factory farming and human health

factory farms and antibiotics

According to Tim O’Brien, the author of Factory Farming and Human Health, large-scale farming is a danger to human health.

He concludes that close quarters for animals, exposure to excrement, dirt, a lack of sunlight and poor ventilation that lead to negative health effects in both animals and humans.

The environment created by factory farming enables bacteria to mutate and become more dangerous to human and animal health.

Processing for feeding livestock, e.g. feeding vegetarian animals the carcasses and bi-products from other animals plays a major role in disease transmission.

Unfortunately, current hygiene restrictions are not effective because they do not address the root cause of the health problems.

Key takeaways from the article include:

  • The time of year affects the number and types of microbes present.
  • Animals can be more than transmitters of infections like Salmonella. They are not only disease carriers.
  • The acceptable limits for bacteria in food are surprisingly high. 1 in 3 fresh chickens and 41% of frozen birds are contaminated with Salmonella in the UK.
  • The bacterial mutations caused by factory farming are more detrimental to the health of humans and is becoming more prevalent.
  • How we treat the animals that we consume affects human health.


O’Brien, T. (2001). Factory farming and human health-It is not small food production, but large-scale factory farming, that presents a threat to our health. Ecologist31(6), 30-34.

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