And on His Farm He Had a Robot

One of the great hoaxes about factory farms is that they call themselves agricultural operations, when they really are industrial ones. What’s in a name? A lot. Being labeled agricultural avoids having to comply with the pollution standards that govern industry. Agricultural endeavors can bypass many of the air pollution and soil contamination laws industry is subject to, despite the fact greenhouse gas is greenhouse gas, no matter how it is generated.

A Dutch farming company, Lely, has installed over 12,500 Astronaut Robot milking machines, which among other things, track cows with motion detectors and 3-D imaging systems as the cows enter the milking station and a TDS (teat detection system) locates the cows utters and clamps on. Your milk, untouched by human hands.

We often comment about how far removed we have become from the animals that provide our food, and this is yet another step in making animals mere machines for our benefit, which gets back to the question of: “Is this farming, or is it industry?” Much of our food today comes from assembly line operations – birth to death and then packaging and off to the store.

In talking about pornography, Justice Stewart once remarked, “I can’t define it but Ii know it when I see it.” I think the same can be said about industry, I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it, and factory farming is “it.”

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