A report by the World Animal Protection underscores the perilous link between factory farming emissions and the worsening climate disasters experienced in the Global South.

The report highlights the impact of intensive animal agriculture on small-holder farming, a sector vital for the livelihoods and food security of 1.7 billion people.

Factory farms in the Global North have been identified as responsible for a staggering $8.65 billion in damage during recent climate-related disasters in Africa, Asia, and South America.

Looking ahead, the economic costs associated with climate-driven disasters are projected to surpass $1 trillion annually by 2050.

Of this, factory farms are expected to contribute over $100 billion, highlighting their significant role in exacerbating climate-related challenges.

The resource-intensive nature of factory farming is identified as a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, intensifying heatwaves, wildfires, floods, and droughts globally.

The report details how vast areas of wild habitat are decimated to cultivate crops for animal feed, leading to the loss of biodiversity and increased carbon emissions.

The entire process, from factory farm to dinner plate, releases approximately six trillion tons of emissions into the atmosphere.

Pigs in a cage. Image: courtesy (WAP).
Pigs in a cage. Image: courtesy (WAP).

Beyond environmental concerns, the report sheds light on the severe animal welfare issues prevalent in factory farms.

Billions of caged animals endure cruelty, with cramped conditions necessitating the use of antibiotics, contributing to antimicrobial resistance.

Moreover, animals are subjected to painful mutilation and accelerated growth practices, resulting in debilitating injuries.

Leading meat producers, such as Brazil-based JBS, are highlighted for prioritising profit over ethical and sustainable practices, contributing to deforestation and environmental degradation.

The looming surge in factory farming in Africa, driven by a projected 30 percent rise in meat demand, raises concerns about increased emissions and the displacement of sustainable farming systems.

In response to these alarming findings, World Animal Protection urges governments at COP28 to impose a 10-year moratorium on new factory farms and to redirect financial support for adaptation and loss and damage towards smallholder farmers in the developing world.

The call to action underlines the intertwined challenges of animal cruelty and climate change, asserting that addressing factory farming is essential for achieving the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement and securing a climate-safe future.