From: Jake Bucks, Class of 2015, Wakefield High School
Published March 25, 2014 02:01 PM

COLLEGIATE CORNER: Humanity of factory farming

Most omnivores like bacon, but I say omnivores because not every human is an omnivore. Have you ever thought to yourself what was the process this bacon went through? Well if you have, it was not a fun process for that pig. Farming has helped humans advance in size, without the farming innovations created through the industrial revolution, humans would have never had the resources to make such a huge population.  

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But is that what this planet needs the most, more humans? Factory farming is a mass production method of farming with small resources and big profit. This might sound appealing to consumers because it is easy to make and easy to buy, but is the price of these products really worth the consequences it brings with them? Factory farming negatively impacts the welfare of animals, our environment, and the consumer.

Factory farming abuses all farm animals, but overall, pigs and chickens have had the worst of it. The chicken was the first animal to be factory farmed, through the industrial revolution farmers could keep chickens in a more confined space with the discovery of vitamins in the 1920's. Vitamins have allowed farmers to keep chickens inside throughout the whole day. This is economically more efficient for the farmers rather than using bigger plots of land to house the chickens. Factory farmed chickens live in cages that are "six tenths of a square foot" (Organic Consumer Association). Living in a confined cage results in the chickens eating each other out of frustration. Farmers, trying to prevent this from happening, de-beak these chickens. De-beaking a chicken is where you trim of parts of the chicken’s beak, causing extreme amounts of pain to the chicken.

The negative impacts outweigh the positive ones when you de-beak a chicken. Negative impacts can vary from acute pain to chronic pain. Chicken beaks have nerves that respond to pain, imagine if you were to have a bit of your nose cut off, it is the exact pain a chicken feels when it is de-beaked. Chronic pain is a long-term effect on the chicken, giving the chicken phantom pain. Human amputees have a feeling of phantom pain, when they feel a limb or organ that is missing. The only positive factor of de-beaking is that it saves farmers money.

Factory farming has also had an impact on pigs. Pigs are raised for slaughter, and all of a pig's body can be used for food. Much like chickens, factory farmed pigs live in crates that are "7 feet long and 2 feet wide" (peta.org) too small for the animal.

Read more at Wakefield High School.

Chicken farm image via Shutterstock.

This story is part of the Collegiate Corner, a section of ENN dedicated to student work. Student contributions are welcome. All work in this column is the product of the student in its entirely. If you have questions about the Collegiate Corner or would like to submit please contact: rblackstone@enn.com.

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