When it comes to debating which is better, overall, eating plant-based or eating a diet heavy in meat and dairy, there are countless (extremely heated) arguments on both ends. One can argue that eating more plants is better for your health, the other can argue that there are humane ways to raise animals for meat consumption. We could go in circles all day – but what these questions often fail to ask is how we are going to feed a rising population, which is set to hit 9.7 billion by 2050, with our current food system.
We might not be readily aware of this fact, but our current global food system is already being pushed to its absolute limit and as it stands, we are running out of land and water to produce more monoculture crops that primarily go towards feeding livestock. When you look at the volume of corn and soy we grow versus how many people are suffering from food insecurity, it becomes pretty clear we’re feeding our “food” more effectively than we’re feeding people. So how do you unite these feuding fronts to create a viable food system that can support the planet, people, and animals? Well, Gene Baur, President of Farm Sanctuary has some pretty impactful ideas.
Animals raised for meat in factory farms are often genetically manipulated to grow unnaturally large and hence more profitable for the agricultural industry.
Chickens slaughtered in the United States, for example, are bred to weigh a staggering nine pounds today compared to just two pounds in the 1950s. They are bred to grow so fast, in fact, that debilitating deformities are common.
According to a study by the Center for Food Safety, over 450 animal drugs, drug combinations, and other feed additives are administered to animals to achieve increased growth and keep them alive in conditions that would otherwise kill them. Indeed, 99.9 percent of chicken and 78 percent of beef consumed in the United States come from overcrowded factory farms. Since these factory farms are filthy and packed tightly with animals, disease and infection run rampant.
Brussels will soon ban the cruel practice of force-feeding ducks and geese for the production of foie gras.
According to Expatica, this is part of a movement to ban all force-feeding across the Belgian and Flemish capital. Recent research commissioned by animal rights organization GAIA found that 84 percent of Belgians support force-feeding bans.
Bianca Debaets, Brussels’s secretary of state for animal welfare, explains:
If you were a rabbit guardian, would you keep your companion locked in a tiny cage for her entire life, never allowing her to take a single hop, and neglecting her to the point that she developed painful lesions on her feet from the cage wire?
Most would consider this blatant animal cruelty, but what I just described is the reality for the vast majority of rabbits raised for meat in Canada.
In nature, rabbits are sociable, active, and playful. Their extremely strong hind limbs allow them to leap great distances—up to one metre high and three metres long.
So few people in Norway want to eat whale meat that it’s ending up in the feed manufactured for animals on fur farms, according to a new document released by the Environmental Investigation Agency, a London-based nonprofit, and the U.S.-based Animal Welfare Institute. The document shows that more than 113 metric tons of minke whale products—equivalent to about 75 whales—was bought or used by Rogaland Pelsdyrfôrlaget, the largest manufacturer of animal feed for Norway’s fur industry.
In addition to being one of three countries that continues to whale, Norway has a thriving fur industry. Last year, it exported between 258 tons of fox skins and 1,000 tons of mink skins to the European Union, according to the press release.
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Few stories are as inspirational as this one about Antonio Vicente, a man who has dedicated the past forty years of his life to reforesting the precious natural ecosystems of Brazil.
As one of fourteen children raised in a farming family, Vicente saw firsthand the adverse effects of clearing forests for farmland. He saw his father chop down trees at the order of wealthy landowners for the production of coal and cattle. Eventually, the natural water sources were depleted and the land dried up.
Far ahead of his time, Vicente saw this as a giant warning sign and made it his mission to re-plant the trees lost to deforestation. Beginning at a time where Brazil’s government encouraged the expansion of farmland, most people laughed at Vicente for his proposed initiative. However, no one’s opinion stopped Vicente from acting out his mission.
Today marks an incredibly positive step forward for Europe’s farmed rabbits. MEPs have voted in favour of species-specific legislation in today’s plenary vote.
A recent You Gov poll* showed that 78% of UK adults would support European-wide legislation to phase out the use of cages in rabbits farmed for meat, and the views of MEPs appear to be in line with members of the public.
In January, members of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee voted in favour of a report that set out key improvements for rabbit welfare. This report had the potential to pave the way for the protection of over 320 million** farmed rabbits across the EU. However, the amendment that included species-specific legislation for rabbits did not pass at that stage.
We are delighted to share the news that MEPs voted in favour of the report. The report calls for the phasing out of cages and will secure the protection and improvement of rabbits farmed for meat. Furthermore, we are happy to report that the amendment calling for species-specific legislation was also voted for.