Is factory farming ethical?


Fact Box

  • Factory farming’ was a term first used in 1851 to describe a large industrialized farm that keeps many animals “in a small closed area, in order to produce a large amount of meat, eggs, or milk as cheaply as possible.”
  • Following the technological innovations following the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, factory farming increased the production and sale of chickens (poultry farming, including eggs), cattle (for beef and milk), pigs, and fish. 
  • The Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, a factory farming opposition group, notes that in a 2017 analysis of 10 “developing” countries, such as Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, and Myanmar, the production of pigs, chickens, and cows had significantly “increased by 200 million between 2008 and 2013.” 
  • About 23 million land animals are slaughtered in factory farms per day, resulting in about a million per hour or 266 animals per second being slaughtered to produce animal meat, as estimated by Animal Equality, another oppositional factory farming research group. 
  • Many animals in our world are factory farmed. It is estimated that two in every three animals are now part of industrial agriculture.

Elisa (No)

Factory farming is one of the worst things that could have happened to the farming industry, as commercializing animal farming has dramatically and negatively affected family farms. According to The Guardian, a farmer reported that of seven other farm families, 'people my kids went to school with,' all have become 'shattered and in more than just an economic way—in a social way too.' This downfall among farmers is a direct consequence of factory farming.

Sadly, it is not just the families that factory farms have destroyed; severe animal abuse occurs in this modern farming industry. Factory-farmed animals are confined in large numbers in small cages or pens, often eating, sleeping, and resting in their own filth and feces. The animals' mobility is extremely limited, being highly uncomfortable and unsanitary. Luckily, many organizations, such as Mercy for Animals, are assisting in the fight against animal cruelty in factory farms.  

Additionally, factory farming negatively affects public health. The production of low-quality meat and overconsumption of animal proteins contributes to widespread malnutrition and obesity, a current crisis within the United States. Factory farming has also proven to be bad for the environment. It contributes to air pollution, water pollution, global warming, and deforestation. Factory farming has an extremely negative effect on farmers, animals, and the environment.

Understanding these effects and recognizing the harm factories cause to the food industry would greatly benefit society. As guitarist and vocalist for the Beatles, Paul McCartney once said, 'If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.' 

Luis (Yes)

Factory farming is necessary in a world where nearly 10% of its total population suffers from starvation. Not only does it create plenty of jobs for people, but this style of factory produces a large amount of food quickly to feed the human race efficiently. 

Industrial agriculture, in general, lowers supply costs for farmers, allowing them to save more money and make better investments that lead to better products for customers. Industrial farming has even led to a significant increase in agricultural production in the United States over the past few decades. Likewise, factory farming reduces the prices of meat, dairy, and other food products. This result has allowed many people of different economic backgrounds to have better access to proteins and other nutritional products, reducing the food inequality that society has been struggling with for years. 

Moreover, factory farming allows production to continue even in dire circumstances, such as drought or crop/land/animal diseases, and to do so fast and efficiently. This is due to the automation and modern technologies factories use. Additionally, factory farming limits water and resource waste, making protecting the environment crucial.

Factory farming has been so successful that nearly 99% of farm animals in the country are raised within the industrial agriculture system. Eliminating or making drastic changes to it could severely affect the economy. Not only will it impact all the workers in the industry with the loss of their jobs, but it will also increase the price of many food products, resulting in exacerbated food inequality.

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