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What Is the Farm System Reform Act And Why Is It So Important?



We can transform our food system and ban factory farming by 2040. Here’s how.

Right now, more than 70 billion animals are farmed for food each year – two-thirds of whom are raised on factory farms in conditions where they can’t move freely or live naturally. Sadly, cows, pigs, turkeys, and chickens raised on factory farms are among the most abused animals in the world. Yet not a single federal law in the United States protects animals during their lives on factory farms. What’s more, the only law that’s supposed to protect animals when they arrive at slaughterhouses, the Humane Slaughter Act, doesn’t extend to birds, leaving the vast majority of animals raised for food with virtually no protection from abuse.

Big multinational corporations turn massive profits by cramming farmed animals into barren sheds and massive feedlots. As a result, billions of animals suffer miserable lives, not to mention the detrimental environmental toll factory farming has on our planet. From polluting nearby waterways and drinking water, to releasing more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined, factory farming is destroying our planet and wasting precious resources. In fact, the United States has five times as many livestock animals as humans and it takes a lot of land, water, and other valuable resources to grow feed for the meat that ends up on our plates.

The Farm System Reform Act (FSRA) would overhaul our broken food system by placing a moratorium on the largest factory farms—immediately prohibiting the creation or expansion of these monstrous factories and requiring they be phased out by 2040. It’s the first step towards shifting away from our current factory farming model and toward a more sustainable and kinder food system.

This critical piece of legislation was first introduced in the US Senate by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, is co-sponsored by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and has a companion bill in the House by California Representative Ro Khanna. World Animal Protection is proud to be one of many leading organizations that has endorsed the Farm System Reform Act.

“If we actually care about farmers, we need to fix the policies to support them. We can’t let family farms continue to get consolidated until our food system lacks the diversity and innovation that makes the American economy what it is. pic.twitter.com/zqBiVgrxAV

— Rep. Ro Khanna (@RepRoKhanna) May 13, 2020

This proposed bill would decrease the number of farmed animals kept in extreme confinement and subjected to brutal mutilations, as well as reduce the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture. It also calls for uplifting independent family farmers, protecting frontline workers, rural communities, and public health, and rebuilding our broken food system. Among the reforms is an immediate moratorium - or “pause” - on the construction of new or expanding large factory farms while also initiating a phaseout of existing large factory farms by 2040.

Additionally, included in the Farm System Reform Act, is $100 billion for farmer buyouts and debt forgiveness over the span of 10 years, along with programs for transitioning to alternative and healthy agriculture activities like pasture-based livestock, specialty crop cultivation, or organic commodity production. The bill would hold factory farms responsible for their environmental impacts. The FSRA would also restore mandatory country-of-origin labeling requirements for cow, pig, and dairy products as well as prohibit the U.S. Department of Agriculture from labeling meat products imported from other countries as “Product of USA.”

Finally, this visionary bill will reverse decades of predatory corporate agriculture by strengthening the Packers & Stockyards Act to protect family farmers and ranchers and reduce an inconceivable amount of blatant animal abuse by moving to higher welfare farming systems. By passing the Farm System Reform Act, we can also make our agricultural system less vulnerable to future pandemics like COVID-19.

Taking on one of the most powerful special interest groups in Washington—the multinational animal agricultural industry—is going to require all of us working together. Join the thousands of people who have emailed their Senators and Representatives urging them to #SupportFSRA

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