Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 37–54

Industrial Farming is Not Cruel to Animals


DOI: 10.1007/s10806-017-9652-0

Cite this article as:
Hsiao, T. J Agric Environ Ethics (2017) 30: 37. doi:10.1007/s10806-017-9652-0


Critics of industrial animal agriculture (also known as “factory” farming) have argued that its practices are cruel, inhumane, or otherwise degrading to animals. These arguments sometimes form the basis of a larger case for the complete abolition of animal agriculture, while others argue for more modest welfare-based reforms that allow for certain types of industrial farming. This paper defends industrial farming against the charge of cruelty. As upsetting as certain practices may seem, I argue that they need not be construed as cruel or inhumane. Any link between industrial farming and cruelty or inhumanity is contingent on certain cultural, behavioral, and psychological facts that are person-dependent. For many people working in animal agriculture, these facts do not obtain. To be sure, industrial animal agriculture has real moral hazards that must be carefully avoided, but all that this shows is that working with animals is not for everyone.


Industrial farming Factory farming Animal rights Sentience Vegetarianism Anthropocentrism 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Arts, Humanities, and Social SciencesFlorida SouthWestern State CollegeFort MyersUSA

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