With the number of everyday people who are socially and environmentally conscious growing rapidly, ever concerned about the origin and production of their food, clothing and home wares, it is quite surprising that the national arena is slower to act. In his New York Times Op-Ed article, "Banned From The Barn," Mark Bittman shares his experience with big industry food and animal producers that were less than welcoming. Thankfully, Iowa's proposed "ag-gag" law did not pass-he law would have made filming or photographing agricultural premises illegal. Â Despite this victory, Bittman supposes that we still have a ways to go until the public is fully aware of the happenings within their food providing facilities.
During his May trip to Iowa, Bittman was refused entrance and tours to many animal farms that housed cows, chickens and pigs and were uncooperative when he suggested they reschedule. Whereas farmers of the past used to be proud of their livestock, displaying breed names and offering impromptu tours, these big industry machines prefer to be closed off from public view, keeping their living conditions and operations a mystery.
Filmmakers and journalists that have made it inside these establishments have revealed crowded chicken barns that house hundreds of thousands of birds, mechanized feeding, watering and surveillance operations and cows packed so closely together they cannot turn around. These conditions affect not only our animals but our food and health as well, but time and time again they are brushed aside or simply declared the exception and not the majority.
Do your part, even on a small scale, such as participating in Meatless Mondays and familiarizing yourself with the many food justice initiatives, and slowly the growing population of conscious food activists could aid in changing the way our world views food.
Read Bittman's article in full here.