If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably already heard of the phrase “factory farming”. This term refers to the type of farming business which keeps animals at high stocking densities and uses modern technology to facilitate faster animal growth, lower illness and death rates, and higher production outputs. Many people, particularly business owners and investors, think that factory farming is one of the best innovations of the modern times and has solved numerous problems in the society. However, there are also those who say that factory farming is harmful to the environment as well as to the health of both animals and humans. If you don’t know which side you should be on, here’s a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages of factory farming:
List of Advantages of Factory Farming
1. It lowers business costs.
Unlike traditional farms, factory farms use vitamins, minerals, and other substances that make animals grow and generate food at a faster rate. They also utilize modern tools and equipment that help process meat, eggs, milk, and other kinds of food items at a quick and efficient way. As a result, factory farm businesses can reduce their overheads while earning more revenues and profits.
2. It helps increase food production.
Factory farms produce food faster than traditional farms, which means that bigger amounts of milk, eggs, and meat can reach store shelves and that there’s plenty of food available in groceries and supermarkets. This can be a great thing considering that the world’s population is steadily rising and there are now millions of people who need to eat.
Factory farms also help in reducing food costs and making food more accessible even for those who have lower income. As mentioned above, these businesses have lower expenses because of the technology they use, and many of them pass on some of their savings to their customers. As a result, consumers can buy food for themselves and their family without having to spend too much.
3. It encourages technological development.
Since factory farming is dependent on modern technology, it encourages scientists and engineers to improve existing tools and equipment and even invent new machines that make food production faster and more efficient. These innovations are helpful not only to factory farms but also to businesses in other industries since they contribute new knowledge and techniques, which can be used to improve technology as a whole.
4. It creates employment opportunities.
Factory farms are dependent on technologically advanced equipment, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t require staff. In fact, they need additional workers to operate the machines, clean the premises, and take care of the animals. They also need people to handle food processing procedures, deliver meat, eggs, and milk to groceries and shops, and tackle other tasks. Because of this, these farms provide employment opportunities and help people earn a decent income to support themselves and their families.
5. It helps improve local and national economies.
In many places around the world, factory farms contribute to the local economies because of the jobs that they create and the revenue they generate. They also attract workers from nearby towns and cities, prompting the development of housing projects as well as other community projects like roads, schools, and hospitals. Of course, when taken as a whole, these factory farming businesses can greatly help national economies since they invest most of the money they earn back into their own countries.
List of Disadvantages of Factory Farming
1. It paves the way to animal abuse.
In many factory farms, animals are kept in small pens or cages where they don’t have the space to run around and do what they naturally do, and their living areas are not cleaned as often as necessary so they’re constantly surrounded by filth. They’re usually kept indoors, which means they don’t get to see the sun from the time of their birth until they’re killed for their meat, fur, leather, and/or other products. Animals in factory farms are also forced-fed substances that make them grow faster, get bigger, and/or become ready to reproduce earlier than what nature intended.
2. It negatively affects small farming businesses.
Many factory farms are owned by corporations, who have the funds to invest in modern tools and equipment, larger spaces, and expensive food additives for the animals. They’re able to sell their products at a lower price due to their lower overheads and, as a result, many groceries and supermarkets opt to purchase from them. This poses a threat to smaller farms, which usually don’t have the resources to buy faster and bigger machines and therefore can’t compete with their larger and technologically advanced rivals.
3. It pollutes the environment.
The hundreds or even thousands of animals in factory farms produce a large amount of waste that the farms can’t handle. As a result, many of them opt to dump the wastes in rivers and streams and end up polluting these bodies of water. Even if factory farms strive to properly dispose of their animals’ fecal matter (not to mention the byproducts of butchering the animals), the runoff from these wastes can still pollute the air and leach into the surrounding land and water tables.
4. It contributes to health problems.
Factory farms jeopardize people’s health in two major ways. One of these is through the pollution that they produce, which harm the health of the people who live near them and make them more prone to developing illnesses. Another is through the antibiotics that they inject into their animals to make them “immune” to the unsanitary conditions they live in and prevent them from falling ill. These antibiotics work in the short term, but they promote the evolution of bacteria and the rise of drug-resistant pathogens. These can be transmitted to people from the meat and other animal food products they eat, causing a wide range of illnesses that can’t be easily treated with antibiotics.
5. It can produce low-quality food.
Since animals in factory farms are kept in unsanitary conditions, they can develop illnesses that may not be treated by antibiotics and pass these on to the people who consume them. Many of these animals are bred through artificial processes and/or raised in an environment that stresses them out, both of which can also lead to food products that have poor quality.
Factory farms provide many benefits, but they can also lead to several drawbacks. It’s up to people to weigh these advantages and disadvantages and decide if they’d support factory farming or not.
Crystal Lombardo has been a staff writer for Future of Working for five years. She is a proud veteran and mother. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our editor-in-chief a message here.