Effect on Human Health of Factory Farming

The vast majority of dietary and nutritional professionals today advocate a diet low in meat and high in vegetables, grains and fruit.

The huge increase in the consumption of meat and animal-derived products (milk, cream, yoghurt, cheese, eggs) has led to a very significant rise in the incidence of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, certain forms of cancer, as well as an exponential rise in obesity.

Viruses and Factory Farming

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It’s easy to eliminate meat, eggs, and dairy from our diets and replace them with vegetable proteins that protect our health instead of harming it. Eating less meat is better for the planet, for our health and for animals. Eating no meat is better still.

A 2015 WHO report found that bacon, hot dogs, and other processed meats cause cancer and that red meat—including beef, pork, and lamb—is probably carcinogenic, as well.

One study compared cancer rates of 34,000 vegetarians and meat-eaters. The results showed that those who avoided meat, fish, and poultry had dramatically lower rates of prostate, bladder, and colon cancer than meat-eaters did.

An 11-year German study involving more than 800 vegetarian men found that their cancer rates were less than half those of the general public.

A 2007 study of more than 35,000 women published in the British Journal of Cancer found that women who ate the most meat had the highest risk of developing breast cancer.

A study comparing the dietary habits of men in 32 countries found that the highest risk factor for prostate-cancer mortality was the consumption of animal-derived foods. By contrast, another study of men diagnosed with prostate cancer showed that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains can significantly slow the progression of the disease.

According to the British Heart Foundation’s research group, if people in the UK ate 58% less meat and dairy produce than they do at present, a total of 32,000 deaths would be averted or delayed each year; 26,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) would be averted or delayed; 6,000 deaths from cancer could be averted or delayed; costs to the NHS would be reduced by £0.85bn. Reducing meat even further, by 83% would mean even more promising results: 45,000 deaths would be averted or delayed each year; 36,000 from CVD; 9,000 from cancer; £1.2bn in NHS costs.

On factory farms, animals are forced to live in close proximity to each other in severely cramped conditions. Such conditions increase the risk of diseases being transmitted and mutating into more dangerous strains, and the possible subsequent jumping of a particular virus from animal to human.

There is a high risk of food-borne illnesses such as E. coli and Salmonella occurring on factory farms. These can cause gastroenteritis and, sometimes, death in vulnerable humans.

The use of antibiotics to prevent disease is a widespread practice on many factory farms. These antibiotics are used to prevent infection, but because they are so widely used, and because the antibiotics transfer to the human population when the meat is eaten, there is now a major issue with regard to the ineffectiveness of antibiotics in dealing with infections in the human population.

Factory farming can adversely affect our health through the vast amounts of animal waste being emitted daily from tens of thousands of factory farms across the world, polluting the air, the land, the rivers and lakes.