There are a number of circumstances that slow down improvements in animal welfare.

  • The free market.
    The possibility to export in principle turns the whole world into a market. The western countries have a much stronger market position compared to the Third World countries.
    This position is consolidated by the WTO-related trade negotiations. There, trade restrictions are continuously reduced on ethical grounds. In the recent past, the Netherlands have had a negative influence on animal welfare in its own as well as other countries because of the scale of factory farming and the export of these products (70%) and this way of farm management. Living animals are transported to far away countries, sometimes suffering from extreme neglect.
  • The low price of animal products in combination with too large a number of producers.
    All desired changes will result in a higher price for animal products. In principle, livestock farmers do not object to higher prices, but hardly any one of them is prepared to stop producing him/herself or to make animal-friendly investments as long as marketing possibilities are still uncertain. A lot of money can still be made in an arguable manner, while government control lags behind.
  • Many years of consumer indoctrination.
    In Holland, people have grown up with the idea that animal products are healthy and necessary. They are also proud of their country's high production level, but without realizing that this goes at the expense of animal welfare. Giving these wrongs some serious thought would lead to some unpleasant conclusions in the short term: one has let oneself be misled for years in a row; one should change one's eating and purchasing behavior, and it will also cost more money. The consumer is still, wrongly, insufficiently convinced whether this will bring enough benefits.
  • Protest against factory farming depends on volunteers.
    The number of paid campaigners is low (about ten against tens of thousands working on the promotion of animal products). Furthermore, the animal rights movement is not always fully operative or operates illegally.
 
  • Inconsistent government policies.
    The government does not tax the stock farmer with the disadvantages of his/her farm management but instead has the taxpayer pay for smoothing over the harmful consequences for, for instance, the environment, the price of clean water, damage to the countryside, etc.
  • Persistent faith in technological solutions and economic growth.
    After the Second World War, technology and the economy have brought our society so many benefits that one has somehow come to think that its disadvantages such as damage to the environment and reduced animal welfare have to be solved by even more technological and economic development and growth.
  • Lack of ethical awareness within science.
    Because of financing from trade and industry, it chooses short-term goals instead of solving problems in the long term. Medication is tested on animals, and alternative methods are insufficiently looked for; animals are used for organ transplants; dairy products are "functionally enriched" by adding nutrients, whereas enriching vegetable food and making it more attractive and tasty would solve a lot more problems.
  • The stock farmer's mentality.
    Many stock farmers do not think their animals have that bad a life, after all, they take good care of them. The animals are fed on time in order to have them ready for slaughter as soon as possible. These farmers do not realize anymore that they are not treating their animals properly. A change in mentality is not very likely. Motivating these farmers on economic grounds, thus slightly yet clearly pressing them towards more responsible farm management, will be more effective.
  • Practically everyone is responsible for the present situation in some way and to some extent: producers, government and consumers all have an interest in not addressing each other about the consequences for animal welfare in factory farming. The animals' interests are not financially profitable. The animals are as it were born to lose.
These factors can be partly found at macro level and it will take a lot of effort to attain the ideal situation. The individual consumer has reasons of his/her own for indifference towards the position of farm animals. See also non-valid arguments pro factory farming and pro and contra animal rights.