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January 11, 2012

Industrialization of Animal Agriculture Jeopardizes Food Security, Says HSI

Humane Society International/India

NEW DELHI—Humane Society International has released a report critical of the idea that inhumane confinement of animals in industrial production facilities somehow enhances food security. In reality, the HSI report demonstrated, the industrialization of animal agriculture does just the opposite, jeopardizing food security by degrading the environment, threatening human health, and diminishing income-earning opportunities in rural areas.

“There is strong scientific evidence of the negative impacts of these animal factories on people and animals,” said Chetana Mirle, Ph.D., director of farm animal protection for HSI. “We must do a better job of supporting small-farmer led and animal welfare-friendly agriculture, as well as implementing stronger environmental and farm animal welfare regulations.”

In India, 140 to 200 million egg-laying hens are confined to barren, wire battery cages so restrictive they cannot even spread their wings. Each bird has less living space than an A4 sheet of paper. With no opportunity to experience most natural behaviors, such as nesting, dust bathing, perching and foraging, these birds endure lives wrought with suffering. Factory farms that confine more than 50,000 birds within a single shed are increasingly common in the country.

In 2008, more than 720 million chickens were slaughtered in India for their meat. These broiler chickens also experience crowded confinement and other adverse conditions.

The HSI report, The Impact of Industrial Farm Animal Production on Food Security in the Developing World [PDF], reviews the growing body of evidence showing that industrial farm animal production fails to improve food security. Some highlights of the document are:

  • Increasingly inhumane conditions for animals on farms do not benefit people. For example, the growing confinement of India’s egg laying hens in cramped battery cages has failed to significantly improve the nutritional outcomes for low-income communities.
  • More humane farming practices can benefit human communities as well as animals. The report urges the government to implement progressive environmental, public health, and animal welfare regulations to minimize the negative impacts of industrial farm animal production on animals, the environment, and vulnerable human populations.

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Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—On the Web at hsi.org.

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