Breeding dogs at an Australian puppy farm

6 animals you might not know are factory farmed.

Factory farms can only exist because they keep their cruelty to animals hidden from view. Here are 6 animals you're not supposed to know are factory farmed — and tips on how to help them.

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated August 11, 2015

On hearing the words ‘factory farm’ most people will picture a dark shed filled with rows of gentle hens or pigs crammed into cages so small they can barely move. Now imagine those sheds are filled with dogs. Or cows. Or rabbits…

Tragically, the pursuit of profits and ‘efficiency’ has led to more of the unique species we share this planet with being cruelly confined in factory farms. These are the lesser-known victims of factory farming. Learn who they are — and how you can help them.

1. Rabbits

The desire for ‘game meat’ has sparked the rise of rabbit farms in Australia — but there’s nothing wild about the way these energetic and affectionate animals are bred. Rabbits in factory farms can’t hop, skip or jump. They’ll never dig a burrow, or chomp on carrot sticks, or even feel the soil beneath their feet. Instead, they’ll be crammed by the hundreds into raised-floor cages, where the wire can rub and cause debilitating abscesses on their limbs. Others will suffer scalding urine burns from lying in their own waste.

SEPTEMBER 2021: Australian rabbit factory farming exposed.

An Animal Liberation investigation revealed shocking suffering at a South East Victorian factory farm. Footage shows live, caged rabbits with facial injuries and missing limbs plus allegedly a live rabbit being thrown into a bin on top of dead animals. See the Victorian rabbit factory farm investigation.

You can help spare rabbits from this cruel fate by refusing rabbit meat if you see it at restaurants or the supermarket.

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Rabbits in factory farm cages
From factory farming to freedom. See these rescued rabbits at Big Ears Sanctuary!
Image credit: Big Ears Sanctuary

This image contains content which some may find confronting

White rescued rabbits at Big Ears Sanctuary
Image credit: Big Ears Sanctuary

2. Cows

There’s an intensely disturbing international farming trend attempting to gain a foothold in Australia — Mega Dairies — sheds where thousands of cows are confined indoors for their entire ‘productive’ lives. Cows are social and intelligent animals, but in mega dairies they’ll never be allowed to frolic with their friends or graze on lush green grass on a dewy spring morning. Instead, they’ll only have hard floors underfoot 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until they’re sent to slaughter unnaturally young, as the forced production of huge quantities of milk wreaks havoc on their bodies.

You can create a kinder world for cows by embracing a deliciously dairy-free life!

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Dairy cows standing on hard surface indoors, with milking machines attached to their udders
Cows don't belong in factories.

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Cows grazing in a green paddock.

3. Salmon and Trout

Salmon are famous for having the uncanny ability to return to the exact spot in the river where they were born in order to spawn — even after years of living in the open ocean. These brilliant and intuitive ‘kings of fish’ should have the entire sparkling ocean to live in, but in factory farms they can be crammed by the thousands into pools or sea pens, increasing parasite problems, reducing water quality — and even causing depression. Rubbing against the sides of tanks or nets — and each other — can cause injuries, and the wearing down of fishes fins to painful stubs has been observed. Farmed fish will also frequently swim as a group in an endless circle around their enclosure, which has been likened to the pacing up and down of caged circus animals who are forced to live in a completely alien environment.

Fish have got a lot to worry about already — but you can be a friend to these tragically overlooked animals by pledging to leave them off the menu.

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Fish crammed in an overcrowded fish farm pen.
Fish farms are unnatural and often overcrowded.

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Adult sockeye salmon leaping up a cascading waterfall

4. Minks

In their natural environment, solitary and inquisitive minks want nothing more than a little home of their own by a stream or lake, where they can swim in peace to their heart’s content. But on fur farms, these introverted creatures are forced into small wire cages with many other minks — a situation that can make them so stressed they’re driven to self-mutilation. Minks bred in fur farms suffer for their whole lives and are then subjected to some of the cruellest slaughter methods imaginable, all in order to keep their beautiful fur intact for use in winter ‘fashions’ available in stores all over the world, including Australia.

Cruelty isn’t fashionable — and you can help minks (and all fur-bearing animals!) by making the pledge never to wear or buy fur.

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A mink in a farm cage
Animals don't belong in cages.
Image credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

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A wild mink enjoying the sunshine

5. Ducks

You’ve probably heard the saying takes like a duck to water — well, it’s true! Nothing comes more naturally to ducks than the desire to have a splash around in a stream or pond. Ducks spend hours in the water every day, cleaning themselves, looking for food, and taking their (not inconsiderable) weight off their joints. But tragically, in most duck farms — factory and free range — these playful and water-loving animals are left high and dry, with no access to pools, leading many of them to suffer terribly from heat stress, respiratory illnesses, and even dislocated or broken limbs.

You can make a splash for ducks by leaving them in ponds — and off your plate.

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Ducks in a dark factory farm shed
Australian factory farms deny ducks any quality of life, including their fundamental need to access water.
Image credit: Tamara Kenneally Photography

This image contains content which some may find confronting

Rescued ducklings splashing in a pond
These rescued ducklings love to swim, duck and bathe.
Image credit: Tamara Kenneally Photography

6. Puppies

Australia is a nation of dog lovers, which is why it often comes as a shock to people that many dogs bought online or in pet shops were actually born and bred in inhumane puppy factories. At ‘best’ dogs are used as breeding machines, and at worst our investigations have shown dogs being kept in total darkness, and confined in small, filthy cages with no exercise, bedding or clean water. Dogs are companion animals who crave human interaction and friendship — but in puppy (and kitten) factories they are denied everything that makes a dog’s life worth living.

You can help break the cruel puppy factory supply chain by pledging to adopt, not buy, your next furry companion.

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Breeding dogs in cages at an Australian puppy farm
Dogs in Australian puppy farms like this one are treated as no more than breeding machines.

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Happy puppy in a field of green grass
Dogs and all companion animals should experience love and kindness.

You can help free all animals from factory farms

The simplest way to take a stand against factory farming cruelty is to refuse to buy, wear or eat any factory farmed products. And the great news is that choosing to live compassionately couldn’t be easier. Simply by making informed, every-day choices to live kindly, you have the power to make a lifetime of positive difference to animals everywhere.

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