TEDx Talk on the Unintended Consequences of our Broken Food System with Andrew Gunther

‪Andrew Gunther, Program Director of Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), talks about the enormous unintended consequences of our broken food system–one based on industrial agriculture and factory farms. His presentation focuses on three key questions, 1) What’s broken in our food system? 2) How did it get broken?, and 3) What can we do about it?

Gunther supports that there’s “something inherently terribly wrong with this system. We are destroying our planet very slowly, inexorably.” He highlights how our current food system is having devastating unintended consequences including environmental pollution and destruction; huge social costs to slaughterhouse workers who are injured and abused; and the enormous cost to animals and animal welfare – the extreme level of cruelty to animals.

He talks about one huge problem–that of the 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics used to treat the animals. He notes the irony that it was us who made them sick in the first place–and now we somehow need to give them antibiotics for a problem the we ourselves have caused. He asks, “how can we feed them the wrong food when cows are ruminant animals? They aren’t meant to eat corn and grains.” He goes on to say we feed them high-density rations to fatten them that only a percentage of the animal can assimilate into their bodies, and that this is creating enormous waste that is polluting our environment. He says we’re killing our land by trying to use this waste manure that’s very high in nitrogen as fertilizer for land that can’t assimilate all the nitrogen, causing nitrogen runoff that’s killing our rivers, streams and oceans. He’s angry that these factory farm corporations and this system of farming is doing all the wrong things to animals and the environment.

Gunther asks, “Is this the kind of farming we want? These are pasture-based animals, not animals that belong in cages. Pigs don’t need to have their tails cut off or the teeth cut out to force them to live in a tiny space.” He suggests instead that these animals should live outside in pastures like they used to, not confined to tiny cages where they can’t even move. He goes on to support the sustainable farmers that are raising animals the right way.

About Andrew Gunther:

Andrew Gunther is an outspoken critic of industrial farming systems. Gunther routinely exposes the negative impacts of industrial agriculture on farm animals, the environment, and society. He has been the driving force behind some landmark works on the impacts of pasture-based production on the environment, and linking animal-social justice and the environment in a way that is beneficial to each component. He’s a regular contributor to Huffington Post.



Speaker: Andrew Gunther, Animal Welfare Approved (AWA)

Video Produced By: ‪http://tedxmanhattan.org

Published on: Mar 13, 2014

Watch on TED.com

TED is the original source of the materials / TED Conferences LLC



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