18

Chickens Egg-laying hens An estimated 95% of all eggs in the United States are produced in conventional cage systems, sometimes called battery cages. [They] typically provide each laying hen an average of 67 square inches of floor space. In some egg operations, hens have less space. Source: Table Egg Production and Hen Welfare: Agreement and Legislative ...


14

A relevant point is that raising animals for food requires feeding them plants. Since only around 10% of the energy input (the percentage used for growth) at one trophic level of a food chain can be passed onto the next, it is more efficient to have a shorter food chain. In practice, this means that, generally speaking, you need a lot more crops to feed to ...


11

According to this video by MinuteEarth, a grocery bill of $200 including all kinds of food would cost an additional: $10 if not for various forms of government subsidies. $25 if people somehow paid in advance for the health costs of antibiotic resistance and diseases caused by eating animal products. $240 if people paid upfront for the environmental impact ...


11

Down is almost always collected from a live bird or from a bird killed for meat. There are 3 main ways: Live plucking, which you seem to already know about. The feathers are plucked from the live birds. This is done multiple times, until the bird is either slaughtered for meat or dies from the process of plucking. Post mortem collection, where the feathers ...


10

There are probably not commercial farms that sell cruelty-free eggs as described by you, but it's likely that there are many individuals who keep a few chickens as pets and do not kill them after their egg production slows. For commercial farms, it's not commercially viable. Some back of the envelope math says farms would have to charge something like 4 ...


10

Like most livestock, wool sheep are tail-docked, castrated, and have their ears clipped. Sheep are also selectively bred to favor the ones with the most skin-folds/highest wool production, which leads to unhappy sheep covered in much more wool than would be normal in the wild, and exacerbates the flystrike problem that necessitates mulesing, which is not ...


9

This is a tricky question. As you pointed out, meat subsidies don't just come in the form of a check written from the government to the meat industries. As well as money, there are the lack of regulations and enforcement, feed subsidies for corn and grain, water subsidies, pro-meat advertising, and other advantages. PETA claims that a $5 Big Mac would cost $...


7

There are two sides to your question: economics, and ecological impact. As Zanna explained the latter very well, and my experience is with the former, I'll focus on that. As a political economist, I'd say deforestation isn't implemented specifically for either crop or husbandry, but rather for whatever is the most lucrative option in that particular time ...


7

According to sheep101.info, sheep have a natural life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Despite this, a sheep's wool production begins to decline after 7 years. Therefore, farmers can produce more wool by using resources to sustain young sheep than old sheep. Since wool is a commodity, its price is driven by supply and demand, so no individual farmer has ...


6

In nature, poultry get their B12 by pecking for insects and worms in the dirt. Since this behaviour is not possible on industrial farms, B12 is added to animal feed1. According to the USDA, one cooked egg (50g) contains 0.56µg of vitamin B122. The recommended daily intake of B12 for people age 14 and older who aren't pregnant or breastfeeding is 2.4µg3, ...


6

Many of the subsidies are based on rationales that may not really be relevant to how the industry is set up now such as lots of independent small farmers producing output independent of each other. Clearly, in the US, that's no longer the case. I think political inertia and the lack of a political base strongly advocating to eliminate them are why they still ...


6

Getting the exact figures requires a lot of effort, so I am going to concentrate in getting the order of magnitude. Also, another factor that makes the effort grow considerably is the various types of meat that are being eaten: beef, pork, broilers, other Chicken, turkey, fish etc. So, let's consider the beef. This article provides little insight about beef ...


6

Buying organic free range eggs does nothing for protecting the cockerels. This is for example critisied here (in german) by PETA. There are organizations, which do raise the cockerels for meat (e.g. haehnlein). I was yet unable to find a souce for eggs, which don't include any animal killing.


6

There are no live animal tracking systems like what you describe. I tried looking for live video streams from farms and I was able to find one video feed from a farm sanctuary in NY but of course they don't sell animal products there. What about abattoirs/slaughterhouses? Although there are plans in the UK to outfit slaughterhouses with compulsory CCTV ...


5

I will write down a list that touch this subject and also received a decent rating on IMDB (a vague criteria of a movie/documentary quality): Earthlings - I have watched it a long time ago and it focuses mainly on how bad animals are treated in the meat industry, but I think it touches a little the environmental impact of livestock industry Food, Inc. - "...


5

The Wikipedia page you reference also lists more ethical alternatives: Breeding programs to reduce susceptibility Insecticides Topical protein-based treatments which kill wool follicles and tighten skin in the breech area Biological control of blowflies. Plastic clips on the sheep's skin folds which act like castration bands, removing the skin (breech ...


5

Yes, slaughterhouse workers suffer psychologically and become more violent. The book Slaughterhouse (Gail A. Eisnitz, 1997) shares many anecdotes quoted directly from workers on slaughterhouse kill lines. Here's a quote from Tommy Vladak, a sticker for nine years at Morrell slaughterhouse plant in Sioux City. "You're just putting in your time. And then ...


5

In the most ethical dairy farm I could imagine while still having real cows and real farmers, but maybe not real economics, the dairy cows are harmed by having to give milk much longer than their calves need. They're milked four times a day. One might expect that they'd need to be herded into the barn each of those times, so that they can be milked, but the ...


4

Conclusion 8.06 quintillion liters, or 2.129 quintillion gallons, of water, is used each year for meat worldwide. 30% of Earth's land mass is used for these animals. How I got There Meat: About 20,029 liters (5,291 gallons) of water is used to produce only one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of meat. After doing some research and math I've come up with the conclusion ...


4

I think this question is part of the bigger question: "How to find out who / what organization funded a study / research?". If a meat producer or organization is behind a study, most probably the results will be biased towards what is convenient for it. So, the more important issue is to spot biased studies. Since any study requires money to be made, ...


4

So far as I know there is no federal legislation protecting farm animals on the farm (in the U.S.A.), with some legislation (but perhaps insufficient enforcement) protecting them at the slaughter house. For details of the legislation see my answer to the question "Is gratuitous farm animal abuse condoned by the USDA?" on Skeptics.SE. You might be looking ...


4

A Carne É Fraca (or La Carne Es Débil, "Meat is Weak") is a Brazilian documentary about animal abuse in the meat industry. It has a CC-BY license (you are free to distribute it as long as you don't charge for it) and it is available on Youtube (with subtitles). Meat The Truth is more focused on environmental consequences of consuming meat. This movie ...


4

Assuming that the study estimating the 15 animals killed per ha of harvested crop is this one, it must be noted that the study was widely criticized for these and other mistakes and I would not in any case take it at face value. To address the numbers mentioned in the question: Davis estimates that 15 wild animals per hectare per year are killed as a ...


3

Cowspiracy is a good documentary about the environmental impact of animal agriculture, and it has Spanish subtitles.


3

This is a false dichotomy. You can't raise (and breed) animals without growing plants to feed them. So it really boils down to which society is better for the environment: one which (1) purely grows crops for food or one which (2) grows crops for animal feed, this isn't an alternative, they're doing both. Clearly (by this logic), cultivating only crops (...


3

Nic, you've asked a number of questions here, but let me do my best to impart what I know. Cattle leather does come from various types of cattle, including calves, buffaloes, and zebus. In no sense is cattle leather a byproduct of the meat industry. While it's difficult to get specific numbers, since the cattle industry is widely known for its lack of ...


3

There are a lot of interesting questions you pose and some are addressed in the article Do carnivores need Vitamin B12 supplements?. Let's first look at the claim that vegetarianism must be unhealthy because they need to supplement B12. According to the excerpt below, it appears that both meat eaters and vegetarians are equally deficient in B12. The ...


3

If you only look at the body count: to have milk, there must be a calf. That animal won't get the food it needs (since we are taking the milk) and is slaughtered if it's a male (a female baby cow will become a dairy cow). The veal industry benefits greatly from the dairy industry. So even if your only requirement is no animal death, dairy products aren't ...


2

Eiderdown is collected from the eider nests. Eiders are a duck that live on northern European and American coasts. They line their nests with the soft feathers from the duck's breast. The original nest material is replaced with straw so the duck can continue to incubate the eggs, or the nest is collected after the ducklings have hatched. Eiderdown ...


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