For years now, we have been presented with an almost romantic notion of the American farm. It is perceived as a place where cattle are free to graze in wide-open fields, chickens have run of the barnyard, and pigs are given opportunity to bask in abundant sunlight.
In most cases, however, this vision is anything but reality.
A majority of the animals that are raised for food (or food products) live a short, unimaginable life of pain and suffering, spent in darkness and intense confinement.
Some facts about factory farming you may not know:
- Animals are often force bred to produce young at unnaturally accelerated rates, causing them exhaustion and stress.
- The beaks of chickens, turkeys and ducks are often removed in factory farms to reduce the excessive feather pecking and cannibalism seen among stressed, overcrowded birds. The same applies to pigs with removal of their teeth and tails. And in the vast majority of cases, both are done without any form of pain relief.
- Millions of day-old male chicks are killed (usually in a high-speed grinder called a "macerator") every year because they are worthless to the egg industry.
- After one or two years of producing eggs at an unnaturally high rate, female fowl are classified as "spent hens.” No longer financially profitable for factory farmers, they are slaughtered.
- Ammonia and other gases from manure irritate animals' lungs, to the point where over 80% of US pigs have pneumonia upon slaughter.
- Those animals headed for slaughter who become too sick or injured to walk unassisted are termed 'downers', and are forced onto slaughter trucks--often with a bulldozer.
These are just a few of the issues at hand, which could be more aggresively reformed and rethought--if public demand called for such action.
Whether omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan, an ethical common ground should exist between all of us--regarding conditions of which these animals sharing our planet are treated and kept.
Sign the petition now, to make your voice heard by the USDA and our government!