Posted by: shoji | May 1, 2008

Factory-farming practices

It’s called “externalities”. (See news article below from the Seattle Times.)

I’m a free-market guy, but we all have to realize that some costs are not accounted for in the price of goods. Externalities are where informed policy and government are necessary; sadly it’s typically policy and government without the “informed” part.

Nation & World | Report urges huge changes to factory-farming practices | Seattle Times Newspaper
Factory farming takes a big toll on human health and the environment, is undermining rural America’s economic stability and fails to provide the humane treatment of livestock, concludes an independent, 2 1/2-year analysis that calls for major changes in the way corporate agriculture produces meat, milk and eggs.

The report, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and released Tuesday, finds that the “economies of scale” long used to justify factory-farming practices are largely an illusion, perpetuated by a failure to account for associated costs.

Among those costs are human illnesses caused by drug-resistant bacteria associated with the rampant use of antibiotics on feedlots and the degradation of land, water and air quality caused by animal waste too intensely concentrated to be neutralized by natural processes.

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