You’ve seen reports on the horrific truth behind factory farms. But what are the actual statistics?
For starters, around 70 billion animals are raised for food each year. And they’re not having the time of their lives.
Factory farming facts aren’t pleasant to read, but they might help you make better-informed decisions about your lifestyle and impact on the environment.
Little Known Factory Farming Facts
- Factory animals are forced to grow three times faster than what’s natural.
- Two in three animals are factory farmed.
- 99% of animals used for food in the US come from factory farms.
- We cut down one acre of rainforest for cattle farming every six seconds.
- In Canada, over 700 million animals are killed for food each year.
- UK factory farms account for 73% of animals.
- 80% of US antibiotics are used for farming.
- Factory farms slaughter 121 million US pigs for food annually.
Factory Farming Statistics
1. Factory Animals Are Forced to Grow Three Times Faster Than What’s Natural
(Source: One Green Planet)
- Usually, it takes 90 days for a chicken to reach the desired weight for slaughter. On a factory farm — only 35 days.
- 5%–10% of hens die due to induced molting.
- Piglets are mutilated within their first two weeks by removing their tails and clipping their teeth without anesthetic.
These disturbing factory farming facts show us only a fraction of the atrocities taking place in livestock production.
2. Two in Three Animals Are Factory Farmed
(Source: Do Something)
- Approximately 70 billion animals are raised for food every year.
- 75% of US adults claim that they buy humane products. But only 1% of all farmed animals are not factory farmed. Simply put, the numbers don’t add up.
- 99.9% of all chickens in the US are factory farmed.
The figures are only getting worse, despite the massive push back from various organizations and the public.
Factory Farms in the US
The US is one of the biggest producers of meat worldwide, and the majority of it is through factory farming.
3. 25,000 US Factory Farms House Over 1.6 Billion Animals
(Source: Food and Water Watch)
- On average, US egg-laying farms own 800,000 birds. Each of these produces an astounding five million gallons of manure.
- Since 2012, there’s been a 14% increase in factory farm animals, equal to 190 million more animals.
- Intensive animal farming produces 82 billion tons of manure annually. It’s the equivalent of the New York City sewage, three times over.
These factory farming facts aren’t even the worst. Wait until you find out what happens to the animals and how the farms could affect your health.
4. 99% of Animals Used for Food in the US Come From Factory Farms
(Source: Sentience Institute)
- Broken down by species that’s 70.4% of cows, 99.8% of turkeys, and 98.3% of pigs all factory farmed.
- 7,000 US farms house over 500,000 chickens.
- Every hour these farms kill one million US animals.
We found out many other shocking facts, so strap on.
Factory Farming in the World
The US isn’t the only place with animal cruelty in factory farms, as seen in statistics.
5. UK Factory Farms Account for 73% of Animals
(Source: Compassion in World Farming)
- The UK is home to over 800 US-style farms, where industrial livestock production has risen by 26% in the last six years.
- 16 million factory-farmed animals are in Herefordshire, meaning the area has 88 times more farm animals than humans.
- Seven out of ten UK poultry farms house over one million chickens.
These factory farming in the UK facts show the numbers are rising and many animals are suffering.
6. In Canada, Over 700 Million Animals Are Killed for Food Each Year
(Source: Humane Canada)
- Canadian transport regulations allow animals to travel 52 hours without sleep, water, or food. The trucks don’t protect the animals or keep them comfortable in any way.
- The number of farm animals has gone up significantly between 1976–2016. Sheep and cow numbers have doubled, while farmed turkey populations have increased five times.
- Pigs per farm in Canada have gone from 91 in 1976 to 1,677 in 2016 — an increase of 18 times.
Many believe that factory farming isn’t taking place in Canada. But facts show that not only is it happening but also the numbers are increasing drastically.
Factory Farming Effects on the Environment
Global warming is a serious issue that affects us in many ways, and factory farming contributes a lot.
7. We Cut Down One Acre of Rainforest for Cattle Farming Every Six Seconds
- It takes about 50 full bathtubs to produce one pound of meat — bad news for our already deteriorating water sources.
- According to water pollution facts, factory farming is responsible for more contamination than all industrial sources combined. It’s all due to the massive amounts of animal waste dumped into waterways.
- Meat production caused over 80% of the Amazon’s destruction.
Factory farming and environmental facts show how much the industry contributes to climate change.
8. 37% of Methane Emissions Are Due to Intensive Animal Farming
(Source: Do Something)
- Deforestation occurs to feed animals at factory farms. Each year it emits 2.4 billion tons of CO2.
- Animals in the US create more than 450 million tons of waste a year — three times the waste amount generated by Americans.
- The crop fertilizer farm animals eat with food produces 41 million tons of CO2 annually.
Factory farming and global warming facts show the domino effect of the industry. And it’s not just the animals. Many aspects of the business make climate change worse.
Animal Farming and Your Health
The environment affects your health massively, and the rising numbers help us see the link between the two.
9. 6 in 100 Industrial Animal Farm Workers Are Injured at Work
(Source: Food and Water Watch)
- 80% of US antibiotics are used for farming. As a result, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans increases.
- 23,000 people die in the US each year from antibiotic-resistant infections. It affected a total of two million.
- The crowded and unsanitary conditions on factory farms are a breeding ground for bacteria. One small outbreak can infect thousands of pounds of meat. In 2010, two companies in Iowa recalled over half a billion eggs at risk of salmonella.
If you think about how much meat the average person consumes a week, factory farming and health risk facts get scary. Every bite of that steak could be a roll of the dice for our immune systems.
Types of Factory Farming
To help you understand what’s happening, let’s take a closer look at different farmed species.
10. 60 Billion Chickens Are Raised for Food Each Year
(Source: World Animal Protection)
- Forced to gain weight, factory-farmed chickens fatten over 1.76 ounces a day. Sadly, this means that their immune systems, legs, and other body parts can’t keep up, resulting in a range of physical deformities.
- Between 1996–2016, the chicken demand grew by 38% in the EU, 89% in China, 22% in the US, and 183% in India.
- Every second, approximately 2000 chickens are slaughtered.
Factory farming on chickens facts show a drastic increase in numbers and the many industries that need intervention to make a difference.
11. The US Slaughters 121 Million Pigs for Food Each Year
- Six million pigs in the US are mothers forced to live in gestation crates where they can’t even turn around for most of their life.
- Factory workers remove 10-day-old piglets from their mothers, who are then impregnated again right away.
- Piglets spend approximately six months of their lives in barns until they weigh 280 lbs and are slaughtered. Most of them never see the light of day.
These pig factory farming facts are a serious eye-opener to what poor animals suffer daily.
12. There Are Over Nine Million Dairy Cows in the US
(Source: National Humane Education Society)
- Cows are forced to give birth every three to four years. When their milk runs dry, they are slaughtered.
- Within the first 24 hours of life, factory workers take male calves from their mothers and put them into veal crates. They spend their entire lives in complete darkness, chained in their own waste. That’s only about 18–20 weeks.
- Dairy cows also remain indoors with no access to natural grazing. The facilities are all mechanically operated, including food and water supply, waste removal, and milking. They dock the tails with no anesthesia for easy access to udders.
These helpless animals don’t even have a semblance of normal life. Factory farming of cows facts expose an inhumane industry that shouldn’t exist in the 21st century.
Treatment of Animals in Factory Farms
As if things weren’t bad enough, many animals are abused and tortured for no reason.
13. The Annual Slaughtered Livestock Equates to Eight Times the Human Population
(Source: Animal Equality)
- The weakest born animals receive no veterinary care and are thrown away with no chance of life.
- Workers stack chickens in boxes and send them to fattening farms. A machine crushes the babies if they aren’t needed.
- The egg industry is one of the cruelest. It puts up to six hens in a single cage where they can barely move. Many of them can’t keep up with the rate of laying eggs and stop producing after a year. That’s when they’re slaughtered.
The treatment of animals in factory farms is a horrific eye-opener to what’s happening in the industry.
14. Livestock Tail-Docking and Teeth Clipping With No Pain Relief Cause Lifelong Pain
- The sheer amount of animals means there’s no compassion or medical care.
- Farmworkers don’t receive proper training, which leads to animal abuse. The unhealthy conditions and low pay mean that many are fed up and forced to do as they’re told.
- Proper veterinary care is unheard of in the industry, which leads to the outbreaks we mentioned earlier. Due to the large quantities of livestock, it’s nearly impossible to determine if one out of thousands is sick or hurt. Some animals die in the cages, and no one notices until the smell overpowers the waste, which can take weeks.
Animal abuse in factory farming is rife. It’s time to take a stand, or nothing is going to change.
What Can We Do to Help?
In my personal experience, telling someone to stop eating meat is too extreme. That said, there are small changes you can make to help these animals.
- Speak up! Share this article with friends and family, so they become aware of the animal cruelty in factory farms, thanks to statistics. It’s how you can nudge your loved ones to make informed decisions.
- Support cruelty-free products from smaller family-owned farms, where animals are free to live their lives in a natural environment. But be sure to do your research.
- Countless initiatives need financial contributions to change regulations on farm conditions. Find one that aligns with your values and donate.
Factory farming statistics can be depressing, but it’s worth knowing the truth. Besides, if more people understand what’s happening, the demand would drop significantly.
Birds, cows, pigs, and all livestock deserve better, and we can make a difference together. It doesn’t cost much not to eat meat one day each week.
What’s more, it’s not just the animals but also your health that’s in danger.
We hope these factory farming facts open your eyes to the industry’s true nature and provoke you to inform others and make better decisions.