I feel as though we, as a country, need to reevaluate or at least realize the inner workings of our meat and poultry industry. It is more than my opinion, it is something that I will argue over the course of a semester. I had another idea for this advocacy assignment, but upon visiting the local poultry processing plant and seeing some fairly disturbing documentary footage about America’s meat and food business, I feel as though this is a topic that we all should care about.
I had never really put too much thought into what I ate as a child and into my teen years. It never really occurred to me that there was this whole process that had to take place for me to even have a piece of chicken on my dinner plate. I had either ignored or just did not realize the ENORMITY of America’s meat and poultry business.
One problem that I have realized through my high school years was that the idealized picture that I had of the farmer (derived from “Old MacDonald”) does not, for the most part exist anymore. In fact, most of the meat and dairy farms are concentrated in only a few geographical locations and operate on a “mass-production” scale. This is problematic for a few reasons. First, it lessens the number of farmers who are making a living by supporting our need for meat, dairy, and poultry. Second, it monopolized the processing of said meat, poultry, and dairy. Currently, approximately 80 percent of the meatpacking industry is owned by 4 main corporations. This allows producers to pick and choose who they buy their livestock from, and subsequently how they are treated. One of the biggest problems I personally have with this is the treatment of the animals physically and genetically. That, along with the monopolized factory-farming system that is currently in place, I will argue needs a reexamination if not a complete overhaul.