Animal factories threaten animal welfare by confining animals in crowded conditions indoors, often severely restricting their movement, and relying on a variety of animal drugs and painful physical alterations to keep the animals from getting sick or injured in such terrible living conditions.
Animals in CAFOs are “tightly crammed, caged, and sometimes even chained or tethered,” unable to turn around or lie down. Packed by the thousands or tens of thousands, they are “often unable to breathe fresh air, see the light of day, walk outside, peck at plants or insects, scratch the earth, or eat a blade of grass.” Poor ventilation causes buildup of toxic gases that cause illness or even death. Living on concrete floors causes increased agitation, biting of penmates, and lesions. Cows are often forced to lie in their own waste.
Animal factories rely on various animal drugs to enhance animal productivity that have terrible physical impacts on the animals.
The cattle drug, Zilmax, causes immobilization, stomach ulcers, brain lesions, blindness, lethargy, bloody noses, respiratory problems, heart failure, and has caused cow’s feet to fall off.
The steroid Melengestrol acetate is associated with pneumonia, disease, and decreased fertility in cattle.
Ractopamine, a growth booster, causes muscular skeletal tremors; contraction of cardiac tissue; increased heartbeat, aggression, and hyperactivity; increased risk of broken appendages, severed tendons or ligaments; and increased risk of nerve paralysis, fractured vertebral columns, or metabolic conditions.
Animal factories rely on painful procedures to counteract extreme aggression induced by confinement. The tails of piglets are often clipped, and the horns of young cattle are sawed off or chemically shortened. Pregnant pigs are placed in gestation pens, where they are unable to turn or lay sideways, and are exposed to high concentrations of their own waste. Litter sizes have steadily increased, causing greater stress for pregnant animals and reduced their ability to fight infections. Physical brutality from some handlers, including beating, stabbing, kicking, and dragging, are common.
Organic livestock farmers are required to provide livestock with shade, clean bedding, fresh air, clean drinking water, direct sunlight, and outdoor access during the grazing season. They also must provide room for animals to exercise, lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and move freely. Organic farmers who produce swine must provide group housing for them.DID YOU KNOW?
Reducing overall consumption of meat and poultry proteins, sourcing certified humane, organic, and/or pasture-raised meats, and increasing portions of plant-based proteins in your diet can promote improved conditions for food animals.
- Organic plant producers are prohibited from using toxic synthetic chemicals that are proven to be harmful to human health and the environment.
- Growing organic and non-GMO plant proteins does not generate the mass amounts of ammonia, manure, or heavy metal waste as industrial animal factories do, protecting quality of life for animals in the surrounding ecosystems as well.
- Organic livestock farmers are required to provide livestock with shade, clean bedding, fresh air, clean drinking water, direct sunlight, and outdoor access during the grazing season. They also must provide room for animals to exercise, lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and move freely. Organic farmers who produce swine must provide group housing for them.
- Use of antibiotics, growth hormones, or prohibited feed additives are not permitted on organic livestock farms.
- Some physical alterations, including teeth clipping, tail cutting, and castration of animals over seven days old, are restricted on organic and certified humane farms as well.