Photo Credit: Michael Zysman
August 9, 2013
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“A culture that views pigs as inanimate piles of protoplasmic structure to be manipulated however cleverly the human mind can conceive will view its citizens the same way — and other cultures.” — Joe Salatin, Restoring Health, Wealth and Respect to Food and Farming
We associate food with at most, pleasure, at the very least, survival. It’s not too different for animals. Lambs turned out on new grass move “quickly over certain grasses to get to others — to nosh on clover and mustard grass, avoiding horse nettle and fescue along the way,” writes Dan Barber in A Chef Speaks Out. Wild pigs, capable of seeking out the nutrients they need, “enjoy eating nuts, roots, fruits, mushrooms, bugs, rabbits, and, occasionally, dead animals.”
But what happens when animals are confined in cramped, filthy environments and force-fed monoculture diets of genetically modified corn and soy?
A lot can happen. Calves are born too weak to walk, with enlarged joints and limb deformities. Piglets experience rapidly deteriorating health, a “failure to thrive” so severe that they start breaking down their own tissues and organs — self-cannibalizing — to survive. Many animals suffer from weak, brittle bones that easily fracture. Dairy cows develop mastitis, a painful udder infection. Beef cattle develop liver abscesses and an excruciating condition referred to as “twisted gut.”
It all adds up to a lot of misery for animals unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of industrial agriculture’s Big GMO Experiment.
The spotlight on animal rights in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) is typically focused on cramped spaces and blatantly inhumane treatment. But some scientists, farmers and veterinarians are talking about another form of animal abuse: stuffing animals with feed grown from genetically engineered crops drenched in glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp.
What they’ve uncovered should give us all pause. Because the symptoms veterinarians and researchers have observed in animals are not unlike many of the chronic, and increasingly prevalent, health problems plaguing humans today. Digestive disorders. Damaged organs. Infertility. Weak immune systems. Chronic depression.
“We’ve got a real mess,” says Dr. Art Dunham, an Iowa veterinarian who has treated farm animals for several decades. Dunham is a staunch believer that GMO crops are wreaking havoc with the health of animals and humans. His daughter, Leah Dunham, who tagged along with her father on many a farm visit over the years, recently wrote America’s Two-Headed Pig. Drawing on her father’s clinical notes, and the work of scientists like Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus in plant pathology at Purdue University, Leah Dunham outlines some of the ways in which humans are adding to the suffering of farm animals by feeding them a glyphosate-tainted, GMO diet.
Leah Dunham would like to see the CAFO model drastically overhauled or abandoned. Her father believes it’s more realistic to tackle the issue of GMO feed without attacking CAFOs. But father and daughter agree that the problems associated with today’s industrial agriculture model extend beyond the health and well-being of animals. Leah Dunham wrote:
My father has pored over thousands of research papers in attempts to remedy the underlying causes of the illnesses described in this book. His work has embodied a commitment to healthy lands, creatures, and farms, as well as the hard work necessary to sustain them. After years of listening to him talk about his attempts to solve reoccurring health problems, I realized that most people don’t have a clue as to how modern disease complexities affect farm animals. We both hope that this book will help all medical professionals, farmers, and consumers better address the true roots of various medical conditions, including nutrient deficiencies, clostridial infections, diabetes, and Parkinsons disease.
Republished from: AlterNet