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What is Factory Farming?

Rabbits face pain and suffering in factory farms.
While factory farming can keep food prices low, the practice is criticized as inhumane for animals.
Opponents of factory farming say cattle should be free to roam and graze in a pasture.
Eggs may be produce at a factory farm.
Fertilizers are heavily used in factory farming.
Dairy farms are sometimes considered factory farms.
Pigs and other livestock can be raised on factory farms.
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  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2014
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Factory farming, or industrial agriculture, is a method of food and fiber production that exploits animals and the environment. It is, in short, the mass production of crops and livestock that is aimed at providing food at lower costs to consumers. Factory farming is a highly controversial topic between animal rights advocates, environmentalists, farmers and corporations. The effects of this practice, both positive and negative, extend to everyone.

Over the past century, the advancements in technology have allowed industrial agriculture to develop on a large scale. Factory farming relies heavily on the use of pesticides, antibiotics, vitamins and fertilizers. This makes it possible to produce more crops and animals by sidestepping the natural conditions that they would ordinarily need to survive and thrive. For example, the use of fertilizers makes it possible to grow many crops in what would otherwise be unproductive land. Similarly, the use of antibiotics and vitamins allows many animals to be confined in a smaller area where normally disease would run rampant.

By eliminating these conditions, the time and cost of production is lowered which translates into lower prices on supermarket shelves. Proponents of factory farming argue that this industry is excellent for the economy, creates more jobs, limits food borne illnesses, and has less environmental impact since production is greater and land use is lower.

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Opponents of this practice believe that it is a cruel and inhumane life for livestock. Animals are overcrowded, do not have room to move around and are abused in horrific ways. For example, in order to prevent chickens from pecking themselves or others in extremely overpopulated conditions, the beaks of chicks are seared off just hours after hatching. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the pain and suffering that all types of livestock including cattle, pigs, rabbits, and sheep are forced to endure as victims of factory farming.

Additionally, crops that are cultivated with fertilizers and pesticides pose health risks to humans who consume them. These methods employed in factory farming also cause environmental pollution from run off and chemical contamination of soil, water, air and wildlife. Factory farming as it relates to the economy may in fact create jobs for many, however, small family farms are out-competed and struggle to maintain traditional and healthier farming practices.

Despite the low cost benefit provided by this practice, the consequences that result are a serious concern for many people, especially in light of the possible health risks and environmental damage that it causes. Consumers have reacted to these concerns by increasingly purchasing foods labeled as organic, or in the case of dairy, “cage free.” These tags do not necessarily mean that the products are not a result of factory farming or that they are cruelty free.

For those who are concerned about the environment, animal welfare and their health, supporting sustainable agriculture is the best solution. This can be done by supporting small local farms that are committed to protecting our resources and avoiding products that are mass produced.

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Isuggest
Post 24

If you look at a picture of pigs in rows of gestation crates (sow stalls) you might get very mentally disturbed. Stalls are 6.6 feet by 2.0 feet for a sow that weighs up to 600 pounds. The floors are concrete, and as the sows grow big, they must sleep on their chests, unable to turn around. Can you imagine the beyond uncomfortable (painful) horror of that existence?

A few days from birthing time the pigs are moved to farrowing crates, where they are able to lie down to nurse while being held apart from their piglets. You might not want to imagine this in your head, or else you might go insane and you'll be so glad you weren't born one of those pigs.

And some, probably many, of these pigs do go insane from their unbelievably horrifying reality, their worst nightmare come to pass. The poor sow's back is against the terrible metal bars. Now if all this isn't complete and utter wickedness and evil, I don't know what is. It's beyond me how this cruel bondage was ever allowed in the first place.

Are you all happy you live in such an evil world? I am not happy; I am deeply disturbed. Do you want your children to live in such an ugly, foul place? I used to think the world was beautiful. It is beautiful still, yet mankind can do nothing but cause pain and misery to animals (humans to) and destroy the earth. It's up to the righteous good to put a stop to this. Goodness, or God, is commanding/demanding us to. This evil has to end now. It's high time.

anon337910
Post 23

If you look at a picture of pigs in rows of gestation crate (sow stall) you might get very mentally disturbed. Stalls are 6.6 ft x 2.0 ft for a sow that weighs up to 600 lbs. The floors are

concrete and as the sows grow big they must sleep on their chests, unable to turn around. Can you imagine the beyond uncomfortable (painful) horror of that existence. A few days from birthing time the pigs are moved to farrowing crates, where they are able to lie down to nurse while being held apart from their piglets. You might not want to imagine this in your head else you might go insane and you'll be so glad you weren't born one of those pigs. And some, probably many of these pigs do go insane from their unbelievably horrifying reality, one worse nightmare come alive. And the poor sow's back against the terrible metal bars. Now if all this isn't complete and utter wickedness and evil I don't know what is. It's beyond me how this cruel bondage was ever allowed in the first place. Are you all happy you live in such an evil world? I am not happy; I am deeply disturbed. Do you want your children to live in such an ugly, foul place. I use to think the world was beautiful. It is beautiful still yet mankind can do nothing but cause pain and misery to animals (humans to) and destroy the earth. It's up to the righteous good to put a stop to this. Goodness, or God, is commanding/demanding us to. This evil has to end now. It's high time.

anon305880
Post 22

I will admit: the cruelty that occurs in the majority of factory farms is disgusting, unnerving, disappointing and unnecessary. Emphasis on the unnecessary. Regulations do need to be enacted, but people do not need to stop eating meat because of it. It won't stop anything. Just like using less paper is supposed to decrease the killing of trees, but it doesn't do anything and the industry is still alive.

Some things that one really needs to consider when thinking about the size of concentrated animal industries is: How rapid urbanization is taking away the farm land needed to produce enough fruit, vegetable, dairy and meat products and second, how rapidly the population is growing, and times are changing. We need to find new ways to feed the number of people in this country alone, and how to do it with constantly shrinking space. Once agricultural land is used for other purposes, it can no longer be used for agricultural uses. Ever. But the agricultural land is being used for other purposes, such as building houses.

I live in the middle of rice paddies, and recently a house was placed not too far from mine, taking the land that was used to grow rice. Yes, the way they are treating the animals is wrong, and you will never hear about the factory farms that are doing it correctly because only the bad stuff gets into the media to influence the opinions of people on a certain matter (the correct term for it in a political sense is "Framing"). But, with regulations concerning what goes on, it can become beneficial.

Oh, and for those of you who believe that everyone should become vegetarians for the sake of the animals, I was one once. Not because of the way animals are treated, but because I do not like the texture of meat, and even if red meat is not fully cooked, and sometimes when it is, it makes me physically ill. I very much enjoy the taste, but gave it up for a year, until, even with iron pills once a day and constantly eating meat substitutes, I ended up collapsing. The options that the doctors gave me were this: either I start eating meat and other high iron foods and take no more than two iron pills a day for a while, or I could receive blood transfusions. I took the first option. My skin no longer has a grey (literally grey) tinge to it, and I'm able to be a lot more active. Being vegetarian isn't for anyone, and no one should force anyone into that life with the only reason being the beliefs of the one doing the forcing. In other words, don't force your children.

anon267659
Post 20

I either know people who think the entire farming business is a vile process or people who wouldn't care if every farm in the world was like the farms in the horror tapes.

People need to come back to reality. We need farms. They feed us and they are deeply intertwined with our culture. I was in my local 4-H club and raised several market lambs and a dairy cow. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life that I wish everyone could go through. It taught me that farming and the slaughter of animals was not vile so long as we give these animals the life -- and death -- they deserve. I cried every time I had to let an animal go, but at the same time I was proud to have contributed to farming and to have done it while giving my animal the best life it could have.

Factory farming is wrong, but so is the crazy protestor who shows up on your farm to try and stop you from selling your own animal which you have given the best care you could possibly provide (this did happen to us one year. The protestor almost took us to court).

anon264476
Post 18

I'm not from a farm background. I've never owned livestock. I have studied agriculture and currently study veterinary medicine, though. So I'm far from ignorant on the topic. While I think improvements can always be made in the way of animal welfare, I cannot waive the necessity of large scale animal production in good conscience.

In the US, we are tasked with producing cheap food for ourselves and for the world. The organs and cuts of animals that are not consumed domestically are shipped to foreign markets where they feed other populations. While organic farming and small farms are luxuries that some are lucky enough to partake of, they are too inefficient in their yields to provide for the demand in the US and abroad.

I love animals. I want them to be treated humanely. Unfortunately, I don't think many people who challenge modern agriculture have realistic standards on how animals should be raised. Oftentimes these are the same people who say things that contradict scientific facts like, "No good has ever come from using animals in research."

Can't please everyone I guess.

anon247486
Post 17

Reading this article makes me sick to my stomach. factory farmers do not exist, anon78248? What kind of fairy tale world are you living in? There might be a lot of misleading information on the internet, but take a look at the footage there is on factory farms.

Get out of your "the world is perfect" bubble and go find Food, Inc. Watch it, then give us your opinion.

anon247385
Post 16

Factory farming is a lucrative business that employs average joes to feed their families.

anon159515
Post 15

I genuinely think that the people who abuse these animals in such horrific ways deserve to have these things done to them for the rest of their lives to see how they like it. I don't go near milk, eggs or meat unless I trace it back to where it came from and know it's free range and that the animal had the best life it could.

anon116348
Post 12

Factory farming can be inhumane in some instances, and probably is put in a negative light most the time.

Many might find one owner of dogs as a cruel and unfit owner, well take that and put it in the masses and you get a very negative lighting.

If you just love animals you should realize that it is a necessary evil. the human body itself in order to be healthy requires meat and the substance it provides.

anon81916
Post 10

a factory farm means animals getting overcrowded, do not have room to move around and are abused in horrific ways.

anon81875
Post 9

Factory farming disgusts me. I have done my research. I come from a vegetarian family and the mistreatment of animals offends me at a very high level and if you need an example go online and look around.

P.S. I have seen a factory farm. I have no idea what some people do in them, but the others I've see are horrible and cruel. And again, go online and check it out and you will see my point of view.

anon78248
Post 8

There is no such thing as a factory farm, and I would like to talk to someone who knows the actual definition of a factory farm.

I live on a hog farm that has 2000 hogs. It is run by my whole family, therefore I would argue that we are indeed a family farm.

I am offended by environmentalists who disagree with farming procedures because they have been educated that way and know no different. Farming is probably more environmentally sound than they are given credit for. Manure is used for the soil which helps to grow the food that you eat and enjoy.

Also many farmers are turning to organic and more "environmentally friendly" methods. People who are not from a farming background have no right to voice their opinions when they have no idea what they are talking about and get all of their information from the unreliable internet.

Go to a farm and see for yourself. You people disgust me. And if you ate today? Thank a farmer.

anon74214
Post 6

why do people think factory farming is right? it's horrible. how would you like it if you were the animal getting stabbed and getting torched? i personally think it's wrong. people are so selfish and greedy for money. it's just not right.

anon72450
Post 5

I believe that the only way that we are going to be able to keep feeding everybody in the world is to keep these factory farms in progress. Factory farms are not all negative like everybody says. most of the videos that they show are just a very small percentage of the farmers who would mistreat their cattle.

i myself am a dairy farmer too. i milk 400 cows and i am not at all worried about my future as a farmer because i know that it is necessary. and as for the environment, the factory farms are probably better at helping the environment than anyone who would post anything bad about them. the goal of the factory farms is to be able to recycle and re-use, they have things like anaerobic digesters that use the methane gas of off of the cow's feces to make power that is used for the farm.

and they are working now on how to recycle the urine down to water that is cleaner than the tap water you might drink in your house and they will put that back into the environment.

anon44899
Post 3

I agree, factory farming is inhumane and not necessary. It puts human and animal health at risk while affecting the environment. I think it would be more economically smart for the industry to focus more on organic products. It is also economically smart to save the environment.

anon26437
Post 2

As a dairy farmer with 200 cows i am very concerned about factory farming. But i do know that its not *only* factory farms that use fertilizers on there crops.

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