When people go to the grocery store to grab their essentials, most of them probably don’t think about where their favorite important products came from. They come across eggs and milk in the dairy section and compare the prices between farms whose animals are free-range and the farms where animals are trapped in agonizing confinement. The free-range farms are selling their products for around five to seven dollars for a dozen of eggs and roughly six to eight dollars for a gallon of whole milk, totaling in between eleven to fifteen dollars for two items. For some people who can easily afford paying those prices, they don’t mind. In fact, they actually like and respect free-range farms as much as the farms respect the animals that they care for.
But for the other people who can’t necessarily afford these high-quality prices, it’s not as easy. They value efficiency and their needs over the lives of the creatures who are sacrificing their very existence and livelihoods to benefit human beings. Some consumers can even easily afford the products but they choose not to. They don’t want to spend more money on something they can very easily get with a different brand that sells the “exact same thing.” But that’s not exactly the point: the point is that consumers get what they paid for. The cheaper the products they purchase, the less quality they give off. I think consumers should reevaluate the spending decisions they make and understand what big factory farms their money goes to. This paper provides evidence to support my thesis.
The ASPCA has defined a factory farm as “a large, industrial operation that raises large numbers of animals for food.” These animals may make cheap meat because of how many of their kind rests in these factories but it comes at a price on the quality of life of the animal. Many of animals are confined and trapped in overcrowded cages with poor air quality and unnatural light patterns. Because there is a high demand for their meat, milk, and eggs, factory farms will compromise the welfare of their animals through breeding for fast growth. When the animals are not forced together in tight quarters, factory works are militantly rough and abusive when caring for them. Factory farms are a very sad reality of the treatment and danger animals are exposed to just to produce substantial amounts of meat, milk, and eggs. It’s not fair that these animals have to endure so much and sacrifice their well-being because human beings want something now. When consumers pay for animal products from a factory farm, their money is supporting the mistreatment and abuse of animals.
What can be done to fix this? While factory farms are not illegal, they are highly unethical in their practices and the way they operate standard business. The best way to drastically reduce operations of factory farms is to have an ethical consumer mindset and know exactly where their money is going and what causes they’re supporting. Why should consumers buy ethically? The vote is in their pocket. According to Ethical Consumer, “every purchase is a vote for something.”
Consumers should reevaluate the spending decisions they make and understand what big factory farms their money goes to. Our money is a vote for something in the world. Where our money goes speaks volumes about the causes and ideas we support and believe in. We may not realize it at first but with a little bit of research, consumer spending will become much more ethical.
- “Ethical Labels.” Ethical Consumer: The Alternative Consumer Organisation. N.p., n.d. Web.
- “Farm Animal Welfare.” ASPCA. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Web.