My Problem with Factory Farming

Posted: 07 Oct 2015

My Problem with Factory FarmingSpeech by Tania K

Factory farming is a modern agricultural practice that mass produces animals to meet the food demands of many humans. Factory farms house large numbers of animals to be raised for food in a confined space to minimize operational costs, and the mass production drives down the food prices as they could produce excess amount of animals to meet the demand. However, apart from providing human consumers a huge amount of cheaper meat, factory farming is an unhealthy agricultural practice to both humans, animals and the environment. 

Factory farming contributes to serious pollution problems, the animal treatments are inhumane and it has damaged business opportunities of traditional farms by taking over their markets with their mass produced, cheaper products. Therefore, I have a problem with factory farming and strongly believe that factory farming should be banned. 

Factory farming creates much pollution on our environment. Producing livestock in such unnatural numbers requires a massive use of resources, and produces an enormous amount of waste at the same time. When all of this waste is disposed of at the same time, in the same way, it causes immediate pressures on our environment. Areas near to the factory farms are often found with serious pollution problems, particularly in water ways, such as rivers and streams. When contaminated with waste the water quality turns bad, making it undrinkable and inhabitable by animals who would usually survive in or around it. 

Factory farming is also one of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions.  According to lots of research, the use of fossil fuels on factory farms to grow feed and to intensively raise land animals for food emits 90 million tons of carbon dioxide worldwide every year and accounts for 37 percent of methane emissions. Methane and carbon dioxide are the main greenhouse gases that lead to more severe greenhouse effect, factory farming is apparently raising greenhouse effect to a more hazardous level by emitting tons and tons of such gases.

These are the undeniable facts of running factory farms. Supporters of factory farming may argue that traditional farms may also produce the same amount of waste for the same number of animals raised. Of course they might also create wastes, but the wastes created by traditional farms are much less concentrated than that of factory farms.

Secondly, every person who has animals knows that each one is an individual, with the capability to enjoy life, to feel pain and sadness, but above all the ability to bring happiness to our lives. Factory farms are also known for the cruel treatments to animals. The animals are caged together in a dark dirty room which was so crowded that they cannot even move their body. Instead of natural growth and mating, they are forced to be injected different kinds of chemicals to boost their growth and reproduction. They cannot have their natural diet. They all have miserable short lives before getting killed to be our food.

Take hens as an example, it was found that they produce an egg almost every day, when their ancestors lay just 20 a year. Millions new born male chicks are crushed to death every year because they are too scrawny for meat and do not lay eggs. For the same reason, millions of baby sheep are killed every year, and this is only one-fifth of all new born lambs. Which means in order to produce an abundant food supply, millions of lives are killed for no reason, and those that do survive are merely treated as commercial goods instead of living beings.

Supporters of factory farming often say that these methods are necessary to meet the huge demand for meat. However, I don’t believe “demand” is a reason to abuse animals, nothing gives us the right to torture them, especially when we have a choice. As food consumers, we know that these animals’ lives will eventually end for our need and consumption regardless to their life experiences, but we could avoid exerting unnecessary pain, fear, distress and suffering on the animals, by banning all inhumane farming  practices, ensuring that all animals destined for human consumption, are at least given a happy life beforehand.

When we are consuming food from factory farms, we are at the same time consuming the cruelty within that farming practice. By buying factory farmed meat, we are supporting those farmers and encouraging them to continue their cruel practices. Our choices are not limited, there are always better options for food such as free-range farming and organic farming, they operate in a more natural and humane way than factory farming. We should make the right choice on food consumption instead of just thinking about price, we need to think about lives.