Being picked up by their ears and fleeces and thrown across rooms; having cigarettes stubbed out on their faces; being stunned and killed whilst suckling their children; being kicked, punched and beaten. This may sound like a nightmare, but for animals, this is a common occurrence they are forced to endure. (subjugation)
Approximately ONE BILLION farmed animals are slaughtered for food each year in the UK. Every animal farmed for his or her meat, eggs or milk is an individual with a unique personality. Just like us they can be shy, playful and affectionate. And just like us, they are capable of feeling fear, pain, and distress. Billions of Farmed animals across the world are typically locked up, forcibly impregnated, fattened and slaughter. They are exploited to their limits so that farmers can get the most profit out of them.
In more recent years’ vegetarian diets have gained increased popularity. Vegetarianism as a moral stance has its roots in some of the world’s oldest belief systems, including religious and philosophical ideas from ancient India and Greece. Today, despite being minority views, vegetarianism and veganism have become increasingly popular lifestyle choices in the developed world. An estimated five percent of the UK public identifies as vegetarian and the proportion identifying as a vegan has more than trebled in the past decade. Yet at the same time, meat consumption is at record levels and growing fastest in developed countries. In response, there have been widespread calls to reduce meat consumption in the interests of public health and environmental protection. Campaigns such as Meat Free Monday and National Vegetarian Week have used the power of social media to change cultural attitudes towards the eating of animals. More and more mainstream restaurants and grocery stores are stocking their shelves and menus with plant-based alternatives and their popularity is soaring.
More and more people are questioning where their food comes from, how their meat is produced and what impacts eating it is having on their health, animals and the environment.
To find out more about the animals we eat we need to start at the beginning. Until the 1950s, the majority of farms in those days were owned by small families. But soon after the second world war, the thing began to change. Farming methods became driven largely by the quest to produce vast quantities of cheap food, animals were bred to grow faster, put on more muscle for meat and give birth to larger litters. Making huge profits for the farmers. Big companies started to control the industry.
Gradually it became standard practice to imprison huge numbers of animals inside large sheds where light, heat, and feed can be closely controlled. This is known as factory farming because animals are treated like units on a production line. And everything that makes life worth living like fresh air and exercise is ignored. Most farmed animals are kept in huge, crowded, barren units for the whole of their short lives. Pigs, chickens, turkeys, and ducks have long been kept this way and now dairy cows, goats, and sheep are increasingly being factory farmed too. To try to prevent bored and stressed animals from hurting each other, farmers subject them to mutilations, such as beak trimming, castration and the removal of their tails, usually done without anesthetic.
Animals born and raised on factory farms don’t know what it is like to be free. They are bred into a lifetime of extreme confinement and suffering. Factory farms are starting to get more visibility in the mainstream media. And the reasons are far from positive. It is becoming common knowledge that factory farms are horrific places where animals aren’t treated as living, sentient beings. The truth is that factory farming is an abomination and needs to end.
Factory farms are essentially industrial animal factories that breed and raise animals for human consumption. The main thing connecting all of these farms is the cruelty and suffering that the animals face while living a confined life awaiting imminent slaughter and also the main goal is to be as efficient as possible disregarding the welfare of the animals where money could be made.The industrial food complex is aware of the public’s distaste for factory farming that they are hidden from the public eye. The meat industry knows this well. Food lobbyists influence lawmakers to create laws to punish the people looking to expose the horrors behind the barbed-wire fences of factory farms.
The laws are called ‘Ag-gag laws’ and are designed specifically to protect large corporations in the food industry. Ag-gag laws aim to prevent employees, undercover or otherwise, from documenting factory farm operations without their employers’ consent. Because food executives in the meat, dairy, and egg industries know that the general public would be horrified by what happens at their farms, ag-gag laws have been used to try to silence or scare of animal rights activists that go undercover to expose animal abuse on factory farms.
These laws essentially give farmers and those behind the food industry free reign at doing what they want to animals. Animals born and raised on factory farms don’t know what it is like to be free. These animals don’t know comfort. They aren’t allowed to experience family and friends as they do in nature. Every minute of their short lives is spent experiencing fear, suffering, and extreme discomfort before being packed into trucks and taken to slaughterhouses. To the companies and farmers responsible for their survival, they are nothing more than pegs in the machine. They are far from sentient beings deserving of a life free from fear.
Factory farming was created to create the amount of meat necessary to meet the demand of a growing population. If grown on a rolling pasture the way many people think of animal farming, the global meat supply would be much more expensive. Factory farms allow farmers to grow huge numbers of animals quickly and without taking into account the well-being of those animals. Because of this, they can produce meat at extraordinarily low prices. This meat turns into processed meats that then perpetuate the growing popularity of the Western Diet. This diet increases people’s risk of becoming obese or suffering from many preventable diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
Approximately 95% of the chickens farmed for food in this country are reared inside huge windowless sheds the size of football grounds. There may be up to 100,000 birds crammed into a single shed with space as little as half an A4 piece of paper. They are known as ‘broiler birds’ and have been specially bred to grow twice the natural rate. They are also fed a high protein diet to make them put on more weight quickly and grow unnaturally fast. To put that into perspective imagine having an adult’s body on a child’s legs and those legs simply cannot cope with that weight. This results in the animals becoming lame or that are crippled and these animals die because they cannot reach the water and food. More than one in 20 birds die before they can be a slaughter.
While healthy chickens have a natural lifespan of 10 years, these broiler birds are sent to be slaughtered at only six weeks old. That’s less than one-half term. In the UK 800 million chickens are slaughtered every year. Now that’s the same as more than two million chickens being killed every day.
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Pig farms are unusually cruel to the animals being raised for slaughter. Just under one billion pigs are being raised for food at any given moment around the globe. Breeding sows are forced to produce as many piglets as possible. Many female pigs spend their lives on their sides in gestation crates, a barbaric way of keeping them stationary prisoners throughout their repeated pregnancies. A week before they are due to give birth, Sows are moved to a farrowing crate – a metal cage-like structure with a concrete floor. They are unable to turn around or move freely to prevent them from crushing their babies, which could occur due to the abnormally large litter’s modern sows are forced to produce One week later, the mother is forcefully impregnated and is back in the gestational crate. This process goes until she is no longer able to have babies and is slaughtered for her meat. At three or four weeks old, the piglets are taken away from their mothers. A high protein diet causes them to grow very big, very fast. As a result, the pigs suffer painful leg and joint problems. The unnatural conditions also lead to breathing problems, as well as to infections that affect the gut, skin, brain and nervous system. Many common practices found across pig farms are barbaric. Tail docking and tooth clipping happen and the farmers claim it’s to help the pigs. Many pigs in horrid conditions and squalor can act out due to stress and anxiety
The dairy cow is one of the most exploited of all farmed animals. Selectively bred to produce unnaturally large and ever-increasing quantities of milk, she is also subjected to a constant cycle of pregnancies, usually by artificial insemination. To produce milk, a cow must be made pregnant, which of course results in a calf being born. These calves are considered by-products by the dairy industry, which usually separates them from their mothers at just one or two days old. This is so that the milk meant for them can be bottled for people to drink. Separating a mother and her calf is extremely distressing for both – cows have been known to break out of fields in search of their stolen babies. Every year, tens of thousands of male calves are shot in e head soon after birth, as they will never produce milk and won’t gain weight quickly enough for beef production Many others are sent away to be raised on veal farms and will be slaughtered at just a few months’ old
These are just some of the instances of animal cruelty, However, due to the obscurity of the meat industry many atrocities occur behind closed doors, with little accountability for the perpetrators
Over the past 50 years, global meat production has almost quadrupled from 84 million tons in 1965 to more than 330 million tons in 2017. The IAASTD predicts that this trend will continue, especially because the growing urban middle classes in China and other emerging economies will adapt to the so-called western diet Animal agriculture is an inefficient way to produce food. Animal farming uses more land, energy, and water than plant-based agriculture and is a significant cause of pollution.
Only 55% of the world’s cropland goes to feed humans. That means that 45% of all crops grown on the planet is fed to animals on factory farms. We can feed up to 10 times as many people (which is an extra 3.5Billion) by using the available land to feed people directly, rather than devoting it too fattening up animals. Yet animal products provide just a small fraction of our nutrient intake. In short, we get less food out of animals than we put into them.
And it’s not just land that is wasted producing animal products. Animal farming uses vast quantities of water in its production and maintenance. Animal agriculture is responsible for 20 to 33 percent of all freshwater consumption in the world. It takes 900 liters of water to produce 1kg of wheat compared with 100,000 liters to produce 1kg of beef. As the human population increases around the world, millions of people are dying of hunger. Soon, world food production will not be able to keep up with the demands of a Western meat-eating diet – which is now being adopted by developing countries.
Cited by under-25s as their leading reason for giving up meat, the environmental impact of livestock farming features prominently in pro-veggie campaigns. Vegetarian activists accuse the meat industry of harming the environment in several ways. Methane produced by animals like cattle, sheep, and goats (in the form of waste) adds to the stock of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which is a contributor to climate change. According to the United Nations, Emissions from agricultural production accounts for 18 percent of all greenhouse gases, which is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transport sector on earth combined.
A recent analysis showed that beef results in up to 105kg of greenhouse gases per 100g of protein, while tofu produces less than 3.5kg per 100g of protein. But the environmental impact of animal agriculture goes beyond climate change. It is a major driving force behind deforestation, 70 percent of former rainforest in the Amazon is now being used for grazing animals and is also the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife. It is also the single biggest cause of water pollution in the UK and many other countries, killing wildlife and causing disease outbreaks.
In the words of the environment writer George Monbiot, ‘farming animals is as unsustainable as mining coal’. Only by cutting back on global meat consumption will we ever be able to feed everyone in the world. However, expecting the world to employ vegetarianism is simply unrealistic. Many factors hinder global vegetarianism such as religion, different country’s registrations and taste of meat
The good news is that there is already government around the world that are taking steps to reduce the consumption of meat in the face of climate change. The Danish ethic committee has advised the Danish government put a tax on all red meat. The Chinese government has outlined a plan to reduce its citizens’ meat consumption by 50% by 2030,
Existing Nutritional labels could be modified to state where and how the meat was killed and haw sustainably was it slaughtered. However, More than 200 million animals are killed for food around the world every day – just on land. That comes out to 72 billion land animals killed for food around the world every year. This is a global issue that will only be rectified as a united species taking the steps to save the planet we call home
It’s up to us to start a movement, inspire a generation and fix the wrong done to the world Now you may be thinking “how do a few people not eating meat save these animals” well, being a vegetarian saves animal by reducing the demand for meat, causing few animals to be born into a harsh life owned by the meat industry, where callousness abounds and mercy is scant. Factory farms will one day be looked back on as a dark and barbaric practice where Squalor, misery, disease, and death runs rampant.
People are becoming more and more aware of what happens on these farms and plant-based alternatives to meat are growing at incredible rates. Clean meat is close to becoming a reality and will provide meat eaters with an identical culinary experience as meat without animal farming being a part of the process. While a vegan world may seem like a distant future, a world where factory farming is acceptable may come to an end shortly.
In the end, the choice is yours. The fate of billions of animals depends on the choices that ordinary people like you make about the food on your plate. Every decision you make can make a difference in their lives saving billions of sentient beings, significantly reduce pollution and provide people with much healthier and more ethical alternatives to their diets.