The facts

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Australian Pork Limited says this campaign is misleading - is that true?

No. The reality is that it's Australian Pork Limited that is misleading consumers by implying that the extreme confinement of sows will end in 2017. This is not true. What the pig industry has agreed to in fact is restricting the use of sow stalls by the end of 2017 to around 10 days per pregnancy. Even when this occurs, mother pigs will (in addition) be subjected to 'farrowing crates' - an even smaller crate used to cage pigs prior to giving birth and then where she stays until her piglets are weaned. Just like in a 'sow stall', in a farrowing crate a sow can only stand or lie down and cannot even turn around - she has restricted interaction with their piglets, through the bars of the cage around her. Animals Australia's television commercial primarily shows vision of pigs in farrowing crates. There is currently no industry, government or retailer commitment to address the unacceptable cruelty of these devices. The majority of breeding sows in Australia are confined in factory farms where they have no quality of life and where their piglets are not protected from cruel treatment. This is a fact. Animals Australia has noted the industry's voluntary partial phase out of 'sow stalls' here.

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What is 'factory farming'?

Factory farming is the number one cause of animal cruelty in the world today. It involves treating animals as if they were machines designed only to produce, and values production and profit over all other aspects of farming. In fact, in factory farms, the only measure of animal welfare considered valid is how much the animals can produce; whether it is meat, milk or eggs. The lived experience or quality of life of factory farmed animals is deemed to be of no consequence.

Factory farming is highly dependent on large quantities of limited resources such as grain-based feed, water, energy and medication. This type of food production is inherently unsustainable because of its negative impacts on animals, people and the planet.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

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Why does factory farming exist?

Factory farming exists because it has been deliberately hidden from the eyes of the community. Over the past 50 years, the industrialisation of our food system has led us from a network of smaller-scale diversified farms to mass factory farms. An increasing demand for cheap meat and eggs has seen animals crammed into smaller and smaller spaces. As producers cut costs to turn a bigger profit, animals have paid the price, with those facilities becoming more like factories than the traditional concept of a farm.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

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Factory farmed animals are provided with food, water and shelter. Isn't that enough?

Imagine being confined to a lift; all day, every day, until you die. Even if you were given sufficient food and water, this alone would not be enough to make that kind of life worth living. It is recognised internationally that good animal welfare is determined by an animal's state of well-being which includes not only an animal's physiological state, but also his or her mental state. Animals are conscious feeling beings, and many of the things that matter to us also matter to them: relationships, physical sensations and freedom.

Factory farmed animals are raised intensively in artificial environments; usually indoors and in huge numbers. They are prevented from demonstrating their natural behaviours and their bodies are altered and sometimes mutilated to make them fit into the production system. To this end many will endure painful surgical procedures such as tooth cutting, tail docking, beak trimming and castration, all without pain relief. These practices are justified by producers to prevent animals from injuring themselves and others through behaviours brought on by stress, boredom and trauma: feather-pecking, biting other animals or chewing on their cages.

However -- all of these behaviours are brought on by the cruelty of factory farming. Rather than provide animals with room to move and quality of life -- bits and pieces are cut off them to make them 'fit' into cruel systems.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

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But they're farm animals and they're going to die anyway. What's the point?

Animals experience life in many of the same ways we do. They are living, breathing beings who can feel fear, joy, pain, pleasure and sorrow well before they become products on supermarket shelves. At the very least they are owed a life worth living and protection from cruel treatment. They are conscious, and animals like pigs and chickens are some of the most intelligent on the planet. Our companion animals, including dogs and cats, will die too some day -- but we would all agree that they still deserve a life worth living.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

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Happy animals are productive animals; if they were suffering they wouldn't produce meat and eggs.

Both animals and humans will remain productive in the direst of circumstances - including drought and famine.

Good welfare is determined by an animal's state of wellbeing, which includes his or her physiological and mental state. Internationally, the 'five freedoms' are considered the 'bible' when it comes to determining appropriate welfare. These are

1) Freedom from hunger and thirst.
2) Freedom from discomfort.
3) Freedom from pain, injury or disease.
4) Freedom to express normal behaviour.
5) Freedom from fear and distress.

Factory farming cannot provide for the last four of the 'five freedoms'.

Factory farmed animals are selectively bred to produce the maximum amount. In many cases, one of the main reasons that they suffer in factory farming is the very fact that they are forced to produce too much for their own body to bear. For instance, chickens raised for meat are selectively bred to grow so fast that some quickly become unable to support their own weight - leaving them unable to walk or even stand. Layer hens' bones become brittle due to inactivity, and one in six lives with the pain of a broken bone.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

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Don't we have laws to protect animals from cruelty in Australia?

Few in the community are aware that animals raised for food are denied the same legal protection from cruelty as dogs or cats - and governments, retailers and animal industries would prefer it remained that way. They know, as we do, that since all animals share an ability to suffer we have an ethical responsibility to protect them all from harm.

Because pigs and chickens are farmed for profit, it is legal to treat them in ways that, if you were to do the same to a dog or cat it could result in criminal cruelty charges.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

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Aren't factory farms the exception, not the norm?

Many people are surprised to learn that most farmed animals in Australia are raised in factory farms. Nine out of 10 pigs are kept in factory farms, and more than 450 million chickens, as well as 13 million layer hens are factory farmed in Australia each year. Around the world, approximately two-thirds of farm animals are raised in factory farms.1

Currently, factory farming isn't the exception; it represents the vast majority of animal farming in Australia and globally.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

[1] Livestock's Long Shadow, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (2006): http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.htm

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The Australian egg industry says cages provide health benefits for hens. Is this true?

No - Eminent scientific opinion has concluded that any purported 'advantages' of the cage system over alternatives are outweighed by the severe negative impacts of battery cages: The European Scientific Veterinary Committee concluded in 1996 that 'It is clear that because of its small size and its barrenness, the battery cage as used at present has inherent severe disadvantages for the welfare of hens'. That report lead all 27 countries of the European Union to ban battery cages on animal welfare grounds.

Most recently in a comprehensive review of scientific research into the welfare of laying hens, the 2006 'Laywel Report' also concluded that: 'With the exception of conventional cages, we conclude that all systems have the potential to provide satisfactory welfare for laying hens...Conventional cages do not allow hens to fulfil behaviour priorities, preferences and needs for nesting, perching, foraging and dust bathing in particular. The severe spatial restriction also leads to disuse osteoporosis. We believe these disadvantages outweigh the advantages of reduced parasitism, good hygiene and simpler management.'

All pre-eminent science agrees that health issues can be managed in all production systems. However the welfare and behavioural needs of hens can never be met in a cage. The overwhelming scientific evidence is that hens in cages suffer miserably from being unable to express their most basic of natural behaviours such as flapping their wings, perching or laying their eggs in a nest in privacy.

Good welfare is determined by an animal's state of wellbeing, which includes his or her physiological and mental state. Internationally, the 'five freedoms' are considered the 'bible' when it comes to determining appropriate welfare. These are

1) Freedom from hunger and thirst.
2) Freedom from discomfort.
3) Freedom from pain, injury or disease.
4) Freedom to express normal behaviour.
5) Freedom from fear and distress.

Factory farming cannot provide for the last four of the 'five freedoms'.

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Hasn't the pig industry already agreed to stop using sow stalls?

Not entirely. Under public pressure, the Australian pig industry has committed to restricting the use of sow stalls to 10 days per pregnancy by the end of 2017. But such a situation not only remains unacceptable, it is impossible to audit and enforce; and in the years prior to 2017, tens of thousands of mother pigs will continue to be subjected to the cruelty of sow stalls for lengthy periods. Only one state in Australia (Tasmania) has committed to banning the use of sow stall,s but this is still to be put into legislation.

Even when the use of sow stalls becomes limited, mother pigs may still be subjected to 'farrowing crates' - an even smaller crate used to cage pigs prior to giving birth and she stays there until her piglets are weaned. Currently in Australia, mother pigs can legally be confined in crates, barely able to move, for most of their 'productive' life.

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How many animals are factory farmed?

Internationally, around two-thirds of farm animals are raised in factory farms1, and in Australia, close to 500 million animals are factory farmed for food each year.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

[1] Livestock's Long Shadow, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (2006): http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.htm

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Where do you get your figures from regarding the number of factory farmed animals in Australia?

The figures are obtained from the industries themselves, and can be viewed at these links:

Chickens

Pigs

Laying hens

And remember that if the systems are not described as 'free-range' or 'certified organic' then they are factory farms. Check out our guides to understanding labelling of eggs, chicken and pork products.

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What kinds of animals are raised in factory farms?

Pigs and chickens are the animals most commonly raised in factory farm conditions, however other animals can be found in factory farms, including rabbits, ducks, turkeys and sheep. Fur-bearing animals like chinchillas, mink and foxes are also often factory farmed for their pelts in overseas countries.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

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Where are the factory farms in Australia?

There are thousands of factory farms in Australia and they are spread all around the country.  For details on the regions in which factory farms are found, please check the industry websites:

Australian Egg Corporation
Australian Pork Ltd
Australian Chicken Meat Federation

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Are cattle and sheep bred for meat factory farmed?

Cattle and sheep raised for meat in Australia are generally grass-fed and spend a large part of their lives outdoors. Around one million cattle (annually) will spend some time (average of 3-4 months) in feedlots to be grain-fed to add extra weight in a shorter amount of time before slaughter. More cattle feedlot information here.

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Are any dairy cows factory farmed in Australia?

Most dairy cows are pasture-fed in paddocks and are milked indoors twice a day. Dairy herds are now often large (over 1,000 cows) and owned by corporations rather than family farms. A few now operate open sided 'feed pads' for some months of the year (rather than paddock grazing). Although dairy cows are not 'factory farmed', there are other significant welfare issues inherent to the dairy industry, such as bobby calf welfare, lameness and mastitis. More information here.

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If people buy less meat and eggs, won't we be overrun by farm animals?

Animals are purposely bred for farming, and a shift away from factory farming would simply mean a gradual reduction in the number of animals bred. The end of factory farming will involve a change over time, so we are under no threat of being overrun by farm animals.

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Don't we need factory farming to produce enough food?

On the contrary; factory farming does not add to global food production but instead reduces it; using huge amounts of grain to produce relatively little food in return.

An alarming October 2012 report from the United Nations Environment Programme identified the need for lower consumption of meat and dairy products in developed countries as one of the key recommendations to safeguarding the ecological foundations that support food production. It said that increased production of meat and dairy products 'undermines the ecological foundation of food security due to its contribution to land degradation, water pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change'.1

A poor investment

"Meat is ecologically inefficient as it effectively means eating one step higher on the food chain."2
One third of the world's cereal harvest is fed to farm animals - if it were used directly for human consumption it would feed about three billion people. Cattle, pigs and poultry now consume half the world's wheat, 80 percent of the world's maize, virtually all the barley and well over 90 percent of the world's soya.3 Animals cannot convert everything they eat into meat because the energy is used for other bodily functions like moving and keeping warm. On average, it takes around 6 kilos of plant protein -- that could be consumed directly by humans -- to produce just 1 kilo of animal protein.4

According to Oxfam, ''Increased demand for grains to feed livestock...is likely to push future food prices further beyond the limits of affordability for the world's poorest people.''5

Wasting precious resources
Our planet has limited resources, and factory farming is a terrible use of them. To produce enough animal feed, factory farming plunders our land and water resources.

Much more land is needed to produce meat or dairy products than to grow fruit, vegetables or cereals6, and almost a quarter of all water used in agriculture goes to livestock production7. Synthetic fertiliser and pesticides required to grow factory farmed animal feed also swallow up huge amounts of energy and oil8, as well as valuable agricultural inputs like nitrogen and phosphorus. These resources could be better used in growing plant-based food to feed people, rather than animals in factory farms.

Climate change danger
Livestock production is responsible for nearly one fifth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions - more than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined9. Clearing forest land to grow feed also destroys crucial carbon 'sinks' and releases gases previously stored in the soil and vegetation.

Global food production is already negatively impacted by climate change10. As temperatures climb, fresh water becomes scarcer and soil becomes more eroded, this problem is only set to increase -- unless we change our patterns of consumption to help curb climate change.

[1] Avoiding Future Famines: Strengthening the Ecological Foundation of Food Security through Sustainable Food Systems, United Nations Environment Programme (2012)

[2] Grade A Choice? Solutions for deforestation-free meat, Union of Concerned Scientists (2012)

[3] The Meat Crisis: Developing more sustainable production and consumption, Compassion in World Farming (2011)

[4] Sustainability of Meat-based and Plant-based Diets and the Environment, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) (2003)

[5] Changing Food Consumption in the UK to Benefit People and Planet, Oxfam (2009)

[6] Sustainability of Meat-based and Plant-based Diets and the Environment, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) (2003)

[7] Living Planet Report 2008, WWF (2008)

[8] Impacts of Organic Farming on the Efficiency of Energy Use in Agriculture, Pimentel (2006)

[9] Livestock's Long Shadow, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (2006):

[10] Climate Change Curbs Crops, Nature (2011)

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Isn't factory farming healthier and more hygienic than less intensive farming?

No. In fact, factory farming represents a serious risk to human health.

Disease

Cramming so many animals into a factory farm creates a ripe environment for disease and infection, so internationally factory farmed animals are mass-treated with antibiotics. In fact, more than half of all antibiotics produced are administered to factory farmed animals1. This is an enormous risk to human health, as antibiotic-resistant 'superbugs' become more and more likely to emerge.2

Nutrition
Eating large amounts of red and processed meats can have serious negative health impacts: it has been linked to higher rates of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.3,4 In fact, research conducted by Harvard University showed that eating a portion of processed meat - like bacon - the size of a deck of cards each day can boost a person's risk of mortality by up to 20 percent.5Australians eat approximately 310 grams of meat per person per day.6 This is more than 3 times the maximum recommended daily intake in the Australian Government's National Health and Medical Research Councils' Healthy Eating Guidelines.7 If you'd like to find out some simple and healthy ways to reduce the amount of meat you eat, or go meat free, try our helpful guides.

[1] Policies and incentives for promoting innovation in antibiotic research, London School of Economics (2009)

[2] Policies and incentives for promoting innovation in antibiotic research, London School of Economics (2009)

[3] Socioeconomic status and cardiovascular disease: Risks and implications for care, Nature Reviews Cardiology (2009)

[4] Socioeconomic inequalities in health in 22 European countries, New England Journal of Medicine (2008)

[5] Red Meat Consumption and Mortality, Archives of Internal Medicine (2012)

[6] 2010/2011 consumption based on Australian Bureau of Statistics, Meat and Livestock Australia and National Australia Bank figures

[7] Healthy Eating GuidelinesAustralian Government National Health and Medical Research Council

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Isn't factory farming simply the most efficient way to use resources?

Factory farming is actually incredibly inefficient. It wastes an enormous amount of land, water, energy and medicines like antibiotics.

More traditional farming methods can be relatively efficient, with animals converting grass and other waste products into useful food. Indeed, small scale livestock farming is a crucial part of food security for many people in developing countries. But the 'fast-growth, high-yield' factory-farming model - which represents the majority of animal farming in Australia and globally - does not add to global food production but instead reduces it; using huge amounts of grain to produce relatively little food in return.

Greedy
Roughly one third of the crop land available globally is used to farm crops for animal feed.1 Much more land is needed to produce meat or dairy products than to produce vegetables, cereals or fruit.2

Thirsty

Agriculture uses 70 percent of the planet's fresh water.3

It takes 4,800 litres of water to produce 1kg of pork, 3,900 litres for 1kg of chicken and just 1,300 litres of water to produce 1 kg of wheat; 900 litres to produce 1kg of maize. 4

Wasteful

Vast amounts of energy and oil are used up in the production and transport of the feed required to feed the billions of factory farmed animals on the planet, and to manufacture the pesticides and synthetic fertilisers it takes to grow that feed. In 2000, it was calculated that for every kilo of meat produced, many more kilos of animal feed are required5, meaning that many times the amount of energy and oil is used as well.

Sick

More than half of all antibiotics produced globally are given to factory farmed animals6, to make animals grow faster or to prevent disease in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Many factory farmed animals suffer from open sores and other ailments. For example, a recent UK survey found that battery-cage farms are six times more likely than non-cage farms to be infected with the strain of salmonella most commonly associated with food poisoning.7

This mass-treating of animals, where sick and not-yet-sick animals are all dosed with antibiotics, is hugely wasteful, as well as dangerous: it significantly increases the risk of antibiotic-resistant 'superbugs' emerging and crossing to humans.

[1] The State of Food and Agriculture: Livestock in the Balance, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (2009)

[2] Sustainability of Meat-based and Plant-based Diets and the Environment, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) (2003)

[3] Feeding a Thirsty World: Challenges and opportunities for a water and food secure future, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) (2012)

[4] The Green, Blue and Grey Water Footprint of Farm Animals and Animal Products, UNESCO (2010)

[5] Feeding the World: A Challenge for the Twenty-first Century, Smil (2000), MIT Press

[6] Policies and incentives for promoting innovation in antibiotic research, London School of Economics (2009)

[7] Investigation of Risk Factors for Salmonella on Commercial Egg-laying Farms in Great Britain, 2004-2005, Veterinary Record (2010)

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What impact does factory farming have on the environment?

The U.N. has identified the livestock industry as one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems, including loss of fresh water, rainforest destruction, air and water pollution, acid rain, soil erosion, loss of habitat and climate change.1

Australians eat on average 113.6 kg of meat per person per year.2 This is 2.67 times the global average of 42.5 kg per person 3.

Climate change

Livestock production is responsible for nearly one fifth of the world's greenhouse gas emissions - more than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined.4 Clearing forest land to grow feed also destroys crucial carbon 'sinks' and releases gases previously stored in the soil and vegetation.

Pollution

Some large farms can produce more raw waste than the human population of a large US city. - US GAO 20085

A farm of 5,000 pigs produces as much waste as a town of 20,000 people. When this waste remains untreated, it can pollute soil, surface water, and even run off into oceans and pollute underground drinking water.6

Factory farming uses substantial amounts of pesticides and chemical fertilisers to produce enough feed, and these toxic substances often end up in waterways, polluting rivers and oceans.

Land

The clearing of land to make room for more crops to feed animals, particularly in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, is completely changing the landscape, with severe negative consequences. For example, current trends suggest that the agricultural expansion for grazing and crops in the Amazon will see as much as 40% of this important rainforest destroyed by 2050.7

Biodiversity
This clearing of land for animal feed is having a catastrophic effect on our planet's biodiversity, particularly in forest and tropical regions. According to scientists who studied the clearing of land for farming in the developing world between 1980 and 2000, intensive agriculture, rather than family farming, was the major reason for this loss of biodiversity.8

Water

Agriculture uses 70% of the planet's fresh water9, and leading water scientists recently issued a warning that we would need to reduce our consumption of animal protein to a quarter of current levels to feed the estimated global population in 2050.10

[1] Livestock's Long Shadow, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (2006)

[2] 2010/2011 consumption based on Australian Bureau of Statistics, Meat and Livestock Australia and National Australia Bank figures

[3] 2010 consumption, Disease and Drought Curb Meat Production and Consumption, Worldwatch Institute (2012)

[4] Livestock's Long Shadow, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (2006)

[5] Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, US Government Accountability Office (GAO) (2008)

[6] Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America, The PEW Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production

[7] Tropical Forests Were the Primary Sources of New Agricultural Land in the 1980s and 1990s, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2010)

[8] Tropical Forests Were the Primary Sources of New Agricultural Land in the 1980s and 1990s, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2010)

[9] Feeding a Thirsty World: Challenges and opportunities for a water and food secure future, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) (2012)

[10] Feeding a Thirsty World: Challenges and opportunities for a water and food secure future, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) (2012)

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What would a world without factory farming look like?

A world without factory farming will be one where what is ethical matters as much as what is profitable. It will be a world where everyone has enough to eat, our land and water are used wisely, we are healthier and animals are treated with kindness and respect.

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I'm just one person; what difference can I make?

Factory farming can only exist while people buy its products. Each time you visit the supermarket or eat a meal, you have the power to make a kinder choice that will help free animals from factory farming.

All of these choices add up; each of them is a step towards a cleaner, safer, healthier future for all of us.

Try out our tips on refusing factory farmed eggs, chicken and pig products; eating fewer animal products, and going meat-free.

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I'm on a budget. I care about animals but I can't afford to change what I eat.

You might be surprised at how affordable it can be to make compassionate choices about what you eat. Surveys show that most Australian families buy a family dinner from a fast food restaurant each week. It costs at least $20 to feed a family of four at most major fast food restaurants - considerably more than purchasing higher welfare or meat-free alternatives on offer. The difference between higher welfare products and factory farmed is often no more than a daily cup of coffee.

The lower price of factory farmed meat and eggs at the checkout actually masks the real cost of those products. The simple fact to always remember is that "cheaper equals crueler" and that animals are paying a terrible price. Our environment, our health, the welfare of animals in our care - all of this is what we are really trading for factory farmed products.

Try out our tips on refusing factory farmed eggs, chicken and pig products; eating fewer animal products, and going meat-free.

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If the Government bans factory farming in Australia, won't cheap, imported factory farmed goods flood the market here instead?

Australia’s strict quarantine requirements mean that whole eggs and fresh meat are not imported into Australia. Therefore Australian farmers will not have to compete with imports (from countries that may have lower welfare standards).

Australian consumers can refuse to buy factory farmed products, whether produced domestically or imported - then there will be no demand for cruel imported products either. Consumer concern led to Coles committing to go 'sow stall free' for all its own brand pork, ham and bacon products, including those it imports. ^ Return to top

What use is refusing factory farmed products?

Supermarkets, restaurants and farmers respond to consumer demand. After all, they will only produce and sell what customers buy. If we don't buy factory farmed products, then retailers don't stock them. If retailers don't stock them, then there's no market for those products. And if a producer cannot sell that product then factory farmers are forced to change their practices.

By refusing factory farmed products, you can help to eliminate the market for factory farming.

Try out our tips on refusing factory farmed eggs, chicken and pig products.

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What use is eating fewer animal products?

Every meal is an opportunity to make a compassionate choice. By choosing to eat fewer animal products, you can reduce the huge demand that has forced animals to be so intensively farmed. Fewer animals will suffer life in a factory farm and our environment will be spared the worst destruction caused by mass intensive farming.

Try out our tips for eating fewer animal products.

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What use is going meat-free?

If you want to make the ultimate choice for animals, you can go meat-free, and know that no animals were harmed for your food. By going meat-free, you will save an estimated 100 lives each year, reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity and cancer, and help reduce the threat of catastrophic environmental damage caused by factory farming.

Try out our tips for going meat-free.

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Where can I buy products that aren't factory farmed? How do I know they are genuinely not factory farmed?

Factory farmed products aren't labelled clearly, because the industry relies on you not knowing the reality of its cruel methods. The key to refusing factory farmed is to understand food labels, which can be confusing - so try these tips for refusing factory farmed eggs, chicken and pig products.

To truly ensure you aren't buying factory farmed products, two of the most effective things you can do are eat fewer animal products, or go meat-free.

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What are the alternatives to eating meat and eggs?

These days there are plenty of widely available, delicious and healthy alternatives to meat and eggs. You might be surprised at the range available at most supermarkets once you look for them. For ideas and tasty cruelty-free recipes, visit www.WhyVeg.com.

Try out our tips for eating fewer animal products, and going meat-free.

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What products can I expect to find in Coles Supermarkets?

Animals Australia has welcomed the recent announcement by Coles that its Coles brand pork, ham and bacon products will be 'sow stall free' by 2013 and that its Coles brand eggs range will no longer include cage eggs.

This is a good start. There are other critical factory farming issues that we are encouraging retailers to also address - you can find out about those here. Ultimately we would like to see all factory farmed products off Australian supermarket shelves.

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What products can I expect to find in Woolworths Supermarkets?

In 2013 Woolworths announced a total phase out of all cage eggs by 2018 (all brands). Importantly, this commitment includes no longer using cage eggs in their own brands of food products (sauces, mayonnaise, salad dressings etc.)

They will also start labelling stocking densities on packs for their Select label's free-range eggs. ^ Return to top

Why hasn't the government stopped factory farming?

Powerful industry lobbies have unfortunately hindered most government attempts to control the rampant growth of factory farming in Australia. Those industries count on keeping the reality of factory farming hidden from caring members of the community. But as more people become informed and make kinder choices, pressure is growing for industry to change its practices. That's why Make It Possible aims to inform and empower the community about factory farming and how to make a difference.

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Won't an end to factory farming mean the loss of farmers' livelihoods?

Factory farms tend to be run by larger, more intensive, profit-driven agribusinesses. Refusing factory-farmed products supports farmers who choose more ethical farming methods, and create pressure for the 'agri-giants' to change their practices.

Farm workers used to look after perhaps a hundred animals in more traditional pasture-based farms, but with the rise of industrial factory farms, that farm worker might now oversee thousands. That means fewer jobs, and profits ending up with agricultural corporations rather than farmers and farming communities.

We are all in this together; the animal welfare, environmental and health risks of factory farming are simply too serious to ignore any longer.

Find out more about the reality of factory farming.

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Who is behind Make it Possible?

Make it Possible is an initiative of Animals Australia, the most dynamic animal protection organisation in Australia.

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How can I support Make it Possible?

You can take action here to support Make it Possible.

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Can I support Make it Possible from outside Australia?

Factory farming is a global problem, and one that requires global action. While Make it Possible is based in Australia, our aim is to create positive change for all farmed animals, so we welcome your commitment.

Some of the ways you can help to create a world without factory farming include taking action in your own country, working with your local animal protection organisation to inform and empower consumers in your country to make kinder choices at the checkout, and donating to Make it Possible. ^ Return to top

Why won't you send me an action pack outside Australia?

Make it Possible is supported by a small and dedicated team, and logistics mean that unfortunately we are unable to send action packs overseas. We sincerely appreciate your commitment to Make it Possible, and encourage you to download the Make it Possible action pack.

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Are the animals in the Make it Possible ad real Australian factory farmed animals?

Except for the scenes showing the little pig who flies to freedom, which were created through CGI, all of the animals in the ad are real factory farmed animals. The footage is real, taken in Australia, and the conditions shown are representative of Australian factory farms.

Find out more about the cruel reality of factory farming.

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When and where was the footage from the Make it Possible ad taken?

All of the meat chicken and layer hen footage was taken over the past 18 months from a number of different Australian factory farms. Most of the pig footage was taken over the past 12 months, with a few shots taken from an investigation around three years ago. All of the pig footage was also taken in Australia.

This footage accurately reveals the routine confinement endured by mother pigs in sow stalls and farrowing crates; the confinement of laying hens in battery cages, and the conditions under which chickens are raised for meat in Australia. All of which are legal as a result of exemptions to animal cruelty laws provided by industry codes of practice.

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How was the Make it Possible ad made?

Make it Possible is very grateful to LOUD, who generously provided their creative expertise pro bono. FSM developed the ad's beautiful animation, and a host of talented Australian singers lent their voices to give our little pig wings. We would like to say a big thank you to all the caring people who helped to develop the Make it Possible ad.

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Can I air the Make it Possible ad in my own country?

We want to Make it Possible for all factory farmed animals, and encourage overseas animal protection organisations to contact us through Animals Australia so we can assist with arrangements to use the Make it Possible ad.

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What celebrities are supporting Make it Possible?

Animals Australia is blessed to have the support of some of Australia's most respected identities who share our vision for a world without factory farming - including Pat Rafter, Missy Higgins, Rove McManus, Simone Buchanan, Michael Caton, Santo Cilauro, Claire Hooper, Dave Hughes, Judith Lucy, Rove McManus, Mick Molloy, 'Lehmo', Hugh Sheridan and Dr Katrina Warren. Leading chefs Neil Perry, Shannon Bennett, Rob Marchetti, Simon Bryant, George Calombaris and Matt Moran are also supporting Make it Possible.

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Isn't the best way to help animals not to eat them at all?

As an animal protection organisation, we will always advocate that the ultimate choice people can make on behalf of animals is to take them off their plate and there is a compelling body of evidence suggesting that a meat-free diet is better for the environment and for our own health too. A growing section of the community are choosing meat-free diets, seeing it as a legitimate option that has far-reaching benefits and well as ensuring that no animal has suffered as a result of their food choices.

The factory farming of animals for food cannot be ethically justified. All in society, regardless of their current dietary choices can agree, that at the very least, animals raised for food should be provided with quality of life and protection from cruel treatment. For the factory farming of animals to cease the demand for chicken meat, egg and pork, bacon and ham products needs to drop as the current huge demand can only be met by mass production methods that deny animals quality of life. This demand has been created by consumers unaware of the production methods behind these products.

It is therefore a critical first step for consumers to become informed, so that they can start to make informed, compassionate choices in the supermarket.

By refusing to buy factory farmed products, by eating fewer animal products or by going meat-free, we can all play a role in ending the cruelty of factory farming.

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Is ending factory farming really possible?

There are many things in this world that we are powerless to change but this is not one of them. Factory farming only exists to meet the current demand for pork, chicken and egg products - a demand that would never have occurred had consumers known how the animals were treated. To end factory farming we need to reduce this demand to one that can be met by animals living in environments where they can be assured quality of life and protection from cruel treatment.

Unlike many other animal welfare problems, the solution to this one is not in the hands of government, it's in ours.

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Will lobbying my supermarket really help?

Supermarkets have the power to improve animal welfare. They are the major purchasers of animal products and have the ability to put in place standards of care in their supply chains. But in the end they respond to what consumers will or won't buy, which is why each and every shopper has the power to demand a kinder world for these animals.

We have already seen what impact an informed community can have with major retailers responding to community concerns internationally and in Australia.

In Australia:

  • Coles has pledged to phase out sow stalls for their entire range of home-brand pork, bacon and ham and cage eggs from their home brands by 2013.
  • Woolworths has committed to phasing out sow stalls for their home-brand fresh pork. In 2013 Woolworths also announced a total phase out of all cage eggs by 2018 (all brands). Importantly, this commitment includes no longer using cage eggs in their own brands of food products (sauces, mayonnaise, salad dressings etc.)

These positive developments are a direct result of consumers voicing their concerns and refusing to purchase factory farmed products. In the UK major supermarket chains refuse to sell cage eggs - an ethical stand that Australian supermarkets should be encouraged to replicate.

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If factory farming is cruel, why isn't it illegal?

Few Australians realise that for commercial reasons, the vast majority of animals in human care in this country are not covered by the major protective provisions of our animal cruelty acts. Livestock industries that are covered by a Code of Practice are exempt from prosecution if they commit acts against animals that would otherwise be considered prosecutable under state animal protection laws.

 Intensive industries attempt to portray Codes of Practice as being in place to protect the welfare of animals, when in effect they exist for the sole purpose of exempting industry operators from being prosecuted for cruelty and from the same duty of care towards animals expected of every other member of society.

This means animals in factory farms can be kept in extreme confinement and endure surgical procedures without pain relief - these would be considered cruelty offences were they inflicted on a dog or cat.

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Should we be lobbying politicians to end factory farming?

Politicians should always know what their constituents are thinking and that animal welfare should be their high priority.

However, it's important to understand that governments are historically painfully slow and reluctant to implement change for animals. It doesn't help that the Ministers in charge of animal welfare have agriculture industries as their primary stakeholders. During government reviews, intensive industries have always vigorously defended their right to continue with cruel practices and they have won. A decade ago, moves to ban the battery hen cage in Australia failed with the industry successfully convincing governments to simply increase cage sizes by about the size of a matchbox!

The good news is that unlike many other animal welfare problems (like live export), the solution to ending factory farming is not in the hands of government, it's in ours.

The only time we have heard change spoken of is when industries have feared losing consumer support as a result of their practices being exposed. This is how we know that consumer choice will drive change. And it will drive change much quicker than governments will.

The only exception in Australia is the state of Tasmania which has committed to phasing out sow stalls and the battery hen cage. Governments around the world are also moving against factory farming. However, phase out periods are traditionally over a number of years. The quickest way to get animals out of factory farms is for consumers to use their purchasing power to choose alternate products.

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What are the major retailers doing?

As Australian consumers are becoming more aware and concerned about the lives led by animals raised for food, retailers have begun scrutinising their own supply chains. This has led to commitments by the major retailers to reduce shelf space for some factory farmed products and has seen the increased availability of higher welfare and meat-free alternatives.

  • Coles has pledged to be sow stall free for their entire range of home-brand pork, bacon and ham by 2013. A similar commitment has been made regarding their own brand cage eggs.
  • Woolworths has committed to phasing out sow stalls for their home-brand fresh pork and also to reducing cage egg lines. In 2013 Woolworths announced a total phase out of all cage eggs by 2018 (all brands). Importantly, this commitment includes no longer using cage eggs in their own brands of food products (sauces, mayonnaise, salad dressings etc.)

This is a direct result of consumer demand. Retailers will only sell what customers buy.
The smaller supermarket chains also have the power to lead the way and improve the lives of millions of animals. Please take a moment to send these companies a message asking them to stop selling cage eggs and other factory farmed products.

Woolworths: feedback@woolworths.com.au
Coles: coles.customer.care@coles.com.au
ALDI: customerservice@aldi.com.au
Ritchies: www.ritchies.com.au/customer.html

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What about smallgoods, like ham or bacon?

The vast majority of smallgoods - be it ham, bacon, salami, chicken, turkey or other deli meats - come from animals in factory farms. As consumer awareness and concern about the lives led by animals in factory farms increases, some smallgoods manufacturers have introduced non factory farmed alternatives to their product lines.
It is important that brands that have been traditional supporters of factory farming are contacted by consumers and asked as to the standards of welfare that they set.   Similar to supermarkets, they will change their supply chains if they believe that they risk losing consumer support.  All brands have websites with contact details for consumers. Contacting them and requesting to know their animal welfare standards is a way to encourage change and well as to become informed.

By refusing factory farmed products, you can help to eliminate the market for factory farming.

Labels can be confusing, so see our tips on refusing factory farmed chicken and pig products.

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I ordered an item to be sent by post a few days ago and it has not arrived yet.

We have had an amazing response to the Make it Possible campaign and our small team of staff and volunteers are working hard processing a very high volume of orders. If you are expecting more than one item from us, such as merchandise, an action pack or membership pack, these items may be sent to you separately. We have found that this is the most time and cost effective way for us to make sure you receive your items as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your support and understanding while our small team works through this busier than usual period.

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We believe in a world without factory farming.

If you do too, join others who are making a kinder world for animals possible. Sign the pledge.


 
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