The series described the trials and tribulations of a fake animal feed company called “Animoil” in their pursuit to market a new livestock feed that is made out of petroleum. This product claims to “reduce agricultural dependence on oil” and “improve yields” but the company isn’t telling anyone about the dangerous side effects… like exploding cows…
The whole thesis behind the series is that industrial farming is evil and that there needs to be a shift back towards sustainable farming. This whole situation raises some interesting arguments and they really hit home for me. There are a lot of different opinions on this matter but I think I’ll just start by talking about mine.
As you know, I grew up on a family ranch and I know how hard it can be to be “the little guy” in this ever changing economy. I’m also an old fashioned girl so I am all for the return to family based agricultural operations but in at the same time, I do see some of the benefits of big agriculture.
See and I don’t exactly think this is fair. The world today is a changing place. The population is booming at an alarming rate and acres of farm land are being gobbled up to become subdivisions every minute. Increasing populations means an increased demand for food, obviously, but what happens when all our farm land is disappearing to build houses for all these people? We are running out of space to produce all that food that these people need and that is a scary thought. The root of the issue that Chipotle is outlining directly stems from land usage and increasing population because we farmers and ranchers need to adapt. If the world is changing as fast as it is, the agriculture industry needs to keep up. Now I’m not saying that we should be feeding oil to cattle to increase their ability to provide us with milk but I do think there is a fine line that needs to be walked.
GMO’s and animal growth hormones are at the forefront of the battle against factory farming at the moment, and I can understand why. They are new, different and generally not well understood. These three aspects make for a deadly combination on the eye of the consumer.
I don’t claim to be an expert on GMO’s or animal growth hormones but I do know one thing. Agriculture is a tough industry. Farming and ranching are both labours of love, and the world needs to eat. GMO’s and growth hormones are not specifically being used to increase profit margins. They are being used to increase yields to meet demand. Without these practices, more and more people in this world would be going hungry. GMO’s and growth hormones may not be the best solutions to this situation facing the industry but, with our farm land disappearing, it’s the solution we have to work with right now.
Chipotle does have many valid points about improving the quality of life for farm animals and doing our best to look after them as nature intended but at the same time, there are some benefits of big agriculture. In my opinion, “Farmed and Dangerous” takes vilification of the industrial agriculture too far. There is a very fine line that needs to be walked between traditional and new age farming practices and Chipotle demonstrates a very biased argument. I hope that in the future there will be more options to maximize yield while maintaining traditional practices but working together with consumers is the only way this is going to happen. In the same breath, working with consumers also means that consumers need to understand agriculture from all possible angles. The best solutions for feeding the world can only be developed through education and cooperation from both the consumers and the producers.
If you've got a minute, watch an episode or two! This is just my take. What do you think??
Also, happy National Agriculture day! Now to celebrate, go eat something!