- Video by
Kendra Kimbirauskas discusses the problems with factory farms or CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). More than ever, we are experiencing unprecedented growth of factory farms in rural communities, even though consumers are more educated.
Despite all of the good work of the Good Food movement, factory farms continue to expand across the United States. Kendra discusses the numerous factors leading to this growth, including money in politics, international trade deals and misleading marketing. She urges the food movement to move past greenwashing and superficial change to discover the real problems with our food system.
Video Length: 00:12:19
Publications & Reports
There are many books, reports and studies on factory farming. Below is just a sample. Use these to educate yourself more on the issues with industrial agriculture.
- CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, Imhoff Daniel, Douglas Tompkins and Carra Roberto, Earth Aware Additions, 2010.
Featuring more than 400 photographs and thirty essays by today’s leading thinkers on food and agriculture, including Wendell Berry, Wenonah Hauter, Fred Kirschenmann, Anna Lappé, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Matthew Scully, CAFO focuses on both the terrible price of factory farming and the growing movement working to make our food system healthier and more just.
- Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, Mariner Books, 2001.
Eric Schlosser’s exposé revealed how the fast food industry has widened the income gap, fueled the obesity epidemic, and transformed our global food system. The book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat and helped to launch today’s food movement.
- Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan, Penguin, 2007.
The central question on man’s mind throughout history has been: What am I going to have for dinner? But now in the twenty-first century, how we answer that question may determine our survival as a species.
- Righteous Pork Chop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms, Nicolette Hahn Niman, William Morrow, 2009.
The book is Niman’s account of her own journey from environmental lawyer fighting factory farms to running Niman Ranch with her husband, Bill Niman. Niman discusses why we should buy animal products from traditionally farmed sources and how to do so responsibly and intelligently.
- The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business, Christopher Leonard, Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Investigative reporter Christopher Leonard exposes the shocking level of control that a handful of companies have gained over our country’s meat supply.
- Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, Matthew Scully, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2003.
Scully attempts to counter the hypocritical arguments that are meant to excuse animal abuse that permeates modern society.
Reports & Studies
- Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America, Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, Pew Charitable Trusts, 2008.
The Pew Commission report recommends solutions to the problems created by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in four primary areas: public health, the environment, animal welfare, and rural communities.
Use these questions as a guide for starting conversations with your friends and family about factory farms and Kendra Kimirauskas’s talk. Add your own questions as you think of them.
- Why are factory farms bad for animals, the environment and the surrounding communities.
- Do you see factory farms as a threat to human health? Why or why not?
- How can we feed a growing population without factory farms?
- Must we eat meat? If we eat better meat less often, how would that change the factory farming system?
- How are our elected officials perpetuating the factory farming system?
Find out even more information related to factory farming. Also, find out how you can stay in touch with Change Food.
- With current regulations, food labels can be confusing and misleading. The Animal Welfare Approved comprehensive guide to consumer labels can help make you an informed shopper.
- GRACE Communications Foundation features the Sustainable Table Food Program that educates consumers on sustainable agriculture. Its industrial agriculture section explores the negative impacts of Big Ag.
- Best places to follow on social media to stay up to date with this topic:
Things You Can Do
There are many things you can do to get involved in the food movement. Below are examples of ways you can get involved. Take action and then share with a friend!
- Self-Certify: Find a farmer and buy directly from a farmer who treats animals in a way that is in line with your values. Visit the Environmental Working Group to find out more about meat labels. And, if in doubt, Animal Welfare Approved is a great certification program.
- Eat Less, Better Meat: Limit the amount of meat that you consume and when you do purchase meat for your family, purchase meat from animals that have been raised in high-welfare and pasture-based systems. Visit Meatless Monday for tips and ideas.
- Question: Ask questions at grocery stores and at restaurants. Challenge claims that you know to be hollow or incorrect. Demand quality meats that come from animals that are raised humanely in pasture-based systems. See The Sustainable Table’s “Questions to Ask” for examples of informed questions to ask your local producers and store owners.
- Demand Action: Call on elected officials to support agricultural policies that are supportive of humane, family farmers that raise animals in a manner that is ecologically and socially responsible. Use the National Food Policy Scorecard to see how your local representatives are voting on food issues.
- Have a Stake: As someone who eats food, you have a stake in agricultural policy. Engage in policy discussions from your very local level all the way up through the national discussion on food and agricultural issues. Be a part of the discussion and demand change.
- ASPCA’s Open the Barns campaign – Fight to repeal “Ag Gag” Laws, which criminalize whistleblowers on factory farms. Follow the campaign at #OpentheBarns.
- Bringing Accountability to the Meat Industry – Hold factory farms and the companies that control the agriculture industry accountable for managing their waste and complying to Clean Water Act protections.
- Bringing Transparency to Factory Farming – Bring transparency and accountability to the harmful practices of factory farming.
- Fighting for GMO Labeling – Make labeling GMO foods the law.
- Food Safety – Ensure our food is safe for consumers to eat.
- Preventing the Proliferation of Factory Farms – Help communities fight projects to expand factory farms.
- Saving Antibiotics – Stop Big Ag from misusing antibiotics on factory farms.
- Stopping GMO Salmon – Keep genetically modified salmon off our plates.
- Water Pollution Trading – Fight the false premise that polluters have the right to use our public trust waterways as waste disposal sites.
Animal Legal Defense Fund
Center for a Livable Future
Center for Race Poverty and the Environment
Environmental Integrity Project
Food & Water Watch
Friends of Family Farmers
Friends of the Earth
Indiana CAFO Watch
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors
Land Stewardship Project
Missouri Rural Crisis Center
Socially Responsible Agricultural Project
Western Organization of Resource Councils