Farm Forward is committed to a simple but revolutionary idea: We can live without factory farming. We can live without intensive confinement operations that devastate our natural resources and contribute more to climate change than any other industry on the planet.1 We can live without abusing animals, drugging them, genetically engineering them, and denying them the ability to engage in most of their natural behaviors. We can live without polluting our waterways, fouling our air, and emptying entire marine ecosystems of life.
The whole unwieldy apparatus of industrialized animal farming that has replaced the small family farmer and an evolving tradition of animal husbandry with factory workers in blighted rural communities. We can live, and live better, without factory farming.
We can fundamentally change the way we raise animals
Right now, chickens and turkeys are given no legal protection from abuse, and more than 99 percent of poultry producers use intensive confinement techniques that take advantage of that legal void. But a small network of poultry farmers at Good Shepherd Ranch have combined traditional animal husbandry with modern technology to develop an innovative way of raising birds that is the highest welfare and most sustainable method existing today. Farm Forward is helping Good Shepherd Ranch become a progressive leader in the industry while passing its techniques on to a new generation of farmers.
Changing the story
We can reevaluate our understanding of farming
Now that the devastating effects of industrialized farming have been abundantly documented (by the United Nations,2 the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production,3 and a slew of animal protection and environmental nonprofit groups), we are joining the culture-makers pushing back against the industry. Farm Forward is working with scholars, writers, and religious leaders to raise awareness about the worst abuses in agribusiness and the best alternatives to factory farms. Bestselling novelist Jonathan Safran Foer and University of Colorado Distinguished Professor Bernard Rollin are two of the respected voices working closely with Farm Forward to help change the way our culture approaches farming.
We can work with corporations to increase transparency and encourage incremental steps toward the highest animal welfare and sustainability standards
Large companies are unwilling to make big changes in the way they do business on their own, but given the right incentives, corporations can learn to adapt in a way that makes sense for everyone. Farm Forward is working with other nonprofit organizations to help give fast food companies, supermarkets, and restaurant chains a reason to demand reform from producers. Through negotiations, undercover investigations, and public awareness campaigns, we have already seen important and far-reaching changes in the agribusiness industry. And we are just getting started.
Right now, we are at a crossroads. In the 10,000 years of animal agriculture history, the foolishness of factory farming amounts to little more than a short, depressing chapter. But if things continue the way they have been going, industrial animal farming’s effects may be irreversible. With our planet, our health, and our ethics at stake, the question is not whether we can live without factory farming, but how much longer can we afford to live with it.
Please join us in moving farming forward. Sign up for the Farm Forward mailing list to receive updates about our work and important information about how you can get involved.