Factory farming encourages global poverty

May 17, 2007

Weaner cages on a factory pig farm

A new report by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) says that far from benefiting those suffering from poverty and hunger - as once promoted by Governments and Development Agencies - factory farming is actually part and parcel of the poverty problem.

The report “Industrial Animal Agriculture-Part of the Poverty Problem” demonstrates that the cruel and hidden costs of factory farming results in lost livelihoods for people living in developing countries who depend on local farming for their survival.

The WSPA believes the majority of industrial animal farming practices not only cause immense pain and suffering to the animals involved but are one of the causes of poverty and hunger in developing countries.
It is time for Governments to tackle the problems of factory farming now before even more communities disappear and more animals suffer.

Impacts of industrial agriculture include:

  • Putting small farmers out of business.
  • Destroying rural communities.
  • Inefficient use of land and water to grow animal feed. Factory farming requires several kilograms of human edible grain to produce one kilogram of meat.
  • Creating large-scale meat production units that are vulnerable to disease.

WSPA’s concern is that smaller scale farming practices, which are generally better in terms of animal welfare and support poorer communities, are losing out.

China is now the world’s largest producer of pig meat, beef and eggs and is moving from traditional farms to larger industrial producers. However rural poverty is still present in many areas. 

The WSPA is sending a letter to key governments to highlight the problem.

“We believe factory farming is one of the root causes of hunger and poverty in the world today. Unless urgent action is taken, the UN’s number one millennium goal to halve this by 2015 will never be achieved. Switching just 10 to 15 per cent of the world’s cereal production for animal feeds to growing crops for human consumption instead, would make a huge impact on world hunger”.
Paul Rainger – Head of WSPA’s Farm Animal Welfare Program.

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