System of modern animal farming designed to yield the most meat, milk, and eggs in the least amount of time and space possible. The term, descriptive of standard farming practice in the U.S., is frequently used by animal-rights activists, who maintain that animal-protection measures routinely ignore farm animals. Animals are often fed growth hormones, sprayed with pesticides, and fed antibiotics to mitigate the problems of infestation and disease that are exacerbated by crowded living conditions. Chickens spend their lives crowded into small cages, often so tightly that they cannot turn around; the cages are stacked in high batteries, and the length of day and night are artificially controlled to maximize egg laying. Veal calves are virtually immobilized in narrow stalls for their entire lives. These and numerous other practices have long been decried by critics.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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