Farm Sanctuary

is an animal rescue organization operating out of New York and California that strives to protect factory farm animals from abusive treatment and exploitative husbandry.

Gene Baur and book

Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, on the cover of his book that documents the life of the organization.

In a perhaps more exaggerated sense, they seek to drive home the cause-effect relationship between the cruel reality of animal maltreatment and the succulent top sirloin that deliciously sizzles on our home grills.  The notion that a sentient creature was conceived, raised and slaughtered is often lost in the face of the glaring “SPECIAL” sticker slapped on the styrofoam and plastic packaging of the numerous meat products at the supermarket.  Farm Sanctuary works to bridge this disconnect and make known the deplorable practices of factory farming.  Their ultimate vision is to see a society where the commodification of animals is non-existent.  If you want to learn more about this organization (there is also a link to the their site at the very end), the documentary Peaceable Kingdom is a film that features Farm Sanctuary, telling stories about the awakening of farmers to the truth (rather, facing the truth) of factory farming.


I like cows.

Regardless of your stance on meat consumption, the fact of the matter is that there are some pretty despicable things done to animals in factory farms in the name of putting meat and milk on our tables.  Here are some common factory farming practices and links to information about them:

  • battery cages – hens are territorial and peck to mark their area, in tiny cages where multiple birds are confined, they viciously harm each other; sometimes the beaks are cut off the hens to prevent this from happening, many hens die from this procedure
  • cow & veal calf stalls – cows or calves are chained to stalls until they are slaughtered, they cannot turn around, have difficulty walking once they are ushered to the slaughter houses because they have not walked their whole life
  • over-milking leading to chronic mastitis in dairy cows – the inflammation of the udder because of overuse can be very severe; it doesn’t go away and can be extremely painful
  • chick culling – male chicks do not lay eggs and are of dismissible value to factory farms so they are killed in the most economic means possible; dumpsters are a common depository for male chicks
  • sow gestation crates – similar to the way cows are confined in stalls, sows are shut in small cages during their pregnancy
battery cages

These battery cages are actually quite nice.

I am not trying to promote veganism, nor am I trying to take a jab at your morality, but the reality of farm animal cruelty is no hoax.  There are many smaller farms that don’t function as factory farms do, so even just by giving a little thought to where your meat comes from is a step in the right direction.  If you really feel the need to get in there and save those animals, you can consider adopting one from Farm Sanctuary!

For clarification purposes, a factory farm is an agricultural site where scale of production is incredibly high.  Maximizing the output of individual animals using various chemical and confinement means is a key characteristic.  Meat, milk and eggs are the typical products of factory farms.



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14 responses to “Farm Sanctuary

  1. pepper4ever

    excellent post. couldn’t agree more.

  2. John D

    Hi, nice post, it is very useful for people like me who are interested to know more about it!

  3. Stephanie

    wow. You definitly need to get your facts straight. I would like to know where one of these farms is located. I have an arguement to every one of your statements because they are not true. If you do not have a farming background you have no right to post “your opinion” on the matter. These farms do not exist, it is a myth that hurts all farmers. Get your facts straight before you brain wash more city people. And if you ate today.. Thank a Farmer

    • I am flattered that you believe my blog can “brain[wash]” more “city people.” And yes, I did eat today – at the farmer’s market where I purchase produce, I thanked the “Farmer,” imagine that.

      So the truth is that you’ve quite clearly misinterpreted “[my] opinion” as some sort of generic, ill-informed urban trend follower assault on all “Famers” on the planet. Well, as much as I’d like to conform to this label you have, I would argue, wrongfully slapped on me, I’d just like to point out that factory farming is the target of this post, and not “all farmers.” If somehow you are able to interpret what I wrote as a rallying call to urbanites to scorn the farmer, then please excuse my abhorrent inability to convey meaning properly in writing.

      In any case, one key point to extract from “[my] opinion” is there are local (and more often than not superior in many respects) farms that provide produce and meats that do not employ the practices that I described in the post, nor do they require costly and environmentally-taxing methods of shipping and transport of their goods.

      As to their whereabouts, well, I’ll let more weighty sources illustrate their sometimes disturbing ubiquity (as I “do not have a farming background [and I] have no right”):
      And there are many more sources of information should you wish to further investigate this alleged illusory issue.

      Finally, I am going to assume you are what you call a “Farmer,” and if that is true, then it strikes me as odd what appears to be your defending of factory farming. Oftentimes, these facilities are under the management of larger corporations (who can muster the substantial capital required to acquire property and materials to support that reckless production scale so characteristic of factory farms), which have quite the negative impact on smaller, independent farms.

      On a punctuating note, I am happy to admit that I have a lot to learn when it comes to your industry, on both the macro and micro level, and I am happy to rectify my views should they prove to be inaccurately formed. If you indeed have some illuminating information to offer, then I will be pleased to review it over email:

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Stephanie

        You have assumed correctly that I am by defintion “A farmer”. To correct you though, I am not yet a farmer. My father, as has my family, farmed for many generations. Three years ago my father expanded our farm to house 2,000 hogs which are used for breeding stock. Most people assume that with that many animals it is a factory farm, which I am very offended because they assume it is a factory farm and not one of them has stepped foot on the farm to see the procedures or the barn itself.
        Also to correct you, I am not defending factory farming. Because I do not beleive in factory farming. I believe in the humane production of meat animals.
        I just have one question for you to answer. And i would be very pleased to hear your answer.
        What is factory farming? What is the criteria for factory farming?
        Thank you for your time.

  4. Sarah

    Factory Farming is when cows are put into confinement cells in large warehouse until they reach slaughter weight.

    • Stephanie

      Do you actually believe that? If cows are put in cells until they reach slaugher weight they would be all fat, we eat muscle. Everything you eat on an animal is muscle. If they are kept in cells and cannot move how to you think they produce enough muscle for consumers?
      I ask the blogger one more time… What is the criteria for factory farming? I am not trying to argue or prove your information invalid I would just like to know where people get their information from.

      • I apologize for replying so late.

        I must agree with Sarah – confining livestock (like cows) in small spaces to maximize the number of them available on a lot is a trademark characteristic of factory farming (though there are number of other common practices). And you’ve highlighted a very good point that if indeed these animals are kept in confinement, then their muscle to fat ratio becomes incredibly skewed. Tossing humane treatment of the animal aside, I presume biting into a large slab of overly fatty meat is quite unappealing. However, there will be muscle development despite their confinement, and the sheer quantity of animals raised easily compensates for the lower quality of individual carcasses.

        While two thousand hogs is a large number for a family farm, factory farm numbers are much more substantial. Livestock in the tens of thousands and more can be quite the understatement for operations like these. I believe you if you say your farm treats the animals humanely. And indeed there is always the risk of unjust blanketing statements that perhaps inaccurately vilify farmers like you or your father, but that is why there is such a concerted voice revealing what factory farms are and calling out these abhorrent practices.

        If you’re interested in seeing factory farming in action, I’m certain a simple Google video search would provide a myriad of visual resources. If you doubt the legitimacy of the videos, let me know, and I’ll try to dig up some that you may deem more acceptable.

      • Sounds like you run a “Factory Farm” Stephanie. You pretty much suck.

  5. Kirsten

    I agree with everything that you are saying. If nobody supports factory farming, then they will not have any money to treat these animals with harm anymore. The best way to get your animal products is straight from an Organic farm.

  6. Kenau

    I cannot believe that there are still people THAT ignorant that they think factory farming is a myth. Whilst I like my bacon as much as the next person, I definitely do not want to eat meat from an animal that had a terrible unhappy life. It just seems like bad karma
    I grew up on a farm, and believe it or you can actually taste the difference between free range chickens and battery chickens.
    I now eat meat only on weekends, and make sure it is organic and free range and was once a happy free animal.
    If still in doubt, watch the movie Food inc.

  7. Pingback: 200 Cows Cause of Death: Moldy Spuds - WeaselTech

  8. Untitled

    I can’t believe that you are being so ridiculous and immoral, Stephanie.

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