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🏖 Unit 5

  •  ⏱️2 min read

5.7 Meat Control Methods

Jenni MacLean

jenni maclean

⏱️ May 1, 2020


Reasons for Change

Livestock meat farming or production has changed significantly over the years.  It has shifted from the smaller, family-owned business to larger farms with open air buildings.  Open air buildings have a roof but no outside walls.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)

One method of meat production uses the concept of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). This method of industrial farming is a very intensive and concentrated animal feeding operation. The animals are all very close together. CAFOs are classified by the type and how many animals are in the area and by the ways waste or pollution enters the water supply. Poultry, pork, lamb (mutton), and beef all use CAFO methods.

There are pros and cons in using CAFO farming.  Some pros are that CAFOs provide employment opportunities, keep prices lower and farmers can raise more than one type of animal on the farm.  Cons include a lot of pollutants that can contaminate surface and groundwater supplies from the organic waste products and air pollution from the decomposition of organic waste products including the production of greenhouse gases.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia


This is another method of meat production.  The animals have access to pasture areas all the time. The animals are able to move and roam around without being confined 24/7 like CAFO farming. These animals are not fenced in and are able to roam and graze freely.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

There are pros and cons to free range grazing.  Some pros include the animals are free of antibiotics, happier, and healthier.  Some cons are free range grazing is more expensive for consumers and waste is deposited everywhere.  


This occurs when animals consume plants faster than they can regrow, this can lead to vegetation loss and increased soil erosion. Overgrazing can lead to desertification. Desertification occurs in dry areas with low precipitation and depleted water supplies.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Meat production is economically important for different countries around the world. Brazil, the US, and China are examples of countries where meat production is economically important.

Today there is research suggesting to reduce meat consumption. One reason is for a healthier diet and consuming less meat as humans can lead to reduced methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen based gases.  Also, reducing meat consumption will help conserve water and decrease the use of antibiotics used to help animals grow faster.

🎥 Watch: AP Environmental Science - Agricultural Practices III

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