8 Reasons to go #FactoryFarmFree
Saying goodbye to factory farms will improve your life and the lives of farmers, farm animals, thousands of species of wildlife, rural communities, and billions of earth's future inhabitants.
Still need convincing? Here are 8 reasons to go #FactoryFarmFree:
1. Your health will improve.
An animal's body is shaped primarily by the type of food it eats, the amount of exercise it gets, and its genetics. Factory farmed animals eat a bland diet (typically corn and soy,) exercise little if at all, and are bred for rapid weight gain. As a result, their meat and eggs have fewer micronutrients, contain more saturated fats, and have significantly less beneficial Omega 3 and CLA fats when compared to meat from animals raised outside on pastures.1
2. You'll reduce your carbon footprint.
The average piece of food travels 1,500 miles to reach your plate.2 When you go #FactoryFarmFree, you can choose options from your own bioregion, greatly reducing carbon emissions from food transportation. Shopping local isn't just good for local economies, it's a critical climate change mitigation strategy until our transportation sector transitions to clean energy - a process that will likely take decades.
3. Your life will no longer be predicated on animal suffering.
It is not necessary for animals to suffer while being raised for meat. In fact, proper animal husbandry does just the opposite by making the well-being of the animals the highest priority. A good husbandman nurtures animals, giving them the best living conditions possible. In return, the animals nurture the farm ecosystem. While its true that even the best system isn't perfect, with proper care we can come very close. A factory farmer, on the other hand, exploits animals, leveraging confinement systems that cause massive amounts of unnecessary suffering.
4. You'll expand your culinary horizons.
Whether you go #FactoryFarmFree by eschewing meat altogether, or you seek out a local farmer implementing regenerative livestock practices, you'll remove factory farmed foods as your culinary crutch. You'll get out of your boneless-skinless-chicken-breast-rut and experience new creative combinations of foods, flavors and textures. If you purchase a quarter beef or half pig you'll discover the joys of nose to tail eating. It's possible you'll learn how to prepare some cuts of meat that are completely foreign to you. And your relationship with your food will be enriched.
5. You'll stop financing ecological destruction.
Factory farms turn one of the primary assets of animal agriculture - soil-enriching manure - into a massive ecological liability. This excess manure is often stored in "manure lagoons," which degrade air quality and are prone to leaks, spills, and groundwater contamination. Combine this with the chemical run-off from the farms producing the grains for these factory farms, and we end up with massive toxic dead zones devoid of aquatic life.3
6. You'll start financing ecological regeneration.
Rather than funding the degradation of our soils and the pollution of our waterways, you'll instead fund the regeneration of our agricultural lands. A good farmer will leave the land more productive with each passing year. The soils will have greater organic matter, higher levels of available nutrients, and more soil microorganisms. In the words of regenerative farmer Joel Salatin, "Your food choices determine the landscape your children will inherit."4
7. You'll support rural revitalization.
Factory farms wreak havoc on rural economies, providing few jobs and requiring workers to endure the same deplorable conditions as the animals. America's agricultural communities have been depressed for decades, largely due to agricultural policies that encourage farms to "get big or get out."5 This approach has fostered the environment of cheap grains that led to the proliferation of factory farms across the country, and is "...implicitly a policy to depopulate rural America and undermine rural communities."6 By going #FactoryFarmFree, your dollars will go to local farmers who are working to create dignified livelihoods while caring for the land and nourishing their communities.
8. You'll take pride in your food.
I don't have children, but if I did I would have a really hard time explaining factory farming to them. It's not something anyone I know would be proud of. This can be thought of as the "psychological price" of factory farms.7 Conversely, sourcing food from responsible farms comes with a "psychological bonus." There's something calming and deeply rewarding about knowing the entire story of your animals: how they were raised; how their manure enriched the soil and contributed to a more vibrant ecosystem the next year; how the natural diet they ate let them live healthy, active lives; how they died quickly with minimal stress and were locally butchered, ultimately ending up on your table to nourish your family so the cycle of regeneration can continue.
- Eat Wild: Health Benefits
- Worldwatch Institute: Globetrotting Food
- Wikipedia: Dead Zones
- Weekend Edition: Joel Salatin
- Grist: Earl Butz
- Center for Rural Affairs: Strategies
- Amazon: Broken Heartland