A for Animals
The typical Western diet is high in animal products like meat, eggs and dairy.
To meet the demand for animal products from an increasing world population, animal farming has over recent decades changed from small family run holdings to large scaled industrialized factory farms which use highly intensive methods at the expense of animal welfare. Instead of grazing on fields, animals are now often confined in their thousands without ever experiencing fresh air or grass under their feet.
This section of SHAPE provides information on the consequences of industrialized meat, egg and dairy production on the welfare of animals, on the environment, and on our health. You will be able to make informed choices about the inclusion of animal products in your diet and decide whether you want to make small or larger changes to live a more happy, healthy, and sustainable life. Even small changes can make a big difference.
Factory farming is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, and it is very water intensive. It contributes to the pollution of rivers, lakes and the sea and destroys entire ecosystems. It is a major cause of deforestation, as much of the cereal harvest fed to factory farmed animals is grown on deforested land. It has caused massive losses in biodiversity around the world as natural habitats have been converted to farms and pastures.
Factory farming is a major threat to global health. It promotes antibiotic resistance. The majority of the world’s antibiotics are fed to farmed animals to prevent diseases inevitable under the intensive conditions found in factory farms. In addition, factory farming creates the ideal environments for pandemics such as the Covid-19.