WSPA is working hard to convince governments, farmers and consumers that humane and sustainable farming is better for animals, people and the environment.
There are great benefits to choosing diets that are local, humane and sustainable. For example:
Rearing animals in less intensive systems often improves the lives of food animals
The traditional or heritage breeds preferred by sustainable farmers help preserve biodiversity, ensure food security and often have better resistance to disease and parasites.
Decreasing the distances that animals are shipped to slaughter and that meat and eggs are shipped to market is better for the animals, reduces carbon dioxide emissions from transport and tends to lessen the spread of food-borne illness
Whether considering pollution from animal waste, pesticide and chemical use, soil integrity, or other impacts on the environment, sustainable and organic farming methods are a vast improvement over industrial animal agriculture methods
Small family farms contribute much to their local communities (in terms of jobs, food security and their overall economic contribution) as opposed to factory farms which tend to employ fewer people and often have more negative impacts on local communities than positive ones
Allowing animals to engage in natural behaviours lost to them in factory farming eliminates some problem behaviours and the reason for mutilations such as teeth clipping
Growing concern for farm animal welfare has led to legislation phasing out certain intensive confinement practices.
For example, cages for egg-laying hens will be banned in the European Union (EU) from 2012 as will sow stalls from 2013. California and Michigan will phase out battery cages by 2015 and 2019 respectively.
Sow stalls are already being phased out in Florida, Arizona, California, Maine and ORegon and a number of US states and European countries are also phasing out veal stalls.
Animals should be reared free-range, or, if they are kept indoors, they should be farmed in ways that allow them to perform their natural behaviours
Confinement systems that deprive animals of the ability to behave naturally or in the worst cases stop them from lying down, turning around or spreading their limbs/wings (such as battery cages, sow stalls, veal crates and tethering) should be phased out
Animals should be given plenty of space to prevent overcrowding, bedding such as straw, and good ventilation — preferably fresh air
Herd/flock sizes should be kept reasonably small and should be appropriate for the species
Selective breeding practices that aim for increased productivity at the expense of the animal's welfare should be prohibited, especially when this leads to poor health or chronic pain, as is the case with fast-growing meat chickens and high-yielding dairy cows
Painful mutilations, such as tail-docking, de-horning, de-beaking and teeth-clipping should not be carried out - especially with out anaesthetic
Buying meat, eggs and dairy that are local, humane and sustainable is better for farm animals, small farmers, rural communities, our planet and you!
By changing our habits as consumers, we can help ensure a better future for ourselves and the environment, as well as future generations of people and farm animals.