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Animal-free agriculture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Animal-free agriculture, or stockfree farming, consists of farming methods that do not use animals or animal products.[1][2] Animal-free growers do not keep domesticated animals and do not use animal products such as farmed animal manures or animal parts (bone meal, blood meal, fish meal) to fertilize their crops.[3] Emphasis is placed on using green manures instead.[4]

Animal-free farming may use organic or non-organic farming techniques. However, most detailed discussions of animal-free agriculture currently focus on animal-free organic variants.[3] In the European Union, farmers have a financial incentive to use manure instead of animal-free fertilisers, since manure is subsidised. However, organic manure is not subsidised.[5]

Industrial agriculture with synthetic fertilizers is animal-free.[3] In the United States, few industrial farms use manure. Of all U.S. cropland, only 5% was manured in 2006.[6]

Veganic farmers take measures such as refraining from making large disturbances in the soil of the land and cultivating a variety of plants in the ground. Farmers practice covering their soil to protect its condition from the harsh sunlight as often as possible. This form of farming "encompasses a respect for the animals, the environment, and human health."[1]

Some of the plant-based techniques used in veganic agriculture include mulch, compost, chipped branched wood, crop rotation and more.[7]

History of animal-free agriculture


  • The World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species reports that most of the world's threatened species are experiencing habitat loss as a result of livestock production conducted through animal agriculture.[8]
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest releases Six Arguments for a Greener Diet that found that a plant-rich diet "leads to much less food poisoning, water pollution, air pollution, global warming."[8]


  • Research published in the journal Nature Communications finds that vegan diets have the best land use and are the only way to feed the global population by 2050.[8]
  • The World Resources Institute published the report: Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future which showed that if people who consume large amounts of meat and dairy changed to diets with more plant-based meals could reduce agriculture's pressure on the environment.[8]


  • University of Edinburgh researchers find that animal farming is the leading cause of food waste as it is responsible for the most losses of all harvested crops on Earth (40%) due to secondary consumption.[9]
  • Forbes Magazine publishes a compilation of recent vegan and plant-based business successes noting that vegan living is becoming more a norm because of its positive impact on sustainability.[8]


  • Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences find that a vegan shift would increase the US food supply by a third, eliminating all of the losses due to food waste and feeding all Americans as well as roughly 390,000,000 more.[10]
  • A Harvard study found that shifting all beef production in the U.S. to pastured, grass-fed systems would require 30% more cattle, increase beef's methane emissions by 43%, and would require much more land than is available.[11]


  • A report from the Humane Party determines that vegan-organic agriculture can be 4,198% more productive than animal-based agriculture in the amount of food produced per acre.[12]
  • Veganic farmer Will Bonsall told The Guardian that most vegetables are "very un-vegan” due to being grown using inputs of animal-based products.[13]

Advantages of animal-free agriculture

Livestock in the United States produce 230,000 pounds of manure per second, and nitrogen from these wastes is converted into ammonia and nitrates which leach into ground and surface water causing contamination of wells, rivers and streams. Mature compost of plant-based origins, used in animal-free agriculture, can reduce leaching of nitrate which leads to an improvement in groundwater quality and counteracts the eutrophication of surface waters.[14]

Animal free agriculture has the potential to prevent illnesses like influenza from spreading. Experts agree that most strains of the influenza virus that infect human beings came from contact with other animals. Farm animals on factory farms may be genetically similar therefore making them more susceptible to specific parasites. Infection among animals is more easily spread because of their close proximity to one another.[15] Animal-free agriculture does not contribute to the spread of influenza through animals.

History of factory farming

The United States

Emerging in the early twentieth century, rural farmers were unable to supply enough food to an increasing urban population. The 1902 Kosher Meat Boycott occurred as high prices and food shortages in the United States became more common. The beginning of World War I became another strain on farmer's stockpiles because of the creation of The United States Food Administration headed by former president Herbert Hoover, campaigning for all Americans to "voluntarily change their eating habits in order to have enough food to feed our military and starving civilians in Europe."[16]

As the United States continues to use factory farming as its main mode of food production, growing consolidation and commercialization enables control over the food system by the means of large industrial operations. Investigations into animal farming saw an increase in popularity in the late twentieth century. Exposes such as Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and animal rights organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) created movements toward reflection on animal's rights within agriculture and the food industry.

South Asia

The central government of India made reforms in agriculturally based policies, reducing regulations on food prices, food sales and food storage. Marches took place in states like Punjab and Haryana as nearly over 300,000 farmers exercised their democratic rights to protest these changes. The Indian government set intentions with their policies as means to achieve economic stability amidst the uncertainty brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their hopes to revitalize the agriculture sector through private ownership There is an estimated 87% of Indian farmers considered as smallholders, or those who own 1.5 acres or less of land.[17]

North Africa

Published by the Information & Decision Support Center of the Egyptian Cabinet, a poll showed that nearly 11 per cent of a population of 80-million people eat only less than two kilograms of meat per month, 30 percent eating four to six kgs of meat per month.[18] The increasing demand for meat has influenced the growth of factory farming in this region.

In 2009, The Egyptian Chamber of Tourist Establishments (ECTE) proposed a boycott of red meat on the 26th of April, just one of several organizations angered by raised meat-prices. Some factory farms in these areas are marketed to the population as "organic" although there is not sufficient evidence to prove such practices. Research suggests that nearly 10 percent of Egypt's land "used for animal production has made future farming 'nearly impossible."[18]

Animal-free agriculture today

Vegan France Interpro in collaboration with the Biocyclic Vegan Network created an interactive map that lists all-vegan organic projects across Europe. This list primarily includes agricultural operations but also trading and processing companies, online shops, network organizations as well as certification bodies that certify farms according to the Biocyclic Vegan Standard.[19]

There is a similar map in North America that conducts the same concept and locates vegan farms around North America.[20]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Introduction to veganics". Veganic Agriculture Network. 2014-09-20. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  2. ^ "Stock-free farming gives MPs food for thought". Vegan Society. Retrieved 2021-07-23. ‘Stock-free’ farming avoids any use of domesticated animals, including animal manures and slaughterhouse by-products.
  3. ^ a b c Glenza, Jessica (2019-12-24). "Are vegetables vegan? The man taking aim at animal products in organic farming". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  4. ^ "'Green manure' keeps these farmers happy". MSNBC. 2008-06-21. Retrieved 2020-06-06.
  5. ^ "Why we are better off without animal manure". The Green Vegans. 2018-02-10. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  6. ^ MacDonald, James M.; Ribaudo, Marc; Livingston, Michael; Beckman, Jayson; Huang, Wen-yuan. "Manure Use for Fertilizer and for Energy: Report to Congress". p. 7. Retrieved 2021-01-06.
  7. ^ "Growing without cruelty - the vegan organic approach". The Vegan Society. Archived from the original on 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2011-11-20.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Timeline". Truth or Drought. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  9. ^ "Fifth of food lost to over-eating and waste". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  10. ^ Shepon, Alon; Eshel, Gidon; Noor, Elad; Milo, Ron (2018-04-10). "The opportunity cost of animal based diets exceeds all food losses". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 115 (15): 3804–3809. doi:10.1073/pnas.1713820115. ISSN 0027-8424. PMID 29581251.
  11. ^ Hayek, Matthew N; Garrett, Rachael D (2018-07-25). "Nationwide shift to grass-fed beef requires larger cattle population". Environmental Research Letters. 13 (8): 084005. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aad401. ISSN 1748-9326.
  12. ^ jimmyvidele (2019-01-16). "Comparison of Farming in Production of Food per Acre: Measuring vegan-organic agriculture vs. animal-based agriculture". The Humane Herald. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  13. ^ "Are vegetables vegan? The man taking aim at animal products in organic farming". the Guardian. 2019-12-24. Retrieved 2021-04-10.
  14. ^ "The Sustainable Development Goals". BIOCYCLIC VEGAN STANDARD. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  15. ^ Anomaly, Jonathan (2015-11-01). "What's Wrong With Factory Farming?". Public Health Ethics. 8 (3): 246–254. doi:10.1093/phe/phu001. hdl:10161/9733. ISSN 1754-9973.
  16. ^ "Food Conservation During WWI". Together We Win. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  17. ^ "Farmers Protest New Laws That Could Expand Industrial Food Production in India". Center for a Livable Future. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  18. ^ a b "Egypt's factory farming boom threatens stability of a hungry country". Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  19. ^ "New Interactive Map Featuring Vegan Organic Farms in Europe". vegconomist - the vegan business magazine. 2020-10-08. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  20. ^ "Mapping Veganic Farms in North America". Retrieved 2021-03-09.
This page was last edited on 24 July 2021, at 15:13
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