The public is upset about large-scale livestock and poultry farming, according to a survey of 2,143 Canadians conducted by EKOS for World Animal Protection.
About 60 per cent said they are concerned that antibiotic resistance is spreading because of the prophylactic use of antibiotics by farmers, so they want antibiotic use on farms to be limited to treating infections.
They note that antibiotic-resistant genes have been identified in waterways where manure and eroded soil enters from nearby large-scale hog farms in Manitoba.
“This is concerning because once in the environment, superbugs can reach humans in multiple ways.This includes swimming in or eating fish from contaminated waterways. Superbugs can even be transmitted through eating crops that have been watered with contaminated sources,” the animal welfare organization said.
The organization also raised concerns about agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gases and global warming.
The organization said “preventing the next pandemic is also on the minds of Canadians. The poll shows 82 per cent believe preventing future pandemics are very or somewhat important issues when deciding who to vote for.
“There is a strong link between industrial animal farming and pandemics. Previous pandemics such as the avian flu and swine flu have come from farms and some scientists predict the next pandemic could come also from a farm. In industrial farms across Canada and around the world animals are kept in overcrowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions, making it easy for diseases to spread.
“Furthermore, the United Nations Environment Programme in a recent report, cites 'increased demand for animal protein' and 'unsustainable agriculture intensification' (mostly of animals) as two of the top seven drivers of pandemic risk.”
World Animal Protection is trying to make its views heard during the upcoming federal election campaign.
After a lifetime of farming and farm reporting, I have to say I agree with much of what this organization is saying.
I am appalled when I see the condition of beef cattle in the largest feedlots in the United States.
I am no fan of the acres of concrete for dairy cattle on the largest farms in California and the multi-million-bird egg, chicken and turkey farms in the U.S.
I see little respect for life on these farms which operate much like an auto assembly plant - efficient and profitable, but not nice.