Dangerous Common Ground
The popular reprobation of "factory farming" has inadvertently created a demand for products labeled with euphemistic terms associated with "alternative, small-scale" animal farming. This was not the initial intention of the term. Many groups originally used the term for the purpose of ending all exploitation and killing of farmed animals, as they do today.
But there has been a shift in the last few years, a shift toward "humane" animal farming, and now everyone, it seems, can get behind ending factory farming: the animal rights activist as well as the consumers and producers of meat, dairy and eggs. This is unintended and dangerous common ground whereby the rhetoric of the animal rights movement has been appropriated by our opposition to promote the very products we seek to condemn. Now when we are denouncing animal products with the term Factory Farming, we are ironically repeating the marketing slogans of an increasing sector of the poultry and other animal industries.
"Factory farming" has come to imply that only the conditions the animals are kept in are of importance, and that taking an animal's life, the slaughter itself, is unproblematic. The marketing experts of the animal farming industry brandish this term to make people believe that as long as it isn't a "factory" or "industrial" setting, as long as it's not a mega-size farm, as long as the animal had some kind of minimally "natural" or "comfortable" life, then it's ok to slaughter the animal for the enjoyment of the "conscientious" consumer.