An anteater relaxing amongst the torched remains of a wildfire.

Climate Week

Animals Are Dying—Help Us Catch This Climate Culprit

Jaguars, anteaters, monkeys, sloths, and countless other animals are threatened by a common enemy–factory farms!


Sign our pledge for no new factory farms!


Wild animals, like jaguars and anteaters, and farmed animals are victims of the same cruel system–industrial animal agriculture (also called “factory farming”). Factory farms are not only the cause of untold suffering for the billions of chickens and millions of pigs, cows, and turkeys raised and slaughtered each year, they are behind the relentless destruction of wild animal habitat worldwide.


In pristine ecosystems of Brazil–the Amazon and Cerrado–fires are often deliberately set, destroying precious habitats and killing or displacing the animals who once thrived there. The fires and clearing of land are also exacerbating climate change by shooting carbon into the atmosphere. 


Despite growing momentum to hold some of the largest climate culprits accountable, factory-farmed meat and dairy continue to be let off the hook.  But the situation for animals and the planet is getting more dire, and we cannot afford to keep giving factory farming a pass.


Destroying Nature to Feed Factory Farms


Factory farming’s impact extends beyond its cruelty to farmed animals and contributions to climate change. It’s a concealed force jeopardizing wild animals and their habitats and pushing endangered species toward the brink of extinction.


Investigations by Reporter Brazil and World Animal Protection have exposed the problem of expanding soy farming for animal feed threatening native forests and wildlife in Brazil.


World Animal Protection has worked with partners in Brazil to help rescue and rehabilitate wild animals displaced or orphaned by wildfires connected to farming’s expansion into native habitats. Animals like Xama the jaguar and Cecilia the anteater are losing their homes and families to feed factory farms.


How Is Factory Farming Linked to Climate Change?

The impacts of factory farms reach far beyond the billions of animals suffering inside them. All along the supply chain, producing meat and dairy on an industrial scale is depleting our natural resources, destroying our forests, polluting our air and waterways, and releasing greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Factory farming is expected to continue to increase around the world in the next few decades, and experts have warned that unless factory farming declines, we cannot achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and keep below the 1.5°C increase maximum.

  • Deforestation and habitat loss: Growing crops, primarily soy and corn, to feed billions of farmed animals is contributing to the destruction of forests and grasslands, releasing carbon into the atmosphere, and decimating wildlife habitats along the way.
  • Carbon emissions: GHG emissions from growing and processing crops to feed farmed animals represent 45% of total agricultural emissions, accounting for the biggest climate change and environmental impacts within this unsustainable system.
  • Methane: Methane is a greenhouse gas with a high climate-warming impact. In the US, factory farms account for 33% of agricultural methane emissions and 13% of total US methane emissions.
  • Food waste: Food waste accounts for 2% of US greenhouse gas emissions. On a consumer and retail level, about 26% of animal products are discarded, meaning billions of animals are suffering and environmental impacts are compounding only for meat and dairy products to end up in landfills.
  • Toxic chemicals: Each year, nearly 250 million pounds of insecticides and herbicides are applied in the US just to the corn and soy grown for animal feed. This large-scale use of hazardous chemicals to produce food for farmed animals is part of an inefficient system of feed crop production that has had detrimental effects on native species, habitats, and biodiversity.

The Biggest Factory Farming Companies Are to Blame

Factory farms confine thousands, even tens of thousands, of sentient beings in crowded barns and feedlots, subjecting them to extreme stress, painful mutilations, chronic injury, and infectious diseases. The companies behind this cruelty are also some of the largest global climate polluters.  

A report from World Animal Protection looked at the climate impacts from the world’s five largest factory farming companies and exposed that they are responsible for emissions equivalent to 36.4 million cars on the road annually. Pig and chicken production from JBS alone causes emissions equivalent to 14 million cars on the road each year, more than double the second biggest factory farming emitter.

Infographic showing the biggest pork processors.

Eliminating or reducing meat consumption is urgently needed to protect animals, halt and reverse the climate crisis, and build toward a more sustainable and kind food system. Our research shows that reducing consumption of pig and chicken products by 50% per person in the US by 2040 would result in a 43% and 41% decrease in the climate change impacts of those industries, respectively.

How You Can Help

Urge your legislators to support the Farm System Reform Act

The factory farming industry can no longer plausibly deny the massive toll it imposes on animals, our planet, and climate. The Farm System Reform Act—a critical piece of legislation introduced in US Congress—would decrease the number of farmed animals kept in extreme confinement and subjected to brutal mutilations. It also calls for imposing a moratorium on new factory farms and stricter environmental standards.

Urge your legislators to support an animal-friendly farm bill

The Farm Bill is an enormous package of legislation that establishes how the government will prioritize and allocate funding for the entire American food system. We must demand that Congress stop directing government funds to support the growth of cruel, heavily polluting mega-farms. Check out our unique Animal Advocates Guide to the Farm Bill, which outlines our asks of Congress and provides ways for you to get involved.

Become an advocate in your community for animal-free, climate-friendly foods

Interested in getting involved in your local community to promote animal-friendly foods? Let us know how we might be able to support your work and get your neighbors, town, schools, or communities excited about ending factory farming and choosing animal-free! Reach out to McKenzie Mak.

How Food Companies Can Help

Set meat reduction targets

Companies committed to social responsibility in their supply chains must set timebound targets for reducing meat procurement. Achieving reductions in meat purchasing will better enable companies to meet emissions reduction, biodiversity protection, and other sustainability targets.

Meaningfully promote plant-based and other animal-free foods

While including plant-based and other innovative proteins on retail shelves and restaurant menus is a positive step, meaningful investment in more sustainable and humane proteins requires food companies to actively promote these foods to their customers. Acknowledging the many environmental and social benefits through in-store and online marketing materials, featuring plant-based products prominently, and creating special offers and deals can greatly benefit your business.