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Does factory farming really exist?

News Icon 29/08/2014

Athens, Georgia: Last night I spoke at the University of Georgia, just a stone’s throw away from what is said to be the birth place of broiler chicken factory farming in Gainesville, USA.

It started from humble beginnings way back in the days of the Great Depression and has since grown so dramatically that Georgia is now known as the ‘poultry capital of the world’. Today, the state produces 1.4 billion meat chickens a year, more than any other in the US. If it were a country, it would be the sixth-largest poultry producer in the world.

I was so pleased then to start the second leg of the Farmageddon speaking tour here in the chicken capital where factory farming is so rife.

Over a hundred people joined the conversation with me at the university lecture theatre for an event hosted by UGA’s Speaking out for Species.

We covered a whole range of topics including:

  1. Why it is that cabbages get treated better than factory farmed chickens; being grown outdoors and living longer than chickens crammed into sheds and slaughtered at just six weeks old?
  2. Why factory farming is inefficient and unnecessary, squandering enough grain to feed billions of extra people worldwide
  3. How taking animals off pasture and rearing them in factories on grain-feed instead of grass leads to poor quality food, higher in saturated fat and lower in health giving nutrients.

I was pleased to learn that amongst the audience was Dr Michael Lacy, head of poultry studies at the university and a leading researcher on chicken production.  Thanks to him and everyone who joined us; much appreciated.

One thing I shared was a bizarre claim put to me earlier that day by a British animal scientist who claimed that factory farming doesn’t exist…  Living in the global factory chicken capital, I can assure you, the irony wasn’t lost on last night’s audience.

Next stop on the Farmageddon speaking tour: 30th August - Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Decatur Book Festival, 3.00pm

For your copy of ‘Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat’, click here.


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