The suffering of farmed ducks and quail
In the wild, ducks would spend much of their time paddling and swimming, yet today they, too, are factory farmed. Each year in the UK, around 10 million ducks are slaughtered for food.
Crowded into sheds much like broiler chickens, they also have to endure the cruelty of being denied one of their most basic needs: access to open water. Preventing these largely-aquatic birds from swimming, preening and dipping their heads in water has serious consequences for their physical well-being. Farmed ducks often exhibit poor feather condition and eye problems – even blindness – from not being able to submerge their heads in water.
As with other factory farmed birds, ducks may have their bills trimmed to prevent them from harming each other in the stressful, crowded farm conditions.
The natural lifespan of a duck is around 15 years, yet factory farmed ducks can be slaughtered at just six weeks old.
Even quail – tiny, wild birds – are now crammed into cages and reared in factory farms. Small spaces are especially dangerous to quail, who jump when stressed and have been known to injure or even kill themselves when hitting the roof or wall of a cage. Fiercely territorial, quail also have their beaks trimmed to prevent them from harming each other.
Quail eggs have become very fashionable in recent years, making them highly lucrative for farmers, especially as they often begin laying at a younger age than other farmed birds. Whilst they would normally lay around 12 eggs once a year, quail are manipulated into laying as many as 200 eggs per year on modern farms by exposing them to artificial light for up to 18 hours a day.
As they are such small and delicate birds, they often sustain broken bones when being packed into crates for slaughter, which usually takes place at around seven weeks old.
Watch these rescued ducks and geese enjoy swimming free in a pond at the Farm Sanctuary:
Killing an animal for food can never be regarded as humane. Animals’ lives are just as important to them as ours are to us and none go to the knife willingly. Choosing organic or free-range over factory farmed meat, milk or eggs, continues to cause pain and suffering. The only viable solution to end animal suffering is to adopt an animal-free diet. We can acquire all the nutrients we need from plant-based foods and with more supermarkets and high street shops stocking vegan food, it’s never been easier.
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