Project Snapshot: Consumers Aware Of And Concerned About “Factory Farming”
In a national sample of 1,000 U.S. adults, the Beef Checkoff program found that the number of people who are familiar with the term “factory farming” has increased by 15% since 2008. The proportion of respondents associating factory farming with chickens has risen significantly since 2008, although the association with cows has been more stable.
Respondents associate “factory farming” with big agriculture and large-scale farming, describing it as industrialized, using machinery and technology, owned by big companies, and producing large numbers of animals. A small percentage of respondents believe that factory farms are driving small family farms out of business.
When asked about their opinions about the description of factory farming, 39% said that the following statement was closer to their own opinion, “Factory farming means any animal that is confined for any part of its life including cattle that spend most of their lives on pasture but are finished in a feedlot before going to market.” Another 54% felt that another statement more closely resembled their opinion, “Factory farming means animals that are raised indoors all their entire lives, can’t move around freely, have to stand on concrete or metal, and never see the light of day.”
In addition 58% of consumers who are familiar with factory farming believe the beef they buy at the supermarket comes from factory farmed cattle. Of these consumers, 56% are concerned about the safety of the beef they buy.