Animal cruelty

Factory farming mistreats animals, cramming them together and abusing them in an effort to boost productivity.

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The European Union (EU) recognises farm animals as sentient beings1, capable of experiencing suffering. Despite this, tens of billions of animals endure short, miserable lives in factory farms2, where the priority is simply to produce as much meat, milk and eggs as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Space is a luxury

To save space, factory-farmed animals are crammed together in barren pens, crates or cages, preventing normal behaviours such as nesting or foraging. This often causes the animals to inflict injuries on each other out of sheer boredom, frustration and stress3.

An egg-laying hen in a barren battery cage often spends her whole life crammed into a space smaller than an A4 sheet of paper per animal

CIWF (2011)4

Mutilation is commonplace

To reduce these injuries, mutilation has become commonplace, with teeth clipped, tails docked and beaks trimmed - all usually carried out without pain relief5.

The European Food Safety Authority reported that over 90% of Europe's pigs are tail-docked despite it being illegal to perform routinely.

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) (2007)6

Fast growth is a necessity

Factory farming systems demand fast-growing or high-yielding animals, encouraged through selective breeding and the use of concentrated feed. This puts the animals at risk of developing often-painful physiological problems such as lameness, weakened or broken bones, infections and organ failure. Antibiotics or other growth-promoting treatments are used in some countries to encourage even higher yields*.

Factory farmed meat chickens grow so fast that 25% suffer from painful lameness.

CIWF (2005)7

*The use of antibiotics to promote farm animal growth is outlawed in the EU but legal in a number of countries, including the United States, where around 80% of all antibiotics are believed to be used on farm animals8,9.

But don't just take our word for it

…the law alone is not always strong or detailed enough to ensure that [farm animals] have a good quality of life.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) (2011)10

We wouldn't force our pets to live in filthy, cramped cages for their whole lives, and we shouldn't force farm animals to endure such misery, either.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) (2011)11

So what?

Factory farming mistreats animals. By taking action against factory farming, we are not just creating a food and farming revolution; we are also helping to stop an inhumane way of producing food that leads to the cruel mistreatment of billions of animals.

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Our sources

  1. EU (2011), The EU and Animal Welfare: Policy Objectives
  2. CIWF - Stop Factory Farming the Planet
  3. WSPA (2006), An Overview of Farm Animal Welfare Issues
  4. CIWF (2011), Welfare Issues for Egg-laying Hens
  5. FAWC (2011), Mutilations and Environmental Enrichment in Piglets and Growing Pigs
  6. EFSA (2007), Scientific Report on the Risks Associated with Tail Biting in Pigs and Possible Means to Reduce the Need for Tail Docking Considering the Different Housing and Husbandry Systems
  7. CIWF (2005), The Welfare of Broiler Chickens in the European Union
  8. USFDA (2009), Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals
  9. USFDA (2009), Sales of Antibacterial Drugs in Kilograms
  10. RSPCA (2011), All About Farm Animals
  11. HSUS (2011), Cruel Confinement

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