Factory Farming

The Issues

Expanding the scale and magnitude of cruelty

Intensive animal farming has had a rapid expansion over the past 50 years due to population growth and the steep increase in animal consumption. The industry is largely focused on profitability, low cost and high yields. In this approach, cheap means cruel.

There’s plenty of information around to illustrate just how barbaric factory farming is, but most governments are focused on protecting the revenues gained from factory farming, rather than looking at more sustainable, profitable and kinder alternatives.

Innovative ways to increase suffering

Factory farm cruelty is well documented, and cruel ‘innovations’ are proudly advertised by the industry. From machines to cut the throats of chickens to gas chambers for pigs, death is delivered on a grand scale on a factory farm.

Lowlights of typical factory farm life:

Egg farming

DA HALL egg farm, near Millmerran, QLD

  • There are around 21 million layer hens confined in egg farms in Australia.
  • Young chicks endure painful ‘debeaking’ procedures, to stop them pecking each other as the crowded and stressful environments causes them to fight; many chickens starve to death after being debeaked as it's too painful to eat or drink. 
  • ​Males are considered ‘waste’ and killed at birth, usually by being macerated alive, gassed or thrown into bins and left to die.

Chicken Meat (Broilers)

Young chickens arriving at Inghams slaughterhouse, Brisbane.

  • Over 650 million chickens are slaughtered in Australia every year. They live short, painful lives, typically crammed into sheds containing tens of thousands of other chickens.
  • Selective breeding means these birds grow at 3 times the natural rate, in order to reach slaughter weight in just 35 days. This causes skeletal, metabolic and cardiac issues, leading to pain, suffering and sudden death. 


Bobby calves at a saleyard near Brisbane.

  • Male calves, taken from their mothers within hours of birth can be legally killed by blunt force trauma on the farm, or sent to a slaughterhouse after just 5 days. Around 700,000 bobby calves are killed in their first week in Australia every year.
  • Dairy cows are kept in a permanent state of pregnancy. Their calves are taken away at birth, so that the milk intended for their babies can be bottled for human consumption. Mothers cry out for days after their babies are taken. This happens year after year until they cannot keep producing babies and milk, and they are sent to slaughter.

Pig farming

A mother pig & her babies in a farrowing crate.

  • Boars are kept in ‘boar stalls’ that are so small, the boars cannot turn around. They are only let out for breeding purposes. See our boar stall investigation here.
  • Mother sows are confined in farrowing crates, unable to reach their piglets. Many piglets are crushed under their mothers, unable to move. 
  • Piglets are subjected to painful procedures like castration, teeth and tail clipping, all without anaesthetics or pain relief.


Beef City Feedlot, near Toowoomba

  • At any given time in Australia, there are around 1 million cattle confined to one of the hundreds of feedlots - the majority of these feedlots being in Queensland. 
  • Cattle can remain in close confinement in these feedlots for over 400 days, with no grass to graze on and are fed an unnatural diet of wheat, barley and sorghum in order to ‘fatten’ them for slaughter.
  • They experience stress, boredom and frustration every day and have little protection from the elements. They can stay in these environments for up to 450 days before they’re sent off to be slaughtered.


All of this is considered legal and acceptable. This is factory farming in Australia.


Products rather than animals

Modern factory farming sees animals treated just like things – numbers, commodities, products, and our laws classify farmed animals as ‘property’. That means they’re not even protected by the laws that protect other animals like cats and dogs. Much of what humans do to animals raised for food would be illegal if it was being done to pets. Most people would be appalled at what happens on factory farms; that’s why so many are hidden from view, and why lobbied leaders make laws to keep them protected from the public eye. These ‘Ag Gag’ laws help to make it illegal to film or photograph cruelty to animals on farms. 

What’s a CAFO?

CAFO stands for “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation”. It’s a vast spread of cages, stalls, pens or racks where thousands of animals are confined to be fed and fattened up before slaughter. CAFOs can be indoor or outdoor, but one common defining feature is there’s definitely no vegetation.

In a CAFO, animals’ movement is severely restricted, whether they’re in an enclosure packed with many other animals, or in tiny cages. Livestock feed is trucked in and water is used up in vast quantities, draining local supplies.

Massive waste pools accumulate and force the animals to breathe in fetid and sometimes fatally gassy air. Microbial pathogens from manure taint food and water supplies. Pests and parasites accumulate in huge numbers. They cause diseases and they’re sprayed with poisons that end up contaminating the surrounding area and waterways.

It’s hell for the animals and it’s hell for the environment.

What are we doing?

  • Investigating and documenting reports of animal cruelty in Queensland.
  • Working with a number of other animal rights groups to conduct ground breaking investigations to help get the truth out into the public spotlight.
  • We have produced a broad range of brochures on various factory farming issues which are freely available to the public.
  • Encouraging the public to take animals off their plate through Vegan4Life.


What can you do?

  • Avoid animal products – take our 30 Day Vegan Challenge and learn how easy it is to go vegan.
  • Become a member or make a donation and help give us the funds to conduct investigations and expose this cruelty
  • Volunteer with Animal Liberation Queensland and get involved with our campaigns
  • Write to your local leaders and politicians about the horrors of factory farming, and tell them you don’t want your tax money being used to subsidise it
  • Talk to people about factory farming and why we should avoid supporting it - spread the word

Find out more:


“In 1966, it took one million farms to house 57 million pigs; by the year 2001, it only took 80,000 farms to house the same number of pigs.”

- Public Health Nutrition paper: Public health implications of meat production and consumption