Relevant resources, sources, and links relating to the defunding and divestment of factory farming.
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This site serves as a place to share notes relevant to exploring the stigmatization of investing in factory farming as an effective approach to helping animals. It is not currently geared towards campaign targets or the public. When we launch public efforts, we will have a professionally designed site that incorporates compelling materials that highlight why people should care about addressing the concerns associated with industrial animal agriculture.
POtentially Relevant Analogs and Inspirations
Since 2010, over 1000 institutions who collectively invest $8 Trillion, have pledged to divest from fossil fuels.
The Sierra Club's Beyond Coal movement has led to more than half of the coal plants in the US to be be retired or commit to retiring.
"In the last quarter century, advocacy groups have shut down maybe a dozen large factory farms — and the industry has built about 10,000 more. To break out of this game of whack-a-faux-mole, advocates need to find a way to change the economics of factory farming." - Open Philanthropy's Farm Animal Welfare Newsletter: Could We Go Beyond Factory Farming?
Residents successfully withdrew tax breaks and incentives from Tyson, halting its plans for a new slaughterhouse in Kansas.
 See list of 1000+ institutions, worth 8 Trillion+, who divested from fossil fuels See a map of retired, planning to retire, and remaining coal plants in the US See local news story about Tyson's scrapped plans for a new slaugherhouse in Tonganoxie, Kansas
Financial Reports and Case Studies relevant to defunding Big Livestock
Managing environmental risks in meat and dairy supply chains
The Livestock Levy "Over 180 countries now impose a tax on tobacco, 60 jurisdictions tax carbon and at least 25 tax sugar. Is meat next in line?"
Factory farming in Asia "Asia’s meat, seafood and dairy industries face a range of badly managed ESG risks."
Superbugs and super risks "Outlines investment risks linked to farm antibiotic misuse"
Factory farming: assessing investment risks - "Assessing ESG risks in the livestock sector"
Know of relevant case studies or reports that might be helpful? Email us at Research@DefundFactoryFarming.com.
Relevant work re: Defunding Factory Farming
Relevant work: Supporting & Funding PLant-Based Ventures
Media coverage of Factory Farming Divestment
In 2015 Bloomberg wrote about the efforts of Jeremy Coller, founder of London's Coller Capital, to warn investors about the financial risks associated with industrial livestock farms.
In 2016 The Guardian published "Factory farming divestment: what you need to know"
In 2019 Forbes wrote "Thankfully, there is a growing cadre of investors that care very much about the bottom line and see factory farms becoming increasingly vulnerable to the declining health of our planet and its inhabitants, humans included." in Move Over, PETA: Meat Companies Have A New Thorn In Their Side
Lessons from Academia on Divestment Campaigns
"We conclude that divestors can create a demand shift for fossil fuel shares through increasing financial capital costs and decreasing the solvency of fossil fuel firms. Both capital cost and solvency have important impacts on the ability of fossil fuel companies to explore and exploit their resources" Dr. Olaf Weber and Truzaar Dordi, School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development at the University of Waterloo in their 2019 article The Impact of Divestment Announcements on the Share Price of Fossil Fuel Stocks
A study by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford found that the stigmatization of fossil fuel companies caused by divestment can "materially increase the uncertainty surrounding the future cash flows of fossil-fuel companies." That, in turn, "can lead to a permanent compression in the trading multiples – e.g., the share price to earnings (P/E) ratio of a target company." The study goes on to highlight that the stigmatization process poses the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies.
"Our analyses of the arms industry demonstrate that media attacks on the focal firm and its peers both increase the likelihood of divestment for the focal firm. Specifically, attacks on the focal firm are the most consequential, followed by attacks on peers in the same industry subcategory, and by attacks on peers in different subcategories." - From the article Asset divestment as a response to media attacks in stigmatized industries by Jean-Phillippe Vergne of the Ivey Business School.
Know of relevant academic work related that might be helpful? Email us at Research@DefundFactoryFarming.com.
Glossary of terms
Debt: Debt is money borrowed from a lender that must be repaid plus interest on an agreed upon timeline. Investors who lend money to a company do not own part of the company. Debt financiers make money by charging interest. We want to make providing debt to factory farming corporations seem unwise.
Equity: Equity is a piece of a company. Investors purchase equity in a company in order to get a share of the profits of that company. To own 50% of a company is to own a 50% of the equity in a company. A stock is a piece of equity. Equity investors make money when the company profits. We want to make buying equity in confined animal feeding operations, slaughterhouses, and other aspects of the factory farming industry seem risky and unprofitable.
Cash-flow: Cash flow is the net amount of cash and cash-equivalents being transferred into and out of a business. Companies seek to generate positive cash flows. Generally, the more positive a companies cash flow is the more flexible they are and the better they can perform financially. Targeting factory farming companies in a way that limits their cash flow is critical. A company with a poor cash flow is much less likely to expand operations and is vulnerable to see its operations decline.
Liabilities: Libilities are anything that an entity owes or will be obligated to owe in the future. Anytime we can add liabilities to factory farming operations we should work to do so (ex. enact legislation that requires them to pay for the pollution they produce).
Externalities: Externalities are side effects that affect external parties without being reflected in the cost of a good (ex. air pollution caused by factory farming might hurt a communities physical or economic health). As a movement we want to make sure factory farming operations are made to pay for all the negetive side effects that come along with their operations.
Debt-to-equity ratio: Generally, the debt-to-equity ratio is simply debt divided by equity. A high debt-to-equity ratio, tends to make a company's earnings, free cash flow, and ultimately the returns to its investors more risky.
Assets: Assets are anything owned by an entity for the purpose of providing a positive economic value. Any time we can reduce the value of assets held by a big livestock venture we should (ex. legislating a ban on battery cages leads to the cage farms to be worth significantly less).
Divestment: Divestment is the opposite of investment – it simply means getting rid of investments. In the case of divesting from factory farming, it means getting rid of any investment in the various aspects of the big livestock industry which includes slaughterhouses, confined animal feeding operation, and every other business involved in the raising, transporting, killing, processing, and selling of animals at an industrial scale. Defunding industrial animal agriculture requires financeers divest from factory farming.
Factory Farming: Factory farming is the dominant system of rearing livestock that uses intensive, industrialized methods to breed, confine, feed, transport, and slaughter animals on a massive scale. Factory farming is sometimes referred to as industrialized animal agriculture, big livestock, and confined animal feeding operations. The large majority of meat, milk, and eggs produced around the world is done so on factory farms, with 99% of meat in the United States being sourced from factory farms.
We do not know the best way to stop the financing of factory farms. But we have some ideas and we’re going to try. We’re willing to stumble, struggle, and slip up, but not stop. We’re going to run into obstacles. Then we are going to build ways to overcome them. We’re going to make some mistakes. Then we’re going to learn from them.
We welcome the constructive feedback of critics. They’ll show us how we might fail, and then, thanks to their insights, we will avoid doing so. The risk of failing won’t stop us, because the risk of not trying is so much worse. Factory farming needs to stop. Which means factory farm financing needs to stop.
In a movement whose goal is the end of animal suffering, fighting the economic supports that perpetuate factory farming is inevitable. We have every expectation that we’ll see significant success from our divestment work, but even if we don’t there will be substantial value in trying. The popularizing of challenging the economics behind factory farming among animal protection activists coupled with the recruitment and organizing of experts in the fields of economics and finance, who care about animals, will surely bare fruit we can’t even imagine yet.