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Is There Such a Thing as Humane Factory Farms?

Is There Such a Thing as Humane Factory Farms?

With an ever increasing population and an insatiable demand for low cost meat, is it ever going to be possible to reduce animal suffering on industrial farms?

The Pig Adventure thinks so. Housing 3,000 sows, and producing 80,000 piglets a year, The Pig Adventure, which is operated by Fair Oaks Farm have an open door policy where the public can get a first hand look at what goes on inside a modern pig farm.

An Inside Look At The Pig Adventure

There’s a sleek lobby with touch screens and billboards touting the intelligence of pigs, with clean carpeted corridors leading to soundproofed viewing areas. From here you can witness the birth of piglets, before getting a chance to virtually hang out with some of the pigs using state of the art interactive technology.

Right next door is the 36,000 cow Dairy Adventure where you can step inside the birthing barn, make your own milk, and learn all about cows in the dairy activity center.

Fair Oaks Farm are proud to announce that visitors can see for themselves that even in today’s global supermarket era, factory farms can still be humane and despite being gargantuan in size, can still pay heed to animal welfare.

The problem is that as much as this project may bring hope to conscientious meat eaters who are striving to support more humane farming practices, the idea being painted by The Pig Adventure is a far cry from your average factory farm. And it is those average factory farms which house 99% of farm animals in the United States.

Factory Farming Transparency

Mega farms like The Pig Adventure believe that transparency is the answer to growing moral concerns surrounding the animals we use for food, but the reality is that humane and factory farms are two words which just don’t go together. The conditions are undoubtedly much better at Fair Oaks than many others, but the wider context of pig farming and the ethical issues surrounding raising animals for our consumption are being completely ignored.

Surely for true transparency the slaughter of the pigs should be an integral part of the experience, but Fair Oaks know all too well that their visitors wouldn’t be going home smiling, nor would most parents dream of exposing their children to such real life horror.

The Pig Adventure says “step inside our modern pig farm and learn about pig farming in the most unique and transparent way,” but this misleads consumers, who may well come away from the experience believing that this is how all pigs are being kept on modern day farms. This model of farm is only sustainable due to the revenue raised from the visitor experience center and does not show a true reflection of the overwhelming majority of factory farms.

The farming industry runs on increasingly tight margins, and this is why larger farms with more animals being cramped into less space has been the trend of the last 50 years. If total transparency was seen in all farms, consumers would almost certainly be repulsed by what they see, a fact backed up by the recent push in ag-gag laws.

It could be argued that The Pig Adventure is more humane than many other factory farms, but it is also at danger of giving people a false idea about where their meat actually comes from.

Profits Will Always Trump Welfare

All farm animals, regardless of species, have their own natural behaviors, personality traits, wants and desires, and no matter how much we might try to make factory farms more humane, the animals will never be able to fully experience life as it should be. By their very nature, factory farms neglect the individual needs of animals, treating them as units of production with profits always trumping welfare.

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135 comments

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5:14AM PDT on Sep 28, 2014

I resent any excuse for killing. Animals do scream and pledge for their life when about to be killed. It's just that some people don't want to understand what they're saying. Yet, this is a part of everyday life on this planet and it's so heartbreaking and sickening to know there are those "perfect beings" - humans, who are so insensitive, egoistic and barbaric. The worst ever sufferings on this planet were brought on by us, humans. We were given these "superior" brains and we mostly use them for wrongdoings. This really makes you think whether people are in principle good or bad. Is it easier to talk people into doing good or bad?

8:39PM PDT on Sep 27, 2014

Can there be humanity in any form of killing,human or animal.

4:20PM PDT on Sep 27, 2014

We all already know the answer to this question: a resounding NO.

2:08AM PDT on Sep 26, 2014

thank you for opening my eyes

12:36AM PDT on Sep 24, 2014

"I have, from an early age, renounced eating meat: The time will come when we will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of humans."
- Leonardo Da Vinci, Renaissance artist/inventor

"It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind."
- Albert Einstein, physicist.

Love

8:49PM PDT on Sep 23, 2014

Killing is murder in my book and we don't require meat to survive and can do quite well in fact! The mass suffering before or during the time, isn't the issue. It's time the human race spreads it's compassion and understanding FOR ALL LIFE, to me ALL LIFE should be respected and appreciated!!~~

1:35AM PDT on Sep 23, 2014

this is only one drop in the ocean not good enough,don`t eat meat.

5:45PM PDT on Aug 2, 2014

Do not eat meat.. period.

5:42PM PDT on Aug 2, 2014

Gerald L. Any type of monoculture crop farming and factory farming (both are environmentally destructive) is a crime against nature, they're both operations to destroy the earth for the profit of a few greedy criminals. Factory farming is beyond a crime, it is a mass murder atrocity equivalent to Hitler's concentration camps. Your arguments for either are supporting criminal acts.

9:27PM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

@ Susan T; @Gerald L "No animals require chemical fertilizers needing mined potash, chemical urea and petrochemicals, plus high carbon inputs"

You are wrong. Farmers can plant cover crops in the fall and till them in. Rotating crops and planting a strategic crop like alfalfa for one year which returns nitrogen to the soil is a time honored technique as well.

Very true Susan, on tillable land. How much land used for grazing animals is hilly, rocky, hardpan clay, and possibly even too wet for farm equipment. How much meat protein, and other by-products, dairy etc. are produced from grass grazers on these types of un-tillable land? Grass only needs sun quite a natural conversion. Grazed grasslands cut down on wildfires, thereby cutting down on air pollution.

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