Factory farming is a form of agriculture in which animals are used for their body parts, skin, bones, milk and eggs. Animals in factory farm settings are usually subjected to cruel conditions leading up to their deaths. Ethics aside, factory farms contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants (by mass breeding ruminant animals that produce methane), making it an environmentally unsustainable practice. As a bonus, growing crops to feed animals on agriculture farms uses up more water, non-renewable energy and farm acreage than it would take to exclusively grow human consumable crops; supplementing factory farming’s threat to food and water security.
What Is Factory Farming
Factory farming results in degrading naturally occurring ecosystems, mass-breeding animals, the sale of whole corpses – in the case of fish shops or wet markets, and the unsanitary, disease promoting living quarters known as slaughter houses. Cows are forcibly impregnated and used for their milk, pigs are shot in the head, or stabbed to so that their body parts can be harvested, female chickens are bred for eggs. Male chicks, on the other hand, are shredded and slaughtered for meat products- as they can not be used for egg production.
Factory Farming Environmental Impact
Factory farming generates heat-retaining gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide) from animal metabolism, fertilizer use for animal-consumed crops, and the of animal food products across nations. Methane, chemically understood as CH4, has more than 20 times the heat trapping potential of CO2– carbon dioxide – and is released by ruminant livestock’s (cows, sheep, buffalo, goats) natural bodily gases and waste. Nitrous oxide N2O, which has more than 200 times the heat trapping potential as carbon dioxide is found in animal waste water which contains nitrogen-based molecules.
Animals on factory farms conventionally experience miserable lives. Often, animals are injected with hormones so that their growth is amplified. Many animals are forced to live close to their own waste, fecal matter and dead members of their species. These conditions make livestock animals more susceptible to disease and viruses which can be transferred to humans. Antibiotic shots are used to protect animals against the diseases that may result from their less than sanitary living environments.
The History of Factory Farming
Our anthropoid ancestors, early humans, likely established relationships with ruminants animals for survival. Ruminants were likely killed for food or used for other resources. Eventually, pigs, cows, goats and sheep were domesticated and kept in close proximity to human settlings. Later, upgrades in farming techniques sparked increases in livestock breeding. The improvements in agriculture led to considerable boosts in food production. Improved food production methodologies also consisted of selective crop breeding crops, monoculture practices, and crop rotation.
Debeaking of Chickens
Debeaking (also dubbed “beak trimming”) is exactly what it sounds like: the forced and painful removal of (or partial removal of) egg laying birds’ beaks. Debeaking is done to protect birds from pecking one another and them injuring or killing other birds in within pecking proximity. When birds are kept in restrictive spaces in close proximity to one another, pecking fights and cannibalisms can take place. To avoid profit loss, farmers debeak their birds, which keeps keeps their flock’s population size and health from declining. Debeaking is an efficient strategy to mitigate premature death in chickens, hens and turkeys, and thus, also mitigate profit loss.
Livestock animals have brains, nervous systems and sensory receptors which allow for the experience of physical, as well as psychological pain. These animals deserve more than compassion, but rather a basic right to life. Eliminating animals from agriculture does more than lessen instances of torture and abuse, it also increases resources which are presently used to grow animal feed crops, saves water and abates anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.