Factory Farming: An Overview

 Taken by Farm Sanctuary

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian”

– Paul McCartney

A friend of yours on Facebook just posted a video titled “Cruelty of Factory Farming.” Do you think any meat-loving person would watch it? I would say most likely not. People don’t want to think about where their meat comes from, for fear that it might make them stop eating something they think tastes so good. I totally understand the feeling, but now that I know the truth about how the meat industry treats their animals, I want everyone to know. You may think you know how factory farms work. But if you are still eating meat, you most likely have no idea how bad it really is.

In eighth grade, I saw a PETA video on a friend of mine’s MySpace. I saw the title of the video and was tentative about watching it at first, not wanting to give up the sweet taste of meat but finally I decided to give it a try. The video contained the most gruesome images I’ve ever seen; however, I didn’t watch the whole thing. I just skimmed through the video because it was hard to see and hear animals in that much pain. After “watching” the video, I vowed to never eat meat again. I thought by just skimming through a video about factory farmed animals, I knew everything there was to know when, in reality, I barely knew a thing. Sadly, I lasted about a week and a half before giving up and getting some chicken nuggets at McDonalds (ugh, can’t believe I ate such filth). My point is that I know how hard it is to give up meat. But it’s the best thing you can to to your body. Also, after a few weeks without meat, you feel really good and a lot more healthy.

Factory Farms in the US

Not only is factory farming cruel to animals, but it’s also cruel to the environment. For those of you who could care less about how animals are treated, take this into consideration: A large quantity of grains grown in the U.S that are perfectly good for human consumption are fed to farm animals. There are more farm animals than humans,  so forests, wetlands, and other natural ecosystems are being forced to turn into crop and grazing land as food for these animals. This is not even for human consumption, but for factories with thousands of animals to feed and fatten. The amount of waste produced by farm animals in the U.S. is also a huge problem: there is 130 times more than of human waste. This waste has been known to “runoff” and has polluted many of the streams and rivers. Also, according to Worldwatch Institute, 51% of human-caused greenhouse gasses are caused by the raising livestock and poultry. 1 

Another reason you shouldn’t get meat from factory farms is because the over-crowded animals and unsanitary conditions lead to diseases such as Avian Flu, Swine Flu and Salmonella. Remember that egg recall last August in 2010? You can thank factory farms for that one, along with the several others over the past few years.

Battery Cages

These chickens have never seen daylight. Typically they get no room to spread their wings and they cannot participate in things that normal chickens get to do such as dirtbathing, nesting, and perching.

People may argue that if it weren’t for factory farming, the meat that you buy today would not be as cheap as it is. Americans eat A LOT of meat. Therefore, people argue that we need factory farms to fulfill the humans’ craving for meat. This is true; however, if people cut back on their meat consumption, we could rule out the cruelty and the number of animals brutally killed. It’s terrible how much suffering and stress these animals must endure. Can you imagine being cramped into a cage for 6 months or more? Layer hens’ area of space is similar to a sheet of printer paper. Most never get the chance to even spread their wings until they fulfill their egg laying duties and are slaughtered for cheap meat, dog food and/or cat food. Breeding sows (female pigs) often go insane from being in a gestation crate for a long time, not even having enough room to turn around. They have litter after litter of baby piglets, each litter taken away from her after less than one month. Female animals in the factory farm system are never impregnated naturally because biological manipulation has rendered them to get more product; they must be artificially inseminated.

540x360_pigs_gc_fs

These are just a few reasons why factory farming just isn’t natural and why it isn’t right. I will be talking about the cruelties of each industry in my future posts. I ask if you could please read them all. If you truly love the taste of your meat, then you don’t have to become a vegetarian. I’m not forcing you to do that. The whole purpose of me writing about factory farming is to inform you. What’s the purpose if nobody is going to read my posts? I tried to make this post not too overwhelming for you, although I warn you, the meat industry is not this happy place people make it out to be. Even if you know a little bit about factory farming, the things in my next posts will shock you. All I ask is that you read what I write. At the bottom of my posts, I’ll put an optional video for you to watch. You don’t need to watch it, but it will have a bigger impact on you than my words will. Here are all of the different type of industries I’ll be discussing:

  • Poultry Industry (dairy)
  • Poultry Industry (meat)
  • Hog and Pig Industry
  • Dairy Cattle Industry
  • Veal Industry
  • Beef Cattle Industry
  • Fish Farming Industry
  • Foie Gras (Duck) Industry
  • Sheep Industry
  • Goat Industry
  • Horse Industry

I also want to let you know about a book that changed the way I look at meat and dairy. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer is a fantastic book that tells you all about the meat industry. Foer was an off-and-on vegetarian all of his life; that is, until he had children of his own. This book is part memoir and part investigative report. Foer’s book is not in any way an attempt to make meat-lovers become vegetarians. He doesn’t force vegetarianism onto you but simply makes learning about factory farms easier to learn about. I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone, whether you’re a meat-eater, vegetarian, or a vegan; you’ll learn a lot from this book!

Below is an example of what kind of video I’ll use at the bottom of my future posts about the types of factory farms. Try to watch this one. The reason why I posted this video is also because I hate Perdue. Their commercials may seem innocent and it might look like their chickens are “humanely raised”. But in this day and age, there is no such thing. Most popular companies (whether we are talking about makeup or meat) abuse animals in some sort of way.  I’m not saying ALL but most. Anyways, watch the video or at least try.

Perdue is not a humane company in the slightest. Don’t fall for their bullshit. There is no such thing as a humanely raised chicken.

Also: Take a virtual tour of Farm Sanctuary and Investigate the production of factory farms.

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One thought on “Factory Farming: An Overview

  1. A recent report prepared for the UN Human Rights Council may turn out to be a powerful tool against the further expansion of factory / industrial farming.

    The report demonstrates that agroecology (aka human scale farming), if sufficiently supported, can double food production in entire regions within 10 years while mitigating climate change and alleviating rural poverty.

    The report therefore calls for a fundamental shift towards agro-ecology as a way for countries to feed themselves while addressing climate and poverty challenges.

    In short, the report says that factory farming is LESS EFFICIENT than old-fashioned community farming.

    More info about the report – http://www.healthhabits.ca/2011/03/10/factory-farming/

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