Most probably, you have already heard the famous adage, “You are what you eat.” However, there are still many people who do not pay close attention to what they eat. Also, there are others who do not know where their food comes from and under what conditions it is created. More often than not, they ignore how their food was grown and, instead, purchase packaged content. However, it is highly important to know such process to have a good idea if you are getting the right nutrients you need and if you are doing the society a favor by patronizing such products. Well, when it comes to food production, one of the methods that are used today is factory farming.
This farming method is done as a way to produce food, particularly meat, in large quantities at a faster rate than traditional farming. Its primary objective is to produce the most products and to gain as much profit as possible. Being one of the foremost methodologies used in producing food in the US today, its concept has been a hot topic of many debates, not only in the country, but all around the world, where it is being practiced. With the many benefits and drawbacks associated with this means of farming, it can be quite difficult to say whether or not it should continue on its current course. Let us take a look at this controversial subject’s pros and cons.
List of Pros of Factory Farming
1. It is inexpensive.
With the use of factory farms, the prices of food have drastically dropped. The main reason for this is that food are being processed and produced at a faster rate by employing efficient processes.
2. It is less dependent on human labor.
Factory farming uses modern technology, so it has freed farmers from manual labor constraints. Now, willing laborers will only be picked for tasks that really require them, while a few individuals just use machinery to do more than their hands can ever could. This brings about many benefits, including one where farmers will be able to afford to hire better workers to complete specialized or individual tasks.
3. It is efficient.
Though many people would oppose this opinion, factory farms can be labeled as “efficient”. The reason for using this adjective is that livestock are being raised in extremely confined spaces, which means that the spaces utilized are lesser compared to the number of animals raised. Of course, this can save farmers considerable capital, since their farms do not need to put in a huge amount of money to maintain them. Moreover, the methods used to manufacture meat and eggs involve cheaper and faster processes, which again reduce cost.
4. It requires just a little amount of time to market.
With factory farming, there have been significant advancements in its methods of food processing, production, preservation, packaging and delivery. This entails that goods will be delivered to the market and grocery stores faster than ever. Also, this farming technique has made access to food in first-world o highly industrialized countries easier.
5. It is a very lucrative business.
The profit margins of factory farms have been huge because proper care of animals, where much of farming costs lay, can be put onto the backseat. Also, the farm locations have the qualities that offer low-cost labor.
6. It allows for greater availability and variety.
Because food has become cheaper to process and produce, farm owners can make some investments in raising and growing more varieties of livestock and plants than before. Biotechnological advancements have also led to the creation of hybrid varieties of plant or those that are disease-resistant, which can be grown in places unsuitable for vegetation in the past. Furthermore, storing and shipping technology advancements mean that we can still enjoy fruits that will be able to grow on a ground that is not previously their home.
7. It can offer a lot of job opportunities.
Considering that factory farming involves large operations, there is a need of a huge number of people to work on it. The industry definitely offers a wide array of job opportunities, as well as economic stimulation, to places that are in desperate need of this kind of help.
8. It has fewer geographic limitations.
With factory farms, farmers will have greater access to water because of irrigation. Aside from this, they will also have easy access to fertilizers and other technologies, such as greenhouses that minimize the impact of weather and seasonal changes. The season for growing would also become longer, and places that were previously unable to grow crops would be cultivated into farm lands.
9. It can provide large amounts of food for society.
This agricultural method creates a farming system that is profit-based and provides human populations with the right amount of calories they need every day to live and survive. Whether it is a certain type of crop or livestock focused by the farm, products would come out of factory farms regularly.
10. It lengthens food availability and shelf life.
Shelf life of food shelf-life is extended, thus an increase of its economic value. This farming method employs new techniques of food processing, packaging and preservation that are being uncovered constantly.
11. It can boost local communities.
Proponents of factory farming stress that the industry invests greatly in the local communities where they are operating. They also claimed that it has promoted the development of vital amenities, such as hospitals and good roads among others. These are the primary reasons why most developed countries attribute their growth to factory farming and relevant farming practices.
List of Cons of Factory Farming
1. It risks the occurrence of animal cruelty.
Animals could fall victim to the difficult and cruel conditions of factory farming. They could be packed into incredibly small areas, which are often indoors, and fed additive ingredients for fattening. They only know such a life until they are slaughtered to be processed, which is quite cruel.
2. It can lead to high animal death rates.
Because animals would be exposed to difficult conditions, they could die in huge numbers. Among the most common reasons of animals dying are stress, disease and even heart attack.
3. It offers less nutrition for animals.
Animals that are factory farmed are fed with high-fat and additive feeds to get them fat quickly. Take note that these can transfer to their meat. As you may have noticed in today’s supermarket chickens, they are about 2 times fatter and having half the protein compared to supermarket chickens many years ago.
4. It risks food products to have sub-standard quality.
This is one of the biggest disadvantages of factory farming. Since animals are artificially bred and the procedure used is unnatural, the end products could be having poor quality. Antibiotics are injected into livestock, making them vulnerable to unclean matter and disease. As a consequence, meat and eggs would not be as good. Also, livestock are grown and raised in unsanitary and unhygienic conditions, so it is highly possible that they can catch infections and even spread them to other animals. Considering that we are consuming the resulting low-quality products, our health can be affected as well.
5. It can lead to some health concerns.
The bad conditions the farm animals are living in each day can breed diseases and illnesses within them, which could be translated to contaminated and dangerous meat and eggs that we consume.
6. It can hurt the farming community.
In the US, family farms are being wiped out because of factory farming, which has the capability to produce goods much more quickly and cheaply than traditional farming, thus becoming the obvious choice of large-scale companies and businesses.
7. It can have a negative impact on the environment.
Because of extreme overcrowding conditions, the land that surrounds factory farms could not handle the large amount of waste produced by animals. This can contribute to land, air and water pollution in the surrounding areas.
8. It contributes to global warming.
Due to the fact that there is practically no maintenance required in factory farming, the industry can lead to preposterously unhygienic conditions. Waste and excrement from animals can cause extensive damage to the environment in the form of water and air contamination. Generally, this farming method gives off harmful emissions to the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.
Like other critical issues in the world, factory farming surely has its place in the future, but only with proper regulation and organization. The pros and cons listed above would have painted a rough picture of this method. While the truth remains that, in its own way, the technique has increased the availability of food at more affordable prices, we cannot deny the fact that it is also causing tremendous pain to the animals. This subject can seem like a complicated circle, where opposing parties have their own strong opinions and proofs to back their arguments. On your end, do you think factory farming is good for the society, or not?
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.