March 14, 2014
Animal rights activists addressing the abuses of CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) often focus on the more obvious ways animals are distressed. Yet some researchers point to a less-understood aspect of livestock mistreatment: force-fed monoculture diets of genetically modified corn and soy that is often drenched in the chemical glyphosate, the Monsanto Corporation’s key chemical commodity.
As a result of this nutritional regime calves are born with enlarged joints and limb deformities, inhibiting their mobility. Piglets have such rapidly deteriorating health that they start breaking down their own tissues and organs – essentially self-cannibalizing—to continue living. Many animals suffer from fragile bones that easily crack. Dairy cows develop mastitis, a painful udder infection. Beef cattle develop liver abscesses and a severe condition called “twisted gut.”
These are the observations of Dr. Art Dunham, an Iowa veterinarian. Dunham’s daughter, Leah Dunham, used her father’s notes to write America’s Two-Headed Pig. In it she argues that animal misery might be more readily addressed through a non-GMO diet versus the broader project of overhauling the entire CAFO-based system.
Their findings are especially prescient since the symptoms observed in animals often resemble many of the chronic, and increasingly prevalent, health problems afflicting humans today: Gastrointestinal disorders, ravaged organs, infertility, declining immune systems, and lingering depression.
Many consumers are alarmed by news reports highlighting outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. Yet most are also unaware that industrial GMO crops are “damaging our health in other, far more insidious ways – among them, by damaging the health of animals raised for food,” Leah Dunham contends.
Source: Katherine Paul, “Torturing Animals with GMOs.” CounterPunch, August 9, 2013, http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/08/09/torturing-animals-with-gmos/.
Student Researcher: Nicholas Saraceno (Florida Atlantic University)
Faculty Evaluator: James F. Tracy (Florida Atlantic University)