In a bold response to the atrocities of factory farming, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who are both vegan, have presented new legislation attempting to cripple the factory farm industry, halting it completely by 2040. 

If passed, the Farm System Reform Act of 2019 immediately restricts the construction of new factory farms, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). It also places limitations on the number of animals each farm could potentially house, stops preexisting CAFOs from expanding, and allocates $100 billion over the course of 10 years to purchase factory farms, encouraging a shift to more sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming practices.

CAFOs provide the majority of the meat and poultry sold in the United States, which inhibits the growth of small farms and prioritizes scale and profit over animal welfare. According to the Sentience Institute, factory farms represent 70.4% of cows, 98.3% of pigs, 99.8% of turkeys, 99.9% of chickens farmed for meat, and 98.2% of chickens used for eggs.

The abuse and cruelty that factory farm animals face is heartbreaking. Cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals are forced to live in small cages separated from their families, mutilated and abused for the factories’ convenience, and ultimately slaughtered for human consumption.

Cows on dairy farms are forcibly impregnated and separated from their newborn children. When old enough, the young females are forced into the same slavery their mothers endure. The male calves are slaughtered for veal or beef at just a few months old. Male chicks are frequently ground alive just after birth because they don’t produce eggs and are of “no use” to factory farms.

Additionally, factory farm workers face various threats to their health. Exposure to antibiotics and manure puts them at risk of respiratory disease and E. coli. They are also frequently injured via dangerous chemical substances, which enter our soil and atmosphere, exacerbating our global warming crisis.

These are only a few examples of the awful conditions that animals and workers must withstand, and this bill would be an important step toward preventing such inhumane practices. Please, encourage your representatives to support the Farm System Reform Act.

While it is encouraging that our government is paying attention to barbaric farming practices, and we applaud these officials for taking action against CAFOs, a bill alone will not put an end to the inhumane treatment of farm animals. Choosing vegan, or plant-based, foods over animal products is the only way to guarantee sustained animal welfare and protect our precious planet.