announcement

Update: Check new design of our homepage!

Pros and Cons of Factory Farming

Pros and Cons of Factory Farming

Factory farming refers to raising farm animals in a restricted space to provide for consumption. The Buzzle article below will enlighten you about the pros and cons of factory farming.
AnimalSake Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Quick Snippet
A division of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, stated in the year 1989, that the antibiotics used in factory farms were responsible for building antibiotic resistance in bacteria, thus rendering the antibiotics ineffective in treating human health ailments.
Factory farming is a type of farming that involves raising a huge number of livestock in comparatively tinier spaces, in order to supply them to the livestock market. This is one of the foremost food production methodologies in the US, as of today. While it is true that it is lucrative in its own way and has contributed to increased food production at reasonable rates, it has its own drawbacks. The concept has been a subject of massive debate not only in the United States, but all over the world, wherever this practice has been employed. Before jumping on to a conclusion regarding whether it should exist or not, it would be prudent to skim through the following paragraphs, which enlist the advantages and disadvantages of factory farming.
A Background
  • Factory farming, also known as intensive animal farming, took root in the later part of the 19th century.
  • With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the inventions of antibiotics, pesticides, and artificial synthesizers were on a rise, that gave a stimulus to automated farming.
  • Gradually, with better farming methodologies, livestock were able to be raised indoors, leading to mass production in a shorter while.
  • According to reliable sources, more than 50% of the livestock are produced using this concept.
  • The benefits of intensive animal farming mainly comprise lesser cost and increased food production.
  • In this method, hens, chickens, cows, calves, etc., are force-fed and painfully bred, which leads to artificial production, and environmental hazards too.
  • For instance, hens are crammed up in tight, tiny cages and exposed to minimal sunlight, in order to lay more eggs as quickly as possible.
  • Newborn calves are believed to be separated immediately from the mother and raised separately, in order to supply them for veal consumption.
  • What's more, the livestock are injected with antibiotics to stimulate growth artificially.
Pros
Inexpensive
  • Lesser cost seems to be one of the advantages of factory farming.
  • There are huge numbers of mouths to feed, massive production leads to the purchase of poultry and related items.
  • Since the items are not too highly priced, people appreciate buying them and that too, in a large number.
Lucrative
  • The business is lucrative, again due to more production.
  • As more and more livestock are artificially raised, more and more eggs, chickens, and beef are out for sale.
  • The purchase rate is higher and despite being reasonably priced, it fetches a profit for the farms.
  • The producers cash in on the adage that food is the primary reason for survival, and with the increasing population and their food requirements, profits soar high.
Efficient
  • Whether it should be labeled 'efficient' or not is a matter of personal opinion.
  • The reason this adjective can be used, is that the animals are raised in an extremely confined space.
  • This means that the space utilized is less in comparison to the number of livestock raised.
  • This of course, saves considerable capital, since the farms do not have to spend much for maintenance.
  • Also, the methods of manufacturing meat and eggs involve faster, cheaper and more efficient methods, again reducing the cost.
Work Opportunities
  • Since the food production is huge, an equal number of staff are required for work.
  • The business is enormous and needs as many hands as possible to increase the food produce.
  • This results in a growth in the jobs in this sector.
  • In fact, statistics reveal that the businesses make sufficient revenue to provide a decent wage and yet have the company make a profit.
  • They purchase subsidies and equipment from local farmers, increasing their means of livelihood as well.
Cons
Substandard Quality
  • This is one of the primary disadvantages of factory farming.
  • The animals are artificially bred, and since the procedure is not natural, the end product could be of a poor quality.
  • Antibiotics are injected into the cows and hens, making them vulnerable to dirt and disease. Consequently, the eggs/meat will not be as good.
  • The livestock are raised in unhygienic, unsanitary conditions. Thus, it is more than possible that they catch infections and even spread them to the remaining livestock.
  • The products thus obtained are of a substandard and low quality, which ultimately affects our health as well.
Tremendous Health Risks
  • For the same reason as mentioned above, factory farming can cause irreparable damage to health.
  • Dangerous pathogens, antibiotics, and bacteria lead to increased health risks, in fact, some have predicted that it could lead to diseases like Alzheimer's.
  • The meat is practically medicinal and artificial, with zero nutrients and lesser taste.
  • Since the entire manufacturing is artificial, the meat is overloaded with hormones and drugs, and the bacteria develop resistance to the antibiotics, which is why many diseases remain untreated.
Global Warming
  • The fact that there is practically no maintenance required leads to preposterously unhygienic conditions.
  • The animals' waste and excreta cause extensive damage to the environment.
  • The wastes and manure contaminate the water and air.
  • It may also lead to harmful emissions and contribute to the already increasing global warming.
Animal Cruelty
  • It is one of the most obvious, ethical, yet debatable drawbacks of factory farming.
  • The animals are slaughtered to death in the most inhuman way possible.
  • The fact that they live in cramped spaces without a place to move or breathe normally is an example of how much torture they endure on a daily basis.
  • The unnatural breeding takes a severe toll on their health, leads to early cardiovascular or other diseases, and ultimately causes a painful death.
  • The animals are believed to be thought of as just a means of food consumption, instead of being thought of as living beings that endure suffering.
The Debate and Related Statistics
  • For the reasons of torturous living conditions and extreme cruelty, factory farming has been opposed by many animal welfare organizations.
  • In fact, it has been banned in some countries.
  • Supporters of this concept argue that it does provide enough food for the increasing population and is more affordable.
  • However, unfavorable opinions suggest that there are better ways of manufacturing food, rather than subjecting animals to this suffering.
  • The debate has been going on for quite a while, with no one being able to gain an upper hand.
  • Adhering to each of the parties is a staggering multitude of factory farming facts and statistics.
Pros
  1. Solely 3% of factory farms generate 62% of agricultural output.
  2. The documentary, 'Food Inc.' states that the top four beef packers of the nation own 80% of the market, while a few decades back, the top 5 beef packers owned about 25% of the market. This change has been due to factory farming.
  3. Egg production has reportedly increased by half over a decade. There seem to exist at least 750,000 hens per factory farm, in the five states known for stocking the largest flock of poultry.
Cons
  1. Newborn calves, male or female, are apparently almost immediately separated from the mother after birth.
  2. Male calves are bred for veal, and are reportedly kept in tiny crates, about 30X72 inches, so that their flesh stays tender.
  3. More than 80% of the antibiotics used in the US are used to feed the farm animals, to try to keep them healthy.
  4. Pregnant pigs are forced to live in tiny crates, with hardly any space to move around or nurse their piglets properly.
  5. Research says that about 65% of the pigs that were tested from factory farms had pneumonia.
  6. To lessen feather pecking (apparently), all the poultry (chickens, ducks, turkey) have their beaks cut off.
  7. The waste from factory farming is reported to have polluted the groundwater in 17 states, and an unbelievable 35,000 miles of water bodies in 22 states.
  8. 5% - 10% of hens are reported to die during the forced molting process.
  9. Around 70 billion farm animals are now subject to factory farming, throughout the world.
The positives and negatives depicted above would have painted a rough picture of factory farming for you. While the truth remains that in its own way, the technique has contributed to an increased availability of food at cheaper rates, the fact that this causes tremendous pain to the animals cannot be discarded. Also, the thought of health risks cannot be avoided. The topic seems to be like a vicious circle, with every party having strong opinions, and proof to back their side. Yet if discussed at length, a better and optimal solution can be found out.