Survey Says: COVID-19 Crisis Drives Americans’ Desire to Reform Animal Agriculture

November 16, 2020

Pigs in pen

A new public opinion survey conducted by Lake Research Partners and commissioned by the ASPCA shows that industrial agriculture’s failure to protect animals and workers during the COVID-19 health crisis has driven broad public concern, changes in consumption habits and a swell of support for factory farming reform. The current crisis has also strengthened the public’s understanding of the link between inhumane treatment of farm animals and human health risks.

From reports of brutal mass killings of pigs and chickens on farms to headlines about slaughterhouse workers getting sick and dying from COVID-19, industrial animal agriculture has been in a harsh spotlight as it faltered amidst market disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. Driven by stories that have emerged throughout the pandemic of abuses on industrial farms and slaughterhouses, consumers are seeking out alternatives to factory-farmed meat, eggs and dairy—and there is strong, bipartisan support for policies that would check the abuses of factory farming.

Key findings of the survey include:

  • The vast majority (89%) of Americans are concerned about industrial animal agriculture, citing animal welfare, worker safety or public health risks as a concern.
  • 85% of farmers and their families support a complete ban on new industrial animal agriculture facilities—almost twice the level of support expressed by the general public.
  • 82% of respondents believe that the government should mandate slower slaughter speeds to protect workers, animals or public health, with a majority (61%) in support of reserving government funds for farmers whose practices are more humane, safer for workers, and reduce the risk of future pandemics.
  • Two-thirds (65%) of the public reported that they believe poor worker protections and harsh working conditions increase inhumane treatment of farm animals, with more than half (57%) believing that this mistreatment increases public health risks.
  • 72% of those surveyed who recently heard about animal welfare, worker safety or public health issues related to industrial factory farming reported seeking out alternatives to factory-farmed meat, eggs and dairy since the start of the pandemic—either buying more from local farms, shifting to products with more assurance of animal welfare or consuming less meat, eggs or dairy.

The ASPCA is calling on Congress to protect farmed animals and people impacted by industrial animal agriculture by passing the Farm System Reform Act (S. 3221/H.R. 6718), which would phase out the largest, most inhumane and destructive factory farms. You can help by asking your members of Congress to cosponsor this critical legislation for the sake of animals, our health and our environment. Take action today.