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Farmageddon

The True Cost of Cheap Meat

By Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott
22-minute read
Audio available
Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat by Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott

Farmageddon (2014) is an in-depth guide to the dark reality of cheap meat. These blinks explain how industrial farming has replaced traditional methods and how it’s draining our resources, poisoning the environment and making us unhealthy.

  • Anybody interested in how we can sustainably meet the world’s food needs
  • People curious about how exactly our meat is produced
  • Anyone who wants to make healthier dietary choices

Philip Lymbery is the chief executive officer of Compassion in World Farming. He is also an animal rights activist and the former communications director for the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

Isabel Oakeshott is a political journalist and nonfiction writer.

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Farmageddon

The True Cost of Cheap Meat

By Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott
  • Read in 22 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 14 key ideas
Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat by Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakeshott
Synopsis

Farmageddon (2014) is an in-depth guide to the dark reality of cheap meat. These blinks explain how industrial farming has replaced traditional methods and how it’s draining our resources, poisoning the environment and making us unhealthy.

Key idea 1 of 14

Factory-like, “mega” farming of meat, milk and eggs is replacing traditional methods.

When you think of a farm, it’s easy to imagine a pastoral wonderland full of lots of different types of animals that joyously roam around in the sunshine and grass. But nowadays, such traditional, diverse farms are practically extinct, replaced by industrial agriculture.

That’s because agricultural techniques have experienced a massive revolution over the last several decades. Human labor has been almost entirely replaced by machinery and traditional farms that employ farmhands are mostly a thing of the past. What’s more, just 8 percent of England’s farms raise more than one type of animal.

But the disappearance of these farms isn’t as scary as what’s replaced them: factory farming. This refers to farms that grow only one type of animal and lots of them, cramming them into tight spaces, overloading them with drugs and using machines to handle them just to maximize profits. At this point, a whopping two-thirds of the world’s 70 million farm animals are raised in such conditions.

And factory farming isn’t just for meat; it’s increasingly being used for milk production as well. In mega-dairies, vast quantities of cows are stabled together and milked with industrial methods. A big one can contain up to 10,000 cows in a single space.

Not just that, but they’re popping up all over. The first mega-dairy was built in California in 1994. Now there are 1,620 dairy farms in the state, collectively housing a total of 1.75 million cows and producing six million dollars' worth of milk a year.

And our eggs?

The vast majority are from factory-raised hens. Unsurprisingly, these chickens are stuffed into overcrowded factory farms to produce more eggs with the lowest possible cost. So 60 percent of the world’s eggs are laid by caged hens.

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