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

Ariel view of barren feed lots
Around two-thirds of farm animals are factory farmed worldwide every year – that's nearly 50 billion animals.

The European Union (EU) recognises1 farm animals as sentient beings. Despite this, tens of billions of animals endure short, miserable lives in factory farms2 where the priority is profit above all else.

Space is a luxury

Crowded broiler chickens
Animals are treated as mere commodities, crammed together with little space, natural light or stimuli.

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

Docked pigs tail 1000x562.jpg
Animals commonly injure each other out of boredom and stress. To reduce injuries, teeth are clipped, tails docked and beaks trimmed – all usually carried out without pain relief.

To reduce these injuries, mutilation has become commonplace. Animals have their 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

Lame broiler 1200x800.jpg
Fast-growing and high-yielding animals are encouraged by selective breeding and concentrated feed. This puts animals at risk of problems such as lameness, broken bones and organ failure.

Factory farming systems demand fast-growing or high-yielding animals. They achieve this through selective breeding and the use of concentrated feed. This puts the animals at risk of developing often-painful physiological problems. Lameness, weakened or broken bones, infections and organ failure are common health problems for factory farmed animals. 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. In the United States, 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

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

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