29 January 2017 - How Do I Respond

For the past several years I have watched with interest, the development of Fair Oaks Farm located between Chicago and Indianapolis, off Interstate 65. Fair Oaks Farm is a working farm, a major producer of eggs, milk and pork, They do an outstanding job of helping people understand what it takes to produce those products, which they also serve at their very fine restaurant on the farm. I think they do a magnificent job of educating people about the care of livestock, and using technology to improve the quality of soil, air and water.

But now let me share with you the challenge we face in agriculture today by printing excerpts of a letter I received a few days ago from a lady living in a Chicago suburb. The letter says, and I quote:
“Last week we toured Fair Oaks Farm with our pre-teen grandsons. I hope you can clarify some concerns this visit has raised.
-The cows were never allowed to walk outside to feel the grass or the sun.
-They were milked three times a day (instead of two times), by workers on 12- hour shifts.
-They were inseminated by genetic modification so that 80% of their calves were female.
-They were separated from their newborns immediately, never allowed to bond or nurse.
-They were fed silage with certain additives.
What are the effects on the children currently drinking milk from these cow-robot factories?
-Is organic milk produced by free-range pasture-fed cows a healthier option, fewer chemicals to worry about?
-How safe is the meat from the Fair Oaks cows that is processed and sold to fast-food chains?” She ended her letter with these words - “I am not a vegetarian, but the visit to Fair Oaks opened my eyes to the mega-agricultural system of treating animals like machines. It might be an efficient method, but is it the healthiest for the animals and for human consumption?”

Those are questions from an educated and concerned grandmother who wants me to reassure her that all is safe and well in the .U.S. food production industry. I need your help; how would you respond?

Share your thoughts with me at this e-mail address - bigosam@aol.com.

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