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Who benefits? ‘Big ag’ myths shot down

News Section Icon Published 5/16/2023

Large tractors in a row on field

Today (16th May), we launched a new report debunking the myths used to keep the global factory farming industry alive, and the big agricultural industries – known as ‘big ag' – making billions from the systems that are cruel to animals, damaging to our health, and killing our planet.

Factory Farming: Who Benefits? How a ruinous system is kept afloat, highlights the seven main sectors benefiting from intensive agriculture while blocking the changes needed to make farming higher welfare, better for health and climate- and nature-positive.

Destructive Myths

While many people are aware of the activities of the big meat-providing companies, the industries that support factory farming – known as the ‘input providers’ – have largely escaped attention.

These big input providers are: the manufacturers of cages and crates; the animal pharmaceuticals sector; the pesticides sector; the big grain traders; animal feed producers; the animal genetics sector; and the fertilisers sector. They have immense financial and political power which they use to block the policy changes we so desperately need to transform our destructive farming system to one that works in harmony with animals, people, and the planet.

The report highlights and dispels the myths used by these ‘big ag’ industries to paint factory farming as a necessary practice, helping it to stay afloat. These include:

  • Myth: “Factory farming is necessary to feed the world”
    Reality: We produce much more food than is needed to feed the world’s growing population but much of it is lost or wasted, and huge amounts of human edible cereals – such as wheat, maize and soy – are fed to farmed animals.
  • Myth: “Factory Farming gives us cheap food”
    Reality: While factory farmed meat and milk are cheap at the supermarket checkout, society pays dearly for the huge costs of factory farming on human health and the environment, including soil degradation and biodiversity loss, the over-use of antibiotics, greenhouse gas emissions, and the increased risk of deadly pandemics.
  • Myth: “Factory farmed animals like pigs and chickens have low greenhouse gas emissions”
    Reality: Pigs and chickens produce high amounts of GHG emissions – much higher than plant-based foods.

Putting profit before animals

Our Chief Policy Adviser, Peter Stevenson, and author of the report, said: “It’s unthinkable that in the face of significant scientific evidence of the destructive impacts of factory farming, we have major industries not only ignoring the evidence and putting profit before animals, people, and planet but also obstructing efforts to transition to sustainable systems that work for us all.

“There needs to be accountability for the destruction industrial agriculture is causing. A handful of huge companies simply cannot be allowed to continue making massive profits at the expense of animals, our health, and the very existence of our planet.

“We need a Global Agreement on food and farming to transform our food system, before it’s too late, and we would urge anyone who cares about animals and the future of our planet to sign our petition to end factory farming at END.IT.”



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