I asked around a bit in social media circles last week looking for a definition of Factory Farm as it pertains to cattle. I was curious given that I had just read Fast Food Nation and had Mr. Schlosser’s description pretty clearly imprinted on my mind.
Here is a list that I gathered of the general specifications of a cattle factory farm:
- The cattle live in dirt pens.
- The cattle are fed by a tractor or some other type of machinery with the feed placed in feedbunks.
- The cattle are fed corn or some derivative of corn in addition to forages.
- There are more cattle per acre than in a pasture grazing situation.
- The higher concentration of cattle produces an odor or smell.
- The farm is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation).
My feed yard fits each one of those specifications.
I am concerned that an ever growing number of people believe that any animal that lives on a Factory Farm is abused and has a terrible life. Additionally, many also believe that a Factory Farmer (someone who works on a factory farm) either has no integrity or is being unhappily forced into working there.
I certainly hope that I have not spent the last 16 years of my life sacrificing my integrity, abusing my animals, and teaching my children to hate our farm…
I believe that my life is one of beauty and devotion. Perhaps if those that coined the term Factory Farming really understood me, my family, and my farm I would instead be called a Faithful Farmer…
What do you think?