The Biden administration must phase out factory farming if it hopes to fulfill the “Biden Plan“. The Biden administration’s plan is aimed at economic reformation through a clean energy revolution and massive infrastructural changes. The Biden Plan ensures a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. As the president, Biden has the power to appoint secretaries of Cabinets, that includes the secretary of agriculture. The United State’s Department of Agriculture is a government agency that supports and regulates America’s agricultural practices, meaning that they largely determine the future of America’s industrial agriculture. Citizens have been urging Biden-Harris administration to implement environmental policies that will limit animal-welfare risks.
What is Factory Farming?
Factory farming refers to a type of agriculture farming in which animals are bred and raised in rigidly controlled conditions. Factory farms produce food and textiles from animals’ eggs, milk, and flesh. The effect that animal agriculture, also known as factory farming, has on human well-being is complex. On one hand, humans depend on factory faming for food, medicine and jobs globally. Animal agriculture props up the economies of many developed and developing nations, especially those who have rich tropical forests and abundantly diverse ecological communities. Nature’s contributions empowers smaller nations to leverage their lands resources and trade internationally.
On the other hand, however, animal agriculture can be framed as the commodification of nature and disregard for natural habitats. Agriculture that involves breeding and raising animals requires generous amounts of food and water to keep those animals alive. Acres of farmland are exclusively used to grow crops to feed farm animal populations, making the soil unfit to grow human-consumable crops. Acquiring space to grow animal crops often involves clearing and burning down forests. This practice not only releases greenhouse gases from the trees the once stored them, but it also preclude trees and other vegetation from acting as carbon sinks. Plants are incapable of absorbing and storing carbon if they have been cut down or burned to death.
The Biden Proposal
The Biden proposal announces the significance of clean energy investments and incentives for clean energy initiatives. Part of this proposal is a $1.7 trillion federal investment over a ten-year span. This is no piffling promise, considering that agriculture props up in the United States economy. In the year 2019, agriculture and farming industries contributed $1.109 trillion to the national gross domestic product.
While factory farming does provide America with ample food and jobs, its also a central cause of greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation and vegetation clearing for livestock crops intensify the greenhouse effect caused by heat trapping gases: fewer trees and less vegetation means that there will be less carbon dioxide being absorbed from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide sequestration will be crucially instrumental for limiting atmospheric carbon levels.
If the Biden Administration is serious about reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050, then factory farming will have to be replaced by more sustainable farming.
Plant-based farming is More Sustainable
Factory farming is not compatible with the promise of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 according to the Biden administration’s own deadline. Plant-based agriculture is more sustainable than factory farming- it takes less farm-land and water to feed only humans than it takes to feed both humans and livestock. The Biden administration will need to incentivize farmers who are switching from animal agriculture to plant-based agriculture. Likewise, farmers who are transitioning (or have already transitioned) to renewable energy, such as wind, solar and biomass energy should be encouraged through subsidy.