Over 95% of animals raised for food are "processed" in factory farms. Animals raised on factory farms today suffer horribly from the moment they are born till the moment they die. More than 10 billion land animals are killed each year in this country alone solely for food production. American agribusiness sees these animals as mere production units and disposable goods, rather than as individual, sentient beings, and treats them as such. Whether you believe in animal rights, animal welfare, or a basic compassion for animals as taught by all major religions, we can all agree on one thing - a look inside the industrial system of animal agriculture warrants a switch to a plant-based diet.
For animals seen as commodities, a lifetime of suffering is preprogrammed. Cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys are genetically-engineered to grow faster in less time. Broiler chickens - those who are raised for their meat - now grow to be twice as heavy in half the time compared to a mere half-century ago. Birds become so top-heavy that they cripple under their own weight.
Animals on factory-farms are kept in such crowded quarters that they can hardly move. Egg-laying chickens are confined to tiny battery cages, where rows and rows of cages house at least five birds each so that the birds cannot even flap their wings. Calves raised for veal are kept in narrow crates where they are also deprived of iron; keeping them anemic and without exercise is what makes their flesh so weak and faint-colored. Pregnant sows are kept chained and restrained by iron bars on both their sides-they are kept so constricted that they barely have room to lie down comfortably. They develop chronic foot problems from standing on the hard concrete and painful sores all over their bodies from trying to lie down in such a tight space.
Animals in such close confinement with each other will start fighting and attacking each other out of stress and boredom. Factory farming's method of solving this problem they themselves have created is to inflict further punishments upon the animals by mutilating their bodies. Cows are dehorned, branded, and castrated. Pigs' teeth are yanked out, their tails are docked, and they are castrated shortly after birth. Baby chickens and turkeys have their beaks seared off with a hot iron blade. All of these mutilations are done without any pain-killers or regard for the animals' suffering.
Animals on factory farms never feel the grass under their feet or the sun on their face until the day they are trucked to slaughter. Birds are yanked from their cages by the feet, and pig and cows are roughly driven out to the transport truck by workers who kick them, hit them with blunt objects, shock them, and scream at them. The animals are crowded into the trucks so tightly that many are forced to stand literally on top of each other and become crushed in the process. The long trip to the slaughterhouse is made without any stops for food or water and the animals are fully exposed to all weather extremes-in fact the stresses of transport are so sever that a certain percentage of animals die on their way to slaughter.
Once at the slaughterhouse, animals are again driven in terror up the ramps and into the kill line. From there the animals are shackled and hung upside down on a rapidly moving conveyor belt. The speed of the kill line moves so fast that it is common for animals to not be fully stunned, and they land up having their throats slit and bled while they are still conscious. Chickens, turkeys, and other birds are not even granted the small mercy of being stunned, since the Humane Slaughter Act does not cover birds, and they are killed while fully conscious. Once again the speed of the production line, where time equals money, can cause the knife to miss its mark entirely, and it is not uncommon for animals to be dropped into the scalding tank while still alive.
If you're consuming meat, eggs, and dairy, you're supporting cruelty to animals. Every time you sit down to eat, you make a choice: Are you someone who chooses to perpetuate animal suffering, or are you willing to take a stand against it? Please, go vegan.
See for yourself: www.Meat.org
For more information: www.veganoutreach.org