What Are the Pros and Cons of Factory Farming?

The major advantage of factory farming is that it helps satisfy increasing demand for meat, and at affordable prices. It also saves consumers from travelling long distances in search of meat. Disadvantages include animal cruelty, substandard production methods and dumping of animal wastes in water streams.

Factory farming generally entails raising livestock in a relatively small, confined area on large-scale basis with the aim of supplying food for human consumption. For instance, chickens are caged in large sheds in which they lay eggs. This makes meat readily available to consumers, saving them high travelling costs.

Factory farms are equipped with machines that dispense food as well as collect eggs. This automation of animal husbandry saves farmers money by reducing labor costs and increasing efficiency. Critics, however, challenge this approach as brutal, saying that it does not allow farmers to interact and care for animals that may otherwise be sick or injured, possibly putting the food at risk for disease.

Factory farms produce huge volumes of manure and droppings that are recycled into manure and spread on crops as fertilizer. However, in some cases, the waste is collected in open lagoons and left to runoff into waterbodies, contaminating drinking water and killing aquatic life.