It’s Time that We Factor Out Factory Farming


Kacey Fifield, International Policy Digest

June 3, 2021


Throughout the 20th century, the practice of confining livestock in industrialized farms grew in prevalence across the United States. This practice, known as factory farming, creates conditions designed to maximize efficiency as well as profit and meet the ever-growing demand for meat and dairy, even if it means cutting corners in terms of quality. The increase in the number of livestock across America has been exponential, with meat production continuously scaling upwards as a direct result of the growth of factory farms.


While individuals have lobbied against factory farms for decades, little action has been taken on part of the government, leaving factory farms largely unregulated. The only federal laws that address animals in factory farming operations focus upon transportation and effective slaughter of the animals, missing the mark of addressing the most crucial issues posed by factory farms. Furthermore, such regulations are extremely difficult to monitor and enforce due to the lack of accountability present on such operations, leaving room for violations to slip through the cracks.


The rapid industrialization of the meat industry and consolidation of agriculture has caused meat and dairy corporations to obtain massive amounts of political power through targeting key policymakers and political figures. The industry’s “friends in high places” allow for regulation surrounding factory farms to be excessively lenient and favor the large corporations that dominate the industry.


Factory farming and its lack of effective regulation raises a myriad of concerns among animal rights activists, environmentalists, and doctors alike. Factory farming is the second-largest contributor to man-made greenhouse gas emissions, making it a key component of climate change. Moreover, the treatment of factory-farmed animals has long been contested as unethical, as the lives of these animals are ridden with inhumane conditions such as cramped living spaces and lack of sanitation. Factory farming also poses threats to consumer health since meat is produced to maximize quantity, even if doing so jeopardizes the quality of the products. In fact, consuming red meat has been shown to heighten the chance of premature death, as proven by a 2019 study.


However, a further pressing matter remains largely untouched by activists: the monopolization of agriculture. Factory farms dominating the market and driving small farms out of business essentially creates monopolies on meat and dairy production...


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