Factory Farming & Scientific Creation of Fruits & Vegetables, Genetically Modified Oranisms (GMO)

IELTS Writing Test Task 2 Essay

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic:

Some people support agricultural developments such as factory farming and scientific creation of fruits and vegetables. Others oppose this view.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion. Include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

How would you answer this essay question about factory farming? Post your answer in the comments section below...

Here are some points to consider when planning your essay answer:

Intensive livestock production (factory farming) is the raising of animals for commercial purposes in small areas of land in which the animal load per unit area is high.

Production is increased in the shortest possible time and using the minimum space required. The intensive livestock production requires high investments in infrastructure, constructions, labor, technology and food. The intensive livestock production is governed by the laws of industrial production.

The advantages of this system are the high production per unit of time and per animal, the standardization of processes and products and the flexibility to respond to market demand.

The disadvantages are the high consumption of energy and the generation of waste from the manure of animals that are highly polluting and difficult to manage in these farms. However, the demand for food throughout the world and the reduction of productive areas make this type of exploitation necessary.

Faced with this situation, intensive livestock production should be considered with environmentally sustainable management practices. Although it presents great difficulties, it is not impossible and great efforts are being made to promote and implement sustainable practices.

On the other hand, intensive livestock production from the agribusiness point of view is a much more efficient and profitable production than the extensive one, although as mentioned, it requires more investment.

From the environmental point of view, not only management that mitigates the adverse effects is required but also everything related to animal welfare, which includes a set of practices that ensure that there is no abuse and that there are appropriate conditions for the animals.

Examples of most common factory farming sectors: poultry farming, fish farming, pig farming, dairy cattle, etc.

Transgenic foods: What are they? Advantages and disadvantages.

Transgenic foods (scientific creation of fruits and vegetables, GMO, etc.)

You have probably heard about them. Transgenic foods are those products modified by highly careful engineering processes in which exogenous genes from other species are inserted into animals or plants.

Undoubtedly this type of method to improve the lineage of the treated species means an important advance for science; however, several questions are raised; what are the benefits of transgenic foods? Are they safe? And if not, what are the possible effects? Before answering these questions, we must talk a little more about the emergence of these modified products.

Throughout history the efficiency of the process of natural selection has been demonstrated, a term used for the first time by Charles Darwin in which it is described how the species of nature (humans, animals, plants and even microorganisms) are based on selection processes - value redundancy - where sexual partners are chosen for procreation, individuals with more remarkable characteristics guarantee offspring with better genes able to adapt more effectively to the environment in which they develop.

Learning from this, man, for many years, has intervened in the same process of other species of plants and animals to ensure that the lineage of their descendants obtained characteristics above the average, benefiting themselves from it.

Said selective production caused the appearance of new and improved species, although the process required considerable amounts of time. Later, with technological advances, genetic engineering allowed to speed up the process, passing the desired genes from one animal to another, from one plant to another and even from one plant to an animal and vice versa to concentrate on the transfer of only the genes desired by man; however, not all procedures have been successful, having an impact on the poor quality of the treated species.

Benefits of genetically modified foods:

Although the process of creating transgenic foods can have several side effects, not only on the health of people, but also on the specimens used for the procedure, it must be recognized that they provide certain benefits that have allowed research to improve these products to continue.
Some of the benefits of genetically modified foods, among others, are:
  • Food with better and more quantity of nutrients.
  • Better flavor in the products created.
  • Better adaptation of plants to more deplorable living conditions.
  • Increase in food production with a substantial saving of resources.
  • Acceleration in the growth of plants and animals.
  • Better characteristics of the food produced at the time of cooking.
  • Capacity of food to be used as medicines or vaccines for the prevention and treatment of diseases.

Disadvantages of transgenic foods:

However, despite the advantages they can bring to those who consume them, many experts and organizations are opposed to the commercialization of genetically modified foods, mainly because of the damage to the environment and the health issues they can cause, including:
  • Increase of toxic substances in the environment.
  • Loss of biodiversity.
  • Soil pollution
  • Resistance of unwanted insects and herbs to drugs developed for their containment.
  • Possible intoxications due to allergies or intolerance to processed foods.
  • Irreversible and unpredictable damage to treated plants and animals
  • Legislation of thermogenic foods

Despite oppositions from large organizations such as Green Peace, GM foods can be marketed freely, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, requires full transparency to the consumer, forcing manufacturers to notify about the "nature" of their products, in addition to information about the process of creation of such foods should be sent to the Center for Nutrition Applied in Foods of the FDA for approval.

In conclusion…
Is it worth consuming them? Being honest, the answer depends on each person. These types of products represent a benefit both for leading a healthy lifestyle, as well as for a substantial economic saving. But, the harmful symptoms that are caused can be worse in the long run, for the general environment, since their production represents a high level of contamination for the environment, as well as endangering the natural biodiversity of the environment.

Treated plants and animals, since the latter, with better genes, could alter the ecosystems in which the former evolve, causing irreversible damage, even reaching such a degree as to cause possible extinction.

In summary, consuming transgenic foods is not a good option; the companies behind this business only look after their financial interests at the expense of public and environmental health.