Factory Farm to Table: Agriculture’s Impact on Austin’s Working Class

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Cavanaugh, Kerri

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Factory farming accounts for the production of 99% of meat in America. Factory farm practices are often unethical, dangerous, and hidden from public view. Despite the often unseen work of this industry, factory farming plays a major role in American diets and food choices. The lobbying done by the corporations who own factory farms (like Tyson’s), and those corporations who utilize factory produced food (like McDonald’s), have helped shape government regulations and subsidies to their benefits, resulting in low cost, high calorie foods being more accessible than nutritious foods.

This paper explores how the ways individuals can afford to eat shapes the ways the individuals think about themselves and their places in society. This is achieved first by looking at government nutritional guides and funding for food, and the consequences these decisions create for consumers. Next, it will look at how factory farms came to exist and how these practices affect the employees within the factories. Then, it looks into a government bill on obesity and how such proposed legislation shapes public attitudes on obesity. The fourth chapter analyses surveys and a focus group that were conducted as part of this study. Lastly, long-term and short-term solutions to America’s food production system will be discussed.


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