Animal Rights:
Factory Farming

 

 Now comrades what is the nature of this life of ours? Lets face it our lives are miserable laborious, and short. We are born, we are given just as much food as will keep the breath in our bodies and those who are capable of it are forced to work to the last atom of our strength: and  the very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are slaughtered with hideous cruelty...The life of an animal is misery and slavery: that is the plain truth. 

George Orwell Animal Farm
 

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Urge Canada to End Its Shameful Seal Slaughter
https://Stop The Canadian Seal Hunt

 

To add interest I have interspersed this commentary with thought provoking quotations from philosophers, ethicists, scientists and other notable thinkers both past and present.

“Our inhumane treatment of livestock is becoming widespread and more and more barbaric....These creatures feel; they
know pain. They suffer pain just as we humans suffer pain.”
Senator Robert Byrd, addressing the U.S. Senate

It should not be believed that all beings exist for the sake of the existence of man. On the contrary, all the other beings too have been intended for their own sakes and not for the sake of anything else.
Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (1135-1204)

Shocking facts:

Land animals killed in 2001 world wide for human consumption: 48 billion! Eight times the population of the world. This does not include other animals including wild animals or the millions of male chicks who are ground up.

Aquatic animals: In 2000 89 million tons of fish where killed for our consumption. There are no figures for these animals as individuals but the numbers run into billions.*1

How many animals are killed each year in the UK?

The total number of animals killed in British slaughterhouses in 2003 was approximately 900 million.

This included 9.35 million pigs, nearly 15 million sheep, 28 million turkeys, 20 million ducks, over 850 million chickens and 2.25 million cattle.

This equates to 2.4 million animals slaughtered every day; 100,000 an hour; 1600 per minute and 26 every second
*2

Our grandchildren will ask us one day: Where were you during the Holocaust of the animals? What did you do against these horrifying crimes? We won't be able to offer the same excuse for the second time, that we didn't know.

Dr. Helmut Kaplan

It is my hope that our descendents will look back at our inhumane system of factory farming and other animal exploitation with shock and horror and uncomprehending revulsion, much in the same way that we now look back on the atrocities that we as a species have carried out on one another throughout the ages and into the present day.

in Animal Farm, before unfolding his vision of how life could be improved for farm animals if they ran the farm themselves, Old Major the  pig laments the life of misery and cruelty suffered by farm animals. Although his account of the suffering experienced by farm animals was being used by Orwell to highlight the circumstances of many poor, working people, it is indeed an accurate summary of the life of a farm animal. His view of course did not take into account the rise of factory farming shortly after the end of World War Two, when the lot of a farm animal was indeed set to become considerably worse, when the traditional free range farms would become places of industry for the manufacture of food and where animals are treated as though they are inanimate commodities on a conveyor belt, confined in dark windowless cramped places with little or no room to turn round, where disease and starvation are rampant.

Factory farming is suffering on a scale unimaginable. Indeed few who visit the supermarket and buy vacuumed packed meat, now barely resembling a once living creature, know anything about the conditions in which animals are kept as they endure their short miserable lives while awaiting their ultimate fate at the slaughter house to provide us with meat, a food that we do not need and which we are not biologically equipped to digest, or simply to be killed when their useful days are over. I think ignorance on the matter is one of the biggest problems in putting a stop to this massive abuse, it is one of the main reasons that this hideous cruelty has been allowed to continue for as long as it has.

Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come.

Albert Schweitzer

What is factory farming

If you were in my place
The world would feel like a hard space
With no trace
Of love
If you saw through my eyes
The skies would be black and hollow
And swallow
Your crie
s
Paul Edward Yalen

So lets look more closely at factory farming; most people are familiar with this practice but few really understand the nature of this one of the most horrific forms of animal abuse in the modern world today.

In short Factory farming is the practice of raising farm animals in close confinement at high stocking density, where a farm operates as a factory.

The aim of factory farming is to produce as much meat and dairy products as quickly and as cheaply as possible in order to maximise profits. Please do not consider that the main purpose of factory farming is to feed people, in fact many people in developing countries suffer from starvation partly as a result of Factory farming. Please refer to: Going Veggie /vegan could relieve world hunger  

To keep profits high and costs down these unfortunate animals are given the bare minimum to survive. Housed in huge sheds these creatures are deprived of everything that makes life worth living. The grim reality of factory, or intensive farming, is the cruel practice of cramming as many animals as possible, into as small an area as possible. There is no room to move, these poor creatures are unable to stretch even their wings or legs, let alone roam in the sunshine or feel the warmth of the sun or the cool of the wind. They are deprived of rearing their own young or even to copulate in the normal way. So cramped are the conditions in these sheds that most animals cannot even lie down comfortably or conversely, in the case of lactating pigs, they cannot even rise to a standing position or move at all as you see in the pictures below. 

Farrowing  crate

Farrowing Crates on Flickr - Photo Sharing! Credit Flickr: Animal RIghts Advocates Inc.'s Photostream

Creative commons license: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Other abuses include the dehorning, castration and tagging of cattle. For a cow her calves are taken away from her shortly after birth and she is used as a milk producing machine.

Cattle are confined in sheds; cows used as breeding and milk producing machines
"Two or three times every day, dairy cows are hooked up to milk machines. They are commonly pushed to produce ten times more milk than is natural."
 
Credit: Hooked up to milk machines on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 Flickr: Farm Sanctuary's Photostream

License under  Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

The notorious battery hen system accounts for the suffering and death of millions of birds each year. There is no such a thing as humane treatment of any animal forced to live out whatever life he or she has confined in cages with barely room to turn round, as is the case for poultry

And even pigs, whom many people do not connect with factory farming are confined indoors is shocking filthy conditions, standing in their own excrement.

"Pigs raised on factory farms are confined in metal and concrete pens with hard slatted flooring. They live here until they reach slaughter weight of 250 pounds at six months old."

Credit Pigs confined in metal and concrete pens on Flickr - Photo Sharing!   Flickr: Farm Sanctuary's Photostream

Creative commons license: Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Indeed, unbeknown to many people both pigs and sheep also suffer and die in inhumane circumstances, the details of which you may read in the links that follow, or trapped in fields exposed to the elements without shelter often suffering from exposure, such as sheep, who are also increasingly confined to sheds as you will see from the picture below. It may seem to be a contradiction to protest about sheep left to suffer from exposure and to equally object to their confinement in what could be considered a sheltered environment. There is however a huge difference. Here you see sheep in a factory farmed condition, they will never see the light of day, never be free to roam or behave in a natural way. The type of shelter to which I refer is access to natural shelter afforded by trees, often not available in fields, or barns with free access during inclement weather, with straw on the floor, not mettle mesh to stand or sit on as is the case for these poor creatures.

Photographs courtesy of Farm Animal sanctuary. Farm Sanctuary | Watkins Glen, NY  

License under  Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

For more sheep farming photos:
farmsanctuary.org/photos/?

 

And than when the the unfortunate animal has outlived his usefulness he is taken to the slaughterhouse to meet a painful end. There is no such thing as a humane way of killing any creature; in fact to bring about the death of another being, to deny him his natural course of existence is in itself an act of profound cruelty that cannot be justified. There is nothing humane about death. Consequently despite laws and rules about the treatment of animals in captivity either in zoos or as farm animals these circumstance can never be seen on any level as humane, (this is particularly the case for factory farmed animals), despite endeavours to make us feel that this is the case. No creature wishes his freedom curtailed or his life ended, all creatures fear death. Survival is one instinct all creatures share, including man. I consider that animals exhibit instinctive behaviours and that includes man, but again like man, in addition to instinct there is sentience in all creatures, and most certainly all creatures experience both physical and emotional pain as you can read in the above linked webpage on Sentience in Farm Animals

Although reference is made to the UK and USA, the conditions, and worse, you will read about here and by visiting the websites at the end of this page, occur globally.

Here in the UK alone each year 850 million farm animals are killed annually, that's three million animals killed each and everyday, plus countless millions of fish. In the USA more than 10 billion land animals plus billions more aquatic animals are slaughtered for food every year. That is more than 1 million animals every hour, a staggering number of animals killed every second of every day, a continual stream of death. Before meeting a painful death, and bear in mind that no creature can be slaughtered without experiencing pain, farm animals are reared in shocking and painful circumstances of deprivation and confinement; deformed, crippled and in pain as a result of selective breeding and the use of antibiotics to produce larger animals than nature intended. Then they are killed, often after travelling for miles crammed into lorries in extremes of temperatures, often when fully conscious after being painfully or incompletely stunned to provide you with meat, a food that you really don't need to be healthy, and the meat industry with huge profits.

From beasts we scorn as soulless,
In forest, field and den,
The cry goes up to witness
The soullessness of men.
M. Frida Hartley

Here in the UK we pride ourselves as animal lovers. Can we really in all honesty consider ourselves animal lovers if we allow such atrocities to continue.

Most of the meat you will eat will have come from a factory farm. I consider that many people would feel differently about eating meat if they knew the suffering that is undergone to put meat on their tables.

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.
Plutarch

Before reading further you may like to click the links below to access information about specific issues concerning factory farming as they relate to:

Poultry

Cattle

Pigs

Sheep

Aquatic Animals

Bees

Also see the video below from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal's website:

 

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming.aspx

Please be aware this film and the one below has shocking imagery of animal cruelty.

Click the link below to view the video Meet your Meat

http://www.peta.org/tv/videos/celebrities-vegetarianism/

Please watch this powerful moving and disturbing video from Animals Australia

http://www.makeitpossible.com/

Please be aware this film veers towards animal welfare rather than total abolition. At the conclusion you will be asked to make a pledge to commit to the following:

Refuse Factory Farmed Food

Eat Fewer animal products

Go Meat Free

The only choice is to go meat free, go vegan and save animals from the horror of factory farming, any farming. I have included this film as it a powerful and moving piece about the atrocity of factory farming.

However I advocate a vegan diet and the abolition of not only factory farming but all live stock farming. Think differently about sheep is an animal rights website. Nonetheless from time to time there may be included here films or articles and petitions that involve animal welfare issues if in general terms they aim towards abolition and animal liberation.

Animal rights and animal welfare can at times be a very grey area and the distinction between the two can be difficult.

For an explanation of Animal Welfare and Animal Rights click:
What is the difference between Animal Welfare and Animal Rights

We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form. 
William Ralph Inge,

I believe that in the future people will be horrified, in a similar way as most of us are today when we learn about the misery of slavery and the atrocities of WW2, that we took the lives of these gentle sentient creatures and for no other reason than to sate our appetite for meat, at the expense not only of the precious lives of these defenceless animals but also at the expensive of both people in developing nations and the destruction of the environment.

When it comes to having a central nervous system, and the ability to feel pain, hunger, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.

Ingrid Newkirk

The animals we eat are thinking feeling beings, they like us experience pleasure, fear and pain, in the case of farm animals there are however no moments of pleasure. Consider your cat or dog, you know do you not that your pet feels emotion, he or she experiences fear; hear your dog barking if someone comes to the door, or see your cat bristle, grow tense when she is frightened. You can experience your dog's pleasure when he plays ball or rushes in to eat his favourite meal or comes up to you to be patted. Your cat rubs past your legs and purrs with obvious delight showing both affection and pleasure. These same emotions are present in farm animals. A wide range of emotion is experienced in all farm animals including pigs, chickens, cattle, sheep and even fish, a creature which contrary to popular belief suffers pain and stress and has a nervous system similar to mammals. Yet despite these similarities, and the most common without exception and most undeniable is the ability to feel pain, we treat these animals differently than we treat our cat or dog.

You would not be allowed, nor neither would you wish to treat your cat or dog in the way farm animals are treated. You would not be allowed to confine your pet cat in a cage with barely enough room to turn round, standing in her own faeces in a dark windowless shed with lots of other cats, artificially inseminate her and take her kittens away when they are born, and when she has either outlived her usefulness as a breeding machine to replenish stock or she is old enough to be slaughtered for food, usually from around two or three months to three or four years of age as is the case for sheep, she is taken in a cramped crowded lorry transported for many miles in the cold or heat before she ends her life in the abattoir with her throat cut, often whist still conscious. You would be prosecuted for animal cruelty would you not if you did just one of those things to your cat or dog. Yet every time you go into a supermarket, your local butcher or eat at a cafe you condone this kind of treatment to animals very similar to your cat or dog.

In fact, did you know that pigs are more similar to us than either your cat or dog? Sentient pigs

There is and indeed should be great concern about both the welfare of farm animals and the animal called man. In relation to factory farming in recent years the implications both for the welfare of farm animals and public health are a cause of concern, for example the the most
well-known being the salmonella in eggs scandal and CJD.  However in my opinion not as great a concern as there should be and more needs to be done to make the public aware of these issues, in particular the shocking cruelty such as you see below.

Undercover on an Iowa Pig Farm.

PETA TV:Hormel Supplier Caught Abusing Mother Pigs and Piglets 

I could not get this image of this poor pig and her piglets out of my mind, the suffering this poor frightened sow must be enduring on both a physical and emotion level surely must touch the hearts of those who care about animals, those who care about moral treatments of sentient intelligent creatures.

In an earlier stage of our development most human groups held to a tribal ethic. Members of the tribe were protected, but people of other tribes could be robbed or killed as one pleased. Gradually the circle of protection expanded, but as recently as 150 years ago we did not include blacks. So African human beings could be captured, shipped to America and sold. In Australia white settlers regarded Aborigines as a pest and hunted them down, much as kangaroos are hunted down today. Just as we have progressed beyond the blatantly racist ethic of the era of slavery and colonialism, so we must now progress beyond the speciesist ethic of the era of factory farming, of the use of animals as mere research tools, of whaling, seal hunting, kangaroo slaughter and the destruction of wilderness. We must take the final step in expanding the circle of ethics.

Pete Singer

To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man.  For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal.  But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse.  If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous.  And that is the unpardonable crime. 

Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize 1915

Farm animals are like us in many ways. The most important of which is that they all have a brain and nervous system, just like you, your cat or dog, therefore even without scientific evidence it is common sense that if you or your pet feel pain than so do they.

Sadly few people realise that this of course also applies to fish, birds, and reptiles because all of these creatures like mammals have a brain and a nervous system, which are the purveyors of pain. Any creature with a nervous system experiences pain as injured nerves transit messages to the brain, which as we know results in the unpleasant experience we call pain, which we like all creatures wish to avoid at any cost

Yet many practices in farming overlook this.

“You are not handling a lump of plastic. You are handling animals with central nervous systems that feel pain and suffering.”
Janice Swanson, animal behaviour specialist at Kansas State University, addressing a United Egg Producers meeting.

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

The only acceptable option to 'humane' slaughter is no slaughter.
Quote from: vegansociety.com/

I consider that Animals are on earth for their own purposes, they are not here for our use to supply us with food, cloths, entertainment, or medical research. They should be left unmolested to go their own way, the only intervention if any should be in the animal's interests, such as medical intervention. We I believe should offer medical assistance or any other assistance that is beneficial to animals in much the same way as we do for the animal called man.

Included in his website, my son has written a thought provoking article: Meat = Death The insanity of the 'traditional' diet essay: Meat = Death

If 'rights' exist at all—and both feeling and usage indubitably prove that they do exist—they cannot be consistency awarded to men and denied to animals, since the same sense of justice and compassion apply in both cases.

Henry Salt, 1892

References and Links :

References*

1) Holt S. "The Food resources of the ocean, Scientific American.

2) Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals

Information and campaigns

End Factory Farming VIVA

farmsanctuary.org/

Factory Farming Homepage

Animal Welfare Institute

Factory Farming UK

Animal Aid: Overview of the factory farming campaign

  EFF Banner

 

Important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

Copyright, accreditations and other matters, please read