The Farm Sanctuary has created a very informative video about factory farming, although it contains explicit footage of cruelty that may not be appropriate for everyone. You can view it below.

Factory farming is the production of food—especially meat and animal products—in large industrialized, confined feeding operations. A factory farm is a factory, they are also referred to as CAFO's (Confined Animal Feeding Operations.) They have no relation to the storybook images we have of pastoral farmland. Here, thousands or even tens of thousands of animals are raised in conditions intended to maximize production while minimizing cost.

When animals become the means for corporations to make profit, they lose all connection to a natural life. They’re denied their natural food, freedom of movement, and often even the space to turn around, lie down, or stand up. They live in their own excrement. They endure stressful conditions such as mutilation—chickens are debeaked and hogs have their tails removed—to keep individual animals from attacking others. Millions of animals destined for dinner plates never even get to experience the light and warmth of the sun until the day they’re taken to slaughter.

Consider cattle and how they’re fed. Cattle are natural grazers. They eat grass. On a factory farm, however, cattle are fed a diet designed to fatten them up as quickly and cheaply as possible. They’re fed a slurry made from government-subsidized corn and other grains that they do not eat naturally, along with fillers that can include by-products of slaughtered animals such as poultry feathers and swine manure. To replace the roughage they no longer eat, their food may contain fillers such as cement dust, newspaper, and plastic.

With diets like that, it’s not surprising that factory-farmed animals tend to be less than healthy. To keep them alive and growing, their corporate owners provide them with a steady stream of antibiotics. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, up to 70 percent of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. go to food animals.

Most people do not realize that the meat they eat comes from animals that have been raised in highly toxic, unhealthy, and even barbaric conditions and that when they eat that meat, they are also ingesting the toxins the animal was fed, the drugs it was treated with, and the stress and suffering it endured. Factory farming can only exist if consumers are kept in the dark about happens on factory farms.

“Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.”

Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Animals Australia is doing a brilliant job educating people about where meat and dairy products come from. Please watch and share their inspiring video.

What is Factory Farming?