This is a guest article by Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks – Simon

Does this concept of steroid-pumped, caged cattle, knee-deep in urine soaked manure hamburgers frighten you?  Does the fact that these same hamburgers are also given antibiotics on a daily basis to stop illness and disease make you apprehensive? Does it bother you that the meat from these cattle, when prepared as hamburger, is spiked with ammonia before sale to fast food stores?

Well, it should because you are eating hamburgers from cattle raised in a manner unprecedented in our history. If you have never heard of factory farming, this is how it goes.

Factory farming is the practice of raising overcrowded livestock in a confined space (otherwise known as “confinement at high stocking density” or “CAFOs”). It’s designed to produce the highest output for the lowest cost by relying on “economies of scale” (the cost advantages that a business obtains due to expansion), modern machinery, biotechnology and global trade.

Confinement at high stocking density requires the use of powerful antibiotics to reduce the spread of disease and pestilence caused by crowded living conditions. Antibiotics keep livestock alive by killing intestinal bacteria long enough for them to be sent to the slaughterhouse. Growth hormones, antimicrobial agents and breeding programs produce animals more suited to the confined conditions, but less suited for the dinner table.

In essence, you are eating factory farmed meat from a sick, diseased animal being treated daily by a veterinarian working for a large corporation whose sole assignment is to get that steer to market before the animal dies. It is a race to market that the consumer loses every time.

The alarming results of the USDA’s National Residue Program Data for 2007 found 120 veterinary drugs and pesticides and another 42 chemical residues in beef products analyzed. Several of those drugs and pesticides are known carcinogens.

Along with the livestock, employees of factory farms are becoming ill with many different diseases contracted from the cattle. And that includes cancer. If the industries’ employees are becoming ill, what do you think the factory farmed food is doing to you? The current stats are: 1 in 3 women will have cancer in their lifetime. One in 2 men in their lifetime. There is no other rational explanation for the increase in these statistics.

We believe that factory farmed livestock “shot up” on antibiotics, whether they need them or not, and fed synthetic growth hormones is one of the major contributors to weight gain and obesity. It is an ugly truth, but a truth facing each and every one of us every time we order food at a fast food chain, our favorite restaurant or go shopping at our favorite market.

When you consider that just one cow discharges the equivalent excrement of 14 people, you get an idea of the extent of a factory farm’s animal waste and its capacity to spread disease. Author David Kirby in his newly released book Animal Factory, explains: “Whilst human sewage is treated to kill pathogens, animal waste is not. Hog manure, for instance,  contains 10- to-100 times more pathogens than human waste.”

Factory farms aren’t required to process animal waste safely at sewage treatment facilities. Instead, waste is stored in manure lagoons – vast, open cesspools which often leak and can overflow onto surrounding cropland or collapse during heavy storms. This includes chemical byproducts such as ammonia, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, pesticides and the DNA altering waste of Bt corn fed to the animals.

Astonishingly, neither the FDA nor the USDA finds any danger in the factory farming of steers. Both agencies have opposed and suppressed the populist movement to have factory farmed meats clearly labeled with disclosures to the general public.

To save money on feed, factory farmed livestock are trained early on to eat only genetically engineered (GMO) corn by locking them into pens and feeding them nothing else. Either they eat the GMO corn or they starve.

Cattle do not have the genetic ability to digest corn which ferments in at least one of the four stomach compartments. GMO corn feed is one of the root causes of the bacteria, E. coli. Many scientists argue that mad cow disease also derives from the feeding of GMO corn to cattle.

The food industries’ solution is to combine ground meat with ammonia to kill the E. coli bacteria instead of eradicating the root cause. Naturally, the industry refuses to disclose this information to the general public and opposes it being required on their labels. It’s not surprising. After all, seeing ammonia listed under “ingredients” is enough to put anyone off hamburgers for life.

That is why feeding GMO corn to cattle requires the prophylactic use of antibiotics to prevent disease and illness. Cattle become very ill and die after being force-fed GMO corn for more than 140 to 180 days. While antibiotics may prevent some illnesses, more often their use serves to mask illnesses in cattle sold to slaughterhouses.

When asked about GMO animal feed, the Director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), citing the potential for such unintended dangers, stated, “… the CVM believes that animal feeds derived from genetically modified plants present unique animal and food safety concerns.” He further explained that residues of unexpected substances could make meat and milk products harmful to humans.

In effect, our nation’s youth are ordering double cheese, factory farmed ammonia burgers with genetically modified food ingredients stuffed with addictive food chemicals.

Most, if not all, fast food restaurants use the same sources and ingredients – all from Big Food manufacturers. And factory farmed hamburgers are not limited to fast food chains. Hamburger made from steroid-pumped cattle raised in confined pens knee-deep in manure and shot up with antibiotics and processed with ammonia are found on countless menus in well-known, upscale chains and well-known local restaurants everywhere across the U.S.

The next time you look at a hamburger, ask yourself, “Is this a hamburger or a chemical dump site that I am going to eat?”

Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks, R.N., are the authors of the award winning books – Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS – How to Eliminate Pain and Extend your Life (Books and Authors 2010 Best Books in the Health, Diet & Reference Categories) and Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula – A Change of Lifestyle Diet Designed for Everyone (Blogger News Net 2010 Best Health And Nutrition Book Award winner) available at, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world.

The authors’ latest book, It’s Not Your Fault – Weight Gain, Obesity and Food Addiction is now available at, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and booksellers everywhere.

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