The Sierra Club works to educate the public about the impact of the factory farms on our health, the environment, local economy and animal welfare and to offer local, sustainable alternatives to the industrial food supply. Unfortunately, most of our meat, dairy, poultry and eggs are produced in very unsustainable animal factories, and our runaway consumption of animal products is a significant factor in the issue of climate change.
Today, the majority of meat, dairy, poultry and eggs we eat is a product of CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). These industrial operations are defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as having more than 1,000 beef cattle, 2,500 hogs or 100,000 broiler hens. Industrial agriculture is based on the financial bottom line, not on the welfare of the planet, consumers or farm animals affected by these operations.
To cut costs and raise production levels, CAFO owners cram thousands of animals in cages under one roof without access to fresh air and exercise. To stave off disease and encourage growth, they feed the animals huge amounts of antibiotics. These methods have huge, hidden costs not factored into the cheap price of meat at stores and restaurants -- a host of health, environmental and economic problems that plague modern society. Beyond these human concerns, the treatment of animals involves widespread suffering that challenges humans to re-examine what it means to be compassionate and a good steward of the earth. Read Sierra Club's Agriculture Policy here