Industrial animal operations are fueled by hundreds of millions of tons of commodity crops, such as corn and soy, to feed the huge populations of animals those farms confine.
What is animal agriculture?
What is Animal Agriculture? Animal agriculture, or factory farming as it’s commonly known, is the mass industrialization of the breeding, raising, and slaughter of animals for human consumption.
How did the industrialization of Agriculture change the world?
Most of the work on the farm was done by human or animal labor. Although conditions like these still exist, the industrialization of agriculture radically transformed how the vast majority of food is produced in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.
What is factory farming and how does it affect animals?
Animals that are bred into existence on factory farms are never allowed the chance to live a normal life. From the moment they are born, they are living in conditions that are unnatural in every sense of the word. The animals are fed diets that they would never consume in nature.
Can small family farms compete with industrial animal agriculture?
Industrial animal agriculture as we know it makes it nearly impossible for small family farms to compete. In order to compete with the large factory farms, they would need to bring their prices well below what it takes them to run their small operations. Because of that, they need to charge more.
When did animal agriculture become industrialized?
In the late 1920s, poultry became the first large-scale farmed animal. For nearly fifty years, chickens were the only factory-farmed animals, brought inside and raised in large numbers for egg production and eventual slaughter.
What is industrialized animal farming?
Intensive animal farming or industrial livestock production, also known by its opponents as factory farming and macro-farms, is a type of intensive agriculture, specifically an approach to animal husbandry designed to maximize production, while minimizing costs.
How did agriculture contribute to industrialization?
The Agricultural Revolution of the 18th century paved the way for the Industrial Revolution in Britain. New farming techniques and improved livestock breeding led to amplified food production. This allowed a spike in population and increased health. The new farming techniques also led to an enclosure movement.
How do you industrialize agriculture?
The methods of industrial agriculture include innovation in agricultural machinery and farming methods, genetic technology, techniques for achieving economies of scale in production, the creation of new markets for consumption, the application of patent protection to genetic information, and global trade.
How are animals raised in industrial meat production?
On intensive animal farms, people raise pigs, chickens, cows, and other young animals in buildings or pens known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The animals are bred to grow quickly and are fed monocropped foods.
How did the Industrial Revolution affect animals?
Many scientists have identified the birth of the Industrial Revolution as one of the tipping points for increased extinctions on land. Desirable species were hunted to extinction. Demand for lumber and expanding farmlands and factories meant leveling forest habitats. Pollution and other factors killed other animals.
What are the impact of agriculture on industry?
Agriculture has huge positive impacts on the industrial development, such as: ADVERTISEMENTS: (a) It regularly supplies raw materials like sugarcane , jute cotton, oilseeds, tea, spices, wheat; paddy etc. to the consumer goods industries.
How did industrial agriculture start?
Industrial agriculture got an early start in the United States. To avoid the laborious task of manuring soils to supply nutrients, inorganic fertilizers, such as superphosphates, came into use as early as the 1840s.
Why is industrialized agriculture important?
Industrial agriculture has substantially increased global agricultural productivity, leading to much more food for a growing human population. Industrial agriculture has also impacted human society in a variety of other ways and has had major impacts on the environment, many of which are harmful.
What are the characteristics of industrialized agriculture?
Industrial agriculture is currently the dominant food production system in the United States. It’s characterized by large-scale monoculture, heavy use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and meat production in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations).
Why is industrial farming good?
Industrial agriculture uses modern technology and equipment to process meat, eggs, milk, crops, and other food items in a quick and efficient way, reducing their overhead expenses while earning more revenue and profits and, in turn, lowering food costs. 3. It encourages technological development and innovation.
Why industrial agriculture is harmful?
It contaminates water and soil and affects human health. Agriculture plays a major role in pollution, releasing large volumes of manure, chemicals, antibiotics, and growth hormones into water sources. This poses risks to both aquatic ecosystems and human health.
Why is industrial agriculture bad?
Industrial farming is bad for the health of workers, eaters, and downstream neighbors. Here are some of its costly health impacts: Pesticide toxicity. Herbicides and insecticides commonly used in agriculture have been associated with both acute poisoning and long-term chronic illness.
What is a CAFO farm?
A CAFO is a specific type of large-scale industrial agricultural facility that raises animals, usually at. high-density, for the consumption of meat, eggs, or milk. To be considered a CAFO, a farm must first be. categorized as an animal feeding operation (AFO). An AFO is a lot or facility where animals are kept.
What is IFAP in animal production?
In this paper, industrial farm animal production (IFAP) facilities are defined as those that concentrate thousands, or often even hundreds of thousands of farmed animals along with their waste, on a limited land area, frequently in cages, crates, and pens. This corresponds to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) definition of an animal feeding operation (US EPA 2012).
Do pigs have intensive confinement?
Female pigs may suffer from a similar form of intensive confinement in industrial farm animal production facilities. Pregnant sows are frequently confined in gestation crates or sow stalls, which measure
Is malnutrition rampant in developing countries?
As noted above, despite the growing epidemic of overweight and obesity related illness in the developing world, malnutrition also remains rampant: a fact that highlights the gross inequalities in nutrition both among and within countries. Despite increased world food production in the last few decades, the global effort to meet the Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger by half by 2015 now appears beyond reach (UNCTAD, 2011). “The current system of industrial agriculture (and related international trade), productive as it has been in recent decades, still leaves 1.3 billion people under-nourished and poverty stricken, 70 per cent of whom live in rural areas” (UNCTAD, 2011).
What is the mixture in a lagoon?
The mixture in lagoons consists not only of animal excrement but of bedding waste, antibiotic residues, cleaning solutions and other chemicals, and sometimes dead animals. Most lagoons are lined only with clay and can leak, allowing the waste to seep into groundwater.
What is AFO in agriculture?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates AFOs, defined as “agricultural operations where animals are kept and raised in confined …
How long is an AFO?
An AFO is a lot or facility (other than an aquatic animal production facility) where the following conditions are met: animals have been, are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any 12-month period, and. crops, vegetation, forage growth or post-harvest residues are not sustained in …
What is animal welfare?
Animal Welfare. In confinement, animals are treated essentially as cogs in a machine, with no regard for their natural behaviors or needs. Birds’ beaks are often cut off to prevent them from pecking each other and tails of cows and pigs are amputated (called docking ).
What is externalization of costs?
Externalization of Costs. While companies make all the profit from livestock production, there are many costs inherent to the process that they literally do not have to include on their balance sheets and which are instead borne by taxpayers.
What animals are raised in confinement?
Cattle, hogs, chickens and turkeys are the most common livestock raised in confinement operations; but other types of poultry, as well as sheep, goats and rabbits, are also being raised more and more this way.
What is industrial agriculture?
Industrial agriculture operations frequently trade the quality and safety of products, as well as the health of consumers and rural communities, for maximized profits achieved through consolidation and mechanization.
Why do multinationals have complete control over their own production?
And because they are able to contract the dwindling number of farms to produce animal products their way , they have complete control.
Why don’t humans need animals?
Humans don’t need to consume animals in order to be healthy and survive. And we certainly don’t need to treat animals like machinery or commodities. Industrial animal agriculture is responsible for the suffering and slaughter of trillions of animals each and every year around the globe. It is responsible for the degradation …
What is animal farming?
Animal agriculture, or factory farming as it’s commonly known, is the mass industrialization of the breeding, raising, and slaughter of animals for human consumption. The advent of industrial animal agriculture has made it possible for food corporations to turn farms into efficient factories, by doing so, disregarding the fact …
How does factory farming maximize profits?
Factory farming, from a business perspective, is a brilliant way to maximize profits by dramatically increasing the supply while at the same time bringing down production costs. And if factory farming was dealing with the production of cotton T-shirts or toys then it wouldn’t be as objectionable as it is.
What are the foods that animals are fed on factory farms?
On factory farms, animals are fed diets consisting of soy, corn, and grains. Growing soy, corn, and grains for billions of animals demand a lot of land and water. One study found that 36% of the calories being produced by the world’s crops are used to feed animals on factory farms.
How old is a cow when it is slaughtered?
A cow that is raised for beef is slaughtered between the ages of 2-3 years old and a dairy cow is typically slaughtered at about 5 years old as she is no longer able to produce the high levels of milk that she shouldn’t be producing in the first place.
Why do factory farmers care about animals?
That is why the animals are treated as products and not sentient beings. The farmers can argue that they do things to protect their animals but what they are actually doing is protecting their margins.
How much grain can you thresh in an hour?
Doing this by hand involves an enormous amount of time and effort. By hand, a person can thresh roughly 15 to 40 kg of grain per hour, usually by beating the harvested crop against a hard surface to shake the grain loose from the inedible chaff that surrounds it.
How does a combine harvester work?
The combine harvester performs two processes at once: cutting grain (reaping) and removing it from the inedible part (threshing). Mechanization in agriculture greatly reduced the need for human and animal labor. From 1950 to 2000, production on U.S. farms more than doubled with less than a third of the labor costs. 9.
What crops were cut from the fields?
In some cases, mechanization brought tremendous gains in efficiency. Grain and bean crops, such as corn, wheat, rice, and soy, must be cut from the fields (reaped) and removed from the inedible parts of the plant (threshed). Doing this by hand involves an enormous amount of time and effort.
What is market share?
Market share is the proportion of an industry’s sales earned by one company. In the U.S. market for salty snacks, for example, 64 percent of sales are earned by PepsiCo. 19. When a small number of companies have a large market share of an industry, the market for that industry is said to be concentrated.
What were the benefits of new technology for farmers?
New technology, including chemicals and larger tractors, allowed farmers to work larger areas of land with less labor. 2 Government policies encouraged farmers to scale up their operations. Farmers were also motivated by economies of scale—the economic advantage of producing larger numbers of products.
What is the shift toward fewer and larger farms?
Consolidation in agriculture is the shift toward fewer and larger farms. The total number of U.S. farms declined from 5.39 million to 1.91 million between 1950 and 1997. Over the same period, the average size of U.S. farms more than doubled (from 215 to 487 acres). 17. Consolidation in U.S. hog farms, 1955–2015.
What is a specialized farmer?
Specialized farmers, by contrast, can focus all their knowledge, skills, and equipment on one or two enterprises, such as growing corn and soy, or fattening beef cattle. Over the course of industrialization, specialization was applied to nearly all facets of food production. Diversified farms gave way to genetically uniform monocultures—fields …
How does crop farming affect the environment?
There is soil depletion and soil infertility related to monoculture, soil erosion, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, increased greenhouse gas emissions (particularly methane and nitrous oxide) from cow digestion and manure as well as nitrogen-based fertilizers, and pesticide overuse leading to potential pesticide toxicity (especially in farmworkers). Studies show that employees of CAFOs are at risk from potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria; workers can also bring these bacteria home. Farmworkers and local communities can also be exposed to hazardous fumes wafting from unlined, uncovered pits of animal waste and other sources. And despite the fact that CAFOs often must meet permitting requirements and are regulated by both state and federal agencies, NRDC has discovered a worrying lack of transparency. Discrepancies between data collected by states and the EPA suggest the EPA is unaware of the size, number, and location of CAFOs across the country and what those operations are doing to control pollution. And that’s just for starters. Here are some areas of particular concern.
How much manure was produced in 2012?
In 2012 livestock and poultry raised in the largest CAFOs in the United States produced 369 million tons of manure, according to an analysis of USDA figures done by Food & Water Watch. All that waste has to go somewhere.
Why is monoculture bad for the soil?
Monoculture also renders the soil prone to rapid erosion, since the practice leaves the soil bare outside of the crop’s growing season. Perhaps more problematically, repeatedly planting the same crop invites pests that prey on a certain plant to wait around the same spot for their favorite food to return.
Why do industrial farms use antibiotics?
Industrial farms overuse antibiotics, feeding large amounts of the drugs—often the same ones used to treat human illnesses—to healthy animals to help them survive in crowded, dirty CAFOs. Low-level exposure to antibiotics creates the perfect breeding ground for superbugs, those pathogens that antibiotics can’t kill.
What is industrial agriculture?
Industrial agriculture is the large-scale, intensive production of crops and animals, often involving chemical fertilizers on crops or the routine , harmful use of antibiotics in animals (as a way to compensate for filthy conditions, even when the animals are not sick). It may also involve crops that are genetically modified, …
How long has agriculture been around?
Human agriculture has existed for about 12,000 years, and industrial farming is less than a century old. But the latter has become so prevalent that sustainable farming practices are now sometimes branded “alternative.”
What did ancient farmers plant?
Ancient farmers planted seeds from only the sweetest fruits, generation after generation, ensuring that any genetic variations that increased sweetness survived. By selecting plants with increasingly white, increasingly tiny, flowers, farmers turned a weedy little herb into cauliflower. It was slow but effective.
What are the problems with factory farms?
Another issue that is directly a problem for both animals and humans is the physical abuse if the animals in the factory farms. All factory farms force their animals to live under stressful conditions, being packed tightly into small spaces, subjected to abuse by their handlers, and being pumped full of drugs are only a few broad examples of abuse. This unethical treatment causes the animal’s health to decline, which is not only cruel, but also affects the meat that is being eaten to be affected negatively, causing endorphins to be released into the meat along with various drugs. These drugs include the aforementioned antibiotics along with vitamin supplements and hormones. Hormones are used to increase the growth of the animals for maximum quantity, disregarding quality. The Hormones are given to cows for increased milk production; even know the dairy industry’s most used hormones have been linked to increased risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Why are pigs fed antibiotics?
Due to the extremely harsh living conditions of livestock on factory farms, animals are fed an array of antibiotics to help thwart the spread of disease. Pigs are crammed into confined spaces, packed densely into cages where they are forced to live in piles of feces and other bodily fluids.
What is the problem with antibiotic resistance?
Antibiotic Resistance. One very pressing issue is the rise of microorganisms that are resistant to antibiotics and potentially deadly. Antibiotics have been used in industrial farming since 1946, and the use of the drugs increased 50% between 1985 and 2001. Due to the extremely harsh living conditions of livestock on factory farms, …
Why are hormones used in dairy?
Hormones are used to increase the growth of the animals for maximum quantity, disregarding quality. The Hormones are given to cows for increased milk production; even know the dairy industry’s most used hormones have been linked to increased risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Why do farm animals use tasers?
Tasers and various other violent tools are used to herd the animals and reprimand them if they don’t obey the unnatural demands of the handlers.
What problems did food production cause?
This method of food production not only gave rise to problems like unethical treatment of animals and over use of drugs on farms, but also created a rift between the accelerating pace of human living and the natural world.
How did humans and animals interact?
For millennia humans and animals lived side by side, working together to create a balanced ecosystem. Humanity approached animal consumption with humility and respect, recognizing their role as leaders on the earth, not owners or rulers.
What is the meat industry?
According to recent research by IFPRI, the global meat industry “may find itself in a position of competing with poor people for cereals”27 and other grains used as feed stocks for farmed animals. As much as 80% of the global soybean crop and 40-50% of the annual corn crop are fed to cattle, pigs, chickens, and other animals used in agriculture,28 in large part due to grain consumption facilitating rapid weight gain,29 which allows industries to slaughter animals in less time.
How many people are malnourished?
Of the world’s nearly 6.8 billion humans, almost 1 billion people are malnourished. Feeding half the world’s grain crop to animals raised for meat, eggs, and milk instead of directly to humans is a significant waste of natural resources, including fossil fuels, water, and land. Raising animals for food is also a major contributor to global warming, which is expected to further worsen food security globally. To meet the daily nutritional needs of a rapidly expanding population, the world’s human community, particularly in Western countries, must reduce its reliance on animal products and shift to a more plant-based diet.
Is animal agriculture sustainable?
Industrial animal agriculture is not a sustainable option in a carbon constrained world, where nearly 1 billion people do not get enough food. Phasing out industrial confinement facilities in favor of extensive farming systems will be necessary as agriculture moves to less fossil fuel-intensive methods of production.55 In addition, consumers will need to reduce their reliance on meat, eggs, and milk, and replace them with plant-based sources of protein and other nutrients. Governments and policymakers, however, also need to play a role in creating a global diet that can feed everyone and protect the environment. The failures of industrial animal agriculture, including its contribution to hunger and greenhouse gas emissions, may have been unintentional, but that does not negate the hasty need for moving to more environmentally sustainable and healthier methods of food production.
Will the diet of consumers change in 50 years?
It is likely that the diet of consumers, particularly in the industrial world, will look very different in 50 years. The human community may increasingly begin using food choices as tools, similar to changing their light bulbs and driving less, in the fight against climate change and as a way to reduce global hunger and to protect their own health.