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Intensive animal farming

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Intensive animal farming or industrial livestock production, also known by its opponents as factory farming[1] and macro-farms,[2] is a type of intensive agriculture, specifically an approach to animal husbandry designed to maximize production, while minimizing costs.[3] To achieve this, agribusinesses keep livestock such as cattle, poultry, and fish at high stocking densities, at large scale, and using modern machinery, biotechnology, and global trade.[4][5][6][7][8] The main products of this industry are meat, milk and eggs for human consumption.[9] There are issues regarding whether intensive animal farming is sustainable in the social long-run given its costs in resources.[10] Analysts also raise issues about its ethics.[11]

There is a continuing debate over the benefits, risks and ethics of intensive animal farming. The issues include the efficiency of food production; animal welfare; health risks and the environmental impact (e.g. agricultural pollution and climate change).[12][13][14]

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Animal husbandry

Animal husbandry

Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, fibre, milk, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding, and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long history, starting with the Neolithic Revolution when animals were first domesticated, from around 13,000 BC onwards, predating farming of the first crops. By the time of early civilisations such as ancient Egypt, cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs were being raised on farms.

Agribusiness

Agribusiness

Agribusiness is the industry, enterprises, and the field of study of value chains in agriculture and in the bio-economy, in which case it is also called bio-business or bio-enterprise. The primary goal of agribusiness is to maximize profit while satisfying the needs of consumers for products related to natural resources such as biotechnology, farms, food, forestry, fisheries, fuel, and fiber.

Livestock

Livestock

Livestock are the domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to provide labor and produce diversified products for consumption such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool. The term is sometimes used to refer solely to animals who are raised for consumption, and sometimes used to refer solely to farmed ruminants, such as cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. Horses are considered livestock in the United States. The USDA classifies pork, veal, beef, and lamb (mutton) as livestock, and all livestock as red meat. Poultry and fish are not included in the category. The latter is likely due to the fact that fish products are not governed by the USDA, but by the FDA.

Cattle

Cattle

Cattle are large, domesticated, cloven-hooved, herbivores. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae and the most widespread species of the genus Bos. Adult females are referred to as cows and adult males are referred to as bulls.

Fish

Fish

Fish are aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish as well as various extinct related groups. Approximately 95% of living fish species are ray-finned fish, belonging to the class Actinopterygii, with around 99% of those being teleosts.

Economies of scale

Economies of scale

In microeconomics, economies of scale are the cost advantages that enterprises obtain due to their scale of operation, and are typically measured by the amount of output produced per unit of time. A decrease in cost per unit of output enables an increase in scale. At the basis of economies of scale, there may be technical, statistical, organizational or related factors to the degree of market control. This is just a partial description of the concept.

Biotechnology

Biotechnology

Biotechnology is the integration of natural sciences and engineering sciences in order to achieve the application of organisms, cells, parts thereof and molecular analogues for products and services. The term biotechnology was first used by Károly Ereky in 1919, meaning the production of products from raw materials with the aid of living organisms.

Globalization

Globalization

Globalization, or globalisation, is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide. The term globalization first appeared in the early 20th century, developed its current meaning some time in the second half of the 20th century, and came into popular use in the 1990s to describe the unprecedented international connectivity of the post-Cold War world. Its origins can be traced back to 18th and 19th centuries due to advances in transportation and communications technology. This increase in global interactions has caused a growth in international trade and the exchange of ideas, beliefs, and culture. Globalization is primarily an economic process of interaction and integration that is associated with social and cultural aspects. However, disputes and international diplomacy are also large parts of the history of globalization, and of modern globalization.

Ethics

Ethics

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior". The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value; these fields comprise the branch of philosophy called axiology.

Animal welfare

Animal welfare

Animal welfare is the well-being of non-human animals. Formal standards of animal welfare vary between contexts, but are debated mostly by animal welfare groups, legislators, and academics. Animal welfare science uses measures such as longevity, disease, immunosuppression, behavior, physiology, and reproduction, although there is debate about which of these best indicate animal welfare.

Agricultural pollution

Agricultural pollution

Agricultural pollution refers to biotic and abiotic byproducts of farming practices that result in contamination or degradation of the environment and surrounding ecosystems, and/or cause injury to humans and their economic interests. The pollution may come from a variety of sources, ranging from point source water pollution to more diffuse, landscape-level causes, also known as non-point source pollution and air pollution. Once in the environment these pollutants can have both direct effects in surrounding ecosystems, i.e. killing local wildlife or contaminating drinking water, and downstream effects such as dead zones caused by agricultural runoff is concentrated in large water bodies.

Climate change

Climate change

In common usage, climate change describes global warming—the ongoing increase in global average temperature—and its effects on Earth's climate system. Climate change in a broader sense also includes previous long-term changes to Earth's climate. The current rise in global average temperature is more rapid than previous changes, and is primarily caused by humans burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuel use, deforestation, and some agricultural and industrial practices increase greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide and methane. Greenhouse gases absorb some of the heat that the Earth radiates after it warms from sunlight. Larger amounts of these gases trap more heat in Earth's lower atmosphere, causing global warming.

History

Intensive animal farming is a relatively recent development in the history of agriculture, and the result of scientific discoveries and technological advances. Innovations from the late 19th century generally parallel developments in mass production in other industries in the latter part of the Industrial Revolution. The discovery of vitamins and their role in animal nutrition, in the first two decades of the 20th century, led to vitamin supplements, which allowed chickens to be raised indoors.[15] The discovery of antibiotics and vaccines facilitated raising livestock in larger numbers by reducing disease. Chemicals developed for use in World War II gave rise to synthetic pesticides. Developments in shipping networks and technology have made long-distance distribution of agricultural produce feasible.

Agricultural production across the world doubled four times between 1820 and 1975 (1820 to 1920; 1920 to 1950; 1950 to 1965; and 1965 to 1975) to feed a global population of one billion human beings in 1800 and 6.5 billion in 2002.[16]: 29  During the same period, the number of people involved in farming dropped as the process became more automated. In the 1930s, 24 percent of the American population worked in agriculture compared to 1.5 percent in 2002; in 1940, each farm worker supplied 11 consumers, whereas in 2002, each worker supplied 90 consumers.[16]: 29 

The era of factory farming in Britain began in 1947 when a new Agriculture Act granted subsidies to farmers to encourage greater output by introducing new technology, in order to reduce Britain's reliance on imported meat. The United Nations writes that "intensification of animal production was seen as a way of providing food security."[17] In 1966, the United States, United Kingdom and other industrialized nations, commenced factory farming of beef and dairy cattle and domestic pigs.[18] From its American and West European heartland, intensive animal farming became globalized in the later years of the 20th century and is still expanding and replacing traditional practices of stock rearing in an increasing number of countries.[18] In 1990 intensive animal farming accounted for 30% of world meat production and by 2005 this had risen to 40%.[18]

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History of agriculture

History of agriculture

Agriculture began independently in different parts of the globe, and included a diverse range of taxa. At least eleven separate regions of the Old and New World were involved as independent centers of origin. The development of agriculture about 12,000 years ago changed the way humans lived. They switched from nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyles to permanent settlements and farming.

Mass production

Mass production

Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of substantial amounts of standardized products in a constant flow, including and especially on assembly lines. Together with job production and batch production, it is one of the three main production methods.

Industrial Revolution

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines; new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes; the increasing use of water power and steam power; the development of machine tools; and the rise of the mechanized factory system. Output greatly increased, and a result was an unprecedented rise in population and in the rate of population growth. The textile industry was the first to use modern production methods, and textiles became the dominant industry in terms of employment, value of output, and capital invested.

Vitamin

Vitamin

A vitamin is an organic molecule (or a set of molecules closely related chemically, i.e. vitamers) that is an essential micronutrient that an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism. Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in the organism, either at all or not in sufficient quantities, and therefore must be obtained through the diet. Vitamin C can be synthesized by some species but not by others; it is not a vitamin in the first instance but is in the second. The term vitamin does not include the three other groups of essential nutrients: minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. Most vitamins are not single molecules, but groups of related molecules called vitamers. For example, there are eight vitamers of vitamin E: four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Some sources list fourteen vitamins, by including choline, but major health organizations list thirteen: vitamin A (as all-trans-retinol, all-trans-retinyl-esters, as well as all-trans-beta-carotene and other provitamin A carotenoids), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate), vitamin B12 (cobalamins), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin D (calciferols), vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), and vitamin K (phylloquinone and menaquinones).

Nutrition

Nutrition

Nutrition is the biochemical and physiological process by which an organism uses food to support its life. It provides organisms with nutrients, which can be metabolized to create energy and chemical structures. Failure to obtain sufficient nutrients causes malnutrition. Nutritional science is the study of nutrition, though it typically emphasizes human nutrition.

Antibiotic

Antibiotic

An antibiotic is a type of antimicrobial substance active against bacteria. It is the most important type of antibacterial agent for fighting bacterial infections, and antibiotic medications are widely used in the treatment and prevention of such infections. They may either kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. A limited number of antibiotics also possess antiprotozoal activity. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as the common cold or influenza; drugs which inhibit growth of viruses are termed antiviral drugs or antivirals rather than antibiotics. They are also not effective against fungi; drugs which inhibit growth of fungi are called antifungal drugs.

Vaccine

Vaccine

A vaccine is a biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious or malignant disease. The safety and effectiveness of vaccines has been widely studied and verified. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body's immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, destroy it, and to further recognize and destroy any of the microorganisms associated with that agent that it may encounter in the future.

World War II

World War II

World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries, including all of the great powers, fought as part of two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. Many participants threw their economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind this total war, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. Aircraft played a major role, enabling the strategic bombing of population centres and the delivery of the only two nuclear weapons ever used in war.

Pesticide

Pesticide

Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests. This includes herbicide, insecticide, nematicide, molluscicide, piscicide, avicide, rodenticide, bactericide, insect repellent, animal repellent, microbicide, fungicide, and lampricide. The most common of these are herbicides, which account for approximately 50% of all pesticide use globally. Most pesticides are intended to serve as plant protection products, which in general, protect plants from weeds, fungi, or insects. As an example, the fungus Alternaria solani is used to combat the aquatic weed Salvinia.

Agriculture Act 1947

Agriculture Act 1947

The Agriculture Act 1947 was an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom passed by Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government.

Types

Intensive farms hold large numbers of animals, typically cows, pigs, turkeys, geese,[19] or chickens, often indoors, typically at high densities. The aim is to produce large quantities of meat, eggs, or milk at the lowest possible cost. Food is supplied in place. Methods employed to maintain health and improve production may include the use of disinfectants, antimicrobial agents, anthelmintics, hormones and vaccines; protein, mineral and vitamin supplements; frequent health inspections; biosecurity; and climate-controlled facilities. Physical restraints, for example, fences or creeps, are used to control movement or actions regarded as undesirable. Breeding programs are used to produce animals more suited to the confined conditions and able to provide a consistent food product.[20]

Intensive production of livestock and poultry is widespread in developed nations. For 2002–2003, FAO estimates of industrial production as a percentage of global production were 7 percent for beef and veal, 0.8 percent for sheep and goat meat, 42 percent for pork, and 67 percent for poultry meat. Industrial production was estimated to account for 39 percent of the sum of global production of these meats and 50 percent of total egg production.[21] In the US, according to its National Pork Producers Council, 80 million of its 95 million pigs slaughtered each year are reared in industrial settings.[16]: 29 

Chickens

Hens in Brazil
Hens in Brazil

The major milestone in 20th-century poultry production was the discovery of vitamin D,[22] which made it possible to keep chickens in confinement year-round. Before this, chickens did not thrive during the winter (due to lack of sunlight), and egg production, incubation, and meat production in the off-season were all very difficult, making poultry a seasonal and expensive proposition. Year-round production lowered costs, especially for broilers.[23]

At the same time, egg production was increased by scientific breeding. After a few false starts, (such as the Maine Experiment Station's failure at improving egg production) success was shown by Professor Dryden at the Oregon Experiment Station.[24]

Improvements in production and quality were accompanied by lower labor requirements. In the 1930s through the early 1950s, 1,500 hens provided a full-time job for a farm family in America. In the late 1950s, egg prices had fallen so dramatically that farmers typically tripled the number of hens they kept, putting three hens into what had been a single-bird cage or converting their floor-confinement houses from a single deck of roosts to triple-decker roosts. Not long after this, prices fell still further and large numbers of egg farmers left the business. This fall in profitability was accompanied by a general fall in prices to the consumer, allowing poultry and eggs to lose their status as luxury foods.

Robert Plamondon[25] reports that the last family chicken farm in his part of Oregon, Rex Farms, had 30,000 layers and survived into the 1990s. However, the standard laying house of the current operators is around 125,000 hens.

The vertical integration of the egg and poultry industries was a late development, occurring after all the major technological changes had been in place for years (including the development of modern broiler rearing techniques, the adoption of the Cornish Cross broiler, the use of laying cages, etc.).

By the late 1950s, poultry production had changed dramatically. Large farms and packing plants could grow birds by the tens of thousands. Chickens could be sent to slaughterhouses for butchering and processing into prepackaged commercial products to be frozen or shipped fresh to markets or wholesalers. Meat-type chickens currently grow to market weight in six to seven weeks, whereas only fifty years ago it took three times as long.[26] This is due to genetic selection and nutritional modifications (but not the use of growth hormones, which are illegal for use in poultry in the US[27] and many other countries, and have no effect). Once a meat consumed only occasionally, the common availability and lower cost has made chicken a common meat product within developed nations. Growing concerns over the cholesterol content of red meat in the 1980s and 1990s further resulted in increased consumption of chicken.

Today, eggs are produced on large egg ranches on which environmental parameters are well controlled. Chickens are exposed to artificial light cycles to stimulate egg production year-round. In addition, forced molting is commonly practiced in the US, in which manipulation of light and food access triggers molting, in order to increase egg size and production. Forced molting is controversial, and is prohibited in the EU.[28]

On average, a chicken lays one egg a day, but not on every day of the year. This varies with the breed and time of year. In 1900, average egg production was 83 eggs per hen per year. In 2000, it was well over 300. In the United States, laying hens are butchered after their second egg laying season. In Europe, they are generally butchered after a single season. The laying period begins when the hen is about 18–20 weeks old (depending on breed and season). Males of the egg-type breeds have little commercial value at any age, and all those not used for breeding (roughly fifty percent of all egg-type chickens) are killed soon after hatching. The old hens also have little commercial value. Thus, the main sources of poultry meat 100 years ago (spring chickens and stewing hens) have both been entirely supplanted by meat-type broiler chickens.

Pigs

Pigs confined to a barn in an intensive system, Midwestern United States
Pigs confined to a barn in an intensive system, Midwestern United States

Intensive piggeries (or hog lots) are a type of what in America is called a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), specialized for the raising of domestic pigs up to slaughter weight. In this system, grower pigs are housed indoors in group-housing or straw-lined sheds, whilst pregnant sows are confined in sow stalls (gestation crates) and give birth in farrowing crates.

The use of sow stalls has resulted in lower production costs and concomitant animal welfare concerns. Many of the world's largest producers of pigs (such as U.S. and Canada) use sow stalls, but some nations (such as the UK) and U.S. states (such as Florida and Arizona) have banned them.

Intensive piggeries are generally large warehouse-like buildings. Indoor pig systems allow the pig's condition to be monitored, ensuring minimum fatalities and increased productivity. Buildings are ventilated and their temperature regulated. Most domestic pig varieties are susceptible to heat stress, and all pigs lack sweat glands and cannot cool themselves. Pigs have a limited tolerance to high temperatures and heat stress can lead to death. Maintaining a more specific temperature within the pig-tolerance range also maximizes growth and growth to feed ratio. In an intensive operation pigs will lack access to a wallow (mud), which is their natural cooling mechanism. Intensive piggeries control temperature through ventilation or drip water systems (dropping water to cool the system).

Pigs are naturally omnivorous and are generally fed a combination of grains and protein sources (soybeans, or meat and bone meal). Larger intensive pig farms may be surrounded by farmland where feed-grain crops are grown. Alternatively, piggeries are reliant on the grains industry. Pig feed may be bought packaged or mixed on-site. The intensive piggery system, where pigs are confined in individual stalls, allows each pig to be allotted a portion of feed. The individual feeding system also facilitates individual medication of pigs through feed. This has more significance to intensive farming methods, as the close proximity to other animals enables diseases to spread more rapidly. To prevent disease spreading and encourage growth, drug programs such as antibiotics, vitamins, hormones and other supplements are preemptively administered.

Indoor systems, especially stalls and pens (i.e. 'dry', not straw-lined systems) allow for the easy collection of waste. In an indoor intensive pig farm, manure can be managed through a lagoon system or other waste-management system. However, odor remains a problem which is difficult to manage.

The way animals are housed in intensive systems varies. Breeding sows spend the bulk of their time in sow stalls during pregnancy or farrowing crates, with their litters, until market.

Piglets often receive range of treatments including castration, tail docking to reduce tail biting, teeth clipped (to reduce injuring their mother's nipples, gum disease and prevent later tusk growth) and their ears notched to assist identification. Treatments are usually made without pain killers. Weak runts may be slain shortly after birth.

Piglets also may be weaned and removed from the sows at between two and five weeks old[29] and placed in sheds. However, grower pigs – which comprise the bulk of the herd – are usually housed in alternative indoor housing, such as batch pens. During pregnancy, the use of a stall may be preferred as it facilitates feed-management and growth control. It also prevents pig aggression (e.g. tail biting, ear biting, vulva biting, food stealing). Group pens generally require higher stockmanship skills. Such pens will usually not contain straw or other material. Alternatively, a straw-lined shed may house a larger group (i.e. not batched) in age groups.

Cattle

Beef cattle on a feedlot in the Texas Panhandle. Such confinement creates more work for the farmer but allows the animals to grow rapidly.
Beef cattle on a feedlot in the Texas Panhandle. Such confinement creates more work for the farmer but allows the animals to grow rapidly.

Cattle are domesticated ungulates, a member of the family Bovidae, in the subfamily Bovinae, and descended from the aurochs (Bos primigenius).[30] They are raised as livestock for their flesh (called beef and veal), dairy products (milk), leather and as draught animals. As of 2009–2010 it is estimated that there are 1.3–1.4 billion head of cattle in the world.[31][32]

Diagram of feedlot system. This can be contrasted with more traditional grazing systems.
Diagram of feedlot system. This can be contrasted with more traditional grazing systems.

The most common interactions with cattle involve daily feeding, cleaning and milking. Many routine husbandry practices involve ear tagging, dehorning, loading, medical operations, vaccinations and hoof care, as well as training and sorting for agricultural shows and sales.[33]

Once cattle obtain an entry-level weight, about 650 pounds (290 kg), they are transferred from the range to a feedlot to be fed a specialized animal feed which consists of corn byproducts (derived from ethanol production), barley, and other grains as well as alfalfa and cottonseed meal. The feed also contains premixes composed of microingredients such as vitamins, minerals, chemical preservatives, antibiotics, fermentation products, and other essential ingredients that are purchased from premix companies, usually in sacked form, for blending into commercial rations. Because of the availability of these products, a farmer using their own grain can formulate their own rations and be assured the animals are getting the recommended levels of minerals and vitamins.

There are many potential impacts on human health due to the modern cattle industrial agriculture system. There are concerns surrounding the antibiotics and growth hormones used, increased E. coli contamination, higher saturated fat contents in the meat because of the feed, and also environmental concerns.[34]

As of 2010, in the U.S. 766,350 producers participate in raising beef. The beef industry is segmented with the bulk of the producers participating in raising beef calves. Beef calves are generally raised in small herds, with over 90% of the herds having less than 100 head of cattle. Fewer producers participate in the finishing phase which often occurs in a feedlot, but nonetheless there are 82,170 feedlots in the United States.[35]

Aquaculture

Blue mussels cultivated in proximity to Atlantic salmon in the Bay of Fundy, Canada
Blue mussels cultivated in proximity to Atlantic salmon in the Bay of Fundy, Canada

Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA), also called integrated aquaculture,[36] is a practice in which the by-products (wastes) from one species are recycled to become inputs (fertilizers, food) for another, making aquaculture intensive. Fed aquaculture (e.g. fish and shrimp) is combined with inorganic extractive (e.g. seaweed) and organic extractive (e.g. shellfish) aquaculture to create balanced systems for environmental sustainability (biomitigation), economic stability (product diversification and risk reduction) and social acceptability (better management practices).[37]

The system is multi-trophic as it makes use of species from different trophic or nutritional level, unlike traditional aquaculture.[38]

Ideally, the biological and chemical processes in such a system should balance. This is achieved through the appropriate selection and proportions of different species providing different ecosystem functions. The co-cultured species should not just be biofilters, but harvestable crops of commercial value.[38] A working IMTA system should result in greater production for the overall system, based on mutual benefits to the co-cultured species and improved ecosystem health, even if the individual production of some of the species is lower compared to what could be reached in monoculture practices over a short-term period.[36]

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Pig

Pig

The pig, often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus Sus, is an omnivorous, domesticated, even-toed, hoofed mammal. It is variously considered a subspecies of Sus scrofa or a distinct species. The pig's head-plus-body length ranges from 0.9 to 1.8 m, and adult pigs typically weigh between 50 and 350 kg, with well-fed individuals even exceeding this range. The size and weight of hogs largely depends on their breed. Compared to other artiodactyls, a pig's head is relatively long and pointed. Most even-toed ungulates are herbivorous, but pigs are omnivores, like their wild relative. Pigs grunt and make snorting sounds.

Domestic goose

Domestic goose

A domestic goose is a goose that humans have domesticated and kept for their meat, eggs, or down feathers. Domestic geese have been derived through selective breeding from the wild greylag goose and swan goose.

Biosecurity

Biosecurity

Biosecurity refers to measures aimed at preventing the introduction and/or spread of harmful organisms to animals and plants in order to minimize the risk of transmission of infectious disease. In agriculture, these measures are aimed at protecting food crops and livestock from pests, invasive species, and other organisms not conducive to the welfare of the human population. The term includes biological threats to people, including those from pandemic diseases and bioterrorism. The definition has sometimes been broadened to embrace other concepts, and it is used for different purposes in different contexts.

National Pork Producers Council

National Pork Producers Council

The National Pork Producers Council is a trade association representing U.S. pork producers and other industry stakeholders. It lobbies on behalf of its affiliated state associations from its headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.

Poultry farming

Poultry farming

Poultry farming is the form of animal husbandry which raises domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese to produce meat or eggs for food. Poultry – mostly chickens – are farmed in great numbers. More than 60 billion chickens are killed for consumption annually. Chickens raised for eggs are known as layers, while chickens raised for meat are called broilers.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is any of a class of certain organic molecules called lipids. It is a sterol, a type of lipid. Cholesterol is biosynthesized by all animal cells and is an essential structural component of animal cell membranes. When chemically isolated, it is a yellowish crystalline solid.

Red meat

Red meat

In gastronomy, red meat is commonly red when raw, in contrast to white meat, which is pale in color before cooking. In culinary terms, only flesh from mammals or fowl is classified as red or white. In nutritional science, red meat is defined as any meat that has more of the protein myoglobin than white meat. White meat is defined as non-dark meat from fish or chicken.

Forced molting

Forced molting

Forced molting, sometimes known as induced molting, is the practice by some poultry industries of artificially provoking a flock to molt simultaneously, typically by withdrawing food for 7–14 days and sometimes also withdrawing water for an extended period. Forced molting is usually implemented when egg-production is naturally decreasing toward the end of the first egg-laying phase. During the forced molt, the birds cease producing eggs for at least two weeks, which allows the bird's reproductive tracts to regress and rejuvenate. After the molt, the hen's egg production rate usually peaks slightly lower than the previous peak, but egg quality is improved. The purpose of forced molting is therefore to increase egg production, egg quality, and profitability of flocks in their second or subsequent laying phases, by not allowing the hen's body the necessary time to rejuvenate during the natural cycle of feather replenishment.

Chick culling

Chick culling

Chick culling or unwanted chick killing is the process of separating and killing unwanted chicks for which the intensive animal farming industry has no use. It occurs in all industrialised egg production, whether free range, organic, or battery cage. However, some certified pasture-raised egg farms are taking steps to eliminate the practice entirely. Worldwide, around 7 billion male chicks are culled each year in the egg industry. Because male chickens do not lay eggs and only those in breeding programmes are required to fertilise eggs, they are considered redundant to the egg-laying industry and are usually killed shortly after being sexed, which occurs just days after they are conceived or after they hatch. Some methods of culling that do not involve anaesthetics include: cervical dislocation, asphyxiation by carbon dioxide, and maceration using a high-speed grinder. Maceration is the primary method in the United States. Maceration is often a preferred method over carbon dioxide asphyxiation in western countries as it is often considered as "more humane" due to the deaths occurring immediately or within a second.

Intensive pig farming

Intensive pig farming

Intensive pig farming, also known as pig factory farming, is the primary method of pig production, in which grower pigs are housed indoors in group-housing or straw-lined sheds, whilst pregnant sows are housed in gestation crates or pens and give birth in farrowing crates.

Midwestern United States

Midwestern United States

The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the Midwest or the American Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau. It occupies the northern central part of the United States. It was officially named the North Central Region by the Census Bureau until 1984. It is between the Northeastern United States and the Western United States, with Canada to the north and the Southern United States to the south.

Concentrated animal feeding operation

Concentrated animal feeding operation

In animal husbandry, a concentrated animal feeding operation, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is an intensive animal feeding operation (AFO) in which over 1,000 animal units are confined for over 45 days a year. An animal unit is the equivalent of 1,000 pounds of "live" animal weight. A thousand animal units equates to 700 dairy cows, 1,000 meat cows, 2,500 pigs weighing more than 55 pounds (25 kg), 10,000 pigs weighing under 55 pounds, 10,000 sheep, 55,000 turkeys, 125,000 chickens, or 82,000 egg laying hens or pullets.

Regulation

In various jurisdictions, intensive animal production of some kinds is subject to regulation for environmental protection. In the United States, a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) that discharges or proposes to discharge waste requires a permit and implementation of a plan for management of manure nutrients, contaminants, wastewater, etc., as applicable, to meet requirements pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act.[39][40] Some data on regulatory compliance and enforcement are available. In 2000, the US Environmental Protection Agency published 5-year and 1-year data on environmental performance of 32 industries, with data for the livestock industry being derived mostly from inspections of CAFOs. The data pertain to inspections and enforcement mostly under the Clean Water Act, but also under the Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Of the 32 industries, livestock production was among the top seven for environmental performance over the 5-year period, and was one of the top two in the final year of that period, where good environmental performance is indicated by a low ratio of enforcement orders to inspections. The five-year and final-year ratios of enforcement/inspections for the livestock industry were 0.05 and 0.01, respectively. Also in the final year, the livestock industry was one of the two leaders among the 32 industries in terms of having the lowest percentage of facilities with violations.[41] In Canada, intensive livestock operations are subject to provincial regulation, with definitions of regulated entities varying among provinces. Examples include Intensive Livestock Operations (Saskatchewan), Confined Feeding Operations (Alberta), Feedlots (British Columbia), High-density Permanent Outdoor Confinement Areas (Ontario) and Feedlots or Parcs d'Engraissement (Manitoba). In Canada, intensive animal production, like other agricultural sectors, is also subject to various other federal and provincial requirements.

In the United States, farmed animals are excluded by half of all state animal cruelty laws including the federal Animal Welfare Act. The 28-hour law, enacted in 1873 and amended in 1994 states that when animals are being transported for slaughter, the vehicle must stop every 28 hours and the animals must be let out for exercise, food, and water. The United States Department of Agriculture claims that the law does not apply to birds. The Humane Slaughter Act is similarly limited. Originally passed in 1958, the Act requires that livestock be stunned into unconsciousness prior to slaughter. This Act also excludes birds, who make up more than 90 percent of the animals slaughtered for food, as well as rabbits and fish. Individual states all have their own animal cruelty statutes; however many states have right-to-farm laws that serve as a provision to exempt standard agricultural practices.[42][43]

In the United States there is an attempt to regulate farms in the most realistic way possible. The easiest way to effectively regulate the most animals with a limited number of resources and time is to regulate the large farms. In New York State many Animal Feeding Operations are not considered CAFOs since they either have less than 300 cows. These farms are not regulated to the level that CAFOs are. This can lead to pollution and nutrient leaching. The EPA website illustrates the scale of this problem by saying in New York State's Bay watershed there are 247 animal feeding operations and only 68[44] of them are State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES)[45] permitted CAFOs.

In Ohio animal welfare organizations reached a negotiated settlement with farm organizations while in California, Proposition 2, Standards for Confining Farm Animals, an initiated law was approved by voters in 2008.[46] Regulations have been enacted in other states and plans are underway for referendum and lobbying campaigns in other states.[47]

An action plan was proposed by the USDA in February 2009, called the Utilization of Manure and Other Agricultural and Industrial Byproducts. This program's goal is to protect the environment and human and animal health by using manure in a safe and effective manner. In order for this to happen, several actions need to be taken and these four components include:[48]

  • Improving the Usability of Manure Nutrients through More Effective Animal Nutrition and Management[48]
  • Maximizing the Value of Manure through Improved Collection, Storage, and Treatment Options[48]
  • Utilizing Manure in Integrated Farming Systems to Improve Profitability and Protect Soil, Water, and Air Quality[48]
  • Using Manure and Other Agricultural Byproducts as a Renewable Energy Source[48]

In 2012 Australia's largest supermarket chain, Coles, announced that as of January 1, 2013, they will stop selling company branded pork and eggs from animals kept in factory farms. The nation's other dominant supermarket chain, Woolworths, has already begun phasing out factory farmed animal products. All of Woolworth's house brand eggs are now cage-free, and by mid-2013 all of their pork will come from farmers who operate stall-free farms.[49]

In June 2021, the European Commission announced the plan of a ban on cages for a number of animals, including egg-laying hens, female breeding pigs, calves raised for veal, rabbits, ducks, and geese, by 2027.[50]

Discover more about Regulation related topics

Animal law

Animal law

Animal law is a combination of statutory and case law in which the nature – legal, social or biological – of nonhuman animals is an important factor. Animal law encompasses companion animals, wildlife, animals used in entertainment and animals raised for food and research. The emerging field of animal law is often analogized to the environmental law movement because "animal law faces many of the same legal and strategic challenges that environmental law faced in seeking to establish a more secure foothold in the United States and abroad".

Animal Welfare Act of 1966

Animal Welfare Act of 1966

The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 24, 1966. It is the main federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research and exhibition. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimally acceptable standard for animal treatment and care. The USDA and APHIS oversee the AWA and the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have primary legislative jurisdiction over the Act. Animals covered under this Act include any live or dead cat, dog, hamster, rabbit, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, and any other warm-blooded animal determined by the Secretary of Agriculture for research, pet use or exhibition. Excluded from the Act are birds, rats of the genus Rattus, mice of the genus Mus, farm animals, and all cold-blooded animals.

Humane Slaughter Act

Humane Slaughter Act

The Humane Slaughter Act, or the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act, is a United States federal law designed to decrease suffering of livestock during slaughter. It was approved on August 27, 1958. The most notable of these requirements is the need to have an animal completely sedated and insensible to pain. This is to minimize the suffering to the point where the animal feels nothing at all, instead blacking out and never waking. This differs from animal to animal as size increases and decreases. Larger animals such as bovines require a stronger method than chickens, for example. Bovines require electronarcosis or something equally potent, though electronarcosis remains a standard. The bovine would have a device placed on their head that, once activated, sends an electric charge that efficiently and safely stuns them. Chickens, on the other hand, require much less current to be efficiently sedated and are given a run under electrically charged water. To ensure that these guidelines are met, The Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors at slaughtering plants are responsible for overseeing compliance, and have the authority to stop slaughter lines and order plant employees to take corrective actions. Although more than 168 million chickens and around 9 billion broiler chickens are killed for food in the United States yearly, the Humane Slaughter Act specifically mentions only cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep and swine.

Rabbit

Rabbit

Rabbits, also known as bunnies or bunny rabbits, are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha. Oryctolagus cuniculus includes the European rabbit species and its descendants, the world's 305 breeds of domestic rabbit. Sylvilagus includes 13 wild rabbit species, among them the seven types of cottontail. The European rabbit, which has been introduced on every continent except Antarctica, is familiar throughout the world as a wild prey animal and as a domesticated form of livestock and pet. With its widespread effect on ecologies and cultures, the rabbit is, in many areas of the world, a part of daily life—as food, clothing, a companion, and a source of artistic inspiration.

Right-to-farm laws

Right-to-farm laws

Right to farm laws in the United States deny nuisance lawsuits against farmers who use accepted and standard farming practices and have been in prior operation even if these practices harm or bother adjacent property owners or the general public. Agricultural nuisances may include noise, odors, visual clutter and dangerous structures. All 50 states have some form of Right to Farm law.

European Commission

European Commission

The European Commission (EC) is part of the executive of the European Union (EU), together with the European Council. It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 members of the Commission headed by a President. It includes an administrative body of about 32,000 European civil servants. The Commission is divided into departments known as Directorates-General (DGs) that can be likened to departments or ministries each headed by a Director-General who is responsible to a Commissioner.

Controversies and criticisms

Advocates of factory farming claim that factory farming has led to the betterment of housing, nutrition, and disease control over the last twenty years; however, these claims have been debunked.[51] It has been shown that factory farming harms wildlife, the environment,[52] creates health risks,[57] abuses animals,[58][59][60] exploits workers (in particular undocumented workers),[61] and raises very severe ethical issues.[62][63]

Animal welfare

In the UK, the Farm Animal Welfare Council was set up by the government to act as an independent advisor on animal welfare in 1979 and expresses its policy as five freedoms: from hunger and thirst; from discomfort; from pain, injury or disease; to express normal behavior; from fear and distress.[64]

There are differences around the world as to which practices are accepted and there continue to be changes in regulations with animal welfare being a strong driver for increased regulation. For example, the EU is bringing in further regulation to set maximum stocking densities for meat chickens by 2010, where the UK Animal Welfare Minister commented, "The welfare of meat chickens is a major concern to people throughout the European Union. This agreement sends a strong message to the rest of the world that we care about animal welfare."[65]

Factory farming is greatly debated throughout Australia, with many people disagreeing with the methods and ways in which the animals in factory farms are treated. Animals are often under stress from being kept in confined spaces and will attack each other. In an effort to prevent injury leading to infection, their beaks, tails and teeth are removed.[66] Many piglets will die of shock after having their teeth and tails removed, because painkilling medicines are not used in these operations. Factory farms are a popular way to gain space, with animals such as chickens being kept in spaces smaller than an A4 page.[67]

For example, in the UK, debeaking of chickens is deprecated, but it is recognized that it is a method of last resort, seen as better than allowing vicious fighting and ultimately cannibalism. Between 60 and 70 percent[68] of six million breeding sows in the U.S. are confined during pregnancy, and for most of their adult lives, in 2 by 7 ft (0.61 by 2.13 m) gestation crates.[6][69] According to pork producers and many veterinarians, sows will fight if housed in pens. The largest pork producer in the U.S. said in January 2007 that it will phase out gestation crates by 2017.[6] They are being phased out in the European Union, with a ban effective in 2013 after the fourth week of pregnancy.[70] With the evolution of factory farming, there has been a growing awareness of the issues amongst the wider public, not least due to the efforts of animal rights and welfare campaigners.[71] As a result, gestation crates, one of the more contentious practices, are the subject of laws in the U.S.,[72] Europe[73] and around the world to phase out their use as a result of pressure to adopt less confined practices.

Death rates for sows have been increasing in the US from prolapse, which has been attributed to intensive breeding practices. Sows produce on average 23 piglets a year.[74]

In the United States alone, over 20 million chickens, 330,000 pigs and 166,000 cattle die during transport to slaughterhouses annually, and some 800,000 pigs are incapable of walking upon arrival. This is often due to being exposed to extreme temperatures and trauma.[75]

Human health impact

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), farms on which animals are intensively reared can cause adverse health reactions in farm workers. Workers may develop acute and chronic lung disease, musculoskeletal injuries, and may catch infections that transmit from animals to human beings (such as tuberculosis).[76]

Pesticides are used to control organisms which are considered harmful[77] and they save farmers money by preventing product losses to pests.[78] In the US, about a quarter of pesticides used are used in houses, yards, parks, golf courses, and swimming pools[79] and about 70% are used in agriculture.[78] However, pesticides can make their way into consumers' bodies which can cause health problems.[80] One source of this is bioaccumulation in animals raised on factory farms.[79][81][82]

"Studies have discovered an increase in respiratory, neurobehavioral, and mental illnesses among the residents of communities next to factory farms."[83]

The CDC writes that chemical, bacterial, and viral compounds from animal waste may travel in the soil and water. Residents near such farms report problems such as unpleasant smell, flies and adverse health effects.[39]

The CDC has identified a number of pollutants associated with the discharge of animal waste into rivers and lakes, and into the air. Antibiotic use in livestock may create antibiotic-resistant pathogens; parasites, bacteria, and viruses may be spread; ammonia, nitrogen, and phosphorus can reduce oxygen in surface waters and contaminate drinking water; pesticides and hormones may cause hormone-related changes in fish; animal feed and feathers may stunt the growth of desirable plants in surface waters and provide nutrients to disease-causing micro-organisms; trace elements such as arsenic and copper, which are harmful to human health, may contaminate surface waters.[39]

Zoonotic diseases such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which caused the COVID-19 pandemic, are increasingly linked to environmental changes associated with intensive animal farming.[84] The disruption of pristine forests driven by logging, mining, road building through remote places, rapid urbanisation and population growth is bringing people into closer contact with animal species they may never have been near before. According to Kate Jones, chair of ecology and biodiversity at University College London, the resulting transmission of disease from wildlife to humans is now "a hidden cost of human economic development".[85]

Intensive farming may make the evolution and spread of harmful diseases easier. Many communicable animal diseases spread rapidly through densely spaced populations of animals and crowding makes genetic reassortment more likely. However, small family farms are more likely to introduce bird diseases and more frequent association with people into the mix, as happened in the 2009 flu pandemic.[86]

In the European Union, growth hormones are banned on the basis that there is no way of determining a safe level. The UK has stated that in the event of the EU raising the ban at some future date, to comply with a precautionary approach, it would only consider the introduction of specific hormones, proven on a case-by-case basis.[87] In 1998, the EU banned feeding animals antibiotics that were found to be valuable for human health. Furthermore, in 2006 the EU banned all drugs for livestock that were used for growth promotion purposes. As a result of these bans, the levels of antibiotic resistance in animal products and within the human population showed a decrease.[88][89]

The international trade in animal products increases the risk of global transmission of virulent diseases such as swine fever,[90] BSE, foot and mouth and bird flu.

In the United States, the use of antibiotics in livestock is still prevalent.[91] The FDA reports that 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in 2009 were administered to livestock animals, and that many of these antibiotics are identical or closely related to drugs used for treating illnesses in humans. Consequently, many of these drugs are losing their effectiveness on humans, and the total healthcare costs associated with drug-resistant bacterial infections in the United States are between $16.6 billion and $26 billion annually.[92]

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been identified in pigs and humans raising concerns about the role of pigs as reservoirs of MRSA for human infection. One study found that 20% of pig farmers in the United States and Canada in 2007 harbored MRSA.[93] A second study revealed that 81% of Dutch pig farms had pigs with MRSA and 39% of animals at slaughter carried the bug were all of the infections were resistant to tetracycline and many were resistant to other antimicrobials.[94] A more recent study found that MRSA ST398 isolates were less susceptible to tiamulin, an antimicrobial used in agriculture, than other MRSA or methicillin susceptible S. aureus.[95] Cases of MRSA have increased in livestock animals. CC398 is a new clone of MRSA that has emerged in animals and is found in intensively reared production animals (primarily pigs, but also cattle and poultry), where it can be transmitted to humans. Although dangerous to humans, CC398 is often asymptomatic in food-producing animals.[96]

A 2011 nationwide study reported nearly half of the meat and poultry sold in U.S. grocery stores – 47 percent – was contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria – 52 percent – were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics.[97] Although Staph should be killed with proper cooking, it may still pose a risk to consumers through improper food handling and cross-contamination in the kitchen. The senior author of the study said, "The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today."[98]

In April 2009, lawmakers in the Mexican state of Veracruz accused large-scale hog and poultry operations of being breeding grounds of a pandemic swine flu, although they did not present scientific evidence to support their claim. A swine flu which quickly killed more than 100 infected persons in that area, appears to have begun in the vicinity of a Smithfield subsidiary pig CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation).[99]

Environmental impact

Intensive factory farming has grown to become the biggest threat to the global environment through the loss of ecosystem services and global warming.[100] It is a major driver to global environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.[101] The process in which feed needs to be grown for animal use only is often grown using intensive methods which involve a significant amount of fertiliser and pesticides. This sometimes results in the pollution of water, soil and air by agrochemicals and manure waste, and use of limited resources such as water and energy at unsustainable rates.[102] Entomophagy is evaluated by many experts as a sustainable solution to traditional livestock, and, if intensively farmed on a large-scale, would cause a far-lesser amount of environmental damage.

Industrial production of pigs and poultry is an important source of greenhouse gas emissions and is predicted to become more so. On intensive pig farms, the animals are generally kept on concrete with slats or grates for the manure to drain through. The manure is usually stored in slurry form (slurry is a liquid mixture of urine and feces). During storage on farm, slurry emits methane and when manure is spread on fields it emits nitrous oxide and causes nitrogen pollution of land and water. Poultry manure from factory farms emits high levels of nitrous oxide and ammonia.[103]

Large quantities and concentrations of waste are produced.[104] Air quality and groundwater are at risk when animal waste is improperly recycled.[105]

Environmental impacts of factory farming include:[106]

  • Deforestation for animal feed production
  • Unsustainable pressure on land for production of high-protein/high-energy animal feed
  • Pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer manufacture and use for feed production
  • Unsustainable use of water for feed-crops, including groundwater extraction
  • Pollution of soil, water and air by nitrogen and phosphorus from fertiliser used for feed-crops and from manure
  • Land degradation (reduced fertility, soil compaction, increased salinity, desertification)
  • Loss of biodiversity due to eutrophication, acidification, pesticides and herbicides
  • Worldwide reduction of genetic diversity of livestock and loss of traditional breeds
  • Species extinctions due to livestock-related habitat destruction (especially feed-cropping)

Labor

Small farmers are often absorbed into factory farm operations, acting as contract growers for the industrial facilities. In the case of poultry contract growers, farmers are required to make costly investments in construction of sheds to house the birds, buy required feed and drugs – often settling for slim profit margins, or even losses.

Research has shown that many immigrant workers in concentrated animal farming operations (CAFOs) in the United States receive little to no job-specific training or safety and health information regarding the hazards associated with these jobs.[107] Workers with limited English proficiency are significantly less likely to receive any work-related training, since it is often only provided in English. As a result, many workers do not perceive their jobs as dangerous. This causes inconsistent personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and can lead to workplace accidents and injuries. Immigrant workers are also less likely to report any workplace hazards and injuries.

Market concentration

The major concentration of the industry occurs at the slaughter and meat processing phase, with only four companies slaughtering and processing 81 percent of cows, 73 percent of sheep, 57 percent of pigs and 50 percent of chickens. This concentration at the slaughter phase may be in large part due to regulatory barriers that may make it financially difficult for small slaughter plants to be built, maintained or remain in business. Factory farming may be no more beneficial to livestock producers than traditional farming because it appears to contribute to overproduction that drives down prices. Through "forward contracts" and "marketing agreements", meatpackers are able to set the price of livestock long before they are ready for production.[108] These strategies often cause farmers to lose money, as half of all U.S. family farming operations did in 2007.[109]

In 1967, there were one million pig farms in America; as of 2002, there were 114,000.[16]: 29 

Many of the nation's livestock producers would like to market livestock directly to consumers but with limited USDA inspected slaughter facilities, livestock grown locally can not typically be slaughtered and processed locally.[110]

Demonstrations

From 2011 to 2014 each year between 15,000 and 30,000 people gathered under the theme We are fed up! in Berlin to protest against industrial livestock production.[111][112][113]

Discover more about Controversies and criticisms related topics

Farm Animal Welfare Committee

Farm Animal Welfare Committee

The Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) is an independent advisory body established by the Government of the United Kingdom in 2011. It replaced the Farm Animal Welfare Council which was an independent advisory body established in 1979. The Council published its Final Report before its closure and replacement on 31 March 2011.

Animal welfare

Animal welfare

Animal welfare is the well-being of non-human animals. Formal standards of animal welfare vary between contexts, but are debated mostly by animal welfare groups, legislators, and academics. Animal welfare science uses measures such as longevity, disease, immunosuppression, behavior, physiology, and reproduction, although there is debate about which of these best indicate animal welfare.

Debeaking

Debeaking

Debeaking, beak trimming, or beak conditioning is the partial removal of the beak of poultry, especially layer hens and turkeys although it may also be performed on quail and ducks. Most commonly, the beak is shortened permanently, although regrowth can occur. The trimmed lower beak is somewhat longer than the upper beak. A similar but separate practice, usually performed by an avian veterinarian or an experienced birdkeeper, involves clipping, filing or sanding the beaks of captive birds for health purposes – in order to correct or temporarily alleviate overgrowths or deformities and better allow the bird to go about its normal feeding and preening activities. Amongst raptor-keepers, this practice is commonly known as "coping".

Cannibalism in poultry

Cannibalism in poultry

Cannibalism in poultry is the act of one individual of a poultry species consuming all or part of another individual of the same species as food. It commonly occurs in flocks of domestic hens reared for egg production, although it can also occur in domestic turkeys, pheasants and other poultry species. Poultry create a social order of dominance known as pecking order. When pressure occurs within the flock, pecking can increase in aggression and escalate to cannibalism. Cannibalism can occur as a consequence of feather pecking which has caused denuded areas and bleeding on a bird's skin. Cannibalism can cause large mortality rates within the flock and large decreases in production due to the stress it causes. Vent pecking, sometimes called 'cloacal cannibalism', is considered to be a separate form of cannibalistic pecking as this occurs in well-feathered birds and only the cloaca is targeted. There are several causes that can lead to cannibalism such as: light and overheating, crowd size, nutrition, injury/death, genetics and learned behaviour. Research has been conducted to attempt to understand why poultry engage in this behaviour, as it is not totally understood. There are known methods of control to reduce cannibalism such as crowd size control, beak trimming, light manipulation, perches, selective genetics and eyewear.

Gestation crate

Gestation crate

A gestation crate, also known as a sow stall, is a metal enclosure in which a farmed sow used for breeding may be kept during pregnancy. A standard crate measures 6.6 ft x 2.0 ft.

European Union

European Union

The European Union (EU) is a supranational political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. The union has a total area of 4,233,255.3 km2 (1,634,469.0 sq mi) and an estimated total population of nearly 447 million. The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity combining the characteristics of both a federation and a confederation.

Animal rights

Animal rights

Animal rights is the philosophy according to which many or all sentient animals have moral worth independent of their utility to humans, and that their most basic interests—such as avoiding suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings. Broadly speaking, and particularly in popular discourse, the term "animal rights" is often used synonymously with "animal protection" or "animal liberation". More narrowly, "animal rights" refers to the idea that many animals have fundamental rights to be treated with respect as individuals—rights to life, liberty, and freedom from torture that may not be overridden by considerations of aggregate welfare.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national public health agency of the United States. It is a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bioaccumulation

Bioaccumulation

Bioaccumulation is the gradual accumulation of substances, such as pesticides or other chemicals, in an organism. Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism absorbs a substance at a rate faster than that at which the substance is lost or eliminated by catabolism and excretion. Thus, the longer the biological half-life of a toxic substance, the greater the risk of chronic poisoning, even if environmental levels of the toxin are not very high. Bioaccumulation, for example in fish, can be predicted by models. Hypothesis for molecular size cutoff criteria for use as bioaccumulation potential indicators are not supported by data. Biotransformation can strongly modify bioaccumulation of chemicals in an organism.

Antibiotic use in livestock

Antibiotic use in livestock

Antibiotic use in livestock is the use of antibiotics for any purpose in the husbandry of livestock, which includes treatment when ill (therapeutic), treatment of a group of animals when at least one is diagnosed with clinical infection (metaphylaxis), and preventative treatment (prophylaxis). Antibiotics are an important tool to treat animal as well as human disease, safeguard animal health and welfare, and support food safety. However, used irresponsibly, this may lead to antibiotic resistance which may impact human, animal and environmental health.

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microbes evolve mechanisms that protect them from the effects of antimicrobials. All classes of microbes can evolve resistance where the drugs are no longer effective. Fungi evolve antifungal resistance. Viruses evolve antiviral resistance. Protozoa evolve antiprotozoal resistance, and bacteria evolve antibiotic resistance. Together all of these come under the umbrella of antimicrobial resistance. Microbes resistant to multiple antimicrobials are called multidrug resistant (MDR) and are sometimes referred to as a superbugs. Although antimicrobial resistance is a naturally-occurring process, it is often the result of improper usage of the drugs and management of the infections.

Ammonia

Ammonia

Ammonia is an inorganic compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3. A stable binary hydride, and the simplest pnictogen hydride, ammonia is a colourless gas with a distinct pungent smell. Biologically, it is a common nitrogenous waste, particularly among aquatic organisms, and it contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to 45% of the world's food and fertilizers. Around 70% of ammonia is used to make fertilisers in various forms and composition, such as urea and Diammonium phosphate. Ammonia in pure form is also applied directly into the soil.

Source: "Intensive animal farming", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 6th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensive_animal_farming.

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See also
References
  1. ^ Lusk, Jayson (September 23, 2016). "Why Industrial Farms Are Good for the Environment". The New York Times. Before "factory farming" became a pejorative, agricultural scholars of the mid-20th century were calling for farmers to do just that
  2. ^ "The limits in sight for Spanish macro farms". In Spain News. December 16, 2021. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  3. ^ "Why Factory Farming Isn't What You Think". Forbes. June 2015.
  4. ^ Sources discussing no "intensive farming", "intensive agriculture" or "factory farming":
    • Fraser, David. Animal welfare and the intensification of animal production: An alternative interpretation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2005. *Turner, Jacky. "History of factory farming" Archived November 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, United Nations: "Fifty years ago in Europe, intensification of animal production was seen as the road to national food security and a better diet ... The intensive systems – called 'factory farms' – were characterised by confinement of the animals at high stocking density, often in barren and unnatural conditions."
    • Humphrys, John. Why the organic revolution had to happen, The Observer, April 21, 2001: "Nor is a return to 'primitive' farming practices the only alternative to factory farming and highly intensive agriculture."
    • "Head to head: Intensive farming", BBC News, March 6, 2001: "Here, Green MEP Caroline Lucas takes issue with the intensive farming methods of recent decades ... In the wake of the spread of BSE from the UK to the continent of Europe, the German Government has appointed an Agriculture Minister from the Green Party. She intends to end factory farming in her country. This must be the way forward and we should end industrial agriculture in this country as well."
  5. ^ Sources discussing "industrial farming", "industrial agriculture" and "factory farming":
    • "Annex 2. Permitted substances for the production of organic foods", Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: "'Factory' farming refers to industrial management systems that are heavily reliant on veterinary and feed inputs not permitted in organic agriculture.
    • "Head to head: Intensive farming", BBC News, March 6, 2001: "Here, Green MEP Caroline Lucas takes issue with the intensive farming methods of recent decades ... In the wake of the spread of BSE from the UK to the continent of Africa, the German Government has appointed an Agriculture Minister from the Green Party. She intends to end factory farming in her country. This must be the way forward and we should end industrial agriculture in this country as well."
  6. ^ a b c Kaufmann, Mark. "Largest Pork Processor to Phase Out Crates", The Washington Post, January 26, 2007.
  7. ^ "EU tackles BSE crisis", BBC News, November 29, 2000.
  8. ^ "Is factory farming really cheaper?" in New Scientist, Institution of Electrical Engineers, New Science Publications, University of Michigan, 1971, p. 12.
  9. ^ Nierenberg, Danielle (2005). "Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry". Worldwatch Paper. 121: 5.
  10. ^ Student, Pace Law. "Research Guides: Student Project: Factory Farming: Environmental Impacts". libraryguides.law.pace.edu. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  11. ^ Duram, Leslie A. (2010). Encyclopedia of Organic, Sustainable, and Local Food. ABC-CLIO. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-313-35963-7.
  12. ^ "Health and Consumer Protection – Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare – Previous outcome of discussions". Archived from the original on May 22, 2013. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  13. ^ "Commissioner points to factory farming as source of contamination". July 28, 2000. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  14. ^ "Rebuilding Agriculture – EPA of UK" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 30, 2007.
  15. ^ John Steele Gordon (1996) "The Chicken Story", American Heritage, September 1996: 52–67
  16. ^ a b c d Matthew Scully Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy Macmillan, 2002
  17. ^ "The History of Factory Farming" Archived November 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, United Nations.
  18. ^ a b c Nierenburg, Danielle (2005). "Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry". Worldwatch Paper. 171: 5.
  19. ^ See: "Landscape with Goose" – documentary film by Włodzimierz Szpak (1987)
  20. ^ Foer, Jonathan Safran (2010). Eating Animals. Hachette Book Group USA. ISBN 978-0316127165. OCLC 669754727.
  21. ^ FAO. 2007. The state of the world's animal genetic resources for food and agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome. 511 pp.
  22. ^ DeLuca, Hector F (January 8, 2014). "History of the discovery of vitamin D and its active metabolites". BoneKEy Reports. 3: 479. doi:10.1038/bonekey.2013.213. ISSN 2047-6396. PMC 3899558. PMID 24466410.
  23. ^ Poultry Nutrition, Ray Ewing, Ray Ewing Press, Third Edition, 1947, page 754.
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