Poverty and factory farming

Battery farmed chickens, Bali

Hunger is a global emergency. As many as two billion people live in poverty, facing hunger and deprivation.

Approximately 75 percent of the world's poor live in rural areas. The majority are farmers or depend on agriculture, yet they do not produce or earn enough to meet their basic needs.

Tackling poverty means addressing rural problems.

Is factory farming the answer?

Factory farming was once promoted as a way to provide cheap and plentiful protein.

However, support for factory farming has faded significantly. It is now widely recognized that any short-term gains are far outweighed by long-term damage to the environment, human health and the battle with poverty.

Today factory farming is regarded as part of the problem.

Destroying livelihoods

Factory farms are highly mechanized, which means they contribute to rural unemployment and migration to urban areas.

Small-scale farmers may be forced out of business by large, mechanized competitors. In Santa Catarina, Brazil, there were 130,000 pig producers in 1990. Increasing industrialization meant only 16,000 were left by 2000.

In contrast, humane farming allows small-scale farmers to provide food for their families and earn extra income by selling produce to nearby markets and urban areas.

Destabilizing food security

Some developing countries use their cereal crops to feed factory farmed animals, rather than the local population. Others are spending money they can ill-afford to import cereals for factory farms.

Despite this, the apparent lure of cheap and plentiful meat often proves too tempting. Factory farming in developing countries is still growing at an alarming rate, particularly in Asia and Latin America, despite making poverty problems worse.

Real solutions

WSPA’s Model Farm Project demonstrates the benefits of humane farming. It shows governments of nations where factory farming is on the rise that more sustainable farming can be cost-effective and kind to animals and people.

WSPA’s coalition work in Asia – leading the Asian Coalition for Farm Animals (ACFA) – is also having an effect. Animal cruelty is now illegal in Taiwan, including inhumane slaughter.

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