Ecology And Environment

The Effect of Corporate Farming on the Environment



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These days the environment is under a very bright spotlight, from global warming to nonrenewable fuel sources such as coal. Hundreds upon thousands of articles, as well as a movie thanks to Al Gore, have been created warning us about the impending destruction of the environment. Sorry to add wood to the fire but there is another aspect that is damaging the envirinment quite considerably.

It is known as corporate farming. These giant super companies which produce the sugar, beef, poultry and other various crops and food stuff are the newest enemy to the environment. Corporate farming is a business venture, nothing more, nothing less. The owners of these super farms sit in their penthouses puffing on a cigar while they watch their company stats in the stock market rise and fall accordingly. These corporate farms are a bit of an irony, although they exploit the envirnment to yield them their profits, they really couldn't care less about the actual state of the environment. The effect of corporate farming on the environment is more seriuos than one would think and a brief outline will show exactly how serious it is.

Corporate farming is all about money, and the faster they grow their crops or livestock the faster they make their profits. One method in which this is achieved is monoculture. This is a method in which a single crop is grown in a large area in order to maximise profits. The negative aspects of this method of farming is that monoculture puts an entire crop at risk to infection. Since they are all the same type of crop an infection can spread very easily. It also reduces the bio diversity of the area. You wont find a rhino trying to eat from a banana tree, it's the same with monoculture, it reduces the variety of organisms in that area and disrupts the food chain and ecological balance.

Since the farms need to make a profit they use ways to speed up growth of the crops by using fertilisers. These fertilisers contain substances called nitrates and these are like caviar to the plant community. Crops thrive on it, often only getting it through the ground or through the air by the process of nitrification. The negative side of fertilisers is that the nitrates in them are exceptionally soluble. When it rains, surface run off carries these nitrates into to nearby ponds and rivers. The algae then goes through some massive growth due to the tasty new nitrates and suffocates the ponds and rivers in a process called eutrophication. A certain amount of algae is good, but too much is fatal to the ecosystem of a marine environment.

Bugs and insects love crops, the more they eat, the less crops there are and the less profit the corporate farms make. In order to combat the pesky insects insecticides are used. Now there are some serious chemicals in insecticides such as carbamates, organophosphates and paradichlorobenzenes (the same stuff found in mothballs). These substances can be very harmful if ingested and one way this can happen is by surface run off. The chemicals can get washed away after some rain fall much the same way as the nitrates were washed away. These then get into the water table and contaminate it. Humans as well as almost all wild animals drink water that originated from the water table. This is a serious health risk.

Corporate farming isn't only crops, it encompasses live stock as well. The same principal is used with live stock as with crops, grow them quickly. The best way to increase growth rate of animals is to use hormones. The hormones almost triple the rate at which animals grow and have quite a few negative side as well. These hormones can create genetic mutations in the animals as well as make their livers toxic which in turn infect the rest of the animal. Using hormones is not only unfair to the animal but dangerous to humans as well.

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