Top 5 Scary Facts About Intensive Farming On World Food Day

A plant-based diet could be key in halting some of the damage caused by intensive agriculture
Intensive farming is having a terrifying impact

The world is slowly waking-up to the fact that intensive farming is having a terrifying impact on our planet.

More and more people are also starting to see the pain and suffering inflicted on animals within the factory farming complex.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations [FAO] celebrates World Food Day every year on October 16.

According to the FAO: "World Food Day is a chance to show our commitment to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030."


According to Compassion in World Farming: " It has long been recognised that high-input, resource-intensive farming systems are harmful and unsustainable; yet there has been considerable intertia around action to deliver healthy and sustainable food systems."

The organization listed a number of facts about intensive food production in its Towards A Flourishing Food System handbook - the facts below come from the book.

1.  Feeding human-edible grain to animals is a waste

The UN Environment Programme calculates that over 3.5 billion people could be fed by the grain that will be fed to animals by 2050 in the business-as-usual model. 

If a target were adopted of halving the use of cereals for feed an extra 1.75 billion people could be fed.

2.  Antimicrobial resistance 

Antimicrobials are regularly used in industrial livestock systems to prevent the diseases that would otherwise be inevitable where animals are confined in crowded, stressful conditions and are bred and managed for maximum yield. 

These conditions compromise their health and immune responses, and encourage disease to develop and spread. 

To prevent this, antimicrobials are routinely given to whole herds or flocks of healthy animals via their feed and water. 

The World Health Organisation [WHO] stresses that the high use of antimicrobials in farming contributes to the transfer of resistant bacteria to people thereby undermining the treatment of serious human disease.

A plant-based diet has less environmental impact than one that includes animals and their secretions

3.  Halting biodiversity loss 

United Nations Environment [UNEP] states that modern agricultural practices have been 'responsible for considerable damage to biodiversity, primarily through land-use conversion but also through overexploitation, intensification of agricultural production systems, excessive chemical and water use, nutrient loading, pollution'.

4.   Intensive livestock production is an inherently inefficient use of resources

Intensive livestock production is dependent on feeding human-edible cereals to livestock who convert them very inefficiently into meat and milk: experts variously describe the use of cereals to feed animals as 'staggeringly inefficient' and 'colossally inefficient'.

Why is this? 

For every 100 calories fed to animals as cereals, just 17-30 calories enter the human food chain as meat.

 Some studies indicate that the conversion rates may be even lower.

5.  Generating disease 

Industrial livestock production plays an important part in the emergence, spread and ampli cation of pathogens, some of which are zoonotic (i.e. a disease that can be spread from animals to humans).


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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