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Should factory farming be banned? Should the government step in and increase regulation of factory farming? Is The Meatrix a fair depiction of what happens in our meat industry?

Oct 28th, 2014

Should factory farming be banned?  Should the government step in and increase regulation of factory farming? 

Factory farming is a modern agricultural practice that mass produce animals to meet the food consumption of human. Fatory farms house large number of animals to be raised for food in a confined space of farms to minimize operation cost, and the mass production drives down the food prices as they could produce excess amount of animals to meet the demand. However, except for offering human abundant amount of cheaper food, factory farming is an unhealthy agricultural practice to both human and the environment. Factory farming contributed to serious pollution problems, the animal treatments are inhumane and it has smothered the business opportunity of traditional farms and its workers by occupying their markets . Therefore, I strongly support that factory farming should be banned. I shall explain my point of view in the following essay.

First of all, factory farming creates much pollution on our environment. Producing livestocks in  massive amount would require much resources, and produce huge amount of waste at the same time. Especially when the density of livestocks is extraordinarily high, large amount of wastes will be created. When the wastes are disposed at the same time, the high concentration of wastes could do immediate pollution to the environment. Areas near to the factory farms are found with serious pollution problems. Many woodlands are cleared for building the factory farms, the soil is in poor condition that is no longer fertile. The nearby water source, such as river, is contaminated with wastes that the water quality turns bad with horrible smell. The land will not be suitable for human settlement anymore.

Factory farming is also one of the main causes of greenhouse gases emission.  According to a research, the use of fossil fuels on factory farms to grow feed and to intensively raise land animals for food emits 90 million tons of carbon dioxide worldwide every year and accounts for 37 percent of methane emissions. Methane and carbon dioxide are the main greenhouse gases that leads to more severe greenhouse effect, factory farming is apparently raising greenhouse effect to a more hazardous level by emitting tons and tons of such gases.

These are the undeniable facts of running factory farms. Supporters of factory farming may argue that traditional farms may also produce the same amount of waste for the same number of animals raised. However, traditional farms are more geographically separated. They are less centralized or even located far away from each other. Of course they might also create wastes, but the wastes created by traditional farms are much less concentrated than that of factory farms, there may not be immediate pollution to the nearby environment like factory farms do.

Secondly, factory farms are also known for the cruel treatments to animals. The animals are caged together in a dark dirty room which was so crowded that they cannot even move their body. Instead of natural growth and mating, they are forced to be injected different kinds of chemicals to boost body mass and reproduction. They cannot have their natural diet. They all have miserable short lives before getting killed to be our food.

Take hens as an example, it was found that they produce an egg almost every day, when their ancestors lay just 20 a year. 40 million new born male chicks are crushed to death every year because they are too scrawny for meat and incapable of laying eggs. For the same reason, 4 million baby sheeps are killed every year, and this is only one-fifth of all new born lambs. Which means in order to produce abundant food, there were cruel and merciless stories behind the food production in factory farms. Millions of lives are killed for no reason, even if the rest survived, they were merely treated as commercial goods instead of living beings.

Such operation in the factory farms has aroused much controversy about animal rights and morality. Supporters of factory farming may point out that those methods are necessary to meet production efficiency and meat quality. They may also defend themselves about torturing animals that human does not have the same moral background with animals, animals are not as morally consious as we are therefore it is not against any moral grounds on their way of aninmal treatments. However, producing cheap food and maintain efficiency cannot be the reason for us to abuse animals, nothing gives us the right to torture them, especially when we have have a choice. As food consumers, we know that these animals’ lives will eventually end for our need and consumption regardless to their life ecperiences, but we could avoid exerting unneccessary torment on the animals. Concerning animal abuse  in this case, I agree with Immanual Kant’s idea on animal rights, that animals are not considered to share the same moral standard of human, but human should not mistreat animals because such action reflects a bad moral attitude. Therefore, since factory farms performed bad moral attitude for exerting inhumane treatments on animals, it is considered immoral and unjust.

Thirdly, factory farms has been replacing traditional farms rapidly for its cheap food and efficiency. In recent years, the majority of food was supplied by factory farms. Since factory farming has become very consolidated in the agricultural sector, the market for traditional farming products are diminishing. Factory farms are able to offer greater amount of food in cheaper price with low operation cost, traditional farmers are out-competed as they can never have a bug scale of business like factory farms. They have to afford relatively higher operation cost due to their smaller scale of business that their products are more expensive. Thus, traditional farmers cannot sustain their business or even earn a living.

According to Natural Agricultural Statistics Service, 330 farmers leave their land every week. Instead of starting a new business, a part of the traditional farmers were recruited by the factory farms to be their workers, which is ironic that they have to work for their competitors. The working condition was not any better. It was reported that the workers, including the recruited former traditional farmers, have to working 16 hours a day and seven days a week. The working environment was dirty and poorly equipped. The farm owners further exploit the workers by forcing them to buy their own products at high prices, which in turn increased the workers’ financial burden and make them dependent on this job. Factory farming business is unfair to its workers and traditional farming.

Again, supporters of factory farming may refer the situation to natural selection, that the fittest survives. Factory farming succeed in occupying over half of the food market because of its business scale and efficiency have out-competed the rest of the competitors. Although it maybe inevitable that old business practices will eventually diminish, traditional farming has its unique value, such as the traditional wisdom on natural farming. Factory farms may be enjoying advantage on market occupation, but traditional farming should also be preserved for its uniqueness and the option of consumers who supports natural farm products. Some people may desire cheap and abundant food from factory farms, but we should not overlook the exploitation to traditional farmers. Achieving in any business does not mean it has to exploit the workers. It is unjust. Worker is the core of business, mistreating workers could not do any good on the business. Rather, it could lead to deterioration of business as the workers lack working incentive, like the Cafe de Coral exploitation scandal in Hong Kong. Exploitation on workers has resulted in bad reputation of the factory farms, more people stood out to criticise them, and even oppose to the factory farmng industry.

To sum up, factory farming is not an acceptable agricultural practice, for it causes serious pollution problems, having no moral conscience on animal treatments, threatened traditional farming business and exploited its workers. Occupying a large proportion of the market doesnt mean the business is just. If the wealth of the business came from pollution to the shared environment, unneccessary inhumane treatment on animals and exploitation on its workers, it would never be a morally just company, and it does not deserve our support. When we are consuming food from factory farms, we are at the same time  consuming the cruelty behind industry. In fact, we could replace factory farming by other alternatives anytime we want. Our choices are not that limited, there are always better options for food such as traditional farming and organic farming, they operate in a more natural and humane way than factory farming. Ourselves, as autonomous and rational being, should make the right choice on food consumption instead of being misled by a pricetag. Therefore, we should say no to factory farming and factory farming should be banned.


Intensive animal farming. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_farming

11 Facts About How Factory Farms Affect the Environment. (n.d.). Retrieved from:http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-factory-farms-and-environment

Robert, R. F. (n.d.) Factory Farms Are They Good for Consumers? Retrieved fromhttp://realtruth.org/articles/070601-004-ff.html


Is The Meatrix a fair depiction of what happens in our meat industry?


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