The Suffering of Farmed Animals
Ducks and Quail
Free range does not mean cruelty free!
‘Free range’ is a very misleading term that suggests animals living a natural lifestyle with minimal restraints on their freedom and behaviour. The conditions free-range animals can be kept in are much more confined than people would imagine. Although given more room than factory farmed animals, those reared under free-range systems can still be kept intensively in small living spaces with restricted access to the outdoors. Thousands of ‘free range’ chickens are still packed into huge windowless sheds where disease is rife and mortality rates are high. In such cramped conditions, not all birds are able to reach the exit, as they would have to fight their way to an opening. As a result, many birds never have access to an outside area. Whether in a windowless shed or out in the field, animals are subjected to painful mutilations, such as de-beaking, de-horning and tail docking.
The label ‘organic’ also implies higher welfare standards but being organic is no guarantee that the animals lived free-range. While organically-farmed and free range animals have a better quality of life than factory farmed animals, they will be subjected to the same trauma of transport to the slaughterhouse and the same terrifying, bloody death.
More, more, more!
Animals are now being genetically selected and manipulated to produce more milk, more meat, more eggs and more offspring. Battery hens lay 20 times more eggs than they would naturally. Dairy cows produce around ten times more milk than their calves could consume. And still research into increased productivity continues. Farmed animals are regarded as mere units of production. Their bodies are pushed to the limits in order to produce the most amount of meat in the shortest possible time. As a result, farmed animals suffer from health problems including crippling deformities of the legs and feet and heart attacks.
In recent years, a string of diseases have been found in farmed animals that have threatened both animals and people. According to a government-commissioned inquiry, Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (BSE) - which transfers to people in the lethal form of vCJD - was caused by feeding infected cow and sheep remains to cows who are natural herbivores. Modern-day factory-farming methods caused this national disaster.
In 2001, millions of farmed animals were killed and burnt to stop the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, a highly infectious illness that affects pigs, sheep, cattle and goats. Foot-and-mouth was said to have originated in a filthy, ramshackle pig farm and spread as animals were transported between farms, and to markets and slaughterhouses around the country.
The salmonella virus, a potentially fatal type of food poisoning, is rife on poultry farms. The more we stress and exploit animals under modern systems of intensive rearing, the weaker the animals will become and the more they will fall prey to disease. Farmed animals are fed drugs, including antibiotics in an attempt to keep them ‘healthy’. These, in turn, are ingested by people eating their dead bodies or milk and egg products.