Letters to the Editor

Nov 082009

False factory farming

I am writing regarding to Robyn Scherer’s column from Friday titled, “The real, not so ugly truth behind factory farms.” In her article, Scherer responds to an author who gives some “untrue” facts about factory farming, in Scherer’s opinion.

Although I am not familiar with the specific claims that this author made about factory farming, I find Scherer’s article concerning because it addresses some of the negative aspects of factory farming very shallowly. Scherer said that she doesn’t agree with “standard commercial hog practices,” but she “can understand why they are raised the way they are.”

Scherer, I think most people can “understand” why animals like hogs are raised in confinement — it takes up less land, less maintenance and less money. Instead, people are concerned about the ethics of the animals’ well-being and environmental issues involved in raising animals in close confinement. Scherer says that “Hogs require shelter and would struggle to live out on open pasture.” I’m pretty sure that open pasture isn’t the only alternative to keeping hogs in crates in a warehouse-type building for either most or their entire lives. She says the same thing about chickens and that keeping them inside “helps to keep them healthier.” It is pretty well-known that keeping any animal in close confinement with hundreds or thousands of others contributes to a serious increase in disease. To counter this, you have to feed much higher amounts of antibiotics to the animals.

In this article, and others she has written this year, Scherer has often admitted that the agricultural industry is flawed, but she then proceeds to support its actions. We need more than an apathetic view of the agricultural industry as it is today.

The agriculture industry is very powerful in this country, and there are many more ethical, healthy and environmentally safer improvements that could be made if enough political support could be raised for them.

Joanna Harter


Natural Resources Recreation and Tourism major

Environmental problems?

I am writing in response to Alex Stephens’ editorial from the Collegian on Nov. 5 titled, “Recycling no match for hyper consumption.” Stephens says hyper capitalism is to blame for all the environmental disasters we hear about every day.

He says we are in an age of hyper consumerism which leads to all of us using up earth’s natural resources. Stephens goes on to ask what would happen if all 350 million Americans wanted a new cell or a gallon of milk all at once. Well, one thing is for sure if this kind of demand hits the market: Prices will skyrocket, which will naturally reduce demand. Price structures in free markets act as a natural regulation for limited, scarce resources.

Despite this, I agree that we have environmental problems today. But as Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, says, “To condemn free-market capitalism because of anything going on today makes no sense. There is no evidence that capitalism exists today. We are deeply involved in an interventionist-planned economy that allows major benefits to accrue to the politically connected of both political spectrums. One may condemn the fraud and the current system, but it must be called by its proper names – Keynesian inflationism, interventionism and corporatism.”

Therefore, Stephens should be arguing for capitalism and against our current system of corporatism.

David Ballantine


Political Science major

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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