Factory farming, also called as CAFO(Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), is the process of raising livestock in tightly closed cells at high stocking density, operating as a factory. Because CAFO is organized to produce the highest output at the lowest cost, animals are confined at severely high density and they are treated with modern machinery and biotechnology. CAFOs are harmful because they harm humans, animals in the farms, and animals around the farms.
CAFOs negatively affect human health by harmful chemicals. Antibiotics and pesticides are the representative chemicals that are used in CAFOs. To stop spread of diseases, farmers use various kinds of antibiotics. These antibiotics can harm humans who eat meat of the livestock which absorbed antibiotics. Pesticides are use to control organisms and save money by preventing product losses to pests. In the US, about a quarter of pesticides are used in houses, yards, parks, golf courses, and swimming pools, and about 70% are used in agriculture. However, pesticides can make their way into consumers’ bodies which can cause health problems. One source of this is bioaccumulation in animals raised on factory farms (Miller 211–216). As livestock, during their whole life, incept huge amount antibiotics and pesticides, humans who eat such meat imbibed a lot of chemicals related to the amount of meat they eat. As human health problem is almost the most serious problem to solve, CAFOs harm humans, and therefore, CAFOs are harmful.
CAFOs harm animals in those farms. Some techniques used to sustain intensive agriculture can be cruel to animals. “In a CAFO, animals are concentrated in unnaturally high stocking rates by the thousands or tens of thousands and under unnatural conditions, often unable to breathe fresh air, see the light of day, walk outside, peck at plants or insects, scratch the earth, or eat a blade of grass.”(Daniel xiv) Animals in a CAFO do not have freedom. Life of a livestock in factory farm is absolutely ruled by humans. When they were born, they are separated from their mothers and sent to other farms for young animals. When they are raised, they are put in tightly-closed and concentrated cells, not able to move. By putting animals in small cages and feeding them high-protein food, farms produce big fat livestock with tender meat. To produce animal feed with low cost, some people use animal remains, even of the same species. When the animals die, they know that they will be slaughtered, as they starve in slaughterhouse before death for two days to make internal organs clean. Some animals like chickens are killed by copious bleeding. Their necks are slit and they are hanged upside down. Animals are abused through their whole lifetime. CAFOs are truly cruel to those animals to the extent to say that “An intensive farming is not even explained as farms but explained as a meat producing industrial factory with frameworks.” (Daniel 9) Because CAFOs harm those animals in the farms in a very cruel and inhuman way, CAFOs are harmful.
CAFOs severely harm other animals outside those farms because CAFOs pollute environment. Producing high-protein and high-energy animal feed inflicts unsustainable pressure on land. This production process pollutes soil, water, and air due to nitrogen and phosphorus both from fertilizer used for feed-crops and from manure. Also, due to the eutrophication, acidification, pesticides and herbicides, loss of biodiversity happens(http://www.ciwf.org.uk). For example, The World Conservation Union is now warning the world about a “global extinction crisis,” claiming nearly 40 percent of all of Earth’s species are now at the highest risk of extinction and one of the main causes is pollution from large farms. More than one third of all fish are threatened; as are just under a third of all reptiles and amphibians and 20 percent of all mammals(Rachel). Because CAFOs threat ecosystem by decreasing biodiversity and by harming other animals, CAFOs are harmful.
CAFOs harm our whole society. CAFOs harm humans, livestock, and ecosystem. Those catastrophic effects of CAFOs are the result of humans’ avarice. Humans’ ruined not only themselves, but also other innocent creatures in order to eat lots of meat and earn lots of money.
COMPASSION in world farming. n.d. Web. 27 October. 2012.
Rachel Oliver. “Protect and survive: The importance of biodiversity.” EcoSolutions. 6 May 2008. CNN. 1 November 2012
Daniel Imhoff. The CAFO Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories. California: Watershed Media, 2010
Miller GT. Sustaining the Earth, 6th edition. California: Brooks/Cole, 2003