This farming system is characterized by the use of small areas with a high density of animal’s population. The animals may be housed in closed buildings. The intensive livestock operations are also marked by a small area dedicated to growing animal feed, resulting in significant decrease in self-sufficiency of the farmer to feed his animals.
The progress feeding suggests farming in terms of “transformation” of the food into animal growth. The advantage of this type of farming is that it provides meat and other products (eggs, milk, leather, wool, fur) at the prices of the locally grown food, which augment its accessibility. In addition, this production is less dependent on weather conditions and reduces significantly the risks related to the germs transmitted by food, such as salmonella.
The factory farming criticism focuses on the supposed low quality of products as well as the living conditions of the animals. The high population densities also create health risks, which often require antibiotics as a precaution. This has led to various changes, such as setting minimum standards in legislation or regulatory pathway (see in particular the European directives on the matter) and quality labels to better serve consumers.
Factory farming generally relates to selected breeds, mainly pigs and poultry, but it also can be applied to cattle as well as to wild species, aquaculture, for example.
When farming is conducted completely independent of local agricultural production way, we speak of “breeding above ground.” It should be noted, however, that these farms still need a minimum area to spread the manure (including pig manure) without causing water pollution by nitrates and phosphates in the effluent.
We can also speak of “battery farming,” especially for calves and poultry, with reference to the cages, sometimes stacked, in which animals are kept.
To be able to prepare research proposal on factory farming, college students will need to find and process a great deal of information. They have to find out and explain the key components of the modern factory farming process, as well as to show its advantages and disadvantages.
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