University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
Recommended by:
Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE

Animals for Food

If you are a meat-eater and live for at least 70 years, it has been estimated that in your lifetime you will eat:

  • 30 sheep,
  • 20 pigs,
  • 750 chickens
  • and a small herd of 5 cows.

In developed countries the rise of the supermarkets and particularly their purchasing power means that relative to income, food has never been cheaper. This is one of the factors contributing to the increasing rates of obesity and related illnesses such as heart disease and non-insulin-dependent diabetes.

The conditions by which the meat, poultry and fish, arrive in such plentiful, affordable and sanitised arrays on the supermarket shelves give rise to a number of ethical problems.

CWIF (Compassion in World Farming) is an international organisation that seeks to achieve the global abolition of factory farming and the adoption of agricultural systems that meet the welfare needs of farm animals in the belief that this will also benefit humanity and the environment. Their aim is not only to achieve the ending of factory farming systems but also other practices, technologies and trades which impose suffering on farmed animals.

Activity: Discussion Tasks

1) What factors make “Value” food lines available cheaply at supermarkets?

2) Do you think that people should be made to pay more for meat, fish and poultry products to ensure that farm animals are treated well?

3) What about families on low incomes? If they cannot afford decent food, their health and well-being will suffer. Where do you stand on this issue?


 Animals for subsistence


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