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Our Food System Is Broken and Inhumane, But It Can Be Fixed

The facts are clear and they are shocking: Factory farming is unhealthy for consumersdangerous for workers, and devastating for the environment, and it is the largest cause of animal cruelty in the history of mankind.

In the United States alone, nearly 10 billion land animals are raised on U.S. factory farms and killed in slaughterhouses every single year, accounting for 99 percent of farmed animals in the nation. These animals are subjected to physical, psychological and emotional cruelty on a constant basis, living in extreme confinement where they experience fear and pain daily until they are killed for their meat. The normal lifespan of a chicken is five to eight years. But on a factory farm, they live just 47 days before they are sent to slaughter.

In addition to being the main cause of animal cruelty in the world, factory farming is a primary source of environmental degradation. The industrialized meat industry accounts for 37 percent of worldwide emissions of methane, a global warming gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the first two decades after its release. It is also responsible for 65 percent of human-made emissions of nitrous oxide—a gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide—that depletes the ozone layer, which protects the Earth’s surface from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.