This provides some visual insight into WHERE our meat products are coming from. Living in WV, I can see from the map that most of the meat I buy at a place like Wal Mart or Kroger is definately traveling more than 100 miles to get to me. Which is a HUGE issue - think of the fuel, the impact on food quality, freshness, ect. In addition, to the impacts on food quality, huge factory farms also have huge negative environmental effects, they are not good neighbors, and there are serious animal welfare issues. This map doesnt touch on the issue of "animal processing facilitites" (i.e. slaughterhouses where hundreds of animals are slaughtered daily), but those types of facilities are the next step after these factory farms. I recently read the book "Recipe for America" and am still haunted by a recount of an interview with a worker in one of these packing houses who recalled animals being skinned alive and hogs being hung up alive (if you arent aware, once hogs are killed, they are hung by their bag legs on hooks that pierce the flesh between the ligament on their back leg and the bone) because there isnt enough time to make sure the animals are dead or fully stunned.
Sorry to share such grossness, but this is a cricital issue. If we keep being blind about where our food comes from, we are in serious danger of alot of negative side affects. As long as we continue to enjoy the conveniences of the huge chain grocery stores and their mass produced food, we put ourselves at risk of food contamination (no laws can fix what happens on the ground....just look at our mine safety system. We've got all the laws in the world, but if they're not followed and enforced, see what happens?? Same thing with your food). Wouldnt it be better if we could purchase food that didnt have to travel hundreds of miles to get to us? Wouldnt it be nice knowing that growing our food wasnt harming the very environment that we need to grow our food? Wouldnt it be nice to know that the meat we are consuming or the milk we are drinking didnt come from cows who are living packed by the hundreds in shit filled feed lots? Wouldnt it be nice to know that the chicken you are eating wasnt raised in a chicken house with hundreds of other chickens, some that cannot walk becuase they are bred so their breast meat gets so huge and some that are just lying their dead, wouldnt it be nice to know that the eggs you are eating didnt come from a chicken kept in a cage its entire life hardly able to move and then the eggs are over a month old when they get to you?
I hate to push these issues on my unsuspecting peers, but its time Americans made a choice - spend a little more money on your food so that your LOCAL farmer can provide you with a safe, quality product. Americans spend just under 10% of our disposable income on food (http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/cpifoodandexpenditures/data/Expenditures_tables/table7.htm) According to this article (who's credibility and sources I question so take it for what its worth http://wallstcheatsheet.com/breaking-news/economy/the-25-countries-that-will-be-screwed-by-a-world-food-crisis.html ) we could be like China (spending 39% of their income on food). SO think next time you dont want to spend the extra dollars at the farmers market - it IS really worth it, because we could have food that is SO MUCH BETTER than what we get from factory farms. But instead, we pay for the convenience, turn a blind eye to what's going on behind the scenes, and give a large percentage of our food dollars to "the man" so that corporations can profit and grow even larger. But do those giant corporations really care about what they're doing to the land and the animals and the people that they're feeding?
Talk to any farm raised person you know that grew up eating food they grew and raised. They'll vouch for the how much better food tastes when it comes straight from the farm! Ask anyone who purchases their food from a local farmer, and they'll attest to the peace of mind they have in knowing who raised their food, how it was processed, and where it has been before they put it in their mouths.
My mother used to say to us when we were kids, "Dont put that in your mouth, do you know where that's been" when we were trying to put some non-food item in our mouth. Its a shame, but we need to start asking ourselves that question with our food.