Factory Farming Key Terms
Madison McDermott
and Katya Forsyth
November 23, 2021

The Center’s latest report, A Green New Meal: How Factory Farming Fuels Climate Injustice and What We Can Do About It, has just been released. Here is a collection of some of the most important definitions associated with Factory Farming. Read the Report for more!

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CAFOs

Factory farms, also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), are industrial-sized livestock operations that pack a minimum of a thousand animals into highly confined and unvegetated spaces for at least 45 days a year. In the United States, nearly 25,000 CAFOs raise 9 billion land animals each year.

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BIG DAIRY

“Big Dairy,” like “Big Oil,” refers to the entire dairy industry, in particular the influence it wields over markets and regulations to avoid accountability for the pollution, biodiversity loss, and harm inflicted on humans and non-human beings that it causes.

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NUTRITION INEQUALITY

Economic class and race are determinants for health outcomes in the United States, including the availability of nutritious food. Low-income Black, Indigenous, and communities of color are significantly more likely to suffer from nutrient deficiencies than wealthier communities.

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FOOD DESERT

A geographic area where access to affordable, healthy food is limited. Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by food deserts.

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FOOD INSECURITY

A lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. While one billion people live in hunger today, the world’s cattle alone eat enough grain to feed 8.7 billion people.

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REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE

An alternative agricultural system that can produce agricultural products in a way that is less harmful to the planet, farm workers, and the animals. The term “regenerative” refers to the process of regenerating and restoring the soil that has long been degraded by industrial farming and the plowing, intense grazing, and clear-cutting that comes with it.


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AG-GAG LAWS

Legislation which criminalizes photographing and videotaping factory farms, and punishes whistleblowers — a violation of free speech rights in an attempt to protect “Big Meat” and “Big Dairy.”

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