Animal factories have significant detrimental consequences for individual health, natural resources, wildlife, animals, farmers and food workers, climate, community health and safety, and the economy. These impacts, often externalized by the companies producing the animals, make the systems unsustainable and undermine our ability to produce healthy food that is safe for consumers, food workers, animals and the environment. Opting out of industrial meat is vital for:
For Our Health
Overconsumption of meat is linked to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, stroke, certain cancers, type-2 diabetes, and shorter life span. The meat industry’s practice of dousing healthy food animals is making those antibiotics less effective where we need them: treating bacterial infections in humans. Eating industrially-raised meats also increases the risk of exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria and animal drug residues. For more information, click here.
For Food Workers
Trauma-related injuries occur at animal factories at 6.5 times the rate of all other manufacturing jobs. Industrial livestock workers have increased presence of the dangerous strain of resistant staph infection (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)). For more information, click here.
For Pollinators
The production of feed crops for industrial meat production, like corn and soy, threatens pollinators by subjecting them to high rates of toxic pesticides, destroying their habitat, and exposing them to animal drugs and feed additives found in industrial animal manure that is applied to crops. For more information, click here.
For Water Conservation
One pound of industrial beef requires 1,799 gallons of water. One pound of industrial pork: 576 gallons. Industrial chicken: 468 gallons. The United Nations declared animal factories major contributors to increasing water depletion. For more information, click here.
For Animals
Industrial animal factories torture and cruelly abuse food animals through severe, painful physical alterations and the regular use of growth promoting drugs that impair animal health. Beta-agonist drugs have been linked to immobilization, stomach ulcers, brain lesions, blindness, lethargy, respiratory problems, heart failure, and higher mortality in cattle. For more information, click here.
For Climate
Animal factories are responsible for 18 percent of global GHG production and over 7 percent of GHG emissions in the U.S. Grain-based livestock feeds are grown with synthetic fertilizers, which contribute 65 percent of nitrous oxide and 30 million tons of ammonia emissions annually. For more information, click here.
For Community Health
Chronic exposure to emissions from animal factories can lead to asthma and asphyxiation. Stench from animal factories, such as hog facilities in North Carolina and Iowa, inhibits nearby residents from engaging in outdoor activities and permeates into their homes. For more information, click here.
For Food Safety
A single package of factory-raised ground meat could contain tissue from hundreds, if not thousands, of animals; a single downed cow infected with a pathogen such as E. coli could contaminate more than 100,000 hamburgers with an infectious dose. Animal factories create more virulent strains of infections, like MRSA, a serious antibiotic-resistant staph infection. For more information, click here.
For Farmers
Consolidation has forced smaller farmers to leave the industry. In the beef industry, only four companies process 85 percent of the cattle in the United States. Contracts take advantage of individual farmers’ and operators’ liberties to make decisions and dictate specific feed, medications, and production methods. For more information, click here.
For Local Economies
The presence of animal factories can reduce nearby property values by 10 percent due to persistent odors, pollution risks, and insect infestations. Corporations that own animal factories purchase very few inputs locally. In contrast, small producers spend two times more on local expenditures and purchase 85 percent of inputs locally. For more information, click here.