New Bill Aims to Curb Factory Farming

U.S. Representative Ro Khanna of California has just introduced legislation that would place a moratorium on concentrated animal feeding operations (a.k.a factory farms) as well as require country-of-origin labeling on beef, pork, and dairy products, among other positive measures.

NECESSARY FOR HUMAN HEALTH: Preventing the expansion and continued operation of factory farms is critical to protect public health. Experts believe that COVID-19 (in addition to other pandemics like SARS and MERS) likely originated in wet markets, places where animals raised for food are kept in confined spaces—not unlike a factory farm. Diseases like swine flu (H1N1), bird flu (H5N1 and others), and mad cow disease (BSE) all evolved on factory farms, and scientists are warning that it’s only a matter of time before the animal agriculture industry produces the next major pandemic

FOR THE ANIMALS: Factory farms are hell on Earth for animals, and they need to be closed. The vast majority of meat consumed in the United States comes from animals raised on factory farms—places in which animals are kept in intensive confinement to maximize profits for the animal agriculture industry. Farmers cut off parts of chickens’ sensitive beaks, castrate piglets,, and burn horn tissue from calves—all without pain relief— to prevent the animals from hurting each other under the extreme stress of living in these environments. Pigs are kept in crates so small that they can’t turn around or lie down comfortably, and chickens are bred to grow so large so fast that they suffer painful deformities, and many can’t even walk. Even on most organic farms, and farms marketed as “high welfare,” the animals live miserable lives. 

SIMILAR LEGISLATION: In January, Senator Cory Booker introduced a nearly identical bill known as the “Farm System Reform Act,” which also calls for a moratorium on factory farms and would reportedly phase them out entirely by 2040. The bill, which is awaiting further action in the Senate, would establish a fund to buy out existing factory farms and promote their transition into alternative forms of agriculture, including growing plants. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: While we wait to find out what happens with both of these important bills, we can start making a difference right now! One of the best things you can do to help animals, the environment, and human health is to simply leave animal products off your plate. You can start TODAY by eliminating or reducing your consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs. With all of the great plant-based options on the market nowadays it’s easier than ever.