How factory farming puts you, the planet, and animals at risk and why a moratorium (ban) is needed

We live in the era of factory farming, also referred to as ‘industrial’ or ‘intensive’ farming, characterised by high production volumes and a focus on cost minimisation.

A report earlier launched by animal welfare organization World Animal Protection brought to light some of the most damaging animal and human health impacts linked to factory farming, and how that is projected to only get worse as the demand for meat continues to grow globally, especially in developing economies like Africa.

It’s past time that the hidden impacts of factory farming were laid bare. Factory farming is the cornerstone of a dangerous industrial food system that profits from the suffering of billions of cruelly farmed animals each year.

The system imposes serious public and environmental health impacts that undermine our nutrition and food safety, lead to an onslaught of disease and superbugs, health hazards for workers, and environmental pollution, climate change and habitat destruction.

Governments ignore the health consequences of factory farming at our peril.

Swine flu and bird flu are just two examples of diseases that started on factory farms and have caused devastating human health impacts.

We’re living through the worst pandemic in 100 years but there’s worse to come as wildlife habitats are cut down to make room for factory farming, risking disease spread between wild and farmed animals, and to humans.

The World Health Organisation warns we are facing ‘a superbug health crisis’ with 1.27 million people dying each year from superbugs, and it is estimated that by 2050 this will be the leading cause of death globally people dying each year.

Factory farming is the major culprit as farmed animals are indiscriminately dosed with antibiotics to prop up a cruel system, leading to superbugs that jump to humans and kill.

People are suffering from chronic illness at record rates, made worse by the ‘cheap meat at all costs’ mentality of factory farming.

At the same time, hundreds of millions of people face hunger. As cruel factory farming grows around the world, more and more land is used to grow crops to feed farmed animals, not humans. Food security is undermined.

It’s a dangerous paradox where experts implore that action this decade is vital to prevent irreversible damage to our planet and climate, yet governments continue to support the growth of factory farming in a misguided belief it will bring nutrition, food safety and security.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Chicken in a big warehouse on a farm. [iStockphoto]

We must make fundamental changes in the way in which we grow, trade, and consume our food. For a truly sustainable, equitable and food-secure future, we need governments to urgently impose a moratorium on factory farms.

They must support the transition to a humane and sustainable food system where factory farming is a thing of the past.

The fallout on our health from the explosion of factory farming will disproportionately hit people in low-and-middle-income countries.

Rather than global companies industrialising livestock production systems around the world, governments must support humane and sustainable, localised food supply chains. Benefits will flow to local communities and farmers, not big multinational companies.

In order to make these shifts, World Animal Protection is calling for governments around the world to impose a moratorium on factory farms and introduce and enforce higher farmed animal welfare standards.

Take action

Let’s start the journey now to end factory farming and safeguard our health and the health of our planet.

A healthy, humane, and sustainable food system, of higher welfare products, requires an end to factory farming.

In the first instance, a moratorium on new factory farms being built and shifting to humane and sustainable food systems is needed.

Sign this online petition to compel your government to safeguard our future by protecting our people, animals, and the planet by putting an end to factory farms.

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