What does factory farming mean – and what can you do

Factory farming is familiar to most people. However, it is not always clear what exactly the form of breeding means and what specific conditions it involves. We explain everything you need to know about factory farming.

When it comes to factory farming, you probably immediately imagine a cramped barn where pigs, cows, or chickens live in a desolate place in a very small space. If animals are kept in this way, then their well-being is in second place. What matters is profitability: Factory farming is all about providing consumers with meat, milk and eggs quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively. The fact that the suffering of living beings beyond reasonable prices is often not expressed enough clearly or is suppressed.

Factory farming began in the 1960s. At that time, this type of breeding was considered particularly modern and practical. Animals must be raised and slaughtered in the manner of industry. Factory farming made animal products easily accessible to all income groups. The term first appeared in Germany in the mid-1970s. According to Greenpeace, milk and meat production in Europe tripled between 1960 and 2010. According to the Albert Schweitzer Foundation, 760 million animals die every year on farms and factories in Germany alone.

What is plant cultivation?

In factory farming, pigs have little space or opportunity to live adequately
(Photo: CC0/Pixabay/Hans)

Today, there aren’t many companies that practice factory breeding—according to the Animal Welfare Association, the companies that still exist are much larger than they used to be. There is no exact definition of planting plants. Therefore it cannot be linked to concrete inventory numbers. However, there are now farms where more than 100,000 laying hens live, for example. However, for 90 percent of all consumers, factory farming begins with around 500 cattle, 1,000 pigs, and 5,000 chickens, according to a survey by the University of Göttingen on the social understanding of factory farming.

Even if there are no official numbers or definitions about when exactly this is factory breeding, the law says how much space animals need. However, these numbers do not automatically identify a farm as an agricultural farm. However, they show it in traditional farming Basically, only a small space is provided for the animals. The numbers came from the Albert Schweitzer Foundation:

Consequences of raising animals for animals

In such a small space, the animals lack space, daylight, fresh air, and exercise, among other things. Often they can’t even turn around or act on their instincts. The few steps they can take, they take on solid ground. Pigs and cattle on industrial farms have ribbed concrete floors. In the case of chickens and turkeys, thin bedding is spread over the concrete at the beginning of the fattening. However, over time it mixes with the droppings and becomes wet.

Because animals live in such a small space and have little exercise, they are also more likely to get sick or injured on bars or walls. So, they recognize it as a precaution Antibiotics offset lining. This also has consequences for us humans: because of this frequent use of antibiotics, there are more and more Antibiotic-resistant germsagainst which the drugs do not work.

In addition, there are frequent cases of cannibalism and aggressiveness. Reasons for this include a low-stimulus environment, lack of exercise, and no place to retreat. So that animals do not harm each other, poultry beaks are cut off, pig teeth and cattle horns are removed. These procedures are done without anesthesia. You can find more information about this at the Animal Welfare Association.

by the way: Even in organic breeding, animals do not live a species-appropriate life. Although animals have more space in organic farming than in factory farming, fattening occurs more slowly and dairy cows, for example, go outside more often to get some fresh air. However, everything in animals’ lives revolves around the fact that they provide products for people to become themselves. Even if the use of antibiotics in organic products, according to the Consumer Center, is less common, it is not prohibited.

This is how factory farming changed animals

In factory farming, cows have to work at a high level.
In factory farming, cows have to work at a high level.
(Photo: CC0/Pixabay/fietzfotos)

Animals living on industrial farms no longer look what they did a few decades ago. The so-called high-performance breeding aims to get the most out of the animal. For example, cows’ ribs are now much larger than they were in the 1960s. On average, a cow today produces 1,000 kg more milk per year than it did ten years ago. However, life expectancy has also decreased. Even chickens bred for high performance lay about 290 eggs per year, which is much higher than normal values. You can read more about it at Bund Naturschutz.

Factory farming also poses a threat to the environment and climate

Factory farming often results in an excess of manure that the fields can no longer absorb.
Factory farming often results in an excess of manure that the fields can no longer absorb.
(Photo: CC0/Pixabay/Didgeman)

Factory farming does not just cause a great deal of suffering to animals. However, this type of breeding also has a negative impact on the climate and the environment. According to a study published in 2018, the world’s five largest meat and dairy companies together are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the three largest oil companies. On the one hand, this contributes to these emissions methane gas where the cattle came out. In addition, many animals on industrial farms also need a lot of feed. However, the fed soybeans do not come from Europe, but are mainly imported from South America. There it often grows in neighboring areas rainforest clearing Can be used. When moving to Europe, not only more falls CO2 انبعاثات emissions Note that the varieties grown in Brazil are also genetically modified.

Another big problem is animal droppings. Manure is a valuable fertilizer. But if too much of it ends up in the fields, the plants and soil won’t be able to absorb the excess. As a result, liquid manure seeps into groundwater and leads to an increase in nitrate concentrations there. In our body can nitrate to me nitrite being converted. This can have health consequences, especially for children, because nitrites prevent the absorption of oxygen into the blood.

What can you do about factory farming?

A plant-based diet helps avoid animal suffering.
A plant-based diet helps avoid animal suffering.
(Photo: CC0/Pixabay/pasja1000)

As a consumer, you have a choice. This also applies to products that come from factory farming. When buying animal products, pay attention to their source. from where an egg It can be seen, for example, from the first digit of a numeric code. “3” here means cage farming. Currently there are only voluntary animal welfare seals, for example from the “Tierwohl Initiative” or from the Tierschutzbund. However, the “Shape Retention” label states how the animals the product comes from have been kept – this at least gives consumers some transparency. However, the conditions for housing animals in the stable dwelling category meet only the minimum legal requirements in terms of space.

But it’s best to try to limit your consumption of animal products or avoid them altogether. It doesn’t have to be overnight. There are now many vegetarian or vegan options Meat alternativesplant drinks and even egg substitutes.

But of course you can do more against factory farming than questioning or changing your consumption. You can also help by actively campaigning against factory farming, signing petitions against factory farming or supporting animal welfare organizations. For example, the Animal Welfare Society, the Nature Conservation Society, and PETA oppose factory farming. These organizations require animals, among others:

  • out port
  • Proper feeding of species instead of fattening
  • Lying areas on straw
  • Animal friendly nutrition
  • no amputation

You can also give animals a voice in elections by supporting parties that demand more animal welfare or an end to factory farming.

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Keywords: Meat, how to be kind to animals

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