Would you like to spend your life living in a cage? To never see the sunlight until you are off to slaughter? This is the life of many animals suffering from factory farming. After so much research has been done to prevent factory farming it still continues to this day. We have the option of free range but people still choose to support factory farming so I am raising awareness on this issue and what we can do to fix it. The 3 points I will be covering are:
What is factory farming
What is the effect of factory farming on the environment
How can we improve the cost to the environment
If this issue carries on the damage to the environment is going to continue and soon we will have nothing natural left.
What is factory farming and how does it impact the animals?
Factory farming is the mass utilization of animals to produce as much of a product in the shortest amount of time to increase the profit margin. These animals are not treated fairly and put into poor conditions that they cannot thrive in. On factory farms there is thousands of animals crammed into small barns and cages where they can hardly move. According to www.peta.org.nz/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming the animals are ‘often given so little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably’. They do not get raised with parents, they do not get the opportunity to walk freely and they do not live a normal, natural life that they should be allowed to. These animals sometimes do not see the sunlight, apart from when they are being loaded into the truck for slaughter. A well known example of factory farming is chickens. They are squeezed into cages where there is 3 to 4 chickens in a small cage. Sometimes their necks get broken and their bodies do not grow naturally because of this. I think this is disgusting. Animals are not used to living like that and their natural instinct is to walk around and have free roam, not to just be stuck in a cage. If I was to be stuck in a cage for my whole life then I would be miserable, wouldn’t you? If you buy eggs that are free range then that means they are not factory farmed. If your eggs do not say free range then the chances are that they are factory farmed eggs and you are supporting this cause.
These animals are pumped with antibiotics and medicines to help them grow faster so they can increase their output and produce as many animals in the shortest amount of time. If an animal gets sick the farmers just kill it and dump it in massive pits outside the farms due to high turnover and if an animal gets sick it is more cost effective to just kill it. The animals do not get the opportunity to live a normal life. They are born and bred to be killed. I think this is unacceptable because animals that have to live their lives in a cage do not get to spend their lives being free, as they should. If I were to be shoved into a cage for my whole life I would hate it. Is it better to have cheap products at the expense of treating animals unfairly?
What is the effect of factory farming on the environment?
Factory farming has a huge effect on the waterways, surrounding land and the environment as a whole. All the waste from thousands of animals inside a barn is dumped into ponds outside the farms. Even if done properly with a lined pond this is still terrible for the environment because this waste just sits there. Normally when at full capacity the farmers will irrigate it over the surrounding land instead of paying to have it taken away. However normally it is not done properly and the waste often ends up going into nearby rivers and streams. Sometimes it is dumped directly there. This has a huge impact on the surrounding life and it makes the rivers and streams unsafe to swim in and for other animals to drink from.
The website www.onegreenplanet.org.animalsandnature/factory-farming-is-killing-the-environment/ says that ‘over 37% of methane emissions result from factory farming. Methane has a global warming potential 20 times higher than carbon dioxide.’ This waste into the environment is terrible. Factory farming is doing huge damage to the environment and the emissions it emits are not helping with global warming. You would expect this from a normal factory, but not from an animal farm.
The same website also states that ‘in the US alone, over 260 million acres of forest have been cleared to make room for crop fields, most of which are used to exclusively grow livestock feed … land clearing in Brazil to grow chicken feed is responsible for the destruction of about 3 million acres of rainforest.’ Factory farming is destroying everything, not just the land around it. Forests are being destroyed and we need these forests to stop global warming. Factory farming is removing the trees that stop factory farming and increasing the amount of air pollution they create and they are not finding ways to reduce this so it will just keep increasing. They are also destroying the homes of many birds and other species that live there, sometimes undiscovered colonies of people.
On http://www.onegreenplanet.org.animalsandnature/factory-farming-is-killing-the-environment/ they also state that ‘industrial agriculture sucks up 70 perfect of the world’s fresh water supplies … the EPA estimates that 75 perfect of all water-quality problems in America’s rivers are streams. Water polluted with agricultural run-off can destroy whole ecosystems and be toxic, if not lethal the humans and animals alike.’ ‘Industrial livestock farms known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations contain massive cesspools that store animal waste. These factory-farm lagoons have been known to leak into adjacent waterways … When these by-products get into local water ways, they cause toxic algae blooms which lead to ‘dead zones’ and massive fish kills. High levels of nitrates in drinking water can cause spontaneous abortions and blue baby syndrome and bacteria outbreaks from agricultural water pollution is responsible for several disease outbreaks across the US.’
Factory farming is is firstly, taking up all of our water and it is then polluting what water we have left. It turns a lot of these waterways toxic due to waste. Humans are unable to drink these waterways and if done so can lead to disease and really harm people so therefore it can be said that factory farming is harmful to humans as well as the animals. This damage to the environment is disgusting because the farmers are doing huge damage to the environment and making things dangerous for everyone else. Although the water can be filtered lots, there will always be problems and sometimes the water will be contaminated and make people sick. Other animals like birds and pets are also drinking this water which can potentially kill them and if eaten by us we will get everything toxic passed on to us. This toxic waste is also killing the fish which live in these waterways. I think this is terrible because these fish live there naturally and they are being affected by factory farming when they are not apart of the factory farming. It just goes to show how widespread the effects of factory farming are.
Adding to this, www.peta.org.nz/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming states ‘Antibiotics are used to make animals grow faster and to keep them alive in the unsanitary conditions. Research shows that factory farms widespread use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.’ Do we really want to be eating products that contain unnatural antibiotics? Are people even aware of this?
These are incredibly bad for you and can cause bacteria to become resistant to the antibiotics that we currently have and causes super diseases.
The effects of factory farming don’t just stop at the animals. It carries on to the surrounding environment by damaging the waterways. It is killing fish, infecting our waterways and it is causing our antibiotics to not be as effective as they could be.
How can we reduce the cost to the environment?
We can improve the damage being done to the environment and potentially stop factory farming and it starts with each and every one of us making a change. When you are shopping make sure that the food you are buying is free range. Ideally the major way to stop factory farming completely is for everyone to go vegan however this is not always viable option and it may not actually be as good as we think because the vitamins that we get from meat we will have to substitute and get from tablets which is not natural. This is not as bad as factory farming animals however it is not natural either.
The best way to stop factory farming is to buy locally produced products that are produced in lower quantities and you know that they are not factory farmed. These products may cost more however you are not supporting factory farming and they are much better for you and they will also taste a lot better. You will know that these animals are living a good life and being treated properly.
To reduce the environmental damage that factory farming makes there is a few things that people can do. Firstly, you can look for products at the supermarket which are labeled ‘free-range’. These products are much better than factory farmed products. However the best option is to purchase from a local producer because these producers do not supply as big quantities and their environmental impact is much lower. These animals are normally allowed to walk free and live a good life. In NZ we have the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Policy which limits the amount of damage farmers can do to the environment. Farmers have to comply with set standards and in an ecological way and if they don’t then penalties will apply. NZ has had to do this because our waterways were getting unhealthy as a result of farming. I think this is really good to see because New Zealand has a ‘clean and green’ reputation and we need to uphold this because at the moment we are not because we have problems with our waterways. Alternatively, going vegan is the ultimate fix for everything however for many this is not an option. Going vegan means support no farming at all and that means there is no damage to the environment from animal production. For people who do not want to go vegan the best thing to do is know where and how the animals and producers you are buying from are free range and supply in small quantities. Everyone can do a little bit and together we can stop factory farming and the effect it is having on our environment.