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New Drone Footage Exposes the Scale of Factory Animal Farming Like Never Before

New Drone Footage Exposes the Scale of Factory Animal Farming Like Never Before

Mark Devries

The animal agriculture industry spends millions on deceptive advertising to persuade consumers that farmed animals roam freely on bucolic pastures. But I’ve been piloting drones over animal agriculture facilities for several years, and the video I’ve captured tells a far different story. Nearly all animals raised and slaughtered for food in the U.S.


I’m not surprised there are no comments yet. This is such a loaded issue. We raise chickens. I have seen firsthand how 12 chickens can render a green, grassy area into a dust bowl in a very short period of time. Imagine millions of chickens on grassy land? Nope. No more grassy land. It would be one big smelly, muddy, mess. That being said…raising organic chickens–grass fed–open air–can be done, but would need to be done on a much smaller scale. The way humans have been led and yes, trained, to eat…is reflected in our animal husbandry practices for generations. We could really do without meat at every meal. We could easily thrive on more vegetables and legumes with meat and fish consumed only occasionally. Try to suggest that tho!


. You can obtain grass fed beef (that’s why cattle have those multi-chambered stomachs–they were made to digest grass!) and free range eggs if you are willing to pay double the per pound (or per dozen) price of the factory farmed variety. We have been schooled to pick price over quality and so the factory farms keep prospering…


This is the disgusting crap that the Brexiters want to inflict on us when we leave Europe. It’s also the pattern of farming which greedy industrial farmers are trying to impose here. Naturally they whine that feeding people must come first - ignoring the possibly toxic side effects let alone the inhumane conditions endured by the animals. We can choose otherwise - we can eat differently and still eat well. We can change. But currently changing - our diet, our willingness to cooperate with others, our draining of the world’s resources, our use of climate changing fossil fuel - is unthinkable. There is no alternative, the neoliberals who rule us drone. But there is.


But there’s also no way to feed billions of people lots of animal foods while going free range livestock. Just takes up too much land–livestock farming already takes up too much land and is a leading cause of deforestation and environmental degradation.


That is a very good point. Also, it is a life cycle that is ignored in confined feeding operations. The massive amounts of waste produced that further degrades the environment and makes people sick. Just living in proximity to one of these operations is causing illness in the surrounding populations.


There is no alternative to Zero Population Growth, but foolish humans remain blind and deaf.

Our addiction to “Fast Food” is a huge part of the problem as well. The “Fast Food” market is so huge, so competitive, that there is a constant pressure on producers to produce a vast quantitntsy of animal products the cheapest way possible. The consumer wants cheap “fast food”, therefore the retailer demands lower cost products, which forces the producer to cut all kinds of corners. At no point in this chain of events do the major players really give a damn about the welfare of the animals, or the environment. It’s the classic flaw in Capitalism, a race to the bottom, rewarding the ones who are able to “externalize” the most costs, i.e. make them somebody else’s problem.

Remember, however, that this all starts with the consumer. The only way to modify the behavior of the other parties is massive, widespread boycotts. It is the only way!


Please note that I mis-spelled “Quantity” in line two. Sorry!

If we have out grown our environment then we must either move half us elsewhere or get prepared to eat each other. There once was a time when old people were revered for a reason, there weren’t all that many people over sixty. Now we litter the parks like pigeons.

No problem here, most of that food is not very good. Get to know some good cooks and share. I know some really good Italian cooks that do miracles with saute vegetables. When ever we cook we share. We also grow some of our food. There are also farms where you can become a member. There are lots of alternatives.


I agree we need a smaller world population (maybe 1/2), but the factory farm problem could be addressed with the current population and even with the projected peak of 10 or 12 billion. It’s just that as stated here by many, it requires a lifestyle change by rich people to go back to eating like much of the poorer (and healthier) world does - with a lot less meat. Sure, being vegetarian is great (I’ve been vegetarian for 35 yr, vegan on and off for around 10 and I encourage anybody who isn’t to give it a try), but it isn’t required to solve this problem - we just have to cut way back on the overall consumption numbers and pass good minimum standards that will result in supply = demand without all this horrendous mess for both animals and people that we get with factory farms.

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We Humans don’t have “Dominion Over Animals” but rather ARE Animals, too.

The Animals we eat are Sentient, have Emotions, Experiences, Memories and Friendships (Scientists have discovered that even Fish can have Interests, and form Friendships).

We, as a Species, barely treat EACH OTHER with Respect, constantly finding excuses not to, because of slight differences in Beliefs, Ethnicity and Social Status.

The Health of Our Species, and Our Planet, as well as our Limited Water Supply, would all be Positively Impacted if we Stopped Eating Meat.

And actually started Living by the Golden Rule.


Big is better, for the profits of industry. No values shall be placed before profits.


I like what you said. :o)


You rotate the grazers. You get multiple yields: meat, eggs, tree crops, field crops, and typically from other grazers as well. It works well ecologically, and at least some have made it work quite well economically although a lot of us are amateurs and, quite frankly, have a lot to learn.

Go to video.google.com and look for these:

  • Chicken tractor or “chicken tractor on stereoids.” I’d look for the Geoff Lawton, who describes a half dozen different sorts of systems in various video presentations
  • Karl Hammer of Vermont Compost, who sells eggs and chicken and compost and purchases no feed
  • Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms. He has a lot of stuff out, and is quite attentive to business and profit aspects, which of course is not the focus of everyone on the green side of things. You’re looking for a mobile setup with chickens and rabbits, but I would bet that there are other items of interest.
  • As sort of a deep background, Allan Savory, though he is dealing mostly with the larger hoofed grazers
  • Permaculture, particularly as presented by Bill Mollison and by Geoff Lawton, to examine these in the larger context of farming, though there are now so many skilled people working this way and producing information that I can no longer nearly keep track of them

I assume that you are doing this commercially, so that there are all sorts of reasons related to various business aspects that you cannot just up and implement this all at once. So don’t: put it in a bit at a time. Overall productivity–counting all products–eventually rises, and costs go way down. But this takes a few years, some initial input, and for most of us a bit of training to accomplish. The second most common mistake is to try to go too fast, but the absolute most common one is to not do it.

You don’t want bare land under your chickens. And you do not have to put up with it. It works a bit differently in different places, but there are sites up and running and functioning ecologically and economically from Canada to Australia and in every major climate and most minor climates between.

It’s a lot more fun, and your eggs are better.


Thanks for the great info!

I used to think that I couldn’t function without meat because I would get a big energy surge after eating it. Then a vegan explained to me that the energy surge came from the adrenaline produced by the animal in the moment of terror when it was killed. When I became a vegan, I noticed a number of things. First, I was happy to be part of the solution to creating a more environmentally sustainable world. Second, I had a delightfully unambiguous relationship with the animal kingdom. I’d always loved animals, but was conflicted about the fact that I killed and ate them, and also ate the dairy products which are obtained at the cost of great suffering on the part of animals. Third, I noticed that I could meditate better. Fourth, my energy came back, not in big gross surges, but more as a feeling of being light and more energetic across the board. Lastly, I saved money on food.


Abuse of animals excites our sympathies, and not unreasonably so. But abuse of plants and soil by now-“standard” commercial monoculture farming kills and damages animals too, including persons.

We do not need either to produce food. Nor do we need to abuse or impoverish farmers or farm workers. We don’t even need to reduce population yet–or we won’t if we can get people at act well, though of course that is the hard part of the task ahead.

We can raise the world’s food on far less land and using far less artificial energy, at less energy and capital expense for (eventually) greater gain and better product, and wind up with clean and rich fields and forests and lakes and rivers and better yield year by year.

Methods have been tried and worked out, though we learn new things all the time and need people researching and refining methods for different climates and topographies. There are successful amateur and commercial sites in every continent except Antarctica and perhaps in every country.

It’s a fine tool, even if some of this may sound like a magic wand. It does take thought and learning and care and time. But it can also take you out of most or all of this business of selling your hours and days to some fool with a dollar and calling that “earning.”

At video.google. com, search these:

  • Permaculture
  • Bill Mollison
  • Geoff Lawton at The Permaculture Research Institute
  • Sepp Holzer
  • Mark Shepherd
  • Masanobu Fukuoka
  • Emilia Hazelip
  • Joel Salatin
  • Brad Lancaster
  • Toby Hemenway
  • John Liu and Lessons of the Loess Plateau

I am leaving out way more than I am including. So many people are putting out information now that I can no longer almost track everyone. Look for polyculture, food forests, organoponics (los organoponicos) transition towns.

You can start with a planter outside your kitchen window or on a balcony, at your church, or at your kids’ school. Here’s to the sun and the rain.


You are very welcome, Paula Rae, and thank you for your interest.

We need colleagues!

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