Why Stigmatize Investment in Factory Farming?

Efforts to stigmatize funding factory farms and encourage divestment will help animals, the environment, public safety, and protect investors from needless financial risks.

Stigmatizing investment so New factory farms Cannot get Financed

Every new factory farm requires investment capital. This capital is raised through debt or equity. Investors acquire this debt and/or equity expecting to profit, believing the risk is worth the potential profit. There are many ways to convince investors that factory farming operations are too risky to be good investments. This is our job. We need to stigmatize investment in factory farming as too risky to be profitable. One of the many ways we can work to stigmatize investment in industrial animal agriculture is by running campaigns to encourage college endowments, pension funds, and charitable trusts to publicly pledge to never invest their collective trillions in the factory farming industry.

The Scale of Impact

Stigmatize factory farming as a bad investment triggering divestment leading to further stigmatization.

Seeds become trees that plant seeds.

Ad infinitum.

Divesting billions from industrial animal agriculture will be the smallest impact we have.

An Oxford study of fossil fuel divestment efforts found the stigmatization caused by divestment "can lead to a permanent compression in the trading multiples". This permanent compression is the key to the most far reaching impacts we can have.

This is how the decline of an industry like factory farming happens: bit by bit, compounding over time, investors will recognize the risks in factory farming. There will be less and less investment, less and less new factory farms, and finally, we will see a reduction in factory farming operations. Compounding the effects of stigmatization over time will play a key role in a future where no animals are on factory farms.

Compounding Impact, Feedback Loops, and domino effects

  • The more divestment commitments we get the easier it will be to get divestment commitments.
  • The less investment there is in factory farming the less big livestock is able to lobby politicians the less favorable laws and subsidies are to factory farming corporations the less profit can be made the less investment there will be in factory farming.
  • The more social and business influencers speak out against funding factory farming and in favor of plant-based foods the easier it will be for additional influencers to speak up.
  • The more viable and popular plant-based ventures become the more competition for factory farmed products the less revenue made by the industry the more interest there will be in plant-based ventures the scale of plant-based food producers increases the cost of plant-based foods decreases the more viable plant-based ventures become.
  • The more inspiring we can make this movement to stigmatize investment in factory farming the more other groups, such as environmental NGO's, will take up action to end factory farming the more action being taken the more success we will see the more inspiring this movement will be.

Compelling reasons to defund factory farming

The most compelling reason for defunding factory farming will differ from person to person. Generally, fund managers will care about financial risks. Invested institutions will care about their reputation and ROI. Environmentalists will care about reducing environmental impacts. The animal protection movement will care about reducing animal suffering. Other actors will be moved by other motives. It is our job to be deliver a compelling tailored approach in any given context.

Below is a messy and incomplete list of reasons to divest from factory farming. They are in no particular order. We wouldn't share this list with targets. Effective persuasion requires a more tailored and thoughtful approach. We're sharing it here and now because it would benefit the animal protection movement to better understand what types of risks (vulnerabilities) exist that might prove problematic for the factory farming industry.

Factory farming is a risky investment

  • There are at least 28 environmental, social and governance issues that could significantly damage the short or long-term financial value of investments in the factory farming industry - Farm Animal Investment Risk and Reward Initiative: Factory farming: assessing investment risks
  • Financial risks caused by the accelerating availability and popularity of plant-based competing products
    • The market for meat, milk, and eggs produced by factory farming are vulnerable to disruption. The cost of producing equivalent and preferable products from plant sources is considerably lower. Using animals is costly. It takes less resources to make milk from soybeans than to many more soybeans to cows so that they can produce milk.
    • "It is inherently more efficient to make meat directly from plants rather than cycle feed crops through animals" - https://www.gfi.org/plant-based-meat-will-be-less-expensive
    • Examples to cite
      • Rapid increase in non-dairy milks market penetration
      • Speeding adoption of plant-based meats at fast food operations
  • Financial risks related to environmental issues
    • Costs of rising temperature
      • "The economic losses due to heat stress were estimated by St-Pierre et al. (2003) for the major livestock industries in the United States. In the dairy and beef industries, heat stress had a negative economic impact of $897 million and $369 million per year, respectively" - Animal Frontiers - Impact of heat stress on milk and meat production
    • Other environmental risks/costs to cite
      • Green house gas emission and associated and carbon taxes
      • Water pollution
      • NIMBY lawsuits
      • Water scarcity
      • Soil degradation
      • Air pollution
      • Climate change
  • Financial risks related social and public health issues
    • Financial loss as a result of the spread of disease
      • According to economist Thomas Elam of the Indiana-based consulting group FarmEcon the industry lost $3.3 billion as a result of the the US bird flu outbreak in 2015 - National Geographic
    • Other social and public health issues risks/costs to cite
      • Class-action lawsuits
      • Antibiotic resistance
      • Labor pool
      • Human rights and labor concerns
      • Food contamination and product recalls
  • Financial risks related to governance issues
    • Governance risks/costs to cite
      • Threats to subsidy supports
      • Tariffs, taxation, and import bans
      • Increasing regulation
        • Animal welfare regulations
          • Capital costs associated with transitioning away from banned practices (ex. battery cages)
        • Labor regulations
        • Environmental regulations

Defunding factory farming will help animals

  • Factory farming is the single greatest cause of animal suffering.
  • The number of animals suffering on factory farms can increase significantly when capital is provided to build new infrastructure.
  • There is a lot we can say on this point, but it seems obvious that getting rid of factory farms will help animals. This site serves as a place to share notes relevant to this work and is not currently geared towards campaign targets or the public. When we launch public efforts, we will have a professionally designed site that incorporates a compelling illustration highlighting why people should care about the plight of animals on these farms.

Defunding factory farming will protect the environment

How factory farms hurt the environment

  • Will expand this before we launch. It is generally pretty well accepted in the movement that factory farms are horrible for the environment.

Research on big livestock's contribution to environmental destruction

Media on factory farming's environmental impacts

Defunding factory farming will protect human Health

  • Infectious diseases (Avian Flu, Swine Flu, etc)
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Food poisoning
  • Climate disasters
  • Water and air quality
  • Food scarcity
  • Better nutrition
  • Better labor conditions