It has been projected, that by the year 2035 the world’s population will reach nearly nine billion people (Population Pyramid). There are many things that humans can live without: Cell phones, television, the latest fashion, and the newest vehicles, just to name a few. However, there are two things that every person requires daily. These things are food and water. With the population at a steady rise, the demand for food is constantly increasing as well. Large scale farming operations, otherwise known as “Factory Farming” have been the worlds go-to solution for this. Factory farming is a term that was created by the media and represents large scale farming operations. This term, although highly useful and in all ways necessary, has gained quite the negative view in recent years. However, despite the negativity that surrounds the phrase, it has proven to be the only way the world is combatting the demand for food. Factory farming helps by providing food to countries that are unable to grow it themselves, it is healthy and a reliable way to produce large amounts of food, specifically meat, in a short period of time. Farmers are doing these things all while making sure they are taking good care of the land which contributes to a better environment.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service report, “U.S. agricultural exports were valued at $140 billion in 2018,” this being an increase from the previous year (USDA, 2019). Many of the crops grown and meat raised in the United States is shipped overseas to different countries. Many of these countries are highly populated, and due to that have very little land of their own to use for farming. This is where factory farming comes into play, and feeds millions of people. The biggest example of this is the country of Japan. In 2016 the reported population of Japan was 126.99 million, this being put against the fact that only 10.57% of the land in Japan is available to be used for food production, results in a lot of people and very available food (World Bank). Without farming countries such as the previously mentioned United States, as well as Brazil and Argentina there would be an even bigger issue with starving people in the world. “The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 815 million people of the 7.6 billion people in the world, or 10.7%, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2016” (World Hunger Education Service, 2016). If this is the case, how do people expect to add 1.4 billion people to the world without the use of factory farming? The numbers do not add up, which is one of the biggest reasons, and factual proof, that factory farming is by all means necessary at this time in history.
Another huge “pro” of factory farming is that it is a completely safe way to produce large amounts of crops and protein in a short period of time. It has been thoroughly tested for years and years and is considered completely safe to the humans who eat it, as well as the animals raised within factory farms. The best example of this would be large scale poultry production, specifically chickens. The poultry industry, with the help of geneticists and nutritionist, have designed a way to “grow” a nine pound chicken in only 68 days. It does not stop there, they have managed to do this all while “growing” and processing thousands and thousands of chickens every single day. By doing this the poultry industry has given the world an abundance of protein in such a quick and cost effective time. This making chicken one of the most inexpensive sources of protein in the entire world. Quite a bit of this processed meat is exported overseas going to countries who house pany people who suffer from food insecurity (CourseEra, 2019). The National Chicken Council has estimated that in 2019 the United States will export roughly 7,085,000 pounds of chicken meat (The National Chicken Council, 2019). As mentioned earlier, these large factory farms also concentrate highly only things such as animal welfare and food safety. The United States Department of Agriculture along with other organizations, such as the Food and Drug Administration were created solely for the purpose of making sure farmers were and are practicing proper animal welfare and that processing plants use proper food safety practices.
“The chicken industry has come together on a specific set of expectations that will ensure that the birds they raise are taken care of with the highest standards starting at hatch. Since healthy, top-quality animals are needed for food, proper treatment is not only an ethical obligation, but it just makes good business sense.Carefully formulated feed, access to a plentiful supply of clean water, adequate room to grow, professional veterinary attention, and proper handling are all important factors in the management of young meat chicken flocks, also referred to as broilers, and the production of high-quality food product, (The National Chicken Council).”
Many people often forget that behind these factory farms are living, breathing people, often families. These people are not just money hungry monsters, who care only about themselves. Most all of the big names in factory farming have created their own teams who focus entirely on sustainability and the environment. These farmers are definitely aware of the fact that without the very land their crops grow, or their cattle graze, they would have nothing. This is what they put so much effort into preserving our natural resources, and giving back to the land. Sustainable agriculture and factory farming go hand in hand. Crop farmers have began limiting their use certain substances that have been found to be harmful to the earth, and the government has established cut off dates for which some of these substances can be used on their fields. Large scale cattle farmers are investing thousands of dollars into scientific research on methane emissions. While the media likes to portray the large scale farmer as one who simply destroys the environment and without batting an eye, they could not be further from the truth.
In today’s time, they are so many different opinions on what is right and what is wrong when it comes to any kind of farming, but especially large scale, or factory farming. However, many of those opinions are based off of fictitious content seen on a documentary or shared on facebook. People rarely take the time to sit down, do some research, and form their own opinion on the matter. They are not complaining when they sit down with their families at the dinner table and eat a good meal, though. With the population growing the way it is, we have no choice but to produce food by factory farming it. Farming practices of the past are outdated, and simply not enough to supply the world with its growing nutrition requirements.
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