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How ‘Megafarms’ are Causing Animal Suffering in the UK 

The number of ‘megafarms’ is growing in the UK and causing more animals to suffer
than ever.


As we work to #EndFactoryFarming in the UK, we must call on the UK Government to put a stop to the rise of this intensive confinement of animals.

What Are 'Megafarms'?

The face of British farming is changing, with the number of intensive farms having risen by 25% since 2011 - many of which fit the description of a ‘megafarm’. 

These latest figures show there are almost 800 ‘megafarms’ in the UK, most of which house poultry – with the largest housing a staggering 1.7million chickens. 'Mega farms’, as defined by the US criteria for a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), are when a facility has at least:

  • 125,000 broiler chickens (chickens raised for meat), or 
  • 82,000 laying hens (hens which produce eggs) or pullets (chickens used for breeding), or
  • 2,500 pigs,
  • 700 dairy cattle, or 
  • 1,000 beef cattle
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Why We Need to Ban 'Megafarms'

In the past, pandemics like bird flu and swine flu have originated on factory farms. As recently as July this year, a flu strain similar to the strain in 2009 was recently discovered in China.

Intensive confinement provides viruses with the perfect breeding grounds to spread. The animals are usually kept in cramped conditions with frequently close contact to other animals, and being genetically similar it means it is easier for a virus to spread from one animal to the next.

More animals also means more suffering when it comes to ‘megafarms’. Higher numbers of animals often have little room to move around or carry out their natural behaviours, before they are sent to slaughter at an age well below their natural life-span.

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Why We Need to #LiveKinder

Unfortunately, ‘megafarms’ exist in order to fulfil our overwhelming demand for animal products in the UK. This is why, in order to ban ‘megafarms,’ we must simultaneously work to decrease our consumption of animal products and call for an end to factory farming.  

You can play your part by taking the pledge to reduce or eliminate animal products.

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take the pledge

Reduce your meat intake

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Jenny Canham

Campaigns Officer

Jenny works in the Campaigns Team at FOUR PAWS UK, and manages the UK farmed animal campaigns Make Food Kinder and Wear it Kind. She has a background in journalism, and has worked across various animal non-profits and grassroots advocacy organisations in the UK and internationally.

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