Do you know what animal cruelty is? This is a common question where people would probably answer with the same response. The thing is that do you really know what animal cruelty is? Animal cruelty is not only physical abuse that animals receive but also on many other factors. This type of animal cruelty mostly occurs on industrial farms. You’re also probably wondering what an industrial farm is. Well let’s just say that it’s a bad thing.
A traditional farm is a farm where they raise livestock the original way. What I mean by the original way is that the animals have freedom. Animals have the ability to roam around in big spaces and live how they want with human maintenance. With this freedom, they can grow up to be healthy. An industrial farm is the opposite farm. The purpose of an industrial farm is to raise livestock and then ship them out to be slaughtered. Animals here have no freedom and no right. Animals are made to live under very harsh conditions. The living conditions are very poor. They are forced to live in a small environment with the same kind of animals. It’s so small and crowded that animals could barely move. With so many animals living in a small area, they all live in their own manure. There is maintenance in the farm but sometimes animals just live in such a long period of time in their own manure. This causes many effects but I will explain them later.
Animal are fed regularly or even more on an industrial farm. The reason why is because they want their livestock to be bigger than usual. They are also given antibiotics to grow much faster too. Antibiotics are given to them because the companies want to make money quick and with less effort. The antibiotics are made for the animals so they can gain more weight and require less feeding. This is good for business but bad for us. Another thing that they feed animals would blow your mind. Animals are fed rendered feathers, hair, skin, hooves, blood and intestines UCSASA (2012). They are also fed meat from their own species, meat from diseased animals, animal waste, plastics, antibiotics and unhealthy amounts of grains. With all this going around, the animal’s meat are much unhealthier than an animal which is raised the original way.
This question has probably passed your mind once but have you ever wondered how does animal cruelty start in a maintained environment? Well there are many factors that can make this happen. First most is that the factory farms are directed by the big businesses and they are ordered to produce animals as fast and cheap as they can. Businesses are not trying to be cruel but to maximize profits, there is no regards to the animals that suffer. The thing is that the farmers which are under a contract with the big business have no say on how animals get raised. If the farmers say no to the big business, they are terminated. What I mean about being terminated is that their contract is destroyed. Carole Morison, a Maryland chicken farmer under contract with Perdue Farms, was featured prominently in the film Food, Inc. “I’ve just made up my mind I’m gonna say what I have to say,” she says in the film, before opening the door to her henhouse to expose the filthy, overcrowded conditions of her factory-style farm Megan Bedard (2012). Morison was fed up with the conditions of the farm and the pressure of Perdue was a gradual build up. The upgrade that Perdue wanted was that they had to close the chickens off from sunlight and fresh air. Even from suffering of such little space, the companies would always look for more ways just to make it easier for themselves but harder for the animals. The reason why farm animals suffer so much is that they are not seen eye to eye as humans. Their sole purpose is to be raised and then sent off to the slaughter house.
There are many animals in a farm. When I went to my mom’s country, Ecuador, her family had a farm. It was a traditional farm. It ranged from many chickens to a little amount of horses yet you could lose track on what you own. They were able to roam around and live like they should be living. One thing for sure, maintaining a farm animal is a lot of work. All animals were healthy and being themselves. It was a really great experience. Since the animals excreted everywhere, it really wasn’t a problem because it was a wide open field. We also had a water supply by the farm, so that area was heavily maintained by the hour just to make sure the water didn’t get contaminated. When it was dinner time, we had to kill a chicken because there were plenty and all raised the traditional way. Thinking about this, I wondered which animal suffered the most. To answer that, the chicken is the most slaughtered animal in factory farms.
In the photo above, it show that throughout history, chickens has been and still are the most slaughtered animals through a long shot. The thing about chickens is that they are easy to raise and they produce a lot of products for us humans. They supply us with eggs and chicken meat. The birds raised for meat, called “broilers” by the industry, are the product of genetic manipulation that has drastically increased breast and thigh tissue (the most popular parts of the animal) and produced a very rapid growth rate that outstrips the development of their legs and organs. Broilers raised in this way are supposed to reach “slaughter weight” at just six or seven weeks of age, but the death toll is very high Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc (2012). Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc (2012) The hens live like this for about two years or less, until their bodies are exhausted from the stresses of constant laying and their egg production decreases. There are about 300 million laying hens in the United States which are kept in battery cages to produce eggs. That’s it and that is all they do. A battery cage is an industrial agricultural confinement system used mostly for laying hens. The average size it provides is only 67 square inches. A hen needs 72 square inches just to stand straight. So just imagine how tight it is in that cage. Not only is it small but they are kept in rows. What I mean is that there are other hens that above them. So if they excrete, it will land on the lower cages.
Now we get to the main part. What are the effects of animal cruelty? There are many answers to that. Let’s start with the environment. As you know, farming takes place in a wide space area where animals are free to roam. Factory farming is different. They just keep the animals in a small location. According to a report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, animal agriculture generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all transported vehicles combined EatHumane (n.d). The reason why is because the animals live all together in a small place. When animals are able to roam free, they can easily express their natural behaviors. Animal excretion would be all around and less dangerous than excretion that keeps adding up when together. When animals are kept together, they excrete in the same area. Soon after a while, it will build up to the point where it’s not only dangerous to the environment but also us humans. If maintenance of manure is poor, it can cause pollution to surface water, ground water and soil.
Another thing is that they live in it. While living in their own manure for such a long time, they can get diseases and the only way to fight a disease is through antibiotics which are also bad for them and us. Another thing is that we are straining our resources of feed crops. The average cow eats roughly 30 pounds of food each day. The beef industry raises more than 30 million cows each year. Some of those cows feed themselves by grazing on pasture, but the vast majority are raised in feedlots, where they eat corn and soybeans. The result: American cropland is pushed hard to produce an extraordinary amount of grain Sustainabletable (n.d).
This also affects us humans because we are very prone to diseases. Since animals are overfed, kept in horrible living environments and fed antibiotics, anything can happen. EatHumane (n.d) A typical American diet today is dominated by animal products which are laden with saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones. These are diets that promote obesity, diabetes, several forms of cancer, and other chronic diseases that kill nearly 1.4 million Americans annually according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is just what we are fed. The animals are fed so many antibiotics that soon or later, they will grow immune to it and they will be less likely to fight off diseases. The danger is mostly in the waste because on how it can start E Coli. E Coli is a type of bacteria that lives in our intestines where it helps digest the food we eat. The dangerous part of E Coli is the certain types of strains in the E Coli that can get into the blood. E Coli also comes from infected cattle. They can get easily sick and then be slaughtered and still carry the E Coli in them.
Even though we would think that E Coli will only show in meats, it also shows up in fruits and vegetables. The chart above shows that for a long period of time that this has kept happening and people do die from it. The only way we can really stop this is if the government could enforce stricter laws toward the factory farms.
This is also dangerous to our economy because factory farming is taking over all the little farms. Since big businesses own factory farms, old and little farms wouldn’t be able to profit for their own and then would run out of business. This forces other farmers to join and get a contract to make money even thought they would prefer to choose the original farming way.
With this whole big problem, of course there will be the people who will protest for animal rights. There are many big groups such as PETA, ASPCA, COK, and many more with all the same goal. Their goal is to give animals rights. They fight by protesting against big companies, encouraging people to go vegan and showing proof on what really goes behind the big curtain.
Now that we know a little more about animal cruelty and the effects it has on us and the environment, will it even change anything? People and groups still fight for the animals to give them rights but yet we’re still in a standoff. Laws were even made to limit factory farms but yet the businesses find loop holes to get past them. If we can show more people and teach them about how the effects of animal cruelty it’s affecting everyone, maybe then we can change the factory farm and have the traditional farming way back.
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http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/impacts_industrial_agriculture/they-eat-what-the-reality-of.html Negative Impacts of Factory Farming. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.eathumane.org/pages/3114_negative_impacts_of_factory_farming.cfm Bedard, M. (2012). ‘Food, Inc.’ Chicken Farmer Goes Rogue – Says Goodbye to Factory Farms. Retrieved from http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/05/06/goodbye-factory-farm-food-incs-chicken-farmer-Carole-Morison-goes-rogue Farm Animal Statistics: Slaughter Totals. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.humanesociety.org/news/resources/research/stats_slaughter_totals.html Factory-Farmed Chickens: Their Difficult Lives and Deaths. (2007). Retrieved from http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/2007/05/the-difficult-lives-and-deaths-of-factory-farmed-chickens/ The Issues Environment. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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