Current Environmental Health Reports

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 313–321 | Cite as

Farm Animal Welfare and Human Health

Food, Health, and the Environment (KE Nachman, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Food, Health, and the Environment


The paper examines the relationship between farm animal welfare, industrial farm animal production, and human health consequences. The data suggest that when the animal welfare of land-based farm animals is compromised, there are resulting significant negative human health consequences due to environmental degradation, the use of non-therapeutic levels of antibiotics for growth promotion, and the consequences of intensification. This paper accepts that even if meat and fish consumption is reduced, meat and fish will be part of the diet of the future. Industrial production modified from the current intensified systems will still be required to feed the world in 2050 and beyond. This paper identifies the concept of sustainable intensification and suggests that if farm animal welfare is improved, many of the human health consequences of intensified industrial production can be eliminated or reduced. In water-based farm animal production, many new systems are resulting in a product that actually protects the environment and can be done at industrial levels without the use of antibiotics.


Farm animal welfare CAFOs Sustainable intensification Human health Aquaculture 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Global Food Ethics Policy ProgramJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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