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Factory Farming

Factory farming generally refers to confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), in which very large numbers of animals—especially cattle, pigs, and chickens—are crowded in a narrow space to gain weight, and therefore value, as rapidly as possible. In pursuit of optimum weight, motion is discouraged, and since animals tend to become sick in crowded and unhygienic conditions where exercise is impossible, their food is laced with antibiotics to keep them healthy as well as with hormones and other nutritional supplements to speed their growth. Forty percent of the world’s meat supply is raised in CAFOs.

At one point, CAFOs, and the agricultural practices associated with them, were restricted to Europe and North America, as the largest consumers of meat. With the new prosperity in China, Brazil, ...

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