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Monday, June 7, 2010

Corn-fed Cows are Killers; Killing Us and Earth With Every Bite

When we picture cows in our mind, an idyllic scene of big, lazy animals chewing on grass in a field is usually what we think of. In today’s reality, with the explosion of factory farming, that picture couldn't be farther from the truth. Most cows today can be found in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFO for short. CAFO's are large facilities where on average 3,000 cows are kept and fed until they are slaughtered for beef. While confined, the feed they eat is comprised of mostly corn and grain. This is not their natural diet. The consequences of something as small as feeding a cow corn has effects that can extend from vegetative destruction to the death of a healthy two year old boy. These disastrous events can be reduced by something as simple as a change of one feed ingredient. CAFO's feeding cows grain is inhumane and dangerous because it causes the growth and spread of E.coli through tainted beef and waste runoff, so switching cows back to their natural diet of grass is better for humans, cows and the environment, resulting in healthier beef with a higher nutritional value.

Feeding cows grain and corn is inhumane and dangerous to both the cows and humans who eat the beef. In “The Ethics of What We Eat” by Peter Singer, he explains that cows are ruminants which are animals who have a rumen. Ruminant animals have a digestive system that has evolved to break down grass (61). The rumen is the first part of a cow’s stomach used for digestion where resident bacteria convert cellulose into proteins and fats. Ruminants are meant to eat grass which their rumen can digest. Singer says, “If they don’t get enough roughage, they develop lactic acid in their rumens, which creates gas and causes ‘feedlot bloat,’ a condition so severe that cattle can suffocate from it (61). Corn and other grains are not digested by ruminants. When they are fed corn it causes the rumen to expand and apply pressure to the animal’s lungs which can cause suffocation. According to author Michael Pollan, “in some cases a tube has to be shoved down the animal’s esophagus in order to avoid suffocation.” Changing an animal’s natural diet in order to benefit us is cruel. The only reason we feed the cows corn is that it fattens them up quickly so we can slaughter them earlier and get more beef from each cow. Our greed has made us alter nature with no regard to the animal’s welfare. Ruminants have a normal pH level in their gut. Forcing them to eat corn and grain raises changes the ph level making their guts extremely acidic. According to Northwestern Health Sciences University, “Cud-chewing animals such as cows, goats, buffalo and sheep are designed to eat fibrous grasses, plants and shrubs. When they are fed starchy, low fiber grain, a number of problems can arise. Subacute acidosis is a very common condition that affects cattle. This condition causes cattle to kick at their bellies, stop eating and begin to eat dirt. These animals are often given chemical additives along with a constant, low-level dose of antibiotics to prevent reactions from being fatal.” Acidosis is similar to severe heartburn in humans, which as we know is very uncomfortable and painful; however in cows it can be even more problematic. As stated they will stop eating and eat dirt trying to calm the burning feeling they are having inside them. They will pant and salivate excessively. Acidosis can cause other unnatural effects on the cow such as diarrhea, liver disease, and ulcers. These conditions can cause a weakening of the cow’s natural immune system leaving it susceptible to diseases such as feedlot bloat, polio and pneumonia. In order to prevent death, the cows are often given constant, low level doses of antibiotics and chemical additives. This constant use of antibiotics causes the bacteria to naturally evolve and become resistant to the medicine. Changing the chemical makeup of an animal’s internal system which puts it in unnecessary pain is inhumane. CAFO's with their over-crowded, dirty conditions are already the perfect breeding ground for disease and bacteria, so the last thing you want having to live there is an animal with a lowered immune system, especially one whose meat might eventually land up on your plate. As stated before, cattle aren't designed to digest grain, so the epigastric pH levels and acids from a grain diet allows E.coli bacteria to thrive in the cows gut because the pH balance has been altered. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and Cornell University researchers conducted a study on how the diet of cattle affects the growth and spread of E.coli bacteria including the deadly strain E.coli 0157:H7. One of the researchers, microbiologist and Cornell University professor James Russell, explained that the bovine gastrointestinal tract digests starch poorly and that some undigested grain reaches the colon where it is fermented. When the grain ferments, it causes acetic, propionic and butyric acids to accumulate and that leads to a large fraction of the E.coli that are being produced to evolve into the acid-resistant type. The study shows that tests performed on cattle, fed grain had 1 million acid-resistant E.coli, per gram of feces, while the cattle fed grass had only acid-sensitive E.coli. The difference is that acid-resistant E.coli can survive contact with acid while the acid-sensitive bacteria will be destroyed by contact with acid. This is an important factor when it comes to humans eating beef laced with E.coli bacteria, one that can mean the difference between life and death that we will discuss later in this paper. That high count of acid-resistant E.coli can be explained by the grain fermentation in the cow’s intestines. In order to keep the E.coli growth under control and keep the animals alive, CAFO’s have to continually put antibiotics such as penicillin in the cows feed. When you continually feed the animal antibiotics in order to kill off bacteria inside them, evolution will lead to the development of bacteria immune to the antibiotics. Overuse of antibiotics has created a new strain of super bacteria that can no longer be killed off basically rendering the antibiotics useless. A report in Time magazine estimates that seventy percent of the nation’s antibiotics are fed to livestock to prevent illnesses. The American Medical association wants all nontherapeutic use of antibiotics to be stopped. The problem with that is, because of the corn fed diets effects of stomach ulcers, bloating, and liver abscesses on cows, the line of what is just routine practice and what is necessary to save the cows life is blurred. The bottom line is that it’s the grain diet that causes these afflictions, so if the diet was changed the antibiotics would not be needed as much and when bacteria was detected it would be killed off because it would not have grown resistant to the medicine. Cows raised on grass based diets rarely require antibiotic treatment.

The beef and waste produced from corn fed cows infected with E.coli is harmful to the environment and humans, possibly even deadly. As we previously discussed, the corn feed diet has disastrous effects on the digestive system of the cow but it also has profound consequences on the humans who eat the beef. Our stomach is acidic by nature in order for us to dissolve and digest the food we’ve eaten, but it also serves as a defensive barrier in our body. The acid in our stomach helps kill off bacteria that may enter our body through the food we’ve eaten. One type of bacteria that we come in contact with through our beef is E.coli. Usually if we eat infected meat the acid in our stomach would kill off the E.coli bacteria, but as we discussed earlier, since the pH level inside cows has become acidic the bacteria is now immune to the acid shock that would usually kill it. The Cornell University report indicated that the grain based cattle diet promotes the growth of E.coli that can survive the acidity of the human stomach and cause intestinal illness. Russell explains that, “most bacteria are killed by the acid of stomach juice, but E.coli from grain fed cattle are resistant to strong acids. When people eat foods contaminated with acid-resistant E.coli including pathogenic strains like 0157:H7, the chance of getting sick increases.” E.coli is a normal bacterium in the gastrointestinal tract of animals and humans, and most types are not harmful. However there are disease-causing strains such as E.coli 0157:H7 that produce toxins which result in bloody diarrhea or kidney failure in humans. Due to the meatpacking industry’s greed and desire to raise bigger, fatter cows quickly, they created the perfect conditions for microbes to evolve into strains that can harm and kill us. Michael Pollan explains, “Most of the microbes that reside in the gut of a cow and find their way into our food get killed off by the acids in our stomachs, since they originally adapted to live in a neutral-pH environment. But the digestive tract of the modern feedlot cow is closer in acidity to our own, and in this new, manmade environment acid-resistant strains of E.coli have developed that can survive our stomach acids and go on to kill us. By acidifying a cow’s gut with corn, we have broken down one of our food chain’s barriers to infections.” Once again in our race to make things quicker and bigger, we never take the time to think about the consequences of what we create, and how our “make it now” and “we’ll fix it later” attitude always seems to come around and bite us in our “you know what.” Outbreaks of food poisoning from E.coli tainted beef have been on the rise recently with many resulting in death. The USDA and Cornell university report states that E.coli contamination is responsible for more than twenty thousand infections and over two hundred deaths each year in the United States. According to Time magazine, in 1993, six hundred people in Seattle got sick and three children died after eating E.coli tainted hamburger meat. In January 2010, Newstex reported that the USDA recalled 248,000 lbs. of steaks that had been distributed to Midwestern chain restaurants. The USDA categorized the recall as a “Class 1” event indicating a “high health risk” due to the finding of E.coli 0157:H7 in the meat. One tragic death made popular by the Robert Kenner film, “Food Inc.” was that of two and a half year old Kevin Kowalcyk who died of food poising after eating an E.coli tainted hamburger. In the summer of 2001 Kevin went from a healthy toddler to being dead in twelve days from just eating a hamburger. His death and his mothers activism has brought attention to the problem and stirred up support for a bill that would enhance food safety. The bill is aptly titled, “Kevin’s Law”, and was finally passed in 2009. What is even scarier now is, that because of CAFO’s, the threat of E.coli is not only limited to beef, but also our vegetables and water supply. With the amount of animals in a CAFO it is a big task to dispose of all the waste safely and properly. Since E.coli bacteria can also be found in the cows feces, it leads to infected manure. It’s the infected manure from the grain-fed cattle that contaminates the groundwater and spreads the bacteria to produce, like spinach growing on neighboring farms. In a January 2009 Environmental Protection Agency document, an Oregon CAFO owner John Bezates agreed to pay an eight thousand dollar penalty to settle Clean Water act discharge violations stemming from his CAFO. According to Laura Davies, EPA acting Director, Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, “When CAFO’s fail to take proper precautions, including obtaining necessary wastewater discharge permits, their manure laden runoff can pollute our creeks, rivers and streams.” The document states that CAFO’s continue to be a leading source of water quality impairment in the U.S. The environmental harm doesn’t just stop at manure though, you have to take into account the effect on our air quality and drain on our resources. You have to look at the amount of fuel burned by the machines that have to harvest all that corn we use to feed the cows. According to author Robyn O’Brien, The U.S. produces 1.5 billion bushels of corn a year just to feed to cows. Most of the corn and soy grown in the United States goes for livestock feed (119). The fossil fuels used to transport the corn to CAFO’s add to our already polluted atmosphere whereas grass gets it energy from the sun. Dr. David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agricultural sciences at Cornell University explains that it takes half the fossil-fuel energy to produce two pounds of grass-fed beef as it does to produce the same amount of grain-fed. Growing the corn requires large amounts of chemical fertilizer, which by itself is bad for the air, but it also takes oil to produce and spread the fertilizer. Pimentel says a typical grain-fed steer will in effect consume 284 gallons of oil in his lifetime. It seems that the corn-fed beef does more than just damage our bodies; it’s also draining and destroying our planet.

Now that we’ve discussed all the negative effects of grain-fed beef on ourselves and our environment, let’s talk about one solution to the problem. Switching cows back to a grass based diet will reduce the growth of acid-resistant E.coli bacteria which will produce safer, healthier beef, which studies have shown to be higher in nutritional value. A 2003 Journal of Dairy Science report noted that up to eighty percent of dairy cattle carry E.coli 0157, however after switching the cows from grain to grass for only five days the experiment showed the E.coli 0157 declined 1,000-fold. The cows diet not only affects the amount of bacteria found in the beef but also the nutritional makeup of the meat. According to the Mayo Clinic, when compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is lower in total fat, lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease, higher in vitamin E, vitamin B, beta-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vaccenic acid, CLA(conjugated linoleic acid) and has higher levels of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s protect our cardiovascular system and support optimal brain function. According to a California State University report, when cattle are taken off grass diets and switched to grain they immediately begin losing the omega 3’s they have stored in their tissues. As a result the grain-fed meat only contains 15-50 percent as much omega-3s as grass-fed. Cows that eat grass have twice the CLA per serving compared to grain fed. CLA has been linked to numerous health benefits including reduction of carcinogens, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. The report supports the findings that grass-fed beef contain a higher proportion of healthful lipids and antioxidants important to human health when compared to grain-fed.

As you can the feeding of grain to cows has many far reaching effects. Not only does it jeopardize our health and has the potential to actually kill us, but it is playing a big role in our reliance on fossil fuels and pollution of our air and water. Even with those factors that affect us personally, the fact remains that not only do we suffer, but so does the cow. The cattle are put through unnecessary pain and treated inhumanely with the constant feeding of antibiotics in order to keep them alive. One simple solution is actually just doing the right thing, the natural thing and putting the cattle back on their natural diet of grass. It would solve so much and benefit us on many levels including our health, food and where we call home, earth.

Works Cited
O'Brien, Robyn, and Rachel Kranz. "Corn Controversies." The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do about It. New York: Broadway, 2009. 119. Print.
Singer, Peter, and Jim Mason. "Meat and Milk Factories." The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter. [Emmaus, Pa.]: Rodale, 2006. 61. Print
References
Abbott, A., M. Basurto, C.A. Daley, G. Nader, and S. Larson. "Enhanced Nutrient Content of Grass Fed Beef:Justification for Health Benefit Label Claim." University of California Cooperative Extension Service. College of Agriculture, California State University, Chico. Web.
Food Inc. Dir. Robert Kenner. Perf. Michael Pollan. Magnolia Pictures, 2008. DVD.
"Grain-Fed Versus Grass-Fed Animal Products." Northwestern Health Sciences University, 2002. Web. .
Grogan, M.D., Martha. "Grass-fed Beef: What Are the Heart-health Benefits?" Mayo Clinic Medical Information and Tools for Healthy Living - MayoClinic.com. 5 Jan. 2010. Web. 07 June 2010. .
Moyer, Lindsay. "Grass Is Greener: Buy Healthy Meat." Womens Health July-Aug. 2008. Print
Planck, Nina. "Leafy Green Sewage." New York Times 21 Sept. 2006. Print
The Grass-Fed Revolution." Time 11 June 2006. LexisNexus. Web. 28 Apr. 2010
.
Segelken, Roger. "CU and USDA: Cattle Feeding Change Could Cut E.coli Risk." Cornell Chronicle [Massachusetts] 17 Sept. 1998. Print
Environmental Protection Agency. Documents and Publications. Feedlot Facility Pays $8,000 for Alleged Animal Waste Violations. Ontario, Oregon, 2009. Print.
Robbins, John. "What About Grass-fed Beef?" Foodrevolution.org. Web. .

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Letting Fast Food Companies Advertise.....

School should be an ad-free zone for children. We should not under any circumstances allow fast food advertising into our schools. Letting fast food companies advertise in the schools would send the wrong message to our children. It would compromise the trust we expect them to have towards school. Also if the fast food companies were able to advertise in schools it would give them some influence in the learning process because they would have access to the children’s minds. Therefore they would be able to promote their corporate agenda to a captive, na├»ve, immature audience. It would turn schools from a neutral place of learning into a 6 hour blitz of ads which the children are unable to escape from. Once let in there would be no way to avoid their influence because we would have given them the consent to corrupt the young minds.

School is supposed to be an educational environment but if fast food advertising is started it will send the wrong message to students. We teach our children to listen to their teachers, principals and guidance counselors. We let them know these people have their best interest at heart. They are put on the same level as parents in many ways. As small children school is the first place your parents ever leave you at. They drop you off in nursery school and tell you to listen to what your teachers tell you. That implies a level of trust. You feel that your parents trust the school with your welfare. School plays a major role in children’s development. Their experiences and what they learn in school shapes their future. They are told what they learn in school will help them throughout their lives. Children learn a variety of subjects from biology to basketball; Spanish to sexual education; so if they saw a McDonald’s or Burger King ad in school, they might assume that what is being advertised has some value to it. By having the ad inside, it seems that the school is promoting the product. That has a powerful effect because it is being shopped to a captive audience that has been taught to trust what they learn in school. Steven Kaplan, president of Sampling Corporation of America states, “There is an implied endorsement from a trusted institution” (22). School is where children learn not only facts from books but also some life and moral values. When students see “MADD” (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and “Just Say No to Drugs” posters they learn that getting high or drunk driving is bad for them. They see posters for different colleges and know that in order to have a productive future it is encouraged to go. So if they see an ad for a Whopper or Big Mac on the wall then they would surely think that it would be good for them because their school wouldn’t steer them wrong. It’s right there next to other ideas we encourage, so at that young age a child wouldn’t know the difference. Allowing these products to be advertised in school sends children the message they are good for them when the reality is the exact opposite. How can we teach healthy eating habits and healthy living when we are sending mixed messages to them. At a young, impressionable age the line between fact and propaganda would get blurred, and the trust associated with school would get ruined. In the class teachers are teaching students to eat healthy within the four food groups. Eat fruits and vegetables and how important it is to keep in shape and be healthy. So then why would you make them privy to products that could destroy their health with results such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease? On one hand we are telling them what’s bad for them, but then promoting it. At such a young age they would not know who or what to believe, so they would revert to what they’ve been taught, which is that what you see and learn in school is right. In an article from the Bergen County Record, University of Maryland associate professor, Jeffrey Arnett states, “It’s a misuse of the environment of the school. Schools should not be endorsing products. Schools are powerful institutions.”(a1) The confusion of having something no good for them being advertised in a place that is supposed to teach them all the good things could be very confusing to students. That mixed signal being sent to them could cause student to lose the trust they had for school, ruining its credibility.

Allowing fast food companies to advertise in schools gives them influence in the learning process. Fast food companies have been trying to advertise in schools for decades. These companies know that school is the perfect stage to promote their products and build brand loyalty. School guarantees them a captive audience for six to seven hours a day in an environment where children minds are very receptive. For fast food companies it is the perfect market to build the lifelong customers they are looking for. If they can get their product into a learning environment they are guaranteed to get their views across. For these companies children are a lucrative market. There are over 45 million children in school. Although we might not think of children as consumers, they have great economic clout. Elementary-age children spend over 11 billion dollars a year on a wide variety of products including food and beverages. Teenagers spend 57 billion dollars of their own money yearly. That is not counting the billions of dollars in purchases they influence. In Eric Schlosser’s, “Fast Food Nation”, he talks about the techniques fast food advertisers rely on to sell products such as nagging and its many forms (42-44). The spending power students have and the desire of fast food companies to harvest it has given birth to a whole industry devoted to getting the company’s product in school and ideas into kid’s heads. We find in Schlosser’s book that one such company, Lifetime Learning Systems tells companies, “Now you can enter the classroom through custom-made learning materials created with your specific marketing objectives in mind, through these materials your product or point of view becomes the focus of discussion in the classroom.”(56) This company which has worked with McDonalds bills itself as, “the nation’s recognized leader in the creation and dissemination of corporate-sponsored educational materials.” When these companies donate supplies and materials to our schools it comes with a price. The students are given slanted views on certain topics that favor the company’s product. Education is not supposed to be influenced by outside factors. Students deserve to learn the facts and make their own decisions based on unbiased information. By letting the advertising in our schools will lose that neutral position. The companies try to disguise their motives by donating supplies and materials to struggling schools but usually these donations come with a contract that allows their logo and message to be displayed. If they really wanted to be charitable they would just donate anonymously and unconditionally. These sponsored materials serve the purpose of getting their message to the students. Having these materials in the classroom allows the companies to play a part in the learning process and influence it their favor. That may sound like a good idea to the school districts because it will help reduce costs but in the end it’s the students who wind up losing. Arnold Fege, director of government relations for the Washington based National Parent-Teacher association argues it seems everyone wins except the child who is subject to the barrage of propaganda. “Schools are supposed to be free marketplaces of ideas.” Fege says. It would be hard for the teacher to tell the children that fried foods are bad for you while reading from a textbook with a Ronald McDonald cover on it. This type of corporate involvement in our schools would be only beneficial to the districts and the companies. The kids would end up in crossfire between the district balancing their budget and the company pushing their burger. Alex Molnar, author of, “Giving Kids the Business” states,” Private profit is the motive behind funding for public education.” These companies are waiting to take advantage of most school districts need for supplies and contributions to get their foot in the door and their hooks in our kids.

In conclusion, having fast food advertising in our schools does a disservice to our children. They are going to school to be educated, not sold things. We have to maintain the integrity of our schools if we want our children to continue to learn. Students should not be influenced by corporate agenda when learning. School’s single goal should be what’s best for the kids. Children should be able to focus on learning without being inundated by advertisements. Teachers and administrators should set the agenda not outside commercial interests. We trust school officials and teachers to be surrogates four our children while in school, not pimps, prostituting their minds to the fast food nation for rulers and computers.











Works Cited
"Captive Kids: A Report on Commercial Pressures on Kids at School." Consumers Union 1995. Consumers Union. Web. .
Gearan, Anne. "Channel One Ads Just a Portion of Commercialism in Schools." The Associated Press. 10 Dec. 1998. Web.
Gill, Dee. "The Business of Education;Subtle Seduction in Classrooms;Critics Say Earning-not Learning-is Corporate Motive." The Houston Chronicle 15 Mar. 1993, 2 STAR ed., sec. A: 1. Print.
Kanner, Bernice. "Advertising Infiltrates Schools." Journal of Commerce 28 Mar. 2000: 4. Print.
Lavelle, Louis. "Commerce in The Classroom;Do In-School Ads Exploit Children?" The Record [Bergen County, NJ] 7 Feb. 1999, News sec.: A01. Print.
Molnar, Alex. Giving Kids the Business: the Commercialization of America's Schools. Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1996. Print.

CAFO's Feeding Cows Grain is Inhumane & Dangerous.....

This research paper will address the practice of feeding grain to cows and the resulting beef they produce as opposed to feeding them grass. I will explain how CAFO’s ( Centralized Animal Feeding Operations ) feeding cows grain is inhumane and dangerous because it causes the growth and spread of E.coli 0157 through tainted beef and waste runoff and how switching cows back to their natural diet of grass is better for humans, cows and the environment. We will look at studies showing that grain diets cause acidity in the cow’s stomach which causes pain to them and produces E.coli 0157. That strain of E.coli can cause death to those who eat the contaminated beef. Also the excessive waste from the CAFO’s produces poisonous runoff which pollutes crops such as spinach and lettuce with E.coli. Most of the E.coli production can be stopped by simply switching the cows to a grass diet. The benefits for the environment, cow and beef consumer will be shown.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Annotated Bibliography # 3

Moyer, Lindsay. "Grass Is Greener: Buy Healthy Meat." Womens Health July-Aug. 2008. Print

Article on how cows are being fed cheap corn. Corn fed to cows produce greenhouse gases. How grass takes less fossil fuel to ship and feed cows than corn and grain. Also lists farms where grass-fed cows are. The grass-fed cows have higher conjugated linoleic acid per serving which aids in weight loss and lessens heart disease.


Planck, Nina. "Leafy Green Sewage." New York Times 21 Sept. 2006. Print

New York times article on recent spate of E.coli infections linked to spinach. Food safety officials say it comes from beef and dairy cattle. They blame E.coli 0157 which comes from the unnaturally acidic stomachs of cows being fed grain. 2007 journal says 80% of cattle affected. Article says to stop blaming spinach growers and start looking at beef farms.


"The Grass-Fed Revolution." Time 11 June 2006. LexisNexus. Web. 28 Apr. 2010. .

Time magazine article about JonTaggart, farmer of grass-fed cows. Dr. Steve Atchey says feedlot fattened animals have higher levels of saturated fat. Shows how grain diet raises acidity which breeds E.coli. How it contributes to Mad Cow disease. How overuse of antibiotics has created bacteria in cows.


Morgan, Dan. "Cattle Feedlots in Economic Pincer; Huge Fattening Feedlots at Center of Storm in Beef Economy." Washington Post 31 Jan. 1977, A1 sec. Print

News Articles on centralized animal feeding operations, Monfort of Colorado. How cows are fattened until 1100 pounds and then slaughtered. How cattle fed with corn are juicier and reach the slaughter weight faster. In 1950's opening of giant commercial facilities that fatten 30,000 to 100,000 animals at one time. Talks about fats food especially McDonald's development and what hamburgers are made of. Dispute between the American Cattleman's association on grass-fed vs. corn-fed cattle.


LeMieux, Dave. "What Could Be Better than Grass-fed, Free-range, Pesticide-free." Muskegon Chronicle [Michigan] 20 Mar. 2005, sec. D: 1. Print

Article about Creswick Farms in Raveena. Farm that has grass-fed cows. Purdue University study showing grass-fed beef higher in Omega 3 and similar to how we ate in stone age. Stone age diet shown to have fewer diseases. Tells how the farm composts all the animal waste.

Annotated Bibliography # 2

McDermott, Terry. "Burger Bacteria Hard To Trace in Blending Process." Times-Picayune [New Orleans] 12 Feb. 1993, National ed.: A2. Print

Article on E.coli bacteria found in Jack In The Box hamburgers. The USDA trying to figure out where the tainted beef originated from and what caused it. Also talks about how hamburger meat is processed.


Iggers, Jeremy. "Cattle Call; Grass-fed and Organic Beef Are Becoming More Popular as Consumers Seek Foods That Are More Healthful and Friendly to the Enviroment." Star Tribune [Minneapolis] 9 Oct. 2003, Metro ed., Taste sec.: 1T. Print.

Article on how people are traveling distances in oreder to purchase grass-fed organically raised beef. Talks about health related issues and tase differences in grass-fed amd grain-fed beef. Costs involved in running grass-fed organic farms. Also gives locations of organic farms.


Squires, Sally. "What's the Beef?" Washington Post 1 Aug. 2006, Final ed., Health sec.: F01. Print

Article on USDA standards for labeling beef. The standards for differences of grass-fed, certified organic and black angus beef. Has health and nutritional differences and discusses tast differences.


Sagon, Candy. "Grass-Fed Beef Called Healthier." Washington Post 15 Mar. 2006, Final ed., Food sec.: F01. Print

Report that grass-fed cows are higher in beneficialfatty acids from Union of Concerned Scientist. Report compares omega 3 levels. It also discusses tast differences between grass and grain fed cattle. Also the price difference in purchasing the two.


Segelken, Roger. "CU and USDA: Cattle Feeding Change Could Cut E.coli Risk." Cornell Chronicle [Massachusetts] 17 Sept. 1998. Print

Cornell University newspaper atricle of research done on how cattles diets could reduce E.coli. The study shows that in as little as 5 days of feeding grass the bacteria count is reduced. The study is supported by the USDA.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Advertising in School is Unethical & Corrupts the Learning Process While Promoting Corporate Agenda

“Letting Fast Food Companies Advertise in Schools is Unethical & Will Destroy the Integrity of the Educational System by Giving Companies the Ability to Corrupt the Learning Process & Promote Their Corporate Agenda”

School should be an ad-free zone for our children. Letting fast food companies advertise in schools is unethical and will destroy the integrity of the educational system by giving companies the ability to corrupt the learning process and promote their corporate agenda. We should not under any circumstances allow fast food advertising into our schools. Advertising would turn schools from a neutral place of learning into a 6 hour, ad filled, biased cage which kids are unable to escape from. Students and teachers would become trapped in the corporate web if allowed into our schools. Once let in there would be no way to avoid their influence.

School is supposed to be an educational environment. A place where a child goes to focus on learning. We teach them that it is a safe place where you are taught to learn from and trust what you are told. We tell them to listen to the teachers, principals, guidance counselors and coaches. We let them know these people have your best interest at heart. They are put on somewhat the same level as parents in many ways. School is the first place your parents ever leave you at. They drop you off in nursery school and tell you to listen to what your teachers tell you. That implies a level of trust. Your parents trust the school with your welfare. School plays such a major role in children’s development. Your experiences and what you learn there shape your future. You are taught that school is where you learn the truth about all subjects in life. You learn everything from biology to basketball; Spanish to sexual education; so if you saw a McDonald's or Burger King ad school, you would believe whatever that ad is selling or saying must be right. Ads found in school make it seem like the school is promoting the product. It can be so powerful because it is being shopped to a captive audience that has been asked to trust what the teacher says and does. Steven Kaplan, president of Sampling Corporation of America says, “There is an implied endorsement from a trusted institution” You’re taught whatever you read in your textbook is fact. So then whatever you read on the school wall must be fact too. When you see “MADD” and “Just Say No to Drugs “posters you know that getting high and drunk driving are bad for you. You see the posters for different colleges and know that you should go to one order to have a good future. That would lead you to believe what you see on school walls. So when you see the ad for the Whopper and Big Mac then surely they are good for you. Your school wouldn't steer you wrong. That's what you've been told your whole life. If we advertise these products in school then we are sending the message that they are good for you. That would be blurring the line between fact and propaganda. To allow fast food advertising would contradict the lessons being taught to kids. They're taught fast food like hamburgers; fries and soda are unhealthy and should only be consumed in moderation, if at all. By marketing such products in school, it's highly possible that students will get the wrong idea that they're okay after all. We can't be sending mixed signals to developing kids, otherwise we lose our credibility. It’s hard enough to get the children to learn what we’ve been teaching them for decades, now we throw a curve-ball at them. Materials in school should have a legitimate educational purpose, not a commercial motive. “It's a misuse of the environment of the school,” says, Jeffrey Arnett, an associate professor at the University of Maryland. “Schools should not be endorsing products, they are powerful institutions.” Letting fast food advertising into school walls would be a perversion of education.

Fast food companies have been trying to get access to advertising in schools for decades. School is the perfect stage to promote their products because it guarantees them a captive audience for six to seven hours a day. For the companies, kids are a lucrative market. There are over 45 million children in school. Although we might not think of children as consumers, they do have great economic clout. Today's elementary-age children have tremendous spending power; around 15 billion per year, 11 billion of which they spend on a wide variety of products from food, beverages, and clothes to toys and games. Teenagers spend 57 billion of their own money yearly. In addition they influence purchases of over 200 billion, according to James McNeal, a Texas A&M University professor. An entire industry has sprung up that's devoted solely to helping companies get their products in schools and to the kids. Fast food companies want to be able to get their views and product into children’s minds while they are vulnerable in order to build the cherished brand loyalty that lasts for a lifetime. They donate money and supplies to the schools but they are not doing it for nothing. These sponsored educational materials serve their purpose; getting their message to school kids. Alex Molnar writes, “Private profit is their motive behind funding for public education.” If they really wanted to be charitable they could just donate anonymously and unconditionally. Usually these educational materials come with a contract that allows their corporate name, logo and message to be displayed; sometimes even having their corporate mascot appear at certain sponsored events. A contract with the school districts is just that, a business arrangement. It really only benefits the two parties making the contract; the school district and the company, not the kids. The kids get caught in crossfire between the district balancing their budget and the company pushing their burger. With any advertisement or sponsorship comes the sponsors influence and point of view. The fast food companies will be influencing the way our children view food and any other view the fast food companies want to portray in their ads. Dee Gill, from The Houston Chronicle writes, “Corporate sponsors have offered up millions of dollars in equipment from classroom materials to computers—that help keep schools’ cost down. School boards don’t have to cut budgets, parents don’t have to pay more taxes and teachers don’t have to beg to get these much-needed items as often when corporations help. But the escalating involvement of corporations in schools has some educational experts worried. Everyone wins except the child who is subjected to the barrage of propaganda, argues Arnold Fege, director of government relations for the Washington based National Parent-Teacher association. Schools are supposed to be free marketplaces of ideas, Fege says. Corporations have vested interests in promoting their own products or their own point of view. Allowing a corporation to direct the learning process—through filmstrips, curriculum guides or whatever they provide—allows it to further its own agenda through vulnerable children, he says. Even the educational films that so many companies provide for schools can be dangerous propaganda he says. He asks the questions: Do parents want their kids to learn about the environment from oil companies? Do they want children to learn nutrition from fast food vendors? In such cases, he says, those sponsors have reasons to portray the facts with a slant favorable to their industries. ‘If they (corporations) really wanted to further education, they’d pay for it.’ He says. ‘How could you justify distracting kids with this garbage if you were really concerned about educating them better? ‘ The advertising companies that have spawned from the entrance of advertising into the school market are not shy in stating their intended purpose. One such company, Lifetime Learning Systems, which has worked with McDonald's, bills itself as, “the nation's recognized leader in the creation and dissemination of corporate-sponsored educational materials.” The promotional intent of the company's service is quite evident in its own literature: “School is the ideal time to influence attitudes, build long-term loyalties, introduce new products, test market, promote sampling and trial usage and above all, to generate immediate sales.” Does this sound like a company that has our kid’s interest at heart? Sounds more like someone who is taking advantage of most school districts need for supplies and contributions to get their foot in the door and their hooks in our kids. The companies they represent prey on our children’s naivety and immaturity in order to make money.

In conclusion, having fast food advertising in our schools does a disservice to our children. They are going to school to be educated, not sold things. Senator Patrick Leahy says, “It's our responsibility to make it clear that schools are here to serve children, not commercial interest.” We have to maintain the integrity of our schools and credibility of our teachers if we want our children to continue to learn. Teachers should not be influenced by corporate agenda when teaching. The single goal should be what’s best for the children. Children should be able to focus on learning without being inundated by advertisements. Teachers and administrators should set the agenda not outside commercial interests. We trust school officials and teachers to be surrogates for our children while in school, not pimps, prostituting their minds to the fast food nation for rulers and computers.


Works Cited

"Captive Kids: A Report on Commercial Pressures on Kids at School." Consumers Union 1995. Consumers Union. Web. .

Gearan, Anne. "Channel One Ads Just a Portion of Commercialism in Schools." The Associated Press. 10 Dec. 1998. Web.

Gill, Dee. "The Business of Education;Subtle Seduction in Classrooms;Critics Say Earning-not Learning-is Corporate Motive." The Houston Chronicle 15 Mar. 1993, 2 STAR ed., sec. A: 1. Print.

Kanner, Bernice. "Advertising Infiltrates Schools." Journal of Commerce 28 Mar. 2000: 4. Print.

Lavelle, Louis. "Commerce in The Classroom;Do In-School Ads Exploit Children?" The Record [Bergen County, NJ] 7 Feb. 1999, News sec.: A01. Print.

Molnar, Alex. Giving Kids the Business: the Commercialization of America's Schools. Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1996. Print.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Advertising in School Unethical & Corrupts Learning Process While Promoting Corporate Agenda

School should be an ad-free zone for our children. Letting fast food companies advertise in schools is unethical and will destroy the integrity of the educational system by giving companies the ability to corrupt the learning process and promote their corporate agenda. We should not under any circumstances allow fast food advertising into our schools. Advertising would turn schools from a neutral place of learning into a 6 hour, ad filled, biased cage which kids are unable to escape from. Students and teachers would become trapped in the corporate web if allowed into our schools.

School is supposed to be an educational environment. A place where a child goes to focus on learning. We teach them that it is a safe place where you are taught to trust what you are told. We tell them to listen to the teachers, principals, guidance counselors and coaches. We let them know these people have your best interest at heart. They are put on somewhat the same level as parents in many ways. School is the first place your parents ever leave you at. They drop you off in nursery school and tell you to listen to what your teachers tell you. That implies a level of trust. Your parents trust the school with your welfare. School plays such a major role in a childs development. Your experiences and what you learn there shape your future. You are taught that school is where you learn the truth about all subjects in life. You learn everything from biology to basketball; Spanish to sexual education;. So if you saw a McDonald's or Burger King ad school, you would believe whatever that ad is selling or saying must be right. Ads found in school make it seem like the school is promoting the product. It can be so powerful because it is being shopped to a captive audience that has been asked to trust what the teacher says and does. Steven Kaplan, president of Sampling Corporation of America says, “There is an implied endorsement from a trusted institution” You're taught whatever you read in your textbook is fact. So then whatever you read on the school wall must be fact too. When you see the, “MADD” and “Just Say No to Drugs “ posters you know that getting high and drunk driving are bad for you. You see the posters for different colleges and know that you should go to one order to have a good future. That would lead you to believe what you see on school walls. So when you see the ad for the Whopper and Big Mac then surely they are good for you. Your school wouldn't steer you wrong. That's what you've been told your whole life. If we advertise these products in school then we are sending the message that they are good for you. That would be blurring the line between fact and propaganda. To allow fast food advertising would contradict the lessons being taught to kids. They're taught fast food like hamburgers, fries and soda are unhealthy and should only be consumed in moderation, if at all. By marketing such products in school, it's highly possible that students will get the wrong idea that they're okay after all. We can't be sending mixed signals to developing kids, otherwise we lose our credibility. It’s hard enough to get the children to learn what we’ve been teaching them for decades, now we throw a curve-ball at them. Materials in school should have a legitimate educational purpose, not a commercial motive. “It's a misuse of the environmentt of the school,” says, Jeffrey Arnett,an associatee professor at the University of Maryland. “Schools should not be endorsing products, they are powerful institutions.” Letting fast food advertising into school walls would be a perversion of education.

Fast food companies have been trying to get access to advertising in schools for decades. School is the perfect stage to promote their products because it guarantees them a captive audience for six to seven hours a day. For the companies, kids are a lucrative market. There are over 45 million children in school. Although we might not think of children as consumers, they do have great economic clout. Today's elementary-age children have tremendous spending power; around 15 billion per year, 11 billion of which they spend on a wide variety of products from food, beverages, and clothes to toys and games. Teenagers spend 57 billion of their own money yearly. In addition they influence purchases of over 200 billion, according to James McNeal, a Texas A&M University professor. An entire industry has sprung up that's devoted solely to helping companies get their products in schools and to the kids. Fast food companies want to be able to get their views and product into children’s minds while they are vulnerable in order to build the cherished brand loyalty that lasts for a lifetime They donate money and supplies to the schools but they are not doing it for nothing. These sponsored educational materials serve their purpose; getting their message to school kids. Alex Molnar writes, “ Private profit is their motive behind funding for public education.” If they really wanted to be charitable they could just donate anonymously and unconditionally. Usually these educational materials come with a contract that
allows their corporate name, logo and message to be displayed. Sometimes even having their corporate mascot appear at certain sponsored events. A contract with the school districts is just that, a business arrangement. It really only benefits the two parties making the contract, the school district and the company, not the kids. The kids get caught in crossfire between the district balancing their budget and the company pushing their burger. With any advertisement or sponsorship comes the sponsors influence and point of view. The fast food companies will be influencing the way our children view food and any other view the fast food companies want to portray in their ads. Dee Gill, from The Houston Chronicle writes, “ Corporate sponsors have offered up millions of dollars in equipment from classroom materials to computers—that help keep schools’ cost down. School boards don’t have to cut budgets, parents don’t have to pay more taxes and teachers don’t have to beg to get these much-needed items as often when corporations help. But the escalating involvement of corporations in schools has some educational experts worried. Everyone wins except the child who is subjected to the barrage of
propaganda, argues Arnold Fege, director of government relations for the Washington based National Parent-Teacher association. Schools are supposed to be free marketplaces of ideas, Fege says. Corporations have vested interests in promoting their own products or their own point of view. Allowing a corporation to direct the learning process—through filmstrips, curriculum guides or whatever they provide—allows it to further its own agenda through vulnerable children, he says. Even the
educational films that so many companies provide for schools can be dangerous propaganda he says. He asks the questions: Do parents want their kids to learn about the environment from oil companies? Do they want children to learn nutrition from fast food vendors? In such cases, he says, those sponsors have reasons to portray the facts with a slant favorable to their industries. ‘If they really (corporations) really wanted to further education, they’d pay for it.’ He says. ‘How could you justify distracting kids with this garbage if you were really concerned about educating them better? ‘ The advertising companies that have spawned from the entrance of advertising into the school market are not shy in stating their intended purpose. One such company, Lifetime Learning Systems, which has worked with McDonald's, bills itself as, “the nation's recognized leader in the creation and dissemination of corporate-sponsored educational materials.” The promotional intent of the company's service is quite evident in its own literature: “School is the ideal time to influence attitudes, build long-term loyalties, introduce new products, test market, promote sampling and trial usage and above all, to generate immediate sales.” Does this sound like a company that has our kids interest at heart? Sounds more like someone who is preying on most school districts need for supplies and contributions to get their foot in the door and their hooks in our kids. Worse than that, the companies they represent want to prey on our childrens naivety and immaturity in order to make money.

In conclusion, having fast food advertising in our schools does a disservice to our children. They are going to school to be educated, not sold things. Senator Patrick Leahy says, “It's our responsibility to make it clear that schools are here to serve children, not commercial interest.” We have to maintain the
integrity of our schools and credibility of our teachers if we want our children to continue to learn. Teachers should not be influenced by corporate agenda when teaching. The single goal should be whats best for the children. Children should be able to focus on learning without being inundated by advertisements. Teachers and administrators should set the agenda not outside commercial interests. We trust our school officials and teachers to be surrogates for our children while in school, not pimps, prostituting our children to the fast food nation for rulers and computers.