Globalization of Factory Farming

Globalization of Factory Farming

In recent decades, traditional agriculture has been replaced by industrial farming (already commonplace in the U.S.). Animal farming is no exception: with increasing intensification of livestock production and expansion of feed-crop monocultures. The widespread adoption of this model has meant loss of biodiversity, environmental pollution, public-health challenges, deteriorating animal welfare, and increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Brighter Green has documented this phenomenon in a series of comprehensive policy papers based on original research that also recommend sensible policy changes. We have also created briefs containing data assembled from a range of sources, and a number of short videos. Available in several languages, these materials are being used by government policy-makers, civil society organizations, academics, advocates, the media, and others to address the many serious policy concerns raised by the rapid expansion of factory farming worldwide.

The resources available below document industrial animal agriculture in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, and Southeast Asia through the lens of climate change. They also explore the additional environmental, food security, equity, livelihood, and animal welfare impacts of factory farming.

  • Brazil: Cattle, Soyanization, and Climate Change: Brazil’s Agricultural Revolution [Full] [Brief] [Video] How will Brazil protect its forests, grasslands, and biodiversity and meet climate-change goals at the same time it produces, consumes, and exports more meat, dairy products, and soybeans. How will it address the economic and social inequality created by the industrialization of agriculture? Available in English and Portuguese.
  • China: Skillful Means: The Challenges of China’s Encounter with Factory Farming [Full] [Brief] [Video] The paper examines in detail the ecological, economic, public health, and animal welfare consequences of China’s adopting the Western industrial meat production model. Available in English and Chinese.
  • Ethiopia: Climate, Livelihood Security, & Growth: Ethiopia’s Complex Relationship with Livestock [Full] [Brief] [Video] Can Ethiopia—Africa’s largest livestock producer and exporter—industrialize its livestock sector without derailing development prospects for the large number of its people without access to good soils, grazing land, and water, who depend on food aid, and struggle with the effects of drought? Available in English and Amharic.
  • India: Veg or Non-Veg? India at the Crossroads [Full] [Brief] [Video] Ethical vegetarianism has a several-thousand-year history in India, but more than half of India’s 1.2 billion people now consider themselves omnivores. A booming middle class is driving up demand for meat, eggs, and dairy products; however, hundreds of millions of Indians are undernourished. How should India apportion its natural capital to ensure food security and sound nutrition?
  • Southeast Asia: Beyond the Pail: The Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia [Full] [Brief] An investigation of the impact of increased dairy consumption and production in India, China, and Southeast Asia. The paper analyzes case studies in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Discussion Papers

  • The Triangle: The Evolution and Future of Industrial Animal Agriculture in the U.S. China, and Brazil [Full] [Brief] This brief explores the “triangle” of technology (U.S.), feed-crops (Brazil), and farmed animal (China) connecting the world’s three biggest players in the meat industry, and analyzes the dynamics shaping this triangle.
  • Public Health: Chronic Disease, Changing Diets, and Sustainability: The Globalization of Western-style Eating and Its Implications [Full] This paper illuminates the public health and environmental challenges created by the rapid adoption in Africa, Asia, and Latin America of diets high in fats, sugar, processed foods, and salt. Five country case studies (Brazil, China, Mexico, South Africa, and India) provide cautionary examples of how an increase in non-communicable diseases almost always accompanies a changing food environment.
  • Beyond the Impossible: The Futures of Plant-based and Cellular Meat and Dairy [Full] [Brief] The paper is both a state-of-the-industries overview and a work of speculation; a critique of the criticisms and an effort to reconcile competing concerns and values. It is oriented toward a vegan future, even as it recognizes that cellular agriculture has the means to transform just what the word vegan might mean in that future.