Factory Farming and the Price of Meat
This post challenges the widely accepted belief that factory farming is essential for keeping meat affordable, arguing that while factory farming reduces costs to the meat industry, the savings are not passed to consumers.[Abstract excerpted from original source.]
“There is no doubt that factory farming in animal agriculture—along with all of the animal suffering that it entails—enables the meat industry to reduce the cost of producing meat. Not surprisingly, it is often assumed without a closer examination that factory farming has been essential to keeping down the price consumers pay for meat. Even when the mainstream media writes a piece critical of factory farming, this tacit assumption often guides the story.
Naturally, when criticized for the abuses of factory farming, the industry sometimes chooses this line of defense. It argues that rolling back factory farming and improving animal welfare will leave it no choice but to raise the price of meat. It claims that the rise in factory farming has been essential to keeping meat as cheap and affordable as it has been.
But, this industry claim is valid only if all three of the following conditions hold true […] As I will argue in this post, there is no evidence that the meat industry has met all of these three conditions at least since 1980 even as both the intensity and the prevalence of factory farming sharply increased during this period.”