Battery farming or factory farming has become a widespread practice in the last three to four decades. Today, more than 99% of all meat, eggs and dairy products produced in the United States are from battery farms. It is fair to say that battery farming has replaced free range farming or what was the natural way of growing, managing and nurturing livestock.
Chickens, pigs, cattle and other animals raised for meat or some other reason are all bred and raised through battery farming. There are many battery farming pros and cons. Environmentalists and animal rights activities have their stand. Companies that have invested fortunes in battery farming have their own reasons to support the practice. Consumers are beneficiaries in a way so the opinion is divided.
List of Pros of Battery Farming
1. Abundant Production
No young American can think of a day when there were no eggs on the shelf of the local mart. No young American can recollect a day when there was no meat in the nearest convenience store. Excluding the mad rush during Christmas or natural disasters cutting off roads and supply networks, meat and eggs and mild and other dairy or animal products are available at any hour of the day or night, across the country and even beyond where the United States exports. This degree of abundance would not have been possible without battery farming. Free range chickens for meat and hens giving eggs, cattle raised for milk or meat and other birds or animals that are widely consumed as meat have their advantages but the limitations are far too many. From unpredictable supply to lack of control while breeding and raising the animals, the world of cattle, poultry and animal husbandry in general would be highly unpredictable and uncertain had it not been for battery farming.
2. Abundant Jobs
Battery farming has created hundreds and thousands of jobs. It has effectively created millions of jobs around the world. Battery farms are managed professionally. There are scientists conducting research, doctors of medicine, caretakers in various capacities, cleaners, managers and a plethora of jobs in the entire life cycle of the business. From those working in the logistics business to those working in food processing, from those at front end retail to those who strategize at boardrooms in the skyscrapers, there has been a massive growth of jobs in the food industry.
3. Economic Benefits
Abundant production doesn’t just help those who are investing in battery farming. It also helps hundreds of companies to emerge with their own products made from the primary ingredient of meats, eggs or milk. Over the last forty years, innumerable companies have emerged with everything from sausages to salamis, patties to nuggets, mayonnaise to different kinds of milk products, ice creams to fresh meat, cured meat to special cuts and the impact is not limited to just those who are into food processing or selling different kinds of packaged foods. There has been a skyrocketing rise of restaurants, cafes, takeaways and specialty chains. Imagine a KFC or Burger Kings, the relatively unknown local brands and the humble diner run by a couple. All these entities are benefited due to the abundant availability of different meats, eggs and milk. From the local trucker to the remote farmer, everyone benefits from battery farming and its growth.
4. Lower Inflation
Abundant supply ensures a control over the prices. The cost of meat, milk and eggs has not risen as much in the last few years as it should have. Given the fact that consumption has increased and that there is a steady growth in the population, it should have lead to inflation. But it has not. Many prices have soared in recent memory but that of meats, eggs and milk have not, certainly not to that extent.
5. Good for Science
Battery farming as a concept is a product of scientific progress and it is good for science. Today, chickens and turkeys don’t die of diseases that would wipe out all the birds in a given region from time to time. Viral outbreaks, genetic diseases and lifestyle diseases of various birds, cattle and other animals have been defeated by scientists.
List of Cons of Battery Farming
1. Suffering of Animals
There is enough evidence to prove that animals are not taken care of in battery farms. By denying animals the right to roam around freely, to be on a natural diet, to get the exercise they would naturally get and to live in an uncontrolled environment, one is essentially being cruel.
2. Health Concerns
Animals that are not healthy and wouldn’t have otherwise been considered for consumption may be kept normal with medication and may be culled or processed and sold off in the markets with the consumer not knowing anything about the history of the particular source of meat. There could be health concerns as a result.
3. Not Environment Friendly
Battery farming has an adverse impact on the environment. Breeding and raising a humongous number of animals in a limited space, growing plenty of food and feeding that to the animals, using enormous amounts of water and controlling the setting in a confined space don’t augur well for the environment.