Animal Farming

World Farm Animals Day is supported by people of conscience, regardless of their personal dietary choices, who are outraged by the abysmal treatment of animals raised for food.

Each year, approximately 50 billion cows, pigs, chickens, and other innocent, sentient animals are caged, crowded, deprived, drugged, mutilated, and manhandled in the world’s factory farms and slaughterhouses. In the US alone, 10 billion land animals are abused and slaughtered.

“Veal” calves are torn from their mothers at birth, chained by the neck for 16 weeks in tiny, filthy wooden crates, and force-fed an anemia-inducing liquid formula. They are deprived of their natural diet–including water, roughage, and iron–as well as exercise, fresh air, sunshine, and their mother’s love.

Meanwhile, their mothers (dairy cows) suffer horribly as they are pumped full of growth hormones and perpetually impregnated for their milk. When their production slumps, they are slaughtered.

Breeding sows are kept pregnant for three years in metal “gestation crates,” enclosures so small the sows cannot even turn around. Their piglets are torn away after only two weeks so the sows can again be impregnated.

Laying hens are crammed 5-7 birds into wire-mesh “battery cages” the size of a folded newspaper, which cut their feet and tear at their feathers. They are frequently starved for up to 14 days to boost egg production, a process known as forced molting. Upon hatching, male chicks are placed in garbage bags, where they suffocate slowly or are crushed under the weight of their brothers.

Animals are transported to slaughter in crowded trucks with no food, water, or protection against weather extremes. Many die in transit. Sick and injured animals, called “downers,” are dragged with chains to the killing floor.

According to a 10-year investigation based on interviews with slaughterhouse workers and USDA inspectors, many animals actually survive the slaughter process. Many — alive and conscious — are skinned, dismembered, gutted, scalded, and drowned in their own blood.

Additional details and documentation are provided under internet resources.

Remedial Legislation

State and federal regulations to protect farmed animals are nonexistent or unenforced. More than half of the states have enacted legislation exempting factory farms from anti-cruelty statutes. The others just ignore them.

The 1958 Federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, expanded in 1978, has never been funded or enforced. USDA inspectors who have complained about slaughterhouse atrocities have been reprimanded or fired.

Congress has yet to pass a bill requiring euthanasia of downed animals (animals too sick to walk). Reacting to the public’s concern about Mad Cow disease, the USDA imposed guidelines to keep downers out of the human food supply. However, these guidelines are self-imposed; they can be reversed at any time and do not carry the weight of law. In February 2008, the USDA recalled 143 million pounds of beef due to undercover video footage taken by the Humane Society of the United States. The video revealed slaughterhouse workers using kicks, electric shock, high-pressure water hoses, and a forklift to force sick or injured animals onto the kill floor. The seldom enforced USDA regulations are designed to discourage the processing of sick and injured animals because of the high risk of contamination by E. coli, Salmonella, or Mad Cow disease.

What’s the solution?

Attempts to improve the treatment of animals through legislation have not worked. Our best option to end these atrocities is to stop subsidizing them at the market checkout counter. Click here to request a free Veg Starter Guide today.