The impacts of factory farming on our health are serious and shocking
From superbugs and new diseases, to poor diets and toxic pollution, intensive agriculture causes untold damage to people and communities. Meat consumption is rising rapidly worldwide, bringing increasing dangers with it. That’s why we’re sounding the alarm, and calling for urgent action.
Factory farms drive the growth of superbugs that cause life-threatening infections which can’t be treated with antibiotics. Animals are kept in cramped, filthy conditions and dosed up with antibiotics to prevent and treat illness, and speed growth.
Incredibly, up to 75% of the world’s antibiotics are used in factory farms. But if these vital drugs are overused, deadly strains of disease can mutate to resist their effects.
Antibiotic-resistant infections kill 1.27 million people each year, and rising. But the solution is simple: by banning the routine use of antibiotics in factory farms, we could massively reduce the risk of deadly new superbugs emerging.
Our government could make that happen, but it’ll take thousands of us calling for action.
Factory farms could be breeding grounds for the next pandemic. The cramped, dirty, stressful conditions in factory farms are the perfect incubators for new viruses. When these viruses jump to humans they’re known as ‘zoonotic diseases’, and they can cause serious illnesses we don’t know how to contain or treat. Shockingly, the UN has found that more than half of all new illnesses in people since 1940 came from intensive farming.
Diet and nutrition
The vast quantity of cheap meat produced by factory farms is driving up rates of obesity and chronic illness.
Studies have shown that intensively reared meat tends to contain more fat and lower levels of important nutrients than higher welfare products. It’s also used in low cost processed foods that are often laden with salt, sugar and additives.
At the same time, factory farming is replacing local, sustainable food production, undermining nutrition and worsening the risk of hunger for millions of people.Poor conditions in factory farms make them hotspots for parasites and bacteria. Globally, around 35% of all foodborne diseases are linked to meat, dairy or eggs.
Factory farms produce vast quantities of urine and manure, which pollute our air, rivers and soil.
We don’t yet know the full impact of this on people. But 400 harmful gases released by factory farm waste have been linked to higher rates of illness and breathing problems in people who live nearby. The fertilisers and pesticides used to grow animal feed can also disrupt our hormones, and are thought to cause a range of human health problems.