HLS in the World | The Death of Factory Farming

so we’re ready to start. Thank you so much for
joining us this afternoon for our session called the
Death of Factory Farming. I’m Kristen Stilt. I’m
a professor here at HLS and also faculty director
of the Animal Law and Policy program, which is
hosting the event today. So what I’m going
to do is give you a quick overview of
the topic before we move on to short comments
by our distinguished guests. And then we’ll have
a good amount of time for discussion,
including all of you. So today’s session,
despite its name, is not actually a funeral. We are not here to observe yet
the death of factory farming. So we are here to talk about
why an end to practices that fall under the
heading of factory farming is highly desirable. And even more
importantly, we’re going to talk about the many ways in
which all of us as consumers, as advocates, are
working hard to hasten its demise and perhaps
even to predict that despite many obstacles
and, unfortunately, the actual growth
of factory farming in many parts of the world,
that it’s end will probably come eventually. So to get us all at
the same starting point for the conversation, I
want to quickly define factory farming and highlight
what’s so problematic about it for those of you who
aren’t familiar as others. So over the past decades,
raising of animals for food has become increasingly
industrialized and concentrated, as
this slide shows you. Animals are housed in
large-scale confinement operations that hold up to
several thousand animals. The most prevalent examples
of mass confinement are the battery
cage facility, where hens spend their
entire lives standing on wire the size of an iPad,
frequently losing feathers from the crowding. Ragingly genetically and
large broiler chickens, as they’re called, and turkeys
in cramped indoor structures where they often can’t even
support their own weight and lose their feathers
from standing or lying in their own waste. Confining perpetually
pregnant mother pigs in gestation crates
so small they can barely stand and suffer
extreme psychological distress. Raising beef cattle in
outdoor massive feedlots where they often live
in their own waste, because there’s just so much
of it in such a tight space. Producing veal by removing
baby cows from their mothers as soon as they’re born
and either confining them to tiny hutches– each one of these representing
one tiny calf newly born– or, which many of you
may have heard of, the tethering by the neck. We’re not done. Farming fish, which often
doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and other
aquatic animals is also a form of factory farming– also in overcrowded
conditions, just in water not on land,
where they suffer from disease, physical
abnormalities, and other forms of stress. So the previous images clearly
show the significant animal welfare considerations and
consequences that result from intensive confinement. But factory farming’s
effects, as many of you probably already know, intersect
across several other spheres, and I want to highlight
those very quickly. So take a second to
look at this from the UN food and Agricultural
Organization reported in 2006, which shows the
very substantial contribution of animal agriculture to
climate change in air pollution, to land, soil, and
water degradation, and to the reduction
of biodiversity. That so-called
attractive picture is a cattle feed lot
from an aerial view. So by 2006, no one
could deny that there was an environmental toll. And of course, we knew that even
earlier but certainly by then. And that’s not all. Food safety issues
through food borne illnesses, worker safety,
high rate of serious injury and deaths– one of the most dangerous
jobs you can have is in a slaughterhouse,
exploitation of poor immigrant labor,
global health issues, drug resistant bacteria due to
large amounts of antibiotics used in the animal feed. All right, so quickly,
what are the global trends in factory farming? This slide shows
global meet demands. You can see that it’s
on that increase. Obviously, that’s the
key takeaway from this. As demand for meat
continues to rise, producers are constantly looking
for cheaper ways to produce, and that means the
factory farming model. The global scale
of animals farmed– look at the number
increasing of farm animals raised every year worldwide. And again, fish also going up. And also importantly, look at
the aquaculture production. That’s the factory
farming model brought to the sea where wild
capture leveling off in part because oceans are depleted. Now take a quick look at
the global distribution of farm animals. We’re pretty irrelevant
in the big picture. You see China, which we’ll
hear more about later, I hope, playing an extremely
important role as well as countries like India and
the developing world. As middle classes
rise around the world, they want to do what we did,
which is to eat more meat. And we have to keep that in mind
as we think about how to end factory farming worldwide. Because of course, an
animal is an animal, whether in the US or
China, and we’re concerned with the entire world. Speaking of China,
of course, here’s China’s growth farming
animals, with chickens making a dramatic rise in particular. And now, finally, I just
want to say something very quickly about the laws
governing factory farming. Because you’re probably
thinking, well, if it’s that bad, why haven’t we
fixed it, or are we fixing it? Or aren’t there severe
regulations in place? In fact, at least in the US– and certainly many parts of
the world– animal agriculture is basically exempted for
each of the negative impacts I’ve just listed. So what about the
animals themselves? Well, animals raised
for food are exempted from the Animal Welfare
Act– the act you would think would cover them. The key federal law that
does govern livestock only covers these animals
once they literally cross the door into the
slaughterhouse facility. I don’t have time to talk about
what those slaughterhouses look like, but I can definitely
say that we should question whether or not they meet a
humane death, as the Humane Slaughter Act suggests
that they would. Now, at the state level,
animals raised for food are excluded from most
anti-cruelty provisions– criminal law provisions
of state law. And so really that
means that these animals have very little in the
way of legal protection for their entire lives. But just like with
the other areas that factory farming
impacts, there’s also a free pass
for the industry when it comes to
these issues as well. Agricultural workers
are often excluded from labor protections,
and industrial agricultural operations are often exempted
from environmental reporting requirements. Globally, the situation
with law is not much better. You see that even the US is
yellow– weak, unenforced farm animal welfare laws. Of course, the world in red
with no farm animal welfare laws is even worse– with a tiny bit, really,
in Europe with strong farm animal welfare laws. You can question
the enforcement. And of course, that’s
another issue– whether those laws are
rigorously enforced. But even if we just are
looking for where they exist, it’s not many
places in the world. So given all this negative
news, our panelists have a tough job ahead
of them to convince us that this can indeed end. So what we’re doing
today is each panelist is talking about one specific
strategy that’s being used. Of course, I don’t think
any one panelist would say their strategy is the
only one that should be used or maybe even the best strategy,
but perhaps all of them together is where
we will ultimately decide is the best approach. So let me just introduce them
in the order they’re speaking, and then we’ll start. So first is Jon Lovvorn,
here to my right, who’s a Harvard Law
School lecturer on law and also the policy director
of the Animal Law and Policy Program. John is also teaching this
semester our farm animal law class, and he’s going to
discuss the role of legislation. So next to him– Justin Marceau, who is
an HLS alum and holder of the country’s only
endowed chair in animal law at the University of Denver. He will describe the
role of litigation. After him is Chris Green, also
a Harvard Law School alumnus, and he’s the Animal Law and
Policy Program executive director. Chris will talk about the role
of organizational advocacy. Nicole Negowetti, a
new clinical instructor at HLS and the Food
Law and Policy Clinic and formerly policy director
at the Good Food Institute. And she’ll talk about the impact
of technological innovation. And lastly, Rosie Wardle,
who’s the program director of the Jeremy Coller Foundation,
will join us from London to talk about their efforts
to inform and direct institutional investment. So after each of the
strategies has been introduced, we’ll turn to a
bigger discussion about which one, when,
how, why, which is better, and how, at the
next bicentennial, we won’t even have to be talking
about the death of factory farming, because no one
will ever remember it– actually, the tricentennial,
I should say, right? What was that? We can’t even think. We can’t we can’t
remember what that was. All right, so with that,
I’ll hand it over to Jon. JONATHAN LOVVORN:
Steal that from you. So I’m going to
talk a little bit about the issue of legislation
and ballot measures. And in doing so, I’m
going to talk exclusively, because of time, about
humane legislation and ballot measures. There’s a lot of other areas of
legislation and ballot measures that can affect factory
farming, or bring about its end, including some of the
things Professor Stilt mentioned with regard
to food safety, environmental protection,
and things of this nature. So the reality, with regard to– oh, the PowerPoint’s
not working. Interesting. PowerPoint failed. The reality is, farm animals
are 99% of the animals that we deal with on
a day-to-day basis. But we talk about the laws
affecting animals, really, they’re designed for
the 1%, which are companion animals exclusively. So this is starting to
change a little bit. But if you look at the stats
over the last 12 years or so, the amount of legislation
regarding farm animals is really, really small
compared to the total activity with regard to animals. Over that same period
of time, there’s been a growing consensus
that this is a problem, and that we need to do
something to make sure that farm animals receive
at least some minimal level of protection. This New York Times
editorial, which also isn’t working right– you should always be
prepared for this– really set the stage for a real
landslide of change with regard to legislation and animals. And so what essentially the
community of animal protection advocates set out to do was
take conditions like this and transform it into
something more humane that allows animals to
at least engage in their basic
natural behaviors. Take hens from things
like battery cages and move them to something
that might provide, at least, some level of
humane movement and care. And interestingly,
they did not do this by either amending the
Federal Act on Transport, or the Federal Humane
Methods of Slaughter Act, or the Federal Meat
Inspection Act, or adding farm animals to
the Animal Welfare Act– none of these things happened. Instead, they went
to Florida, which is a very nice
picture of Florida there that you can’t see. So why would they go to Florida? Well, the reality is, Florida
is one of several states that is not listed
in my PowerPoint– it’s fine– that allow citizen
initiatives and referenda. So essentially, the decision
was made not to go to Congress and try to fix these problems,
not to go into the states and try to fix these problems
with the cruelty codes, but essentially bypass that
and go directly to the people. And so this started with
something very simple. Let’s see if this ever
comes back to life. No. So a simple provision
in Florida law that required that pigs
be able to turn around– that are kept for
breeding purposes– really, really basic. Hey, how did you make it work? That was it? And essentially, after the
victory in Florida in 2002, this same provision was
replicated in Arizona in 2006. And then after that, we were
essentially off to the races. Is that working? OK. JUSTIN MARCEAU: You
just hit it twice. JONATHAN LOVVORN: Anyone
that has a background, it’s not going to work. OK. Because we’re going backwards. So we’re just
So essentially, what we saw after that was a
wave of lawmaking with regard to gestation crates, battery
cages, and veal crates. And it looks pretty
impressive when you think about, over
the period of time, we have almost two
dozen laws enacted in order to provide some
protection for animals on the farm. But the problem is
when you map this out, these laws are
located exclusively in the coastal areas
of the country. So we have sort of a blue-state
system of protecting farm animals, but we have all
the production largely in the middle of the state. So even for a state
like California, who in 2008 enacted what was
then the most progressive farm animal welfare law– no battery cages, no gestation
crates, no veal crates– it only covered about half of
the total animal products that are sold in the state of
California, because so much of what California eats is
imported from other states. So these prohibitions on
these most egregious forms of animal confinement are
only as good as the state which they’re located in. So what California
did after that was to dabble in
the idea of saying, well, actually, we’re going
to require that every animal product sold in this state meet
our animal welfare standards, even if it’s produced elsewhere. So they passed a statute, AB
1437, that basically says, if you want to buy an egg
product in California, you want to sell
it, it’s got to meet California’s humane standards,
even if it’s produced in Iowa. Interestingly, Massachusetts
followed up just last fall with what is now the most
progressive farm animal welfare statute in the United States. It says no gestation crates, no
veal crates, no battery cages, and you cannot sell pork, veal,
or eggs in Massachusetts unless you comply with these
humane standards, regardless of where
production occurs. As you might imagine– and
this doesn’t go into effect for several years still– this creates some
legal questions about the authority of states to
exercise these types of limits on interstate commerce. And if you’re interested
in that issue, there’s actually a ruling on
September 15th from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
upholding that state’s ban on the production or
sale of foie gras, which gets into the
question about what’s the outer limits
of states’ ability to ban food products that are
the result of animal cruelty. And the panel unanimously
concluded that this is within the state’s authority. Now, it will be very interesting
to see whether or not the Supreme Court is interested
in reviewing that, and if so, whether they unanimously
agree with the Ninth Circuit about the scope
of California’s authority to do that. So to get back to the question
at hand, the death of factory farming, I think a
lot of the question here depends on how we
define a factory farm. If we say that if you get rid of
gestation crates, veal crates, battery cages, it’s no
longer a factory farm, then I think we can get
rid of factory farming with legislation. And in fact, we’re well
on our way to doing that. But the reality is, even if you
take those worst methods out of the equation,
we’re still talking about confining billions
and billions of animals within industrial facilities. And I wonder about the
ability of legislation to really tackle that
particular problem. And we’ll hear about some other
ideas about how to do that. And I think it’s
especially a problem when we look at the fact that
for food security reasons we have to come up with
70% more calories by 2050. And so some people’s ideas that
we’ll get rid of factory farms, and we’ll just go back to this
historical ethic of living off the land or a lot of
pretty rural farms that I would show
pictures for you– I don’t think we’re
going to get there. And I think that the only
things that are really going to change factory
farms in the long term are issues of efficiency
and the gross inefficiency of feeding animals
and converting that to meet the environmental
impacts and the climate impacts. We simply will not be able to
sustain the number of people that we will have by 2050
using the existing system. So I think, when we
look at legislation, we can make things
more humane, but I’m skeptical of how much we can get
at the root of factory farming through the normal
legislative process. So I’m going to turn
that over to Justin now. JUSTIN MARCEAU: So I’m going to
talk about litigation efforts to take on factory farming
or hasten its death. And in a short
presentation, it’s not intended to be even a
survey of the litigation. There’s lots of interesting
efforts underway– environmental cases, labeling
cases, toxic tort cases, nuisance type actions. What I want to do is focus
on two types of litigation in the realm of
factory farming– one that I think is necessary,
important, and working relatively well,
and one that I think is either counterproductive
or, at least, presents social costs that
haven’t fully been considered. So starting with the litigation
that is potentially higher risk and maybe lower reward. Let me quote from one of the
movement’s pioneering leaders and the head of Mercy for
Animals in his new book– Nathan Runkle’s book–
Mercy for Animals– he described undercover
investigations as, quote, “producing an extremely
important blueprint for litigating factory
farm abuse,” end quote. The litigation he’s
referring to is prosecution– the prosecution of the workers– the employees that we
see on the videos often– the poking, the abuse, the
sadistic acts if you’ve watched any of these videos. These folks, as we know
from political scientists and other undercover work,
are overwhelmingly nonwhite, exceedingly vulnerable in
terms of immigration status and socioeconomic mobility. And indeed by some counts,
the US agricultural workforce is upward of 90%
Latino or Latina. So the litigation
against factory farms in the form of
prosecution is generally a prosecution of
low-wage workers and has the interesting
effect of turning the industry of the factory farm
itself against those workers. So in many of
those prosecutions, the industry actually
provides evidence or supports the prosecution
of their workers, because it allows them
to turn the page and say, we’ve got rid of
some bad apples. There’s not a bad barrel here. It’s just we hired a
couple of bad folks. So one question that could be
discussed is whether the task– the employment of killing
thousands upon thousands of animals a day– has itself some criminogenic
consequences, and if so, whether we’re creating a
sort of cast of criminals and then punishing those– treating them as rogue. That might be interesting. But I will also just briefly
forecast some research that I have found for
a book I’m working on. It turns out that in the rush
or interest to prosecute, the movement has pursued felony
provisions in all 50 states. And in the last 20 years,
those felony provisions have succeeded in being
adopted in all 50 states. But what I found through
some painstaking legislative research is that roughly
19 of the states, at the exact moment that they
adopted the felony provision, exempted factory farm
practices from animal cruelty. So at the very moment that
we were taking the step to increase jail time, we were
creating the largest loophole against prosecution. The second type of litigation
that I want to focus on, and that I think offers
some more promise, although in a general sense,
is litigation aimed at forcing or facilitating transparency. This involves forming alliances
with social justice movements and civil rights groups. It involves a
general look at harms and how they could be prevented. It avoids the cost of saying
animal protection comes at the risk of or
the peril to humans. It’s sort of a way of
aligning both interests. And examples in this
category are actually many more than we might think. But just a couple– there are lawsuits– challenging
laws that criminalize or make civilly– one civilly liable
for dissuading persons from hunting. So there’s a filmmaker
in Wisconsin right now. He’s a professor
at Marquette who wants to make a documentary
about wolf hunting. He rightfully is
afraid that he will go to jail if he continues
to make his documentary about hunting canines. That’s a valuable source
of litigation I think. Also, we have some
of our national parks that are engaged in massive
slaughter of animals– at Yellowstone Park Kohl’s,
annually, roughly 1/3 of the iconic species
the bison in the park– and for many years
have fought very hard to keep journalists roughly
two miles away from that. Litigation in support of
journalists could be useful. But when it comes
to factory farming, the litigation is even more
defensive and, in some ways, more important because of
what are called ag-gag laws. And ag-gag laws and these
anti-transparency laws that criminalize whistle-blowing
in factory farms. So for those who haven’t heard
of them or don’t know them, I mean, this term was coined
by Mark Bittman in 2012 when the law started to spread across
the states– so Iowa, Idaho, Utah Missouri, North
Carolina, and Arkansas– big agricultural states. And the way to think
about ag-gag laws is actually to just
think of a famous quote that– well, it was made
famous by Peter Singer from a Veterinary
Science textbook. He says, “The best
thing modern agriculture has going for it is that
most Americans are a couple generations removed
from the farm, and they have no idea
what’s going on.” The ag-gag law
movement is designed to keep us in this
position of remove and not have videos on
YouTube, or images like Kristen was showing us, that bring
light to the practices. The ag-gag laws function
in practical effect by doing two things. They criminalize video recording
at the facilities– audio or visual recording– sort of
sweeping broadly– so anyone who’s doing that. And they criminalize
deceptive entry– so denying that you have
a journalism degree, or that you work for
the New York Times, or you’re affiliated
with the Humane Society. And there’s lots that can be
said about the legal doctrine and why those claims
don’t quite add up to a rational
reason for the laws. The short version that
I’ll just quickly give is– recording probably is a form
of First Amendment protected speech, and that’s what the
lower courts that have looked at these laws so far have said. And so that’s good
news for transparency. And likewise, the other most
common quip against litigation or in support of
these laws, rather, is that lying or deception
to gain access is trespass. And that comes
from a good place, but it’s also just not true. Leading tort scholar,
Lyrissa Lidsky, has noted that it’s just
never been that simple. There’s not a single
state that, as a matter of statutory common
law law, has adopted that proposition– that’s
the sort of the main trope that we hear. So when it comes to fights to
end factory farms litigation, I would submit that transparency
and truth are important themes. And that far more than
seeking incarceration, these are likely to
shift public opinion or at least communicate a
message of urgency as opposed to scapegoating. And I’ll close just with a
quote from Justice Brandeis. Justice Brandeis was
invoked several times last night, primarily
in reference to the scholarly literature,
his Harvard Law Review article from 1890– “The Right to Privacy.” But later in his life,
1813, he wrote a piece in Harper’s Weekly, where
he posited or commented on publicity. And he said,
“publicity is justly commended as a remedy for
social and industrial disease. Sunlight is said to be
the best of disinfectants; electric light, the most
efficient policeman.” On matters of public concern,
the truthful investigations and the exposes of the
factory farms, I think, will be one of our
most important weapons. CHRIS GREEN: I’m just
going to jump this ahead. Be with you one second. We’re going to put this back. It’s been redacted, Jon. JONATHAN LOVVORN: I know. It’s like a FOIA request Yeah. KRISTEN STILT:
Not the beginning. From yours. From yours. CHRIS GREEN: Talk
amongst yourselves. [LAUGHTER] Thank you. All right. KRISTEN STILT: You got it. CHRIS GREEN: So I’m
going to be kind of following up on what Justin
and Jon both just described. I need to turn my slides
where I can see them. So basically, looking at the
way the advocacy community– when you’re facing these
roadblocks legislatively, most things have to go–
like the Massachusetts ballot initiative was tried eight
times for eight years straight in the Massachusetts
legislature and would always be stymied by the
Agriculture Committee that it had to go through. So the advocacy community had
to sort of move forward and find ways of circumventing that. So public opinion,
94% of Americans agree that animals
raised for food on farms deserve to be free
from abuse and cruelty. Further, the 71% of
Americans support the idea that undercover
investigative efforts by animal welfare organizations– undercover investigations
to expose animal abuse on industrial farms. And this is surprisingly
consistent across age, gender, region, and political
affiliation. Those numbers are pretty
dead consistent there. So the thing that the ag-gag
laws were trying to squelch is the first of these
tactics that I’ll discuss. Undercover investigations
have proven to be one of the
most effective tools for informing the public as
to what is actually happening. And this goes towards
the Paul McCartney as quoted as saying,
“if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone
would be vegetarian.” And indeed, 46% of those who did
switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet have said that
online videos played a role in their decisions. And it’s not just their opinion. Here you’ve got the
agriculture department at Kansas State
University saying, as a whole, media
attention to animal welfare has significant negative
effects on US meat demand. Full disclosure– my
great uncle Charlie was the chair of the Animal
Science Department of Kansas State for several decades. That’s him on the left,
sitting in the wagon next to my grandmother,
who died at the age of 97 five years ago. So this is a farm that has
been in my family for 179 years and which I still
own and manage. And it was being around these
animals at a very young age that really allowed me to see
their value as individuals, and that, to me, they had
a value that was greater than the weight of their flesh. But most people don’t
get that opportunity, and transparency
is the last thing that large industrial
agriculture wants. So here’s a quote from
the horse’s mouth. This is in an
agriculture textbook, saying, “one of the best things
modern animal agriculture has going for it is
that most people haven’t a clue how animals are
raised and processed.” And further, from modern
animal agriculture, the less the consumer
knows about what’s happening before the meat
hits the plate, the better. So this is unguarded. So what they’re so worried about
are undercover investigations. And as Will Potter said, some
of the earliest ag-gag laws that were passed
were actually trying to prevent people
trespassing and causing damage of lab trashing in an
industrial farming context. And so Will Potter says,
“the biggest threat facing Big Ag right now isn’t that
activists are breaking windows, it’s that they’re
creating them.” So here’s an image. I’m not going to
show any gory videos, but here’s just one image
from one single investigation in Wisconsin at a dairy. And you can see this cow– too sick and weak to walk on its
own, being hoisted up by chains and led to slaughter. So I thought I’d use
this as an example to say, well, what’s one
investigation going to do with a three-minute video? So just this one investigation
at that one farm in Wisconsin– four of the employees were
convicted of multiple counts of animal cruelty. DiGiorno Pizza decided not
to accept any more cheese made with milk from that dairy. And that’s 4,500 cows. That was their largest contract. Nestle, who many people just
associate with chocolate milk, actually happens to be the
world’s largest food company with $101 billion in revenues. They announced–
and as a result, they were so embarrassed
by this that they said they were going to require
all of their 7,300 suppliers to eliminate tail
docking, dehorning, gestation crates, and battery
cages at hundreds of thousands of farms worldwide. Again, this all stems from
one undercover investigator with one camera going
into one dairy farm. So consumer sentiment is
probably the most powerful advocacy tool. And so taking what I just
described a step further, corporations react really
quickly to profit threats. And so for several years,
the advocacy community would just fight
with those producers. So they’re going to
Wiese Brothers Farms, but the problem is
it’s frustrating. Wiese Brothers had no
nexus with consumers. Their only relevant
factor was profit margin. If it cost them– farmed 1/100th of
a penny per egg, when you’re talking billions
of eggs, that adds up. So in the mid-2000s, they
started changing their tactics and said, well, let’s
kind of collectivize. Rather than just going
on these scattershot, individual, undercover
investigations, let’s target an entire sector. And they started with
restaurants, grocery store chains, and food
service providers. Now, food service
providers are sort of the hidden key to this all. So restaurant associates
here at the law school– they’re a division
of Compass Group– so one of 13 companies
that Compass Group owns. So they’re, essentially,
these massive super consumers that are serving
millions of meals a day across the United States. So their purchasing
power is so large that they can really dictate
what the producers do. So the first of these was
the cage-free campaign. And the first, right away,
McDonald’s decided to go cage free in the first year. They serve two billion eggs a
year just in the US and Canada. And so this one
decision was going to improve the lives
of eight million hens. And so basically, the way these
campaigns worked is they said, it is a carrot and stick. They said, hey,
look, we’re going to go to you, because
essentially McDonald’s isn’t a producer. They’re just a marketing
and delivery vehicle. So you go to them and
say, here’s what– we’ve seen the polling that
your customers really want. So you can do the right thing
and get in front of this. But if you don’t, here’s what we
know your suppliers are doing, and we’re going to paste
this all over everywhere with your logo right next
to these gory images. So that tends to get their
attention pretty quickly. So after all these producers
were saying year after year, there’s no way we can possibly–
it’s economically infeasible to go cage free, literally the
very day after McDonald’s made that commitment, Hickman
Foods, one of the largest egg producers in the country said,
oh, we’re going cage free, too. And oh, what do you know? The third largest
followed right afterwards. So again, it shows us that it’s
not economically infeasible. They’re all falling
over themselves to rip these cages out so
they can get the McDonald’s contract, which just shows
the way that the purchasing power works. And his campaign
was so successful that even Fox News called 2015
the year of the cage free hen. And then the next year, after
going after restaurants, they went after retailers. And then, boom, Wal-Mart–
nearly nine billion eggs per year sold just by
Wal-Mart, and they’ve made a cage-free commitment. So here, you can see
the graph of this all– early adopters, like
Whole Foods and Chipotle. And then you see
the first big wave when you’ve got Aramark,
Compass, and Sodexo– the three biggest food service
providers, and then it just takes off from there. So now at the point that
you have 250 million hens potentially being covered by
these cage-free commitments that have been made. So the next frontier on this
is broiler chicken welfare, as Kristen showed you
some of the gory photos. Nine billion
chickens a year, just in US, 54 billion worldwide. Again, getting out in front,
all three major food service providers have made
these commitments to slower genetic
strains and breeds, controlled atmosphere stunning,
increase space requirements, and other enrichment, such as
natural light and the ability to perch. And so technically, as
you saw from the photos, broiler chickens are
not kept in cages– traditional metal cages–
but they are sort of imprisoned in their own bodies. And you can see the difference
between 1957 and 2005 here– the difference in
their growth rates. It’s four times
what it used to be. In just only 56
days, a chick goes from being born to literally
100 times its size. So that’s the equivalent
of a human baby being born at 7 pounds and
weighing close to about 650 pounds at two months. And again, you see the
progress that’s been made here. Early adopter, Whole
Foods, comes out of the gate with their global
animal partnership standards. Again, the first ones coming in
are the food service providers, and then it just
goes up from there– to now the point where just
with these broiler welfare commitments you’ve got 450
million broiler chickens being covered by these
commitments now. So the next stage in all of
this is taking it global. So much in the way that the
production methods of factory farming have been
exported around the world, the advocacy tactics
that have been successful in
targeting them here are also starting to be
exported and adopted. So right here, we
have the Open Wing Alliance, which is a group of– a consortium of groups that
are focusing first on battery cages for hens. And so here, you see
a billboard in Mexico targeting battery
cages, and this is by a group called Animal
Equality, which, in my view, is one the most effective
animal protection groups working on
farm animal issues, especially internationally. And then you’ve
got the group here in Taiwan doing a demonstration
and getting TV coverage. And again, we’ve seen the
success of this already– just five years ago, there were
only five countries that had companies in them making
cage-free commitments, and then move along a
little, then all of a sudden, you’ve got Mexico and Brazil– very huge producers–
and now India as well. So you’ve now got companies
in over 30 countries that have made these
cage-free commitments. But as Kristen shared
in that slide earlier, we’re that little blue
strip right there. China is the bottom in red,
producing the vast majority of the world’s farmed animals. But what may be surprising
to some people– consumer sentiment
in China is very similar to what it
is in the US when it comes to the welfare
of farmed animals. So you see on the left– I don’t know if you
can read that small– but so they responded. This was a survey that was
done by an agricultural college in China. And they found that
people disagreed with the idea of rearing
pigs in cement floors. They were opposed to killing
fowl in front of other hens. And that they did think that
the government should pass general animal welfare laws. And this is about 75% to 80%. 80% felt that passing
general animal welfare laws was something that
should happen. And in particular,
70% still felt that the government should pass
farm animal protection laws. And this has all
lead to success. So you’ve got the
consumer sentiment coupled with the tactics. And literally just
four days ago, one of China’s
largest pork producers announced that they
were going cage free, getting rid of all the
gestation crates, which leads to benefits for about
a million pigs per year. So thank you. Nicole now is going to
tell you about, basically, technological innovations
that hopefully will make all of this obsolete. So I’m going to go up and
move you over to her slides. NICOLE NEGOWETTI: Thank you. OK. So thanks to the
advocacy efforts that Chris just
described, people are increasingly becoming aware
of how their food is produced. But the reality is
people want to eat meat, and they want to eat it cheaply. So how do we disrupt this system
that is supported by consumers? Well, food technology offers
a very promising solution– to give people the meat
that they want to consume, but we take animals, or
at least animal suffering, out of the process. The plant-based and
clean meat industry has announced its goal of
ending factory farming by 2030. That’s quite an
aspirational goal, but I want to convince
you that it can happen. Will people trade animal
products for tofu? I think we’ll probably
all agree that that’s very unlikely to happen. But as Bill Gates has noted,
we’ve only explored about 8% of the world’s plant proteins
as potential meat alternatives. Remaking meat is one
sector of the food industry that is ripe for
innovation and for growth. There is tremendous
potential out there, and it is being explored. Ideally, consumers would make
their purchasing decisions based on alleviating world
hunger, environmental concerns, public health concerns,
and animal suffering, but that’s not the reality. There have been countless
consumer surveys conducted that tell us that the way
consumers make decisions is based on three factors– taste, price, and convenience. And so the goal of the
food technology companies that I’ll describe is
to make alternatives to conventional
meat, dairy, and eggs as delicious, as price
competitive, and as convenient as conventional animal products. There is amazing
progress being made. For example, the Impossible
Burger by Impossible Foods contains heme, which is an
iron-containing molecule that allows this plant based burger
to bleed in a way that’s very similar to conventional meat. Similarly, Beyond Meat has
created the Beyond Burger, which is made from
peas, but they use beet juice to make it bleed
in a similar way to a burger. It sizzles, just
as a burger does. It tastes very
similar to a burger. And it is now available
at TGI Fridays. Which I see this as a marker
that the tides are shifting. And these products are
available in a mainstream way. Beyond Meat has also
created chicken-free strips, which are very, very similar in
texture and taste to chicken. And as further evidence that
these are becoming mainstream, Tyson has invested
in Beyond Meat. According to Beyond
Meat CEO Ethan Brown, we’re a meat company that
makes products from plants. So his view is that
we are creating meat, just using a different medium. Bill Gates tried those
chicken strips and announced, what I was experiencing was more
than a clever meat substitute. It was a taste of
the future food. Well, Bill Gates put his
money where his mouth is and invested in the company. There’s also a lot
of innovation being made in plant based-dairy,
using ingredients such as cashew and
coconut oil to produce plant based-cheeses and milks. And we see a lot of innovation
in plant-based products, but– and this is
sort of mind-blowing– there’s a new field called
cellular agriculture, where scientists, food
technologists are able to create milk
which is molecularly indistinguishable
from animal milk. And the way that
they’re able to do that is to take milk proteins
that are made in the yeast. So it’s completely animal free. The yeast is reprogrammed
to produce milk proteins by inserting the genes for
casein and whey proteins into the yeast cells. The yeast feed off of
sugars in the same way that a lactating
cow would produce. And then fats, which are a
source from plants, are added. And, as I mentioned,
the milk is molecularly indistinguishable from milk
that is produced from cows and can produce cheese,
kefir, yogurt, and cream. Similarly, scientists and food
technologists at Clara Foods are creating chicken-less eggs. They do this in a
very similar way. Yeast is reprogrammed to
produce egg white proteins by inserting the genes
for egg white proteins into yeast cells. As the yeast grows,
it consumes sugar. And after enough egg
whites have been produced, the yeast and egg mixture
are separated to leave only the egg white proteins. Perhaps even more mind-blowing
is the potential to create meat without any animal slaughter. And this is being done. And the way that this is done,
very similar to as described with the milk and
the eggs, cells are extracted from an animal
in a harmless procedure. The cells are then
placed in a fluid that allows them to multiply. They’re placed in a
bioreactor and turns them into muscle tissue, and
we have ground meat. The first lab-grown, or clean
burger, was developed in 2013. And at the time,
it cost $330,000. [LAUGHTER] However, technologists
estimate that by 2020 it will cost only $10. In 2016, Memphis Meats,
an American company, launched its first
beef meatball. This year it created
chicken and duck. So we saw some images
in the introduction by Kristen about the
horrors of factory farming and the realities
of meat production. This is the way that
meat production will look in the very near future. It will look like your
friendly meat brewery– without any antibiotics,
without hormones, without waste contamination,
without any animal suffering. And unlike the attempts to
put a veil over consumers, this process will be
completely transparent, and the food companies have
indicated a willingness to invite consumers in to
this friendly meat brewery where meat will be produced. So you may be wondering,
how do the meat producers feel about these technologies? They are anticipating
their death. The writing is on the wall. And here some headlines
just from the past year. There we go. From April of this year,
“Major meat supplier Cargill has announced that
it’s going To exit its cattle-feeding business.” In March, Tyson Foods CEO
announced on Fox Business that the future of food
might be meatless– that the growth potential
of plant-based meats far exceeds the
potential of animal meat. And finally, in August– leaving you in suspense– Cargill announced that it
will invest in Memphis Meats– the startup that produces the
clean meat that I described. And so I hope that
this is evidence that the end of conventional
meat production of factory farming is very near. Thank you. CHRIS GREEN: So now I’m going to
switch over to Rosie’s slides. [SIDE CONVERSATION] CHRIS GREEN: OK, Rosie
you should be good to go. I’ve got your slides up. Just tell me when you’d
like me to change them. ROSIE WARDLE: [INAUDIBLE] KRISTEN STILT: All right, great. Thanks to all of our panelists
for introducing our topics. We want to turn it over
to you for questions. I want to ask you all
something first, though. With all due respect to
all the other strategies– and of course we asked
you to do particular ones, and we know you
aren’t necessarily an advocate of yours
first and foremost, but why aren’t we all rushing
to support innovation? Why aren’t we all backing
Nicole’s strategies? Why are we even bothering
with the other ones? Because that’s pretty
impressive what you showed us. Any quick comments
from our panelists? And then I’ll start to take
questions from the audience. CHRIS GREEN: I’ll just jump
in and say that, that’s great, but who knows how
long it’s going to be. You can call me in 20
years when it happens. And in the interim,
there’s a ton of suffering that’s going on right now
that I think many in the– at least in the
advocacy community– feel that they have a
duty to try and alleviate. Because what if
something happens? What if it doesn’t get approved
by FDA regulators or something? In the meantime, it’s hard to
sit on the sidelines and just– hopefully– we
all hope that that will happen and are
doing everything they can to support it. But I think you can’t put–
sort of a terrible pun– put all your eggs in one basket. You need to have a diversity
of approaches, which is sort of the
purpose of this panel to show that you need all
these approaches working simultaneously. Because you never
know which ones are going to be the
most successful. Again, just five years ago, all
of these corporate campaigns were just sort of
an idea, and they’ve been some of the most great
progress that’s happened, I think. KRISTEN STILT: Jon? Justin? Are we missing
anything here, too? Is there a strategy we
haven’t talked about? JONATHAN LOVVORN: I mean,
I would agree with Chris. I think the danger of sort of
taking these out and examining them one by one is getting into
a reductionist framework, which overlooks their synergistic
impacts and the fact that they all need to
be dealt with together. So we need to
think about animals that are in factory
farms right now and what we can
reasonably do for them. We need to be working
on innovation. We need to be working
on transparency and investigations,
consumer investment and corporate investment
in both better systems and plant-based
systems innovation. So I would say that it’s
really a combination of things that usually moves
the needle in social movements. KRISTEN STILT: All right, great. Great. ROSIE WARDLE: Question. KRISTEN STILT: Go ahead, Rosie. ROSIE WARDLE: [INAUDIBLE]

1 thought on “HLS in the World | The Death of Factory Farming

  1. Sending love and gratitude for all you're doing to raise awareness.  I sincerely appreciate it.  

    The problem, however, is not practices of factory farming.  When it comes to ethics, the issue is the use-abuse of animals.  Factory farming is not the problem.  All use of animals is abuse.  Factory farming is just an extension of the use of animals.  Factory farming is an extreme form, but look to any family farm and you'll see abuse.  If we are to consider animals worthy of respect, we would not separate them from their families and subject them to human control as ALL ANIMAL FARMING entails.  If you were to see animals from a non-speciesist lens perhaps you'd focus not on factory farming, but on all use of animals.  If you were to consider animals conscious beings, would it not be abuse to immobilize them?  In that case, all use of animals is abuse. Consider for a moment, would it be okay to use a subset of humans for their flesh in the way we use animals?  If not, then it's not okay to use animals and any reasoning otherwise is based on the disembodied logic you've been indoctrinated into within the dominator paradigm/patriarchal/flesh-eating/earth-destroying culture.

     If your concern is more of the environmental variety, please consider the research of Vasile Stanescu and many others which demonstrates that locally-raised animals with more space does not save energy and in fact, uses more. The only solution to animal farming is VEGANISM: which means respect and love for all being and has the potential to save the world.  

    All use of animals is founded on profit.  And if you're trying to make money off of them, their interest will never be your concern.  A culture founded upon the domination/consumption/and use of animals is morally corrupt.   To return to LOVE, we must STOP USING ANIMALS AND BEGIN LOVING THEM AND LOVING OURSELVES.  IN THIS CASE, TO LOVE ANIMALS IS TO LEAVE THEM ALONE AS AUTONOMOUS BEINGS.  

    Of course, my argument comes from the perspective of the animals and not from that of a disconnected environmentalist or theorist – but of one who is deeply in love with the Earth and Her Creatures  on an emotional, physical, deeply-invested level and sees animals as kindred, conscious,  friends.  ….  Some of the most conscious beings I have met have been insects.  

      Thank you, as I know you're working to end the use-abuse of animals, just from a different angle than I am. Sincerely sending love and hoping you'll read Lee Hall's book to awaken you to a deeper level of awareness or simply go to a slaughterhouse – where all animals end up.  There is no humane use of animals – only abuse which perpetuates violence in our culture.  All human use of animals involves SLAUGHTER aka killing aka MURDER (the word most used for unjustified killing, yet a term that would not be used for a death at war or the murder of an animal.)  As Emerson said, "“You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”  Create Heaven on Earth.  Do not be complicit.  Embody Love.

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