cattle in warehouse

Factory Farming: What exactly is Factory Farming?

livestock farming

Factory farming is intensive agriculture in stock density in a warehouse environment. The practice is widespread in countries to meet huge food requirements of the citizens. The intensive farming methodology might involve crude caging, space maximization or biotechnology depending on the template.

Animal husbandry

Animal husbandry as a practice involves livestock rearing, dairy production, extensive farming. There are different livestock kept in animal husbandry for food production. The list are chicken, turkey, cattle, pigs, and sheep.

Layer cage system in poultry farming

History of factory farming

The history is traced to the industrial revolution and mass production in 19th century. This system was later adopted by Britain in 1947 then the United States in 1966. By 1990 the intensive animal farming accounted for 30% of world meat production. Technological innovations in antibiotics, vaccines, stocking farming caused the rapid adoption of the practice. Another factor was the rapid world population growth to over 6.7 billion by 2004.

Factory Farming
factory farming regarded as cruel treatment of animals

Types of factory farming

Industrial livestock farming is the general practice in factory farming. Factory farming intensive culture involves livestock rearing in stock density for maximum results. Type of livestock in factory farming are cattle, fish farming, and poultry farming. Common livestock are pigs, goat, cattle, chicken, turkey, aquaculture includes tilapia, catfish farming.

Types of livestock in this system

  • pigs
  • goat
  • cattle
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • tilapia
  • catfish
  • horses

Cattle

Domesticated cattle in this livestock system are raised for leather, milk, dairy products and beef. As a general practice cattle’s introduced into this system are from 290 kg transferred from range system.

Unlike traditional methods of grazing the animals in intensive rearing are feed, vaccinated with antibiotics. General feeding involves use of blended feed, premix, added minerals, vitamin for rapid growth. Animal feed includes factory byproducts, corn, wheat, barley, grains, alfalfa and cottonseed meal.

Pigs

Similar to concentrated animal feeding operation practiced in America, pigs are confined in a warehouse intensive system. They are domesticated and reared primarily for the slaughter slab. Ventilation or drip water system is introduced to the culture to mitigate heat stress or regulate factory temperature. The hogs are feed bone meal, meat, soybeans, grains

Main Products

Main products in intensive farming culture depends on type of stocking. Products are fish meat, beef, pork, eggs, milk, and pork.

  • Leather
  • Milk
  • Dairy products
  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Pork
  • Eggs

Why is factory farming still practiced?

The question is why factory farming is still practiced despite the negative reception. Many compelling reasons include huge profitability, density stocking affords the farmer space maximization and grater output.

There is maximum use of feed, good feed conversion ratio. Other benefits is reduced labor costs, better use of farming technology, utilities or water resources.

Negative aspects of factory farming

The practice is regarded as cruel especially with regards to Animal’s welfare or quality of life as a major factor. This is because animals are treated poorly, chickens de-beaked, tail removal in cattle. Unfortunately horses are bred to extract urine including bad waste disposal and environmental issues.

  • poor animal welfare
  • Caged limited space to move
  • chickens de-beaked
  • cattle tail removed
  • horses are bred to extract urine
  • poor waste disposal
  • environmental issues

Ethical issues

There are strong ethical issues on this type of intensive animal farming.  This has to do with the welfare of the animal, environmental impact and health risks.

A word from the editor: This article may not reflect the worldwide views on the topic and not in any way an endorsement of the practice.

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