Farmers, just like other businessmen, attempt to produce a saleable product at the least possible cost to themselves. In this way they hope to assure themselves of some profit, and hence to earn a living. In itself this profit motive cannot be criticized, but in attempting to maintain their profits, farmers have adopted more intensive systems of animal production. In turn, the benefits from farmers using these new techniques have accrued to consumers in the form of relatively less expensive food. Clearly, by restricting the use of factory farming methods (which are associated with lower unit costs of production) there may be significant effects on the cost of producing food and, ultimately, on the price paid for food by the consumer.
Turner, F., & Strak, J. (1981). Farm animal welfare: Some economic consideration. International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems, 2(1), 15-18.