Going vegan for the animals

Going vegan is one of the best things you can do to help stop animal cruelty. By refusing to pay for animal products, you reduce the demand for them, which ensures fewer animals are bred to suffer and die on farms and in slaughterhouses.

Every year in the UK, around 1 billion animals are bred and killed for food – and that number doesn’t include fish! Each of these individuals deserved to live free from harm and suffering. The majority of animals raised to be slaughtered for food are reared on factory farms and slaughtered at just a few months or weeks old.

The conditions on factory farms are far removed from the happy farmyard scenes you see portrayed on egg boxes or in TV ads. Modern factory units exist to produce meat and dairy products as quickly and cheaply as possible, and the animals are given the bare minimum needed to survive. Crammed into stinking sheds, most will never roam freely, nor will they ever breathe fresh air or see natural daylight. Many will die before they even leave the farm, victims of the terrible conditions in which they live; and for the rest, a terrifying and bloody slaughterhouse death awaits.

But animal suffering is not limited to factory farming; animals in so-called ‘higher welfare’ farms suffer, too. Animal Aid has investigated British farms and slaughterhouses, including so called ‘high welfare’ and ‘free-range’ establishments, and revealed horrific animal suffering and abuse.

The male chicks of egg-laying hens, for example, are killed at just a day old simply because they will never lay an egg and won’t gain weight fast enough for meat production. This happens regardless of whether a farm is intensive, free-range or organic. And once the egg-laying hens have ceased being profitable, they are sent to slaughter.

On dairy farms, mother cows are usually forcibly impregnated, and calves are separated from their mothers shortly after birth so that milk meant for them can be bottled for human consumption. Again, this happens on all farms, regardless of the level of welfare, and those mother cows are sent to slaughter when they are no longer profitable.

Fish are dragged out of the water in huge nets the size of football pitches. Non-target animals including dolphins, whales and turtles are often caught up and die, too. Other fish, such as tuna, are speared on hooks on the end of long lines, and slowly dragged to their death. Some sea birds are in increasing danger of starvation as their food source – fish – dwindles. And the lives of farmed fish are just as dreadful; thousands of fish are forced to live in factory-farm conditions, where disease and cruelty is rife.

Animals are treated by the farming and fishing industries as if they are unfeeling machines, alive only to generate maximum profit. But each fish, chicken, lamb, cow or pig is a sentient being capable of experiencing pain, fear, discomfort and distress.

Read more about the suffering of farmed animals and Animal Aid's investigations

Meet Bramble the Chicken!

Bramble was saved from slaughter. She had been born on a factory farm and was due to be slaughtered at just 6 weeks old. Thankfully activists outside a slaughterhouse managed to negotiate her release and take her and three other chickens to safety for the rest of their lives.