Factory Farming: The Industry Behind Meat and Dairy - Ecobuy
Factory Farming: The Industry Behind Meat and Dairy cows

Eco-friendly? What does that even mean, what do we do about it – how can we help?

I’m sure we’ve all had our moments when we watch tv or read a post on Facebook and think about how we can help the planet and save the world, but it’s all a lie right? It’s all over emphasized, it’s dramatized, everyone is always saying they’re just trying to scare you. Well, maybe they are in some cases but overall the message is the same. We need to educate ourselves and make a change.

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How is it that as a society, we care for cats and dogs, and eat pigs and cows. Why is it in other countries they worship cows, and eat dogs? Culture. Yes, you might say it’s all just society but can’t we all adapt the same culture with something as simple as killing and eating innocent beings? Animals we see and live in awe of on social media.

Meat industry practices are widely misunderstood. My guess is that most people think that cows and their babies live happy lives, freely roaming pastures until the day they don’t any longer. When in reality there simply isn’t enough land mass in the world to allow for this with the rate and quantity of meat consumed.

Factory Farming: The Industry Behind Meat and Dairy

They’re often raised in barren looking barns, allowed only to walk for their food or to be marched into a truck. This is even more prominent with the chicken and poultry industry. Hens are cooped up in caged environments, with little to no room to move.

This is considered an industry standard for ‘free range’. But I think we could all agree that if you put 100 of your friends in a room fit for 50 and told you to live your entire life – you would not feel as though you were living a life of freedom.

Moving on from how they lived their lives, it’s easy to ignore and forget about how these animals are actually killed. All we publicly see is their happy faces and then their meat in our freezes. The phrase – restrained, stunned and slaughtered humanely – is what came up when I tried google and understand the correct Australian practice. Where this may seem acceptable to some people, I wish to ask the question.. What is humane slaughter? How do you humanely kill someone or something who does not wish to be killed? It’s a tough question, one not meant to be answered easily, but one to be considered carefully.

I propose that we all consider lowering our meat intake and meat consumption. Meatless Mondays is a widely known movement that is fantastic to help as a social cause, these days a hashtag is everything, if we could get everyone posting #meatlessmonday week by week, the amount of meat consumption would go down tremendously. Without demand for meat, there is no supply. By buying different products – by buying more vegetables, rice, fruits, beans and seeds we could not only save, but improve the lives and well being of so many animals and maybe even save the world. Well, fingers crossed on that one.

Factory Farming: The Industry Behind Meat and Dairy

Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoiding dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and legumes.

Research presented by The Guardian finds that enormous changes to farming are needed to avoid destroying the planet’s ability to feed the 10 billion people expected to be on the planet in a few decades.

Food production already causes great damage to the environment, via greenhouse gases from livestock, deforestation and water shortages from farming, and huge ocean dead zones from agricultural pollution.

But without action, its impact will get far worse as the world population rises by 2.3 billion people by 2050 and global income triples, enabling more people to eat meat-rich western diets.

So what about water? Is it easier to raise cattle than constantly watering crops? Something else to consider is how we’re feeding the cattle.. with grains. The water we use to grow food to feed the animals, could instead just go towards feeding our population instead of millions of animals.

Per ton of product, animal products have proven to generally have a larger water footprint than crop products. The same is true when we look at the water footprint per calorie. The Water Footprint Network says, the average water footprint per calorie for beef is twenty times larger than that for cereals and starchy roots.

That same report from The Water Footprint Network shows that for every kilogram of vegetables grown, it uses 322 litres of water. Seems like a lot right? Well to put it into perspective for every kilogram of chicken meat and eggs produced, roughly 3200-4200 of water is used. Yep, thousands. And to top it off again, bovine meat used 15415 litres of water for every kilogram of meat. So to try and compare 322 litres to 15415 litres is incomprehensible. Information like this is not hidden, it is not hard to find, but for some reason it is not promoted as other information is.

Maybe one day we’ll all know these facts as commonly as we know #tacotuesday.

FAQs

What is the definition of factory farming?

A system of farming in which a lot of animals are kept in a small closed area, in order to produce a large amount of meat, eggs, or milk as cheaply as possible.

How do meat factories kill animals?

After they are unloaded, cows are forced through a chute and shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun meant to stun them. But because the lines move so quickly and many workers are poorly trained, the technique often fails to render the animals insensible to pain.

Why factory farming is bad for animals?

Factory farms are bad for animals because it makes it so they can’t live a natural life. Animals feel stress, anxiety, and fear like humans. Being contained, often times in spaces so small they can’t move does a number on the mental health of the countless animals that live their short lives on factory farms

 

About the Author:

I'm Lauren, 24 living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Doing whatever I can live a healthy, happy, eco-friendly and sustainable life.