After hearing these facts about the conditions that animals are forced to endure on factory farms you might be displeased to learn that 99% of all of the meat that is sold in the U.S. comes from factory farms (1), something to keep in mind.
*Warning: Some of the images used are graphic*
I know that these can be very hard to look at, it was hard enough to do the research for the article. However, if this is what it takes for people to wake up and realize exactly what they are contributing to, then I am all for it, as it needs to be done. I know a number of people who have gone completely Vegan after watching the graphic film “Earthlings,” which exposes the inner workings of factory farms. People are simply unaware of what has been going on behind closed doors, the intent of this article is to open some eyes and open the doors to this tragedy that has been taking place for far too long.
1. The majority of chickens raised on factory farms have their beaks cut off.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture 36.8 BILLION pounds of chicken were raised and slaughtered for consumption in 2013 alone (2.) That is a lot of chickens! Since these animals are kept to live in such close quarters a lot of farmers remove the beaks from the chickens by clipping, or burning them off to avoid the chickens from pecking each other to death. Many people claim that this practice causes no harm or pain to the animals, however a number of chickens die from this process.(2a)
2. Male chicks that are born serve virtually no purpose to the egg industry so they are sorted from the females and ground up on the same day they are born. (3)
Like me you may have wondered, why don’t they just raise these chickens for meat? Egg laying chickens are actually different from chickens that are used for meat. Chickens used for meat are known as broiler chickens and they are bred specifically to be a factory standard size and are usually slaughtered at around 2 months of age. This factory standard size makes it easier for the chickens to be put into the machine that is used to slaughter them, although this machine does miss a few from time to time, and these birds are sent to the next step of mechanical separation while still alive.(2b)
3. The term that comes across, as ethical “free range” isn’t at all, and in some cases is worse for the overall well being of the chickens than being kept in cages.
When you see the term “Free Range” you may get a picture in your head of happy chickens roaming free through green pastures –this is exactly what egg and chicken suppliers want you to think so that you can feel good about the purchase that you are making, however this is very far from the truth. There is no government certification required to boast the label as free range for egg laying hens or boiler chickens. (4) This means that when eggs or chicken meat is labeled as free range this only means that the chickens were not kept in cages. They were however, kept inside big warehouses cramped together so tightly that they can barely spread their wings. (5)
4. Newborn calves are taken away from their mothers almost immediately after birth.
Can you imagine carrying something inside of you for 9 months, going through painful labor, finally getting to meet your newborn and then have them taken away from you after as little as two hours? As you can imagine this can be quite traumatizing for a mother cow and her newborn calf. (6) Calves born of dairy cows are not even allowed to drink the milk that their mother produces, ironically, that milk is for humans consumption only. See something wrong with this picture? The babies are then fed a nutritional supplement. Mother cows will wail for days and days longing for the bond with their newborn. They often go into depression and lose weight from the ordeal. Studies have shown that this gets particularly harder each time the cow gives birth.
5. More than 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States were fed to livestock.
This statistic is almost sickening. Scrap that, it is sickening. The thought of this makes me sick to my stomach. Because these factory farmed animals are forced to live in such inhumane and disgustingly dirty conditions, these antibiotics are needed -and in large quantities to try and keep the animals healthy. If that alone isn’t alarming enough, the majority of these antibiotics are specifically administered to artificially increase rapid growth.(7) It is important to note that everything these animals are eating, we are then eating… you are what you eat.
6. Calves that are bred for veal are kept in tiny very dark containers called veal crates for their entire short lives.
Because newborn calves that are male are not useful to the dairy industry and are considered a by-product. The male calves are kept in crates that are no more that 30 inches wide and 72 inches long.(8) These crates are small so that the baby calf has no room to move around too much and often times they are held down with chains to ensure that they don’t build muscle and their flesh stays tender. The calves are fed a diet that consists of only a synthetic formula so that their flesh will be pale and anemic, as desired by the consumer.
7. 82% of cows used for dairy production have their tails cut off.
The tails are docked from one of a few different processes that include cauterizing docking irons, application of elastrator bands or surgical decision. The reason that this procedure is performed is to create an improved comfort level for milking personnel, a reduced incidence of mastitis and allegedly, improved milk quality and milk hygiene. (9)
8. Pregnant sows are kept in disgustingly small cages and are unable to even turn around.
Each year millions of pregnant sows are kept in cages that are referred to as “gestation crates.” These crates are a cost cutting measure that keeps the pregnant pigs immobilized. These crates have slatted concrete for the floors so that manure and waste from the pregnant pigs can easily slip through into huge pits beneath. Shortly after giving birth the new mothers are then moved to what is referred to as “farrowing crates,” which are very similar to the gestation crates except that there is a bit more room to fit the small piglets so that they can nurse. (10) The entire lifespan of a sow is in a tiny cage just big enough for it to fit. Think about that for a minute. This whole process is so inhumane that it is actually banned in the UK, Sweden and some states. (11)
9. 65% Of Hogs tested from factory farms had pneumonia.
Researchers believe that this is due in part to the massive amount of manure that these pigs are excreting every single day while being confined to these small concrete cages that are indoors. (12)
10. Almost all of the cattle raised on factory farms for the purpose of consumption are fed a diet that consists of GMO corn. Cows are naturally meant to eat grass.
This is alarming for a few reasons: one being that this is entirely unnatural and cows have evolved over millions of years on a diet of grass. Two the process of digesting the corn is so unnatural to their digestive systems that if not done properly it can actually kill the animal, especially if the animal is not being fed a copious amount of antibiotics along with it. Why the switch? It’s faster and consequently more profitable. Seventy five years go a cow would live to be 4 or 5 at the time of slaughter, today they are less than two. (13)
After reading this a lot of people will think, yes this is terrible, but what can I actually do to stop this? This is just how the world is. I want you to understand that you can make a difference.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
You always have a choice! It is up to you to decide what you are putting into your body and where you are buying it. I realize that there is no way to prove the next statement that I am about to make; however it is something that should be considered. You are what you eat… approximately 40 million Americans will experience an impairment because of an anxiety disorder this year.(14) When you realize the tremendous feeling of anxiety that billions of animals are feeling at all times it is not difficult to assume that there could be a direct relationship between these extremely distressed animals and what many of us are putting into our bodies every single day.
I do have a question for those who regularly consume meat, do you still think being Vegan is extreme? If switching to a Vegan or even Vegetarian diet at this time in your life seems too daunting to you there are some other alternatives. One option is to simply cut down the amount of factory farmed products that you are consuming. Consider participating in “Meatless Mondays.” Another option is to do some research and find out exactly where the products that you are consuming are coming from. There are ways of getting meat and animal products that come from sufficiently more humane farmers with better, safer farming practices. Share this information with people. The majority of people who consume animals and animal products are just completely unaware of what is going on, you might be amazed to know that just a little information can go a long way if given to an open-minded individual.
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