How Livestock is Raised Affects Everyone

Life in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin can feel insulated and isolated from bigger global problems, but this is a wishful misperception. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the spread of communicable disease visits every community in our age of travel, and the effects of climate change are reaching everywhere, and it’s only just starting. Choices made about how livestock is being raised in Iowa doesn’t just stay in Iowa, as we witnessed a few years ago when a large swine CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) was proposed in our neighboring Bayfield County because producers were looking to site farrowing facilities away from the porcine pandemic that was devastating baby pig populations at the time. The encroachment was pushed back but not without significant effort and education on the issues at hand.

While we might like to think that the American meat supply is mostly raised using practices like those we utilize here at North Star Homestead Farms–pasture based, biodynamic, regenerative, and celebrating the innate natures and uniqueness of each species, the truth is the opposite. Over 90% of American meat is grown in factory farms, the biggest consumer of which is the food service industry. This is why it is SO important to know where you food comes from and how it is being raised. You won’t know unless you take time to learn about what’s happening because the meat industry is happy to paint a rosy picture and hide the truth.

Most pandemics currently are being created in factory farms, due to the dire living conditions for the animals there. If we want to live together in a world where the disruptive and destructive specter of pandemics is not an eternal normal, we must change how animals are raised and how we treat the environment. This is not the only way to feed the people, in fact it is bringing our ability to produce food to the brink of collapse. Biodynamic, regenerative farming–local, iterative, and sustainably minded–is the way forward. We believe this intensely and view our farm as a living example of a viable option that makes a difference in our community.

This page is offered to help you learn about what is happening in our country with the raising of livestock and how together we can make a difference to foster change. If you don’t know, how can you be part of the solution? We hope that you will take some time to view these resources.

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Pandemic Risk and Raising Meat

Sigal Samuel wrote for Vox that “if you want to create global pandemic, then build factory farms” (read the full article here). Sadly, that is how 90% of the world’s meat and 99% of America’s meat is raised. It’s critical that we change this matrix. The video below, also included in the article, illustrates why.

The Dark Side of Factory Farming

People are waking up to the fact that factory farming is harming animals, people, and the environment, in the United States and in Europe as well. This clip from the documentary “The Dark Side of Factory Farming” helps break down why this should be a concern to everyone.

Who’s Being Affected and How People are Pushing Back

For a fuller look at how CAFOs are affecting everyday Americans and some of the movements to rein in their spread, the documentary “Right to Harm” is excellent and touches on the Bayfield County incident. It is well-produced and costs less than $5 to rent. You will find the video available here. We strongly recommend, if you are interested in knowing what’s happening on this issue, that you take time to watch it.