Industrial farming strives for consistency of product and volume of output. In contrast, high-welfare, pasture-based farms that participate in programs such as Animal Welfare Approved strive to breed animals who are healthy and hearty.
56 billion animals (not including fish) are slaughtered globally each year in the meat, dairy, and egg industries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Animals raised for food comprise about 98% of all animals used by humans in various industries.
In today’s specialized food system, the majority of animals raised for food are transported to different locations based on their "stage of production" such as breeding or fattening. At minimum, animals are transported from the farm to the slaughterhouse, and many will be subjected to the additional stress of a livestock auction.
Every hour, some 1,000,000 chickens, 13,000 pigs and 4,000 cows are slaughtered for human consumption in the United States. It is a process that takes place far from public view, and one that few know very much about.
Most of the meat, poultry, dairy and eggs sold in American grocery stores and restaurants come from animals raised under intensive conditions on "factory farms." Animals on these operations suffer pain and stress as a result of extreme confinement, bodily mutilations without pain relief, and denial of the opportunity to behave normally.