On the surface, a package of small-farm, grass-fed beef may look entirely identical to a packet of generically-raised beef. Both are wrapped with cellophane and snugly stacked in the open meat fridge, labeled with the price, cut and weight of the meat. But these packages likely have drastically different backstories. Ninety-nine percent of the meat in the US comes from factory farms, a large-scale production that is more akin to a cracker factory than the rolling, green livestock farms you see in the movies.
Factory farms dominate the meat industry, thanks to a focus on efficiency and profits above all else. Although many individual farmers follow humane practices, these large-scale operations not only cause severe distress for the animals that live there, but create a product that is riddled with chemicals, antibiotics, and yes, sometimes disease.
Keep yourself informed of your food choices, and read below to find out the truth behind factory farming.
*Warning: Some of the below images are graphic in nature.*