rural communities have fared poorly.

As the food animal industry shifted to a system of captive supply transactions controlled by production contracts, economic power shifted from farmers to livestock processors or so-called integrators. Farmers relinqui
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SOURCE Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production
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