Over 65 billion animals are slaughtered every year throughout
the world for food alone (this does not even include seafood).
Factory farming is the only way to produce this huge amount of
meat, this is a method which does not even allow for animals’
most basic needs. Life long restriction of movement, darkness,
mutilation without anaesthesia and problems resulting from selective
breeding are the price that creatures capable of feeling pain
and fear have to pay in order to provide this amount of meat.
Unspeakable brutality towards animals has been documented countless
times during their transportation and, of course, in the slaughterhouse.
The recognition that animals are sentient beings has brought about
a change in attitude towards the way in which animals are kept
over recent years. It is highly likely that the next generation
will simply not accept practices such as battery cages, sow stalls
or live animal transport. Maybe the next generation will even
turn their back on the slaughtering of animals altogether. Studies
in ethology (animal behaviour research) show us that, in respect
of consciousness, intelligence and the ability to feel pain, many
animals are more developed than new born human babies.
Some of the cruellest methods of factory farming are those which
use the most intelligent and social of domestic animals, for example,
pigs. Breeding sows are female pigs that have
to “produce” piglets for pork production, they are
restrained in individual metal sow stalls which are practically
the same size as their body. They are unable to turn around, have
no bedding on the bare concrete floor and can only stand or try
to lie down. A slatted trench directly behind the sow makes the
removal of her waste easier. This confinement and isolation of
these highly social animals is animal torture. Injuries often
include infected and swollen trotters and joints and skin is made
raw through rubbing against the bars and the sow’s own excrement.
The sows can only rest on their hind legs - with sunken head and
half or totally closed eyes they “mourn” as animal
behaviour researches have called it.
The vast majority of laying hens are kept in
tiny battery cages with other hens. The cages are stacked on top
of each other. In some countries a hen will have the space of
approximately one piece of A4 paper, she will stand on a bare
wire floor. In other countries she will have even less space.
Behaviour normal and necessary for chickens, such as wing stretching,
scratching, being able to find a quiet place where they can lay
their eggs undisturbed and moving out of the way of aggression
from other hens is forcefully suppressed for the whole of the
hen’s life under this form of farming.
Live animal transport, sometimes involving journeys
halfway around the world, carelessness and brutality in slaughterhouses,
secretly filmed sadism towards animals: All this and more shows
us that the way we use animals today to feed ourselves causes
an enormous amount of misery and suffering for countless creatures.