A recent Alternet.org article titled “23 Gallons a Day from One Cow? Industrial
Agriculture Engaged in Extreme Breeding,” has questioned the longstanding
practice of selectively breeding livestock to produce animals that are highly
efficient and productive. While acknowledging that “breeding animals to
exaggerate traits humans find useful is hardly new,” author Jill Richardson
claims that industrial agriculture has taken the practice to new extremes that
compromise the ability of animals to live natural lives.

“Some of these changes are a result of growth hormones, lighting, feed, and (for dairy cows) more frequent milkings,” she writes, “but a lot of t is breeding and industrial agriculture has taken it to an extreme … [A] look at the variety of chicken breeds kept by small farms, hobbyists, nd backyard chicken owners shows just how much humans have successfully meddled in chicken genetics. You can find chickens adapted to iving in hot weather or cold weather, chickens that make great mothers, chickens with exceptional egg-laying abilities, particularly meaty irds, or ‘dual purpose’ birds that provide plenty of meat but lay a decent amount of eggs as well. You can also find birds that satisfy more rivolous purposes, like being cute or funny-looking or laying blue eggs.”

“It’s actually well known by mainstream conventional agricultural scientists
that when you focus on a single trait, there are problems with the other
aspects of the animal because that’s not how nature functions,” said rancher
and author Nicolette Hahn Niman. “I think we just pushed that so far that
we’ve gone beyond the defensible level of that.”


About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.