List of figures ... II
Introduction ... 1
1 Factory Farming from an Economic Point of View ... 2
Facts and Economical Benefit ... 2
Consequences of Factory Farming ... 4
2 Factory Farming from an Ethical Point of View ... 6
Handling of Chickens for Fattening within the Factory ... 6
Utilitarian Point of View ... 8
3 Conclusion ... 10
Bibliography ... 13
IST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Commercial meat production... 3
Due to increasing prosperity, the requirement for eating meat is rising steadily and
today meat consumption is a firmly established component of nourishment in
western countries and, increasingly, in developing and emerging countries.
Consumption in Japan, for example, has increased more than six fold since 1960.
Further, the increase in China is higher than 15 times. The divisive factor is that the
consumption of beef, for example, has decreased almost worldwide, while the
consumption of chicken has increased noticeable. The USA represents this fact
very prominently, as the consumption of beef decreased by 20 per cent between
1975 and 2010, whilst the chicken consumption has tripled. The turning point was
in 1990, when there was more chicken consumption than beef consumption for the
Considering that this trend can not only be noticed in the USA, but rather
worldwide, this document will focus on the meat production of the so-called
chickens for fattening and examine the economic and ethical benefit in more detail.
The paper will give answers to different issues and analyse these throughout. For
example it will introduce the topic with the question why factory farming has
occupied such an important significance within today's society and whether this
way of production can effectively satisfy the needs of the society. The essence of
this paper is the ethical aspect of factory farming. The most important questions
raised will be if such an amount of animals has to die in order that human race is
feeding better, and whether the welfare of humanity can ethically justify the
suffering of animals. The document is divided into two parts. The first section will
explain the term factory farming and deal with the economic component of it. The
second part will refer to the ethical aspect of killing massive numbers of animals. It
will give an insight into ethical perspectives and analyse the theme of the first part
with the help of the ethical view. In this way it is tried to give a complete overview
on the subject regarding business ethics in the range of animal husbandry.
Cf. Herzog, H. (2012), pp. 192, 210.
ARMING FROM AN
To be able to discuss and analyse the theme and the meaning of factory farming,
the question first arises: What is understood by the term factory farming in the
proper sense? Factory farming, also known as animal husbandry, denotes
concentrated keeping of animals, especially poultry, cattle and pigs, in vast
numbers living in the smallest spaces to produce animal based foods. It is a term
that is difficult to explain in more detail, but all the more easy to detect. More
specifically, it is a matter of a system of intensive and industrial agriculture, by
which often up to ten thousand animals are squeezed in into stables to wait for their
In Germany alone, more than 638 million chickens for fattening were slaughtered in
2014 to offset the steadily rising meat demand, which is at an average of eleven
kilograms per German citizen.
Regarding the term factory farming, the answer to
the question how do meat producers deal with the high demand of meat, is
obvious. The stock density in German stables reaches a total of up to 42 kilograms
live weight per square metre, which equals more than 26 chickens living on one
As a consequence, a chicken has no more space as if living on a
DIN A4 sheet. In comparison to laying hens, which are solely responsible for the
production of eggs, a chicken for fattening has considerably less space. But exactly
this saving of space makes it possible for producers to withstand the ever-growing
pressure to produce more meat. Essentially, one can say that the production of
chicken equals an industrial production. The fact that the slaughter is conducted
with the help of machines is assisting this statement.
Based on the following diagram from 2015 regarding the commercial meat
production in Germany, one can easily extract that the production of poultry in
comparison to pork and especially in relation to beef has increased enormously.
Chicken production also records a rising trend in Germany.
Cf. Foer, J. (2013), p. 45.
Cf. Destatis Statistisches Bundesamt (2015),
Cf. Rat der Europäischen Union (2007), p. 22.
Fig. 1: Commercial meat production (Source: Destatis - Statistisches Bundesamt (2015))
The enormous meat consumption is not the only issue chicken producers have to
deal with. The even bigger problem is that the human race wants to eat more meat,
but is not willing to pay more money even though the calls for humane keeping of
animals are growing ever louder in Germany.
From this vantage point, the industry
had to realize they need more animals, which can produce more meat at lower
costs. Presently, Germany offers the cheapest meat production in Europe and the
German factories try to maintain this competitive advantage. As a result, the price
development of meat has changed enormously regarding the last few years. Since
1950, prices for almost every good or service have increased. Prices for cars or
properties for example have increased by approximately 1,500 per cent, whilst the
price for eggs and poultry has not even doubled within the same period.
Considering the inflation rate, animal protein today is even cheaper than ever, but
only if external costs were not included. These are for example agricultural
subsidies, environmental pollution, which comes along with factory farming and
Cf. Meyer-Radtke, M. (2013), http://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article122525399/Fleischhunger-der-
Cf. Foer, J. (2013), pp. 114 ff.
Excerpt out of 17 pages
- Quote paper
- Anna Rüttger (Author), 2016, Factory Farming. Economical and ethical examination on poultry meat, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/374939