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Factory Farming and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
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Factory Farming and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

"The life spark in my eyes is in no way different than the life spark in the eyes of any other sentient being." - Michael Stepaniak, quoted in Joanne Stepaniak, The Vegan Sourcebook, 1998

Factory farming is the practice of raising farm animals in confinement at high stocking density; and also sometimes used more generally to refer to usage of farm animals as factory parts as is typical in industrial farming. It is an attitude that regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit. In animal agriculture, this attitude has led to institutionalized animal cruelty, massive environmental destruction and resource depletion, and animal and human health risks.

How Factory Farming Evolved:

Factory farming began in the 1920s soon after the discovery of vitamins A and D; when these vitamins are added to feed, animals no longer require exercise and sunlight for growth. This allowed large numbers of animals to be raised indoors year-round. The greatest problem that was faced in raising these animals indoors was the spread of disease, which was combated in the 1940s with the development of antibiotics. Farmers found they could increase productivity and reduce the operating costs by using mechanization and assembly-line techniques.

Unfortunately, this trend of mass production has resulted in incredible pain and suffering for the animals.

Some Facts about factory farming

Most commercial breeding facilities in the US and several other countries do not maintain even the most minimum humane standards proposed by animal welfare groups. For instance, Animals in factory farms are regularly pumped hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals and have their genes manipulated to encourage high productivity.

Animals are confined to small cages with metal bars, ammonia-filled air and artificial lighting or no lighting at all. They are subjected to horrible mutilations: beak searing, tail docking, ear cutting and castration.

Hundreds of millions of unwanted male chicks are killed by the commercial egg industry annually,shortly after hatching usually by gassing, crushing, or suffocation.

Australia produces 30 percent of all wool used worldwide. The most commonly raised sheep are Merinos, specifically bred to have wrinkly skin, which means more wool per animal. This unnatural overload of wool causes many sheep to collapse and even die of heat exhaustion during hot months, and the wrinkles collect urine and moisture. Attracted to the moisture, flies lay eggs in the folds of skin, and the hatched maggots can eat the sheep alive. To prevent this so-called "flystrike," Australian ranchers perform a barbaric operation-called "mulesing" - where they force live sheep onto their backs, restrain their legs between metal bars, and, without any painkillers whatsoever, slice chunks of flesh from around their tail area.

Read more about this here.

Pregnant pigs are stuffed in barren, restrictive gestation crates and are unable to turn around or even move more than a step or two. For nearly four months, they are made to languish in these cruel enclosures.

One million calves are raised for veal annually in the United States intensively confined in individual stalls so small they cant turn around during their entire 16- to 18-week lives before slaughter. Widely known for their inherent cruelty, veal crates are being phased out in Europe yet remain in use throughout the United States.

Turkeys are stuffed inside restrictive slaughter-bound transport crates, and are often denied food, water, rest, or protection from extreme weather.

Ducks and geese are often forced-fed unnaturally large quantities of food through a metal tube that is cruelly shoved down their throats and into their stomachs two or three times each day. The extensive overfeeding causes their livers to become diseased. The livers become enlarged up to ten times their normal size, making it difficult for the birds to move comfortably and, for some, even walk. The meat of course, eventually ends up in the stomachs of many human beings, who have no idea of how unhealthy this meat is! The so-called gourmet delicacy foie gras, translated from French, is simply "fatty liver", and is produced from such meat!!!

Current issues:



Cage-Free vs. Battery-Cage Eggs - (HSUS website)


The Chicken Industry - (PETA website)

Humane Society International's experience with the poultry industry

Sheep: http://factoryfarming.org.uk/sheep.html

Australia's factory-farmed wool exposed by the Swedish Press







Duck factory Farming - coverage by Viva! USA

Tagged Photos

Most Noteworthy Organization

Humane Farming Association (HFA)

HFA's goals are to protect farm animals from cruelty and abuse, to protect the public from the misuse of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals used on factory farms, and to protect the environment from the impacts of industrialized animal factories.

In addition to its signature campaign, the National Veal Boycott, HFA's comprehensive programs include: anti-cruelty investigations and exposés, national media campaigns, direct hands-on emergency care and refuge for abused farm animals, legislation, and youth humane education. 

What you can do

Don't contribute to animal suffering. Choosing a vegetarian diet low on the food chain. Eat healthful plant-based foods instead of animal products.

Educate others about cruel farming practices.

Encourage restaurants and grocery stores to provide vegetarian products.

Participate in Farm Sanctuary Campaigns

Sponsored by: Farm Sanctuary

These campaigns support Farm Sanctuary in their efforts to end cruel factory farming methods used in the United States. You can participate in the following campaigns:

Tell Costco to Say No to Battery Cages. Hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens spend their entire lives in these bare wire devices, packed so tightly that they cannot move or engage in basic natural behaviors.

Farm Sanctuary's Walk for Farm Animals. Every fall, thousands of compassionate people gather to raise funds and change hearts for farm animals through the Walk for Farm Animals, a series of non-competitive walking events held each year in cities across the United States and Canada.

Participate in campaigns organized by the Humane Society of United States (HSUS)

Sponsored by: Humane Society of United States (HSUS)

You can participate in the following campaigns:

Protect Farm Animals - Working to reduce the suffering of animals raised for meat, eggs and milk.

Force Fed Animals -Foie gras (French for fatty liver) is the product of extreme animal cruelty. Factory farms produce it by force feeding ducks so much that their livers become diseased and enlarged.

Australia's biggest campaign against factory farming

Sponsored By: AnimalsAustralia.org

Online Resources

Farm Sanctuary page on factory farming.

LCA (Last Chance for Animals) page on factory farming.

What's wrong with factory farms.

Animal cruelty is the price we pay for cheap meat.

Stop factory farming.

Factory farming page (PETA)

Disturbing Aerial Photos Show What Killing Billions Of Animals For Meat Is Doing To The Environment

Facts about pollution from factory farms.

360-degree video of animal life on factory farms.

End Factory farming

Death on a factory farm (documentary).

Abuses in factory farms

10 horrifying stories of factory farming gone wrong.

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