Global Health and Genetic Un-variation

Because commercial breeders select for traits that will be the most profitable such as animals gaining weight faster, producing more milk or eggs, they do not allow animals to mate naturally. Instead, they use artificial insemination to maintain control of the genetic pool. There are also cases of direct cloning of animals, a controversial issue that animal rights activists have been protesting in recent years in light of the fact that no labeling indicates cloned vs. not cloned meats.

Within the last century, 1000 breeds which amounts to about 15 percent of the world’s cattle and poultry varieties, have disappeared according to the U.N. FAO. About 300 of these losses happened in the past 15 years, and many more breeds are in danger of extinction. This genetic homogeneity has consequences for farmers who are unable to fend against climate variation, pests, and particularly disease. The famous cases of the avian flu and bovine spongiform encephalopathy, (mad cow disease) spread from animal products. The unsanitary conditions of the factory farms are cause for concern in the face of the danger of diseases brought by meat consumption and the lack of genetic variation leaves animals naturally more vulnerable.

E. Coli 0157:H7 has been fluctuating in the attention particularly of the American media as a dangerous food born pathogen. Meat gets infected with E. Coli when it comes in contact with fecal matter, and animal hides are covered in manure in the industrial meat factories. There are many moments in the processing where it can get on the meat, so as a preventive solution gases are sprayed on the meat to kill the pathogens.

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