Dairy and Meat Factories | Food & Water Watch
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Anne Bertucio

Dairy and Meat Factories

Read our Report

Factory farms’ intensive production methods come with a host of environmental and public health costs that are borne by consumers and communities; none of the costs are paid for by the agribusiness industry. Learn more in our report: Factory Farm Nation.

Meat production in the United States has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Many facilities where livestock are raised today are closer to factories, not the idyllic, small-scale family farms that Americans envision.

These “factory farms” are also known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). They emphasize high volume and profit with little concern for human health, safe food, the environment, humane treatment of animals, and the rural economy. While factory farms vary by animal type and region, the defining characteristic of a factory farm is that hundreds to thousands of animals (mainly cows, pigs, chickens or turkeys) are confined tightly together and provided little access to sunlight, fresh air or room for natural movement. Some facilities produce millions of animals annually.

They Are Spreading

Over the years, animal farms have gotten bigger and denser. And in the process, many small farms have been squeezed out of the agriculture business. More than half of U.S. livestock are now produced on just 5 percent of farms. Giant meat companies are now spreading their factory farms to other parts of the world, like Eastern Europe and Central America, where environmental and labor laws are even weaker.

What You Can Do

Our factory farm campaign aims to end government policies that promote factory farms, fight corporate control that forces farmers to get big or get out,” and encourage sustainably raised meat and dairy products. Farmers, neighbors, and consumers deserve better than factory farms. Join us in our fight to take back our communities and our food system! To find sustainably, raised meat and dairy products, go to the Eat Well Guide.

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