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Learn about the Issues Period: 4

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Additives
Much of the food we find at today's supermarkets is highly processed and contains numerous food additives.
Air pollution
Industrial farms produce massive amounts of animal waste that is known to release greenhouse gasses into the air.
Animal welfare
As farms have become more industrialized, animals have become more of a commodity.
Antibiotics
Because of the crowded and unsanitary conditions on factory farms, animals are often fed low doses of antibiotics.
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is important because ecosystems rely on the interaction of a variety of plant and animal species, and because various breeds of animals and plants have valuable genetic material
Climate change
A big part of the answer is in the rapid and radical twentieth-century transformation of our food system from sustainably based, locally focused production, to a fossil-fuel addicted industrialized system.
Cloning
Cloning of animals used in food production is a controversial issue both because of its ethical implications and the potential threat it poses to human health.
Communities
Sustainable farms provide a welcome alternative to the problems associated with factory farming.
Dairy
Dairy foods production is a multi-billion dollar industry, and over the past century it has grown increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few major corporations.
Eat local, buy local, be local
Most meals travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to reach your dinner plate.
Economics
Proponents of industrial agriculture claim that large-scale factory farming is the most efficient way to produce huge quantities of inexpensive food and that without industrial agriculture, food prices would be excessively high.
Environment
Agriculture has an enormous impact on the environment, but whether the impact is good or bad depends on the type of agriculture used.
Factory farming
Meat and dairy production in the United States has changed dramatically over the past 30 years.
Family farms
Family farmers are being forced out of business at an alarming rate, and hundreds of small farmers sell their land every week.
Feed
Animals on industrial farms are fed the cheapest grains and waste products in order to fatten them quickly.
Food irradiation.
Irradiation is used to increase the shelf life of the food so it can travel longer distances and keep for as long as possible.
Food safety
The significant corporate consolidation of global food production has created a food system that values quantity over quality.
Fossil fuel and Energy use
Industrial agriculture relies on machinery to produce food and trucks to transport the food throughout the country, and likewise consumes massive amounts of fuel and energy.
Genetic Engineering
The technology has not been properly tested, so no one knows if GE food is safe to eat.
Health
foods are healthier than industrial food because of higher levels of "good" fats and nutrients in grass-fed animal products and lower pesticide residues in organic foods.
Heritage and Heirloom Foods
Farmers throughout the world once raised thousands of different animal breeds and plant varieties.
Hormones
Artificial hormones are implanted in beef and dairy cattle to make them grow faster and produce more milk.
Mad cow disease
Mad cow disease is transmitted when one cow eats the brain and spinal tissue of an infected cow.
Organic
Organic food regulated by the USDA, and organic farmers must follow specific guidelines in order to label their foods "organic".
Pasture Raised
Pasture-raised animals spend most of their time outdoors, where they're able to eat nutritious grasses and other plants as they would in nature.
Pesticides
Pesticides are sprayed on crops that are fed to farm animals.
Policy and Legislation
Current agricultural policy promotes industrial farming and neglects small farmers.
Precautionary Principle
Rather than banning the use of new technologies before they're shown to be safe, our federal agencies allow potentially dangerous products to enter the food supply,
Poverty & Hunger
The new development philosophy helps those in poverty help themselves.
rBGH
Artificial bST is produced using recombinant DNA technology (biotechnology), also called Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), and known as rbST or rBGH for short.
Laughterhouses and Processing
The US meatpacking industry is dominated by a handful of corporations that process massive quantities of meat in huge plants.
Waste
Some industrial livestock facilities produce as much sewage as a small city, but they are not required to treat all this waste.
Water
American consumers are drinking more bottled water every year, in part because they think it is somehow safer than tap water.
Water pollution
The waste from industrial farms leaks into streams, lakes, oceans and ground water with bacteria, antibiotic residue, pesticides and chemical fertilizer.
workers
Workers on industrial farms and in meat processing facilities work in hazardous conditions, and are underpaid and mistreated.