Many of us are likely looking forward to putting 2020 behind us. We have remained committed to helping animals throughout this tumultuous year. As we bring 2020 to a close, we are already looking at ways all of us can help farmed animals in the year ahead.
The immense scale at which we are producing and consuming meat today has negative implications on our health and the planet.
This year, you’ve done so much to help protect farmed animals around the world. Here are 5 ways you can help farmed animals in 2021.
An election may have just ended, but we can, and should, continuously hold our political leaders to account for improving laws protecting farmed animals, workers, communities, and the environment from the harms of factory farming.
In 2020, Senator Booker and Representative Khanna introduced bills that would stop the further construction of large factory farms and help protect independent small- and mid-scale farmers. Our supporters sent more than 20,000 messages to their legislators urging them to support this Farm Systems Reform Act this year, and as soon as the bills are re-introduced in the next session, we will be creating additional ways for you to take action.
State laws that advance farmed animal protections beyond national standards, like Proposition 12 in California, are also critical to establishing a new national norm. Stay tuned for potential opportunities to support legal change in your state, and let your state legislators know you demand similar anti-confinement laws on the books in your state.
A great way to help farmed animals is to support farmers who are raising animals in higher welfare conditions. These farmers need customers to continue utilizing higher welfare practices, which can require significant investment, and improvements year-over-year. The factory farm industry, as well, is paying close attention to consumer demand, knowing that losing customers to higher welfare farms makes the industry vulnerable.
Look for labels such as Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane, and Global Animal Partnership to indicate products from farms that are implementing better practices.
Reach out to the brands you purchase and ask questions about whether they use crates or cages, perform physical alterations, administer antibiotics for disease prevention, or raise slower-growing breeds. Let them know you care about the living conditions of farmed animals and are paying attention.
Antibiotics are routinely misused and overused in factory farming to prop up crowded living environments, rapid growth rates, and other attributes that damage animals’ immunity. This continuous use contributes to the development and spread of bacteria that pose risks to humans that are resistant to the medicines used to treat them. Antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” enter the food supply chain and the environment from farms.
We can work to curb this global public health crisis. Join us in demanding the US Food and Drug Administration restrict the use of antibiotics only to the treatment or control of disease when diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian.
Companies need to regularly hear from their customers about what is important to them. Customer demand helped to push many retailers, restaurants, and producers to commit to higher chicken welfare by 2024 via the Better Chicken Commitment or commit to eliminating cruel gestation crates in the pork supply.
But, we need to ensure companies make good on these and other commitments and make meaningful progress towards their welfare goals. Our reports, such as Quit Stalling and The Pecking Order, show which companies are advancing animal welfare initiatives and which are lagging. By supporting companies that are making strong progress or calling and emailing companies that are failing we can signal a clear, widespread demand for change.
We will be publishing updates to both reports next year, providing additional opportunities for you to contact key companies and help to hold them accountable.
A great way to continue helping farmed animals daily is to eat more plant foods and less animal proteins. The immense scale at which we are producing and consuming meat today has negative implications on our health and the planet. By increasing the demand for plant-based foods we can in turn reduce reliance on farmed animals and make higher welfare production systems—with more space, fewer antibiotics, healthier growth, and more natural environments—more feasible. We can also reduce the role of our food system in climate change and public health crises.
In 2021, we can all #EatLessMeat for a better world for animals and everyone.