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ASCI 001: Introductory Animal Sciences - Kerr/Kinghorn (Fall 2017)

Topic #1 Intensive Animal Farming – Acceptable or Not?

Topic Background: Intensive animal farming, also known as factory farming, is a modern form of agriculture which refers to the keeping of livestock such as cattle, pigs, fish and poultry at high stocking densities within a confined area. The main products of this industrialized agriculture form are meat, milk and eggs for human consumption. As the world human population grows, demand for animal products increase and land for agriculture decreases. Intensive livestock farming is a growing method used to supply this demand to efficiently maximize food production at low cost and minimize land use that can otherwise be used for industrialization, housing development and even conservation land.  Much of the agriculture practiced in the United States today is industrial-style agriculture.

There are, however, issues regarding whether intensive farming is ethical and the only sustainable choice. These large-scale farms are often highly specialized and run like factories with large inputs of fossil fuels, pesticides and other chemicals, and synthetic fertilizers derived from oil.

  • Pro: Intensive animal farming is sustainable, the welfare of animals is not compromised, and is the only real choice for efficiently feeding the increasing world population.
  • Con: Intensive animal farming is detrimental to the environment, the welfare of livestock animals is compromised, and is not the only choice for efficiently feeding the increasing world population.