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Why Are We Still Talking About Factory Farming?

February 10, 2020

Source Free From Harm
By Robert Grillo

As I was preparing to speak on a panel on the subject of so-called “factory farming,” I felt compelled to question what this powerful slogan even means. My first thought is that it serves to make some kind of important distinction between large scale farming and some kind of viable, ethical or sustainable alternative.  And I feel compelled to question the very premise of this slogan and ask the audience to think more deeply on it. So here are some thought experiments I came up with for the audience.

If I were to describe an egg hatchery that could hatch thousands of chicks a day, most of us would we call this a factory farm? Yes? We’d have to go back 3,000 years in history to ancient Egypt to find this example.

If I were to describe a method of breeding that involved weeding out and mercilessly killing off thousands upon thousands of weak, deformed, injured and diseased animals and only breeding the strongest individuals, or those with certain traits that farmers find desirable for greatest productivity, would we call this a practice that defines factory farming? And yet this practice has been going on for hundreds of years, long before modern farming.

If I were to describe chickens who lay their entire body weight in eggs every 24 to 30 days during their egg laying prime or dairy cows that have been engineered to produce far more milk than what nature intended to feed a single calf, would we call this a practice that defines factory farming?

If I were to describe the mass disruption of ecosystems through the mass slaughter of wildlife, at times to the point of extinction of certain species, wildlife who present either a nuisance or a threat to raising domestic animals, would we not consider this an example of factory farming? And yet it is a practice that goes back thousands of years.

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Ignorance is voluntary stupidity

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

3 Comments leave one →
  1. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    February 10, 2020 4:08 am

    Ignorance is voluntary stupidity

    Liked by 1 person

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