Animal Agriculture

The meat, eggs and dairy at the center of many plates are also at the center of some of our world’s greatest threats to the environment, public health, workers’ rights and animal welfare.

Animal products are the most resource-intensive foods in our diet — they require massive water and energy inputs and generate significant greenhouse gas emissions, soil, air and water pollution.

In order to avert the worst impacts of climate change and protect water supplies for future generations, we must produce and eat “less and better.” This means consuming fewer animal products, supporting the farmers and ranchers who are raising animals sustainably and making sure that everyone has access to the healthiest options.


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Most animals are raised in factory farms where they are fed a diet of genetically engineered corn and soy, grown with toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers which pollute our rivers and groundwater. Raising billions of animals in confined areas also generates massive amounts of toxic manure that pollute our air and water — especially in nearby communities.

Overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture contributes to the rise of antibiotic resistant “superbugs,” one of our most pressing public health problems. Jobs on factory farms and slaughterhouses are associated with some of the highest rates of worker injury and illness.

To solve these problems, we must dramatically reduce meat consumption, reform current animal agriculture practices and shift to more sustainable livestock production. More sustainably-raised options, like pastured organic meat and dairy, are better for people and the planet.

  • Food & Agriculture Tell Congress: Help farmers grow sustainable, healthy food
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  • Food & Agriculture Tell your Senators to stop Trump’s attack on organic agriculture
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  • Food & Agriculture Tell Congress: Stop forcing sustainable farmers to foot the bill for Big Ag’s lobbying
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Take Action. Eat Better.

Latest News See All
Friends of the Earth Statement on the Confirmation of Tom Vilsack as Agriculture Secretary

Secretary Vilsack’s second tour at US Department of Agriculture must look dramatically different than his first.

Friends of the Earth Statement on Impending Nomination of Tom Vilsack for USDA Secretary

We are deeply disappointed that President-elect Biden appears to have selected an agribusiness lobbyist with a tarnished record on civil rights, consolidation, and the environment as his USDA Secretary.

160+ Organizations Urge President-Elect Biden to Withdraw Heidi Heitkamp from Consideration for USDA Secretary

A coalition of more than 160 environmental, food justice, sustainable agriculture, workers’ rights, animal welfare, social justice, public health, and anti-hunger organizations sent a letter today to President-Elect Biden, Vice President-Elect Harris, and their transition team opposing Heidi Heitkamp as a potential nominee for USDA Secretary.

Latest Blog Posts See All
Cluck, no! Why choosing chicken over beef won’t save us

Swapping factory-farmed hamburgers for chicken wings will fail to adequately address the climate catastrophe and would actually exacerbate many of the pressing environmental, health, and worker justice problems that are more urgent than ever in the time of COVID-19.

Biden’s ambitious goals for climate and agriculture require bolder strategies
Biden’s ambitious goals for climate and agriculture require bolder strategies

The need for change is urgent, and the benefits to farmer and worker livelihoods, our climate, natural resources, and public health is immense.

Tragedy in America’s meatpacking plants linked to decades-long history of corporate consolidation
Tragedy in America’s meatpacking plants linked to decades-long history of corporate consolidation

Despite their significant role in feeding the country during this crisis, food and agriculture  workers, and meatpacking workers in particular, have not been adequately protected.

Featured Resources See All
Resources See All
  • USDA Foods: How a $1.3 billion program can be transformed to create a more just and healthy food system
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  • Genetically Engineered Animals: From Lab to Factory Farm
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  • Chain Reaction IV: Burger Edition
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