Farm Sanctuary

FarmSanctuaryLogo.gifFarm Sanctuary is a national, non-profit animal protection organization specifically focused on animals in the "food" industry. Farm Sanctuary operates the largest rescue and refuge network for farm animals in North America, rescuing, rehabilitating and providing lifelong care for hundreds of animals rescued from factory farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses. Farm Sanctuary also works to advance policy and gain legal protection for animals used in food production, conducts investigations, and raises public awareness about factory farming.

The 2007 Farm Bill: A New Vision for U.S. Agriculture, Food Production and Healthy Eating

In recent years the ways that we in the United States produce and consume food has captured the
attention of a growing number of individuals, communities and groups far outside the Washington, DC Beltway and traditional farming areas. Mothers, community organizers, environmentalists, anti-poverty campaigners, nutrition experts, faith communities, and advocates for immigrants, farmed animals and poor people in developing countries, among others, have come to see the vast reach of U.S. farm policy and to question some of the results of that policy.

Opinions of Veterinarians and Positions of the AVMA

The American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) is considered by many to be the official voice of the veterinary community in the United States, and it is often looked to for its position on animal welfare issues.  The organization claims to represent “more than 69,000 veterinarians working in private and corporate practice, government, industry, academia, and uniformed services.”  These veterinarians look to the AVMA to represent their views on various practices and industries involving animals.  In recent years, however, the AVMA has been criticized for endorsing animal husbandry practices for farmed animals that are controversial and considered to be inhumane by a number of veterinarians as well as the general public.

The Welfare of Cattle in Beef Production

Beef cattle begin their lives as they always have in pasture or on the range. What has changed significantly in recent years is the amount of time they spend there and what happens to them when they leave. At the beginning of the last century, steers were 4 or 5 years of age at slaugh- ter. That dropped to 2 or 3 years by the 1950s, and to just 14 to 16 months today, only the first 6 to 8 months of which is spent grazing (60).

Farm Animal Welfare: Assessment of Product Labeling Claims and Industry Quality Assurance Guidelines

The care and handling of farm animals is mostly unregulated in the United States and, as
a result, animals here are commonly subjected to a number of inhumane practices. The marketplace has been identified as one avenue for improving the lives of animals raised for food. In the past five years, more than one dozen farm animal quality assurance schemes have been developed. These include animal industry quality assurance programs, retail food animal care auditing programs, and third-party organic and humane food certification programs. In addition, developments of government-regulated food labeling and marketing claims relevant to animal welfare are underway.

U.S. Highway Accidents Involving Farm Animals

Neither the government nor industry in the U.S. reports transportation accidents involving animals raised for food. Farm Sanctuary conducted a survey of media archives to locate information regarding highway accidents affecting farm animals. A total of 233 incidents were identified for a recent six-year period. The incidents occurred across the nation and throughout the calendar year, and involved all major farm animal species. More than half the accidents were single-vehicle rollovers, and the most common cause was driver failure to negotiate a curve or corner in the roadway. A total of at least 27,000 animals were killed in the incidents reviewed, with many more injured. The survey suggested several actions that should be taken by government agencies and the animal agriculture industry to improve the treatment of farm animals at accidents scenes, including establishing protocols for the provision of emergency veterinary care and training of drivers and first responders in animal rescue, care and handling.  

The Welfare of Cattle in Dairy Production

Public perception of dairy cows is of animals enjoying tranquil lives in a bucolic setting grazing in lush pastures during the day and sleeping in straw-bedded barns at night. Reality, however, is quite different. Three out of four dairy cows in the United States never graze in pasture, and a significant proportion are not provided routine access of any kind to the outdoors. Those who are housed outside are usually confined to a large, barren dirt lot that is hot and dusty in summer and cold and muddy in winter.

Unnatural Breeding Techniques and Results in Modern Turkey Production

Like other segments of agriculture, the turkey industry has changed significantly in recent decades, as fewer large companies have come to dominate the production and marketing chain. As the industry has changed, so has the basic genetic makeup of the birds. Turkey breeders have selected birds genetically programmed to grow fast and large in order to maximize production, but in doing so they have also created significant animal welfare problems. This report describes the consequences associated with intensive genetic selection and artificial insemination in the turkey industry.