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What is factory farming in Australia? Well, if you’re someone who likes eating meat, then it’s responsible for 95% of what appears on your dinner table each day. In terms of what we know as farm animals, almost all of the pigs, cattle, and chickens eaten are supplied in this way.

Industrial farming has grown massively since the 1970s in animal agriculture in order to feed a population that has grown by 150% in this time. However, unlike organic farming, the practices used can be questionable in terms of animal rights, meaning that a number of environmental and ethical issues in agriculture of this kind have been raised.

Focusing on Animal Welfare

As you’ll learn when taking our Animal Welfare Courses, most of the animal products we consume - and there are animal ingredients in clothing, medicines, adhesives, plastics, cosmetics, and more - come from factory-farmed animals.

The facilities that raise them often use what many see as unethical treatment of animals, such as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) and rapid growth techniques. These domesticated animals are farmed for meat consumption, with the farming systems and living conditions often leaving a lot to be desired.

Animal Cruelty Is a Major Concern

As is often raised by animal rights activists like Peter Singer, piglets, turkeys, and sows are routinely kept in appalling living conditions, with broiler chickens being housed in cramped gestation crates. Unlike organic farming, which lets animals live ‘free-range’ and get plenty of sunlight and exercise, intensive farming practices are very different.

Courses like our Animal Health & Veterinary Care courses will tell you all about the important work that’s carried out by animal welfare professionals to prevent animal suffering in these settings.

Human Health Can Be Impacted Too

Then there are the ethical issues relating to slaughterhouse processes, as many argue that treating sentient beings in this way is just plain wrong. The farm animal welfare debate surrounding ‘food animals’ is absolutely an ongoing one.

However, animal welfare is not the only area in which ethical issues in agriculture of this kind have been raised. There’s also the impact on human health and the damage that food production like this has on our precious ecosystem - hence the growing popularity of organic farming.

The Environmental Impact of Factory Farming

Organic farming has also become increasingly popular - especially with customers - as the effect of mass production in arable production is known to have an impact on human health, as well as the environment as a whole. For instance, factory farming is believed to be a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.

Harmful Pesticides & Antibiotics

Modern farming methods are also known to employ harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilizers - all in the name of better crop yields - whereas organic farming does not. Sadly, these fertilizers can destroy local biodiversity and even affect the health of the farm workers that apply them.

Furthermore, while organic farming crops are free from the nitrogen and phosphorous compounds found in fertilizers, food from these sources may be tainted. When combined with the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock and antibiotic resistance in people growing, some question whether the food produced is fit for human consumption.

Deforestation for Livestock Feed Production

Another large focus for climate change proponents will point towards the deforestation that often occurs in intensive farming practices. Large swathes of habitat for wildlife are destroyed in the name of creating cheap and abundant feed for farmed animals.

Unfortunately, this leads to a huge number of wild animals being killed or displaced and fewer trees to absorb the rising levels of CO2 in our atmosphere.

The Need For Major Change in Farming Practices

Just 8% of Australia’s available farmland is used for organic farming, and it’s something that needs to change - and soon. Unfortunately, animal welfare is being compromised on a widescale basis, with animal suffering being overlooked in the interest of generating profit.

Government intervention is needed at the highest level, as the well-being of animals can’t be ignored. Also, the current farming practices being used are simply not sustainable. Sustainability is key in order to protect the environment - and those looking to play a role in the future of the farming industry can learn the skills they need on OCA online courses.

Train to Make a Difference in Modern Farming With OCA Short Courses Online

If you’ve got your heart set on a career helping to maintain animal welfare and usher in a future where organic farming methods are adopted, there’s no easier and more affordable way than via a CPD-endorsed, video-based short course with OCA. Created in collaboration with top industry experts, you can be sure that everything learned is super relevant and required in the sector.

Our Student Study demo shows you everything you need to know about the next-level experience we offer, with 1-to-1 mentoring and 24/7 tutorial support available. Our courses cover 20+ industries, and you can see them all by visiting us today at

Alternatively, if you’d like to speak to us directly about your learning needs, call 1300 611 404 or email [email protected], and we’ll be glad to give you the answers you need.

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