Are The Days Of The US Factory Farming Industry Limited?

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A staggering 99% of farm animals are raised on factory farms in the United States, as estimated by the ASPCA; the majority of which are victims of disturbingly brutal treatment and shocking standard operating procedures.

But are the days of these monstrous industrialized farms raising massive numbers of livestock, in deplorable conditions that are designed to increase production while lowering costs, numbered?

Most probably, according to the ASPCA, as reflected in a recent piece by Business Insider.

“The market is shifting,” said Daisy Freund, Director of Farm Welfare for the ASPCA. “Producers have to move forward, they have to start adjusting their infrastructure, they have to start investing in cage-free environments at the very least.”

“You’re seeing almost every major retailer, almost every major fast food producer and restaurant chain committing to phasing out the use of battery cages and/or gestation crates,” continued Freund. “It’s increasingly clear to the American public that what’s happening on factory farms is unacceptable.”

Examples of some advances that have started to change the face of factory farming include more than 100 big brands, such as Walmart and McDonald’s, have pledged to begin a multi-year plan to phase out battery cages for egg-laying hens; with a growing number also committing to gradually dispose of gestation crates, also known as sow stalls, for pigs.

States, such as Massachusetts, banning excessive animal confinement in any way is a positive step as is the state legislators repeated rejection of “Ag-Gag” or “Right to Farm” bills that ban investigations into industrial farms.

While there is a long and bumpy road ahead before significant widespread change occurs, the organization notes that progress is being made; therefore the ASPCA “offers a shopping guide” and endorses three animal welfare certifications: Animal Welfare Approved, Global Animal Partnership and Certified Humane.

While some changes will take more work, “providing both cage-free living conditions and enrichments like perches, hay bales, and hanging CDs that reflect the light” for chickens, are among the simple adjustments that can be made enhance certifications. But is it enough?

“Chickens are sentient, intelligent creatures, having interesting objects that they can jump up on or hide behind is not only good for their own physical health’” explained Freund “but also allows them to exercise their natural curiosity and their natural desire to do things like perch, which if denied to them is really a form of cruelty.”

The real solution to the humane treatment of all animals is to simply adopt a plant-based diet and choose compassion on your plate.

Source: Business Insider, ASPCA
Photo Credit: ASPCA

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