Photo: Humane League
CCFA’s focus is on the welfare of animals raised for food. There is, though, another aspect that is worth discussing. That is why the practices for growing and feeding the animals and dealing with their waste are not sustainable–to put it simply, it will lead to conditions where it cannot be done at all.
Replacing small-scale farms, where a variety of crops and animals were raised in congruence with single-crop farms and “animal production facilities,” factory farming has wrought economic problems, public health concerns, inhumane conditions for billions of animals, and a huge carbon debt on the world’s agricultural system.
There was a time (before factory farming or Concentrated Animal Feed Operations(CAFO) when crops and animals were rotated among fields, the animals grazing and fertilizing areas that were later used for different crops. Some farmers still use these proven methods but struggle to compete with the large companies.
In today’s intense operations, animals and food are raised separately, leading to several problems
The main issues:
- Need for commercial fertilizers that destroy micro-organisms critical for healthy soil.
- Monoculture–growing only one crop at a time that can increase disease and pest outbreaks.
- Monocropping–growing the same crop year after year–intensifies the risks of disease and pests.
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)–harmful to humans and the environment.
- Clearing of natural vegetation to make room for crops grown to feed the animals
- Dispersing manure
Not only are today’s farming methods unsustainable, but they are also devastating for the environment. Livestock’s Long Shadow the seminal report by FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO) OF THE UNITED Nations is an assessment of the direct impacts of livestock production, along with the impacts of feed crop cultivation on land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.
There are many online articles on these issues. The following are just a few.