55 Enlightening Factory Farming Facts And Their Uses

Moumita Dutta
Mar 21, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Mar 21, 2023
Edited by Archita Chaplot
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam
It is interesting to learn factory farming facts.

Factory farming is the process through which animal products, like cheese and milk, are produced through mass production.

Animal agriculture is a recent development in the food industry. Some species of farm animals include fish, chickens, and cows.

One of the advantages of factory farms is that they can be established at any place, irrespective of climatic conditions or geographical locations. Various developments in the field of agriculture have led to the growth of this booming industry.

For example, the discovery of vitamins that play a major role in the nutrition of factory-farmed animals has made it possible to raise chickens indoors.

Vitamin D, for example, has brought huge profits for owners. One of the main reasons behind this is that, before the discovery of Vitamin D, animals like chickens, in particular, did not do well in winter climatic conditions.

This led to a huge loss for the industry and restricted the production of livestock to certain seasons.

The introduction of Vitamin D came as a permanent solution to this problem, as now meat could be produced throughout the year. Furthermore, antibiotics and vaccines have quite a large contribution to this industry since the animals can be raised in large numbers without the potential threat of diseases.

Keep reading to learn more about factory farming.

What is factory farming?

With the help of factory farming or intensive animal farming, large amounts of production are made possible at a minimum cost. Factory-farmed animals have to endure several procedures before they can be processed and sold as meat for humans.

Here are some more facts about factory farming or the animal agriculture industry:

  • Factory farming refers not only to the meat industry but also to the dairy industry. Milk, fur, and eggs are also provided by farm animals.
  • The size of factory farms differs in different places. If you ever visit a medium-sized factory farm in the United States of America, you will see as many as 700 dairy cows, 30,000 hens, and 2,500 pigs.
  • Then again, this is a generic number, and it will vary depending upon the size of the farm, as well as the area where it is situated.
  • The Industrial Revolution brought with it several advancements and innovations in technology. While this surely yielded various benefits in other sectors, factory farming gained a lot because of the Industrial Revolution.
  • The pioneers of selective breeding in animals are Thomas Coke and Robert Bakewell.
  • The introduction of antibiotics in 1938 further helped improve productivity by reducing the alarming spread of diseases among animals on factory farms.
  • The temperatures of the buildings where the pigs are kept are monitored thoroughly. This is because pigs do not fare well at high temperatures and can die. Therefore, to prevent any such mishap from occurring, the temperatures are kept within the tolerance range.
  • Another name for factory farming is Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
  • Most of the species of factory-farmed animals include pigs, chickens, cows, and fish. Due to the large profit potential, factory farming is very popular.
  • The food system of humans can be traced back to the practice of hunting and gathering.
  • On the other hand, animal farming is a much more recent development in the food industry.
  • Earlier, a large number of people in the United States were dependent on agricultural farming.
  • It was in 1947 that factory farming started in Britain for the very first time.
  • With the help of selective breeding, the meat production industry had rapid growth as many alterations could be made.
  • According to a survey in 2005, almost 40% of meat production comes from factory farms.
  • The introduction of antibiotics in the early years of the 20th century caused several alterations in the natural state of animals.
  • Since their discovery in the early part of the 20th century, many antibiotics have been tested on animals. This is to minimize the spread of diseases among the animals on the farm.
  • The discovery of antibiotics also led to a much faster rate of productivity.
  • Various means of increasing egg production were also devised.
  • On average, as many as 83 eggs are laid by a single hen every year.
  • By the year 2000, this number had increased to 300.
  • Dozens of vitamins, antibiotics, and hormones are distributed to the animals on factory farms to prevent the spread of potential diseases.

Benefits Of Factory Farming

A factory farm is a large industrial enterprise where animals are raised and produced on a large scale. It is also known as the animal agriculture industry.

The most common species of factory-farmed animals are fish, chickens, cows, and pigs. They are an integral part of the meat industry. One of the many advantages of factory farming is that meat is now available for human consumption at a much more affordable price.

A factory farm can be set up at any place. It requires no specific climate conditions or a desired location.

For this reason, many factory farms have been set up on abandoned land. Wastage of food is no longer an issue since, with the development of technology, various methods of storing foods for long periods under healthy conditions have also been introduced.

Factory farms have also created various job opportunities for people who can earn more than the minimum wage in Western countries. For example, the average salary earned by laborers in this industry is estimated to be around 12$ per hour.

This is almost 5$ more than a minimum wage. Depending upon your role in this industry, your wage will automatically increase. If you get the chance to work as a manager, you can earn up to 18$ per hour in some cases.

Another advantage of factory farming is that different food items can now be produced throughout all seasons of the year. This is especially significant since, before this, the production of certain food items was restricted to certain seasons.

This, in turn, resulted in huge losses for this industry. However, with the various advances in factory farming, food insecurity is no longer a problem.

Let's take a look at the factory farming industry. That is a major part of the food system of the United States of America and the whole world. The earlier world of small farms has gradually shifted to larger farms with an increased number of animals.

  • One of the most successful examples of the advantages of factory farming includes the drastic increase in egg production. Earlier, egg production used to incur a huge loss, especially because there was no means of sustaining chickens during the winter; most of them died due to a lack of sunlight.
  • Vitamin D seems to be a permanent solution to this problem. With the help of Vitamin D, the maintenance of chickens became much easier. This is because a large number of them could be kept in enclosed places throughout all seasons of the year without any fear of them dying.
  • Another forerunner of the increase in egg production was scientific breeding.
  • The factory farming industry has reduced manual labor very efficiently, which means fewer people are required to care for large farms with top-notch technology compared to farmers.
  • The introduction of various types of machinery into this enterprise helped achieve the goal.
  • Factory farming can also lead to several new local job opportunities, like drivers for the transportation of goods and experienced people who can help operate the machines. These farms can help people generate a lot of local economies.
  • Because of factory farming, people can eat high-quality meat at a much more affordable price.
  • There is no restriction whatsoever on the practice of factory farming.
  • Unlike the earlier years of agriculture, when there were various seasonal obstacles to the production of a certain type of food, factory farming has no such disadvantages. It has allowed a wide variety of food options to be available all year round.
  • With the help of factory farming, there has indeed been a positive change in global food production.
  • Factory farms can be established almost anywhere, regardless of the environment or location.
  • Many claim this particular enterprise can solve the hunger crisis.
  • The various types of technologies used in this large-scale operation have also increased the availability of food.
  • Food can be stored and processed much better and in an easier manner without the threat of wasting away.
  • Laborers in this industry can earn up to $12 every hour, which is much higher than the average salary of agricultural workers.
  • Underutilized or unused land can be converted into large-scale factory farms, potentially solving future problems like the hunger crisis. Advanced technology will help these farms become more accustomed to the weather and other geographical conditions.
Dairy cows are part of factory farming

Disadvantages Of Factory Farming

There are some major disadvantages to factory farming as it affects animal welfare.

According to a survey, as much as 80% of factory-farmed pigs suffer from pneumonia. One of the major reasons behind this is the unhygienic and dirty conditions under which animals, like cows and pigs, are kept. Not just pneumonia, these factory-farmed animals also suffer from various other diseases.

Several practices once followed in the industry have now been banned in many countries because of their brutal nature. Dairy cows are forced to produce more and more amounts of milk for mass human consumption.

Not just that, factory farms also have a major role to play in environmental degradation.

A large amount of methane is released into the atmosphere by factories. The high levels of fertilizers, manure, and nitrates used in these factories can cause a significant amount of damage to the environment, which could last for several generations.

  • The natural growth rate of animals in factory farms or the dairy industry gets compromised because of the usage of various kinds of drugs.
  • Baby chickens and pigs are typically dreadful sufferers.
  • Tail docking is a practice that is banned in quite a few countries.
  • Animals are kept together in very small, confined spaces.
  • To feed animals in factory farms, as much as 2.9 million acres of land in the Amazon rainforest were destroyed in 2004 alone.
  • The fat content of these animals has increased artificially. For example, the weight of a chicken is approximately double what it was 50 years ago. In certain instances, the fat content in a chicken is almost 200% more than in older times. This can have adverse effects on people's health.
  • The small farm animals suffer from severe health diseases because of the unhygienic conditions they are forced to live in.
  • Almost 80% of the farm pigs brought into the slaughterhouses of the United States of America suffer from pneumonia.
  • There is no veterinary care available for sick animals. Instead, they are left to die or thrown away.
  • The natural lifespan of cows which ranges from 20 to 25 years, gets drastically reduced because of the inhumane conditions they are kept in.
  • Factory farming can lead to drought in local areas. Water is required to sustain livestock. Due to the large profits, factory farms often focus on beef. Approximately 8-9 gallons of water are consumed by cattle daily. If the farm has about 1000 cattle, approximately 10,000 gallons of water are consumed in just a day. High-quality meat requires a lot of water, which can lead to droughts.
  • Tail docking has become prohibited in many countries, like New Zealand. Yet, it continues to be practiced in various regions of the United States of America.
  • The battery cages, where chickens are mostly kept, are only as long as the length of your iPad.
  • Large acres of land in the rainforests of Brazil are destroyed every six seconds for cattle farming.
  • It is possible that because of factory farming, animal diseases are mutated with human diseases causing serious health risks to everyone.
  • Keeping animals and humans in close quarters together can lead to diseases like Swine flu and Bird flu, which have been the cause of death for over 4000 people.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You









See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Spandana Kantam

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana Kantam picture

Spandana KantamBachelor of Arts specializing in Political Science and Sociology

Spandana holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Acharya Nagarjuna University. She has a passion for writing and enjoys reading crime and thriller novels while listening to RnB music in her free time.

Read full bio >