Legally Brief: 5 Ways ALDF Is Challenging Factory Farming of Animals

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF Executive Director on April 23, 2015

Legally Brief

Factory farms, where animals are raised for production of meat, eggs, and dairy, are the cause of unimaginable suffering for billions of animals in the U.S. each year. They are also a major contributor to climate change and air and water pollution. Yet factory farms are routinely exempted from regulations for animal care and environmental protection.


Here are 5 ways the Animal Legal Defense Fund is challenging factory farming’s free ride:

  1. Ag gag – Ag gag laws criminalize the documentation of animal abuse on factory farms. They don’t try to stop animal abuse—they try to stop the reporting of animal abuse, which would hurt the industry’s bottom line. ALDF and a broad coalition of public interest groups have filed landmark constitutional challenges to these statutes that gag free speech in Utah and Idaho.
  2. Antibiotics – Because of the intensive confinement and filthy conditions on factory farms, the industry recklessly doses animals with antibiotics before they get sick. But this “sub-therapeutic” dosing of animals is linked with the proliferation of “superbugs”—antibiotic resistant bacteria that pose one of the greatest health threats of the 21st century. Currently factory farms aren’t even required to label meat products to let consumers know they’re consuming potential superbugs—that’s why ALDF has petitioned the USDA to require mandatory labeling.
  3. Greenhouse gases – Animal agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change—that’s an incontrovertible fact established by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations. Yet, unlike the energy and transportation industries, factory farms aren’t required to limit greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why ALDF filed a first-of-its-kind petition calling on the California Air Resources Board to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from factory farms.
  4. Ractopamine – Despite being banned or restricted by the European Union, Russia, China, and 100 other nations, ractopamine is permitted in U.S. animal feed. Use of the drug, which speeds animal growth to slaughter weight, is cruel to animals and dangerous to humans. ALDF and the Center for Food Safety have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to reduce ractopamine use.
  5. Water – As California instigates emergency water restrictions for individuals during its historic drought crisis, factory farms, by far the largest users of water, face no new restrictions. Even though a tiny fraction of consumptive water is used by urban water users, we were asked to cut our water use by 25%. Factory farms that drain nearly half of California’s consumptive water use have not been compelled to restrict their water use one iota. ALDF will petition the State Water Resources Control Board to ensure that they do.

10 thoughts on “Legally Brief: 5 Ways ALDF Is Challenging Factory Farming of Animals

  1. ellie says:

    Thank you for the incredible you’re doing. Im a member and an attorney. How can i help?

  2. Jhanel kies says:

    Thank you so much for your hard and dedicated work towards these animals that suffer in silence. Something must be done to live in a more compassionate world. There is no reason, other than greed and cruel people, that animals have suffer from the time their born til there murdered.

  3. sharon christian says:

    Stop the animal abuse!

  4. Cindy Kendig says:

    These questionable practices are bad for the animals, bad for consumers and bad for the environment. They’re also ultimately bad for farmers who are working to take the food industry back to a better and ultimately more humane way to raise animals that become our food.

  5. carole pixton says:

    Farming conditions in the 21st century,that inflict pain and suffering on the animals raised for food, should be shut down immediately and the people (or company) inflicting such cruelty, should be dealt with by the law. Governments who also allow such bad farming practices should also be brought to task. We are supposed to be living in an enlightened age.

  6. Ed Billeaud says:

    Factory farming, needless laboratory experiments, and all forms of exploitation against animals are humanity’s greatest shame. No species or society that condones and supports this kind of brutality can ever progress, nor escape the stain of such immorality. The victims pay the ultimate price, but society pays a price also.

  7. Christina Touray says:


  8. Frances says:

    Thank you for this difficult, but important work to implement regulations. You make history with each battle and you are appreciated!
    Thank You

  9. Jean Paul Olmsted says:

    California made significant progress in the care of farm animals with the passage of the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act, the legislative enactment of Prop 2, approved by 63% of the people.

    Since then, the state has banned the import of eggs from chickens raised in cages that do not meet the state’s standards. Thus far, this ban has been upheld by the courts.

    It seems only logical and fair that the same be done regarding the other animals covered under Prop 2, most especially pigs.

    I’m trying to find an organization that is making an effort to extend the requirements of The Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act to imported animals, especially pigs.

    If this organizaiton is working towards that end, I would like to be a part of that effort. If not, I can’t help but wonder why. This simple amendment, which could be reduced to one sentence, would have a huge impact nationally due to the size of the California market.

    I hope someone in your organization can direct me to a group working on this.

  10. Pilar blas zulueta says:

    me averguenzo de pertenecer a mi especie

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