For the Animals
“Animals are my friends. I don’t eat my friends.” George Bernard Shaw
Many people love and care about animals. We all find the thought of eating a cat or a dog repugnant. But are farm animals really any less worthy of our love and care? Just as with cats and dogs, farm animals are sensitive to pain and want to live full, contented lives.
Scientists have determined that animals feel pain and can suffer in much the same way as we do. To reduce the suffering that animals experience, we recommend choosing a diet as free of animal products as possible.
Most farm animals today are raised on factory farms, where they are treated if they were objects in a factory. This results in very harsh conditions including extreme over-crowding and other unnatural and unsanitary conditions. There is no better summary of the inhumane disaster taking place on America’s factory farms than the description given by Senator Robert Byrd to the United States Senate (bear in mind that he was once a farmer):
“Our inhumane treatment of livestock is becoming widespread and more and more barbaric. Six-hundred-pound hogs—they were ‘pigs’ once—raised in two-foot-wide metal cages called gestational crates, in which poor beasts are unable to turn around or lie down in natural positions, and this is the way they live for months at a time.
On profit-driven factory farms, veal calves are confined to dark wooden crates so small they are prevented from lying down or scratching themselves. These creatures feel; they know pain. They suffer pain just as we humans suffer pain. Egg-laying hens are confined to battery cages [cages literally stuffed so tight with chickens that they can barely move, and the cages are stacked on top of each other so that the wastes from the cages above fall on the chickens below]. Unable to spread their wings, they are reduced to nothing more than an egg-laying machine.”
Both traditionally raised and factory farmed animals wind up at a slaughterhouse. They suffer in cramped trucks with no temperature control on the way to the slaughterhouse. Many exposés have documented inhumane treatment in slaughterhouses, giving substance to the old saying “if slaughterhouses had glass walls we’d all be vegetarians.”
Fish suffer too
Most commercial fishing vessels use very long nets, sometimes as long as a mile or more. When the fish get caught in the nets, at first they experience being crushed as the net is brought in to the ship, and then they are left to suffocate until they die. Making the situation worse is the fact that these long nets also catch other fish which have no commercial value, plus sea mammals such as dolphins and porpoises, all of which are needlessly killed.
But there’s more to animal suffering than just feeling pain. More than 40 percent of all the fish consumed each year are now raised on land-based or ocean-based aquafarms, where fish spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy enclosures, and where many suffer from parasitic infections, other diseases, and debilitating injuries. Fish will naturally space themselves out in the ocean, but to increase profits, fish farmers cram as many fish as possible into the smallest possible spaces. Salmon farms are sometimes so crowded, there can be as a many as 50,000 in each enclosure. In terms of the harsh conditions, aquaculture is not much different than the factory farming of land animals, and so the fish suffer terribly.
Many of our postings relate to animals. See all animal related postings, or use the search bar in the header to search for specific topics.
Many organizations work to advocate for animals. Here’s a list of some of our favorites:
www.farmsanctuary.org – Farm Sanctuary educates and advocates for better treatment of farm animals, and provides sanctuary for rescued animals.
www.furbearerdefenders.com – The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Aniamls is one of the oldest animal protection groups in Canada. They work to end the commercial fur trade and protect fur-bearing animals.
www.humanesociety.org – The Humane Society of the US advocates for better treatment of all animals, including farm animals.
www.janegoodall.org – Jane Goodall, the famous anthropologist and vegetarian, has spent her life promoting the better understanding and treatment of animals all over the world.