Industrial animal agriculture is a relatively recent phenomenon. It began in the 1920s and grew largely unchecked and out of public view until a backlash began to mount in the 1990s. In the last 50 years, industrial methods have taken over nearly all animal agriculture, replacing a long tradition of animal husbandry with the factory farm. These developments came with high costs to the environment, animals, workers, and rural life, and they have only recently become widely known. The devastating effects of factory farming continue to grow today, but with your help, all that may change.
Even as factory farming solidifies its stranglehold on American agriculture and grows at a disturbing rate in countries such as India and China, resistance has strengthened. In America (the birthplace of the factory farm), and in Europe, the industry has been seriously challenged because of its dismal record of pollution, animal welfare violations, labor abuses, and threats to public health. Green businessmen, traditional farmers, and animal and environmental activists have posed powerful new challenges to the factory farm model and insisted that animals are sentient beings, not units to be produced. At the same time, conscientious consumers have embraced vegetarianism or have insisted on buying their meat, eggs, and dairy from local family farms or the few more humane producers.