January 12, 2012
Many people promote “free-range” animal agriculture as being “better” for animals, humans and the planet than factory farming. I have heard owners/operators of such farms claim that animals are not abused on “free range” farms(even though they are enslaved and killed) and that they are even “beneficial” to the environment. Having attempted to truly listen to such nonsense, I think that I have some valid questions for everyone in a hypothetical format. Let us then, go with the assumption that every animal being exploited in agriculture to sustain the industry today, will be moved off of factory farms or “big farms” and placed on “free-range” farms or, as some people like to refer to them, “small farms”.
Question #1: Assuming that the same number of human beings are consuming animal products, is it safe to say that the same number of animals will be required to sustain the animal agriculture industry, whether they are in factory farms or roaming about on uncle Jeb’s ranch?
Question #2: If the 60 billion land-based animals that we slaughter each year are moved from factory farms or “big farms” and placed on “free-range” farms or “small farms”, what do we now call the “small farms”? Will they be called “big small farms”?
Question #3: If the 60 billion land-based animals that we slaughter each year are moved from factory farms or “big farms” and placed on “free-range” farms or “small farms”(which we will now refer to as “big small farms”), where will all of the extra land to keep them come from? We are talking about well over 60 billion animals here.
Question #4: In regard to the egg industry, what would we be doing with all the “surplus” male chicks? How would it be any different than what we do with them now by grinding them up by the hundred thousands daily, into pink sludge on factory farms, considering that the “small farms” are now “big small farms” and have the demand that factory farms once supplied?
Question #5: In order to keep up with said demand for flesh and lactation products, do you honestly believe that “big small farms” will not be fully utilizing antibiotics, growth hormones, etc… just like big factory farms do?
Question #6: When all animals are moved from factory farms to “big small farms”, will we no longer have a requirement to mutilate animals so that they do not harm one another before we murder them or will we have the same problems regarding space that factory farms do?
Question #7: Will animal agriculture negatively impact the rain forests through deforestation any less than its current hold on 80%, even though we are still feeding the same number of animals on our new “big small farms” by shredding said rain forests to grow grain on their fertile lands?
Question #8: Will we still be required to grind up countless fish species and add it to “livestock” feed, or will this magically change because we are enslaving the animals outside, instead of in factory farms?
Question #9: Will our new “big small farms” impact our fresh water “resources” any less, even though we are still quenching the thirst of the same number of animals that we did on factory farms? Will the animals on “big small farms” still be contaminating the water supplies of the land around them with their waste product? Considering that the same number of animals will be utilized and exploited on “big small farms” as there were on factory farms, what will be ecologically “better”? Are the buildings that factory farms utilize generating the current ecologic waste, or are the animals that we enslave?
Question #10: Do you still believe that our new “big small farms” are any better than factory farms or that they are the answer to the problem?
President of AELLA