Factory farming has many drawbacks. In addition to animal cruelty, which tops the list, there is environmental damage from animal waste, pesticides and hormone residues, the exploitation of workers, increased crime in areas where farms operate and a decrease in property values resulting from contaminated ground water, insect swarms and foul odors.
Now it seems financial investment firms are taking notice of these problems as well. Recently the Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return network (FAIRR), released its report noting factory farming operations carry at least 28 separate environmental, social and governance (or ESG) risks, many of which were poorly understood or concealed from investors.
These risks included food safety scandals as well as fines for environmental damage, which could have a negative impact the on the financial performance of companies across the entire food chain, including large agri-business, food retailers and restaurants.
At its very core factory farming is all about making huge profits, but to do this means cutting as many corners as possible and, where the risk of detection is minimal or the fines pale in comparison to the damage caused, breaking laws enacted to protect animals, workers and the environment.
Factory farm corporations are so good at hiding the truth, or spinning it to the point that no one understands what is happening, that both consumers and investors are unaware that they are supporting one of the most destructive forces on the planet. Hopefully investors will wake up and start suing factory farm corporations for investor fraud and misrepresentation