Animal Agriculture and Food Poisoning

Animal Agriculture and Food Poisoning


Food-borne illnesses are responsible for the hospitalization of 128,000 and death of 3,000 Americans annually. All animal products can cause food poisoning, with the bodies of birds being the primary cause, although sometimes contaminated plant foods can cause it as well.

Food-borne illnesses come from intestinal bacteria- something decidedly lacking in plants like spinach and sprouts. So how do spinach E.Coli outbreaks start? Animals on factory farms produce an enormous amount of waste and are not subject to sewage processing like human waste. This means the waste is pumped into manure cesspools (ironically called lagoons) where it poses an enormous risk to the environment and public health. Run-off from lagoons makes its way into waterways and is sometimes used directly to irrigate plant crops. This contaminates the plant crops with food-borne pathogens.

Unsanitary farming conditions, in combination with equally unsanitary conditions when animals are “processed” (slaughtered and dismembered) mean that fecal contamination is rife in animal products, making them the root cause of food poisoning, including dangerous antibiotic resistant strains of food-borne pathogens.

Both directly and indirectly, the farming and killing of animals for human consumption is a major cause of food poisoning and illness in humans.

Animal Abuse = Human Abuse

Why is making the connection important?

As animal advocates, we are often met with the claim that our advocacy for animals is somehow less important because human suffering is a priority. We won’t address the hypocrisy of this claim here. However, by clearly illustrating the connection of how animal abuse also leads to human abuse, this not only counteracts this quick dismissal of animal suffering, but it can also make our message easier for others to relate to from a human rights perspective.

This is the third release of our new series “Animal Abuse = Human Abuse” designed to help expand the reach of our advocacy for animals to new audiences.

‘To read more about food-borne illnesses, click here.

To read more about food poisoning from pesticides, click here.