By Raven Benwait
FACTORY FARMING: ANIMAL CRUELTY
Imagine for the first time, seeing and carrying your newborn in your arms. All of a sudden someone takes your child away from you telling you that you will never see your child again as they will be brought to a slaughter house to be fed to cows and pigs. You yourself, stuck in a wired up cage for a few more months, being fed only when the animals want to feed you- suffering, only to be also slaughtered and fed to the animals. To put you into perspective- this is exactly what it would be like to switch lives with livestock. How does it make you feel?
In today’s factory farms, thousands of animals are jammed into filthy, windowless sheds and crammed into wired cages and metal crates, all so human beings can re-stock their groceries and into their animal-slaughtered filled fridge. These animals will never get a chance to raise their families, enjoy the soil, build nests, feel the warmth of the sun or breathe fresh air – they won’t ever get the chance to live a life because their sole purpose is to be loaded into trucks and are brought to slaughter houses. Their sole purpose is to be a delicacy to humans.
As a child I often researched the topic of animal slaughter and always asked my parents, “Why don’t they treat the animals better?” As I grew up, I began to learn that the factory farm industry is an expanding, cruel industry that is concerned about making money rather than caring for the well-being of animals. At the age of nine I became a vegetarian to support the cause of ending animal torture.
Up until this day I still ask myself the same question – why don’t we treat animals how we would like to be treated? If we compared ourselves to animals, we are not entirely different in a sense where they can think for themselves, and act on their own will. So why do we torture them?
On today’s factory farms, animals live in the most unthinkable living conditions. Starting with cows as the biggest livestock used in farms: the females are born forced to provide milk and children by the industry. Unfortunately, they do not produce quickly enough for the meat industry, so these cows are impregnated by factory farms using artificial insemination. Imagine being pregnant almost every day of your life, knowing you will never receive the chance to raise your child. Any human in their right mind and sense would never want to live a life like this.
Now, if you are a male cow you are destined to end up in cramped veal crates, fattened for beef, and then killed. As a part of the slaughterhouse torture, cows are marked for identification as ranchers press hot fire irons onto their flesh, causing third-degree burns. Male calves’ testicles are ripped from their scrotums and the horns are cut or burned off. Many of these cows end up with infections or disease, but receive no treatment and end up dying. A cow’s natural lifespan is approximately 20 years, but due to the tremendous torture in vile environments, a cows life usually does not exceed five years, according to The School of Vegan.
As a pig, your lifespan is an average of 10 to 15 years, but realistically, in today’s industry, a pig cannot live for over 6 months. On factory farms, these pigs spend their miserable lives in cramped, filthy warehouses under the constant stress of confinement – they are disregarded of everything that is important or natural to them.
Mother pigs are impregnated again and again until their bodies give out and result with infection or disease. The worst part is that these mothers won’t even get a single day with their piglets – instead the piglets tails are chopped off, the ends of their teeth are snipped off with pliers and the males are castrated. Due to improper stunning methods, many pigs are still conscious when they are dumped into tanks of extremely hot water, which is intended to remove their hair and soften their skin. This is torture.
The chicken industry is the one that I personally find the most frightening. Chickens are arguably the most abused animals on the planet. The vast majority of these chickens spend their lives in total confinement from the moment they hatched until the day they are murdered. Imagine being born in a shed filled with thousands of chickens and never being able to see the sunlight. This is obviously unfair as no living being deserves to live in confinement.
According to Peta, there are two categories of chickens in the industry. First are the ones raised for their flesh – as meat, also known as broiler chickens. They are forced into huge, dark, windowless sheds that hold thousands of chickens. They are so squashed in the lack of space that many of them die due to starvation and frustration.
The other types of chickens are the breeders who are forced to lay eggs. Using hot blades, factory farms cut off their sensitive beaks so they won’t peck at one another because of the frustration of the environment. The breeders are forced to lay an abnormal amount of eggs, with injections. When a baby chick is born, the women are unfortunately sentenced to the same fate as their mothers – lay eggs for the rest of their short lives. Male chicks on the other hand are grinded and killed because factory farmers do not want to “waste” their resources to raise them, so their easiest self-taught solution is to grind-up the “useless” male chicks.
To fight this animal cruelty, The Humane Slaughter Act has been established, but unfortunately not enforced. The USDA does a horrible job enforcing this act because clearly preventing animal torture is not on the top of their priority list. So basically, the USDA allows slaughterhouses to drag injured animals around their parking lots and torture them with their unnecessary equipment, so we, human beings, can eat them.
Since the government is barely addressing the important issue of animal cruelty, people are noticing and other methods are beginning to rise. Spreading awareness through media and protests is a growing method, from Peta, to the School of Vegan, Animal Rights Action and The Humane Society, which are all well known activist groups.
These groups spread awareness hoping that humans of this world will learn about this issue and can help spread the cause further, hopefully putting an end to animal torture once and for all.
As I said earlier, animals are like humans; they can think for themselves, and act on their own will. These animals do not deserve to be tortured and beaten to be eaten. They are living creatures just like us, so let’s give them the life they deserve.