It’s hard to be a farm animal advocate. Most of the world’s problems — poverty, war, disease — are getting smaller, if always too slowly. But factory farming is getting bigger: the number of animals suffering in factory farms globally has more than doubled in the last two decades alone. Worse, it often feels like we’re not making progress. After decades of veg advocacy, just 5% of Americans self-identify as vegetarian, while 86% say they “actively try to include” chicken in their diet — two numbers that have barely changed in two decades of Gallup polls. A 2019 Eurogroup poll of 7,000 people in the seven biggest EU nations found just 1% identified as vegan, and only half of the self-identified “vegans” said they never ate chicken. Add in the rapid growth of factory farming around the world — on current trends, factory farms a decade from now will confine 4.2B more land animals and 18.5B more fish than they do today — and from a distance it can seem like there’s little to celebrate.
Bollard, L., (2019). 10 Years of Progress for Farm Animals. Farm Animal Welfare Newsletter, 6 Dec. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/farm-animal-welfare-newsletter-archive. Open Philanthropy, San Francisco, USA.