With corporate factories replacing traditional animal farms, it is not difficult to find animal factory workers kicking cows, ramming them with the blades of a forklift, jabbing them in the eyes, applying painful electrical shocks and even torturing them with a hose and water in attempts to force sick or injured animals to walk to slaughter.
After one year battery hens are dubbed “spent hens” and sent to the slaughterhouses. Slaughterhouses are kept busy by the growing demand for broiler chicken which beautifully hides the bruises from consumers.
Why should I be aware of this?
Over the last 50 years there has been a dramatic change in the way animals are fed. Unwise and inhumane approaches to raising animals in animal factories have led to mad cow disease, increased liver abscesses, and rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, increased liver abscesses, and the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Food for animals are no longer raised in farms but in crowded animal factories known as large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Just like other factories animal factories too always look for ways to cut costs, without consideration about what is good for both animals and humans. Animals are designed by nature to eat a kind of food. Ingredients used in factory feed do not meet these requirements.
A cow eating a normal grass diet is unable to produce milk at the abnormal levels expected in modern dairies, and so today's dairy cows must be given high energy feeds. The unnaturally rich diet causes metabolic disorders including ketosis, which can be fatal, and laminitis, which causes lameness.
All about animal factories
It is mandatory for dairy cows to give birth every year in order to produce milk. For this, even while they are lactating from their previous birthing, they are artificially re-impregnated.
In many cases when the cost of replacing hens are high, they are starved for up to 18 days and kept in the dark, without water, to shock them into another egg-laying cycle. As babies the tails of pigs are cut off to minimize tail biting, an aberrant behavior that occurs when these highly-intelligent animals are kept in deprived factory farm environments. In addition, notches are taken out of the piglets' ears for identification.
Intensive milk production also results in "milk fever", another dairy industry disease caused by calcium deficiency. It occurs when milk secretion depletes calcium faster than it can be replenished in the blood.
Pigs kept in the dark
Most of the floors where pigs are kept are made of grid, to let the manure fall through. For this reason they suffer the smell of ammonia all day long. They also suffer from foot injuries by standing this way all day.
The pigs are kept in full or semi darkness all day. As this makes them unaccustomed to daylight, they panic when they are transported to the slaughterhouse. As it is pigs are bad travelers.
Natural nursing period for piglets are 14 weeks. But at factories they are brought to the weaning section after 3 to 4 weeks. After 14 days from birth, the piglets are put in a 102 m sty, usually on a grid floor without straw.
As male hormones are alleged to affect the scent of the meat, bores are castrated without anesthesia. On account of limited space sows suffer so much from stress that they chew on the rails of the cage out of frustration.
Dairy cows, calves and veal
Under normal circumstances cows can live for 25 years. But in modern dairies, they are slaughtered and made into ground beef after just three or four years. Dairy cows must give birth in order to begin producing milk. They have a calf every year and that calf is taken away immediately or after a week to prevent its bonding with the mother. They are kept in hutches which are igloo-like structures. Denied the opportunity to suck their mothers’ milk they suck the body parts of other calves.
A byproduct of the dairy industry is the veal industry and is created by an abundant supply of unwanted male calves. These calves are kept in wooden cases so small that they can’t even turn around. Frozen TV dinner market is supported by calves that are killed at just a few days old to be sold as low-grade 'bob' veal.
Beef cattle are not adequately protected against inclement weather, and they may die of dehydration or freeze to death. Injured, ill, or otherwise ailing animals do not receive necessary veterinary attention. One common malady afflicting beef cattle is called "cancer eye." Left untreated, the cancer eats away at the animal's eye and face, eventually producing a crater in the side of the animal's head.
Chicks, immediately on crawling out of the eggs, are moved to a laying or fattening farm, depending on their race or sex. As young cocks are of no use they are put in plastic bags and killed with carbon dioxide. The chicks are put in long rows of wire mesh cages. Four hens are crammed together in a 45cmX50cm cage in which they can’t even spread their wings. As they peck (which is an aberrant behavior that occurs when the confined hens are bored and frustrated) with each other in these cramped cages their beaks are burnt without anesthesia. Battery hens live for one year and fattening chicks for about six weeks. After one year of egg laying, hens are sent to the slaughterhouse.
They are violently pressed in crates for transportation to the slaughterhouse which puts them at great risk of wing and foot fracture.
Animal foods from food animals
In more clear terms, animals in factories are fed same species meat. Like cattle-to-cattle. This feed process led to the mad cow disease. In the same way pig carcasses can be rendered as feed for pigs. Chicken and turkey carcasses meet the same fate.
Rendered feathers, hair, skin, hooves, blood, and intestines can also be found in feed. Cattle manure, swine waste, and poultry litter, which may contain drugs such as antibiotics and hormones, are also likely items used in animal feed.
Dirt, rocks, sand, wood, and other such contaminant are also freely in cattle feed.
Animals need to move food through their digestive system with plant-based roughage. But animal factories often use plastic pellets instead of natural fibers for this purpose.
Drugs and chemicals
Animals raised in humane conditions and provided proper food hardly need any medical treatment. But antibiotics, almost the same volumes as used in human medicines, are used in animal factories to promote faster growth. This results in development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can infect both humans and animals.
Some of the antimicrobials used to control parasites and promote growth in poultry contain arsenic, a known human carcinogen. Arsenic can be found in meat or can contaminate human water supplies through runoff from factory farms.
Too much of grains are not good for cattle which are natural grass eaters. Acidic digestive systems and liver abscesses are among the many health problems that result from this corn-rich diet.
What can I do?
As a consumer armed with information, you have the power to promote a modern approach to raising animals that is both productive and healthful. You can help to effect change by supporting systems and producers that feed animals the food they were meant to eat.
- Choose plant-based foods in favor of factory farmed animal products
- Choose grass-fed and grass-finished beef and dairy products and pasture-raised pork, poultry, and egg products
- Select certified organic meats, eggs, and dairy and those clearly labeled as using only vegetarian animal feed
- Purchase meats, eggs, and dairy products from local farmers on the farm, at farmers markets, or by buying a share from a local farmer as part of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program
- Every year, 35.7 million cows are stunned, hung upside down, bled to death, and skinned in slaughterhouses.
- Goats may be boiled alive to make kid gloves, and the skins of purposely aborted calves and lambs are considered especially "luxurious."
- Snakes and lizards are often skinned alive because of the belief that live flaying imparts suppleness to the finished leather.
- Alligators on factory farms are packed into half-sunken sheds, immersed in filthy stagnant water rife with their own waste and the stench of rancid meat.
- Crocodiles are often caught in the wild with huge hooks and wires and reeled in when they become weakened from blood loss or drown.
- Many animals are skinned when they are still alive-sometimes remaining conscious and in agony for up to two hours-and then beaten to death with hammers, axes, and aluminum baseball bats.
- In Australia, where millions of kangaroos are slaughtered every year for their hides, orphaned joeys and wounded kangaroos are considered collateral damage and the government mandates that they be decapitated or hit sharply on the head "to destroy the brain."
- In France, more than 20,000 cats are stolen for the skin trade annually; during a police raid on a tannery, 1,500 cat skins, used to make baby shoes, were seized
- Animal testing
- Animal welfare
- Threatened species
- Cheetah Conservation
- Genetically Modified Fruits
- Animal Production Food Safety
- Same Species Meat, Diseased Animals, and Feathers, Hair, Skin, and Blood
- Factory Pork Production
- Dairy cows
- Factory Dairy Production