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I live in an agricultural area, have worked on industrial farms and hatcheries installing and maintaining computers and machinery, and keep livestock in my backyard.

The videos you see are extremely one-sided and manipulative. You cannot do anything right by these people. I am personally against, for instance, debeaking, and the production of foie gras is horrible on a Holocaust level. But for example I saw one recently that criticized the use of nipple drinkers that guarantee clean water for the birds instead of letting them drink water from the ground that's contaminated by feces. Another campaign I was exposed to this year misrepresented a cattle crush as a device that actually crushes cows, instead of its actual purpose to immobilize an animal while it receives medical treatment. There are a lot of good points to be made about cruelty in industrialized farming, but they ruin it with these shock videos and ridiculous assertions.

These tactics and misrepresentative propaganda, while they may be effective at fundraising from young and gullible city people, have caused states to pass laws making it a crime to film undercover at farms, and I believe that this is a setback for the animal rights movement, on top of some of the proponents' general dishonesty.

Vegetable farming is not a great thing for the environment either, and sometimes "organic" production does more harm.

Battery cages bother me and eggs produced differently are ridiculously priced (a dozen normal eggs costs $1.10 at my walmart today, recently the price has been below $0.30.) So I started my own flock. Today I have nine happy birds and am not supporting the battery cage operation, which incidentally was the subject of a salmonella-related recall this year. I hope to be bringing home some turkeys from the farm fest in the next county in a couple weeks.




I think it’s important too to seperate out the views of actual normal (ie not insane) people from those who make the most noise and produce the kind of propaganda pieces you’re talking about.

I guess from my point of view, whether or not some people are over the top crazies about one topic or another doesn’t really affect the underlying issues.

Personally, I do my best to take a measured and reasonable approach: im vegetarian (not vegan) and I just focus on doing what makes me feel that I am doing at least something to combat the well-documented and scientifically supported ill-effects of large scale agribusiness.

I think too often individuals fall into the trap of “all or nothing”. Am I concerned about climate change? Yes. Do I still drive a car? Yes. Does that make me a hypocrite? No.

It’s possible to do what you can with what you have to make a small impact in your own life. And for many, that’s about all we can ask for.


No matter how well you treat them, it is still inescapable that many are bred and raised only to be slaughtered for food while they're still young and healthy. For some reason many people do not consider this to be cruel, but there are those who do and can't rationally support this industry.


> Vegetable farming is not a great thing for the environment either, and sometimes "organic" production does more harm.

Could you explain these points more?


Fertilizer run off from organic farms contains just as many nitrates as metal^h^h^h^h^h^h non-organic farms. Those are the pollutants that cause the biggest problems in water ways and generally encourage algal blooms that kill other plants and animals.

Switching to plant based agriculture would require even more fertilizer to be used as the land area needed limits super effective crop rotation.

Other problems are plants are much less tolerant of different environments than live stock, so you have to more aggressively farm the limited area. Many of the ideal areas for growing plants also lack nutrients or even water (CA is essentially a desert but grows most of the worlds cereals because the weather, soil are excellent for growing, even if you have to pump the water in from elsewhere...)

Of course this ignores harmful effects of livestock, and is just meant to illustrate “not livestock” does not mean “good”.


Metal farms! Thanks for that one.


Just wanted to add some supplemental material.

A few write-ups with accompanying audio transcripts/podcasts from science writer Brian Dunning of Skeptoid.

- Organic vs. Conventional Agriculture: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4166

- Organic Food Myths: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4019

- Environmental Working Group and the Dirty Dozen: https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4623

Bibliographic references and further reading at the end of each if interested.


It depends a lot on the crops and the actual production methods, but from talking to my neighbors at the post office, in organics, sometimes more land is consumed (since production per unit area can be lower) and soil erosion is higher (you cannot no-till without herbicides.) I am not very well versed in this but simply wanted to point out that our assumptions may not be correct.

As for traditional production, herbicides, pesticides, and genetic contamination are big issues.


You have 9 chickens? Do they lay a lot of eggs? are they purely for egg laying?


Yes I have five Rhode Island Reds and four Dominiques. They are all hens. They reached adulthood this year, each bird lays an egg every 1-2 days.

So far we have only been doing the eggs but expect them to stop laying when they reach 3-4 years old. This is my first flock so I don't really know yet. I am not sure if I have the guts to prepare a bird for meat.


A while back I got to see my uncle prepare three chickens and a goose for thanksgiving dinner and it seemed like a rather straightforward process. Basically, after cutting the head off, the bird is dipped into boiling/scalding water briefly and then the feathers are plucked. I don't recall what they did with the innards, I may have stepped out for that part.


It's pretty easy if you use a traffic cone as a "killing cone" to stabilize the head you're cutting. Since they're so old you might as well remove only the digestive tract and boil the whole bodies into broth, cause the meat will be inedible.

If you have kids, they're typically not as grossed out as adults and it's a really good biology lesson


It's either you or the raccoons.


I’m totally fine eating meat, but readily admit that I could never actually butcher an animal (and I don’t think that’s inconsistent). Anyway, how long do hens live? Could you let them wander around as pets?


I have a hen that has lived at least 6 years. At least where I live, the issue is them being killed off, not dying naturally. Also, if you have a large enough yard, they can walk around freely, just remember that they will take a dump anywhere they like, and I don't believe there is any way to stop that.


My father used to keep one (as a pet), she lived 13 years which is I believe rather exceptional, the average being around 8 year (range 6-10 years).


> the production of foie gras is horrible on a Holocaust level

I don't care how horrible it is, it's too good to pass up.




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