Many consumers don't make the connection between the neatly packaged food they purchase in stores and how its production contributes to the suffering of billions of farm animals every year. The image of a bucolic, green pasture farm with rolling hills is far from the truth of the modern factory farm.
Factory farming is the cruel practice of raising animals for meat, eggs and milk in overcrowded cages, barren warehouses, or highly restrictive pens or stalls, to maximize production and profit. Farm animals are not protected under the Federal Animal Welfare Act and a majority of U.S. states-including Washington-exempt farms from anti-cruelty statutes as long as their procedures are seen as "accepted," or "normal."
Today's "industrialized" factory farming subjects animals to unhealthy and unnatural living conditions and untold suffering during their all-too-short-lives. Packing thousands of animals into a confined space for production also impacts the environment by degrading the soil, excessively using water and contributing to air pollution.
Read about a study that reported on the various negative impacts of factory farms in the Washington Post.
Abstaining from buying and eating meat products (such as going vegetarian or vegan), even for a few days a week, significantly contributes to reducing both farm animal suffering and to reducing the impact on the environment for the benefit of all animals. It's also a great way to improve your own health.
Above: A PAWS volunteer educates the public about animal welfare issues at a local festival.