These days—from birth to slaughter— the animals used for food live short, miserable and abnormal life. For animals, hell is definitely real and it’s on Earth. It’s called ‘factory farming’.
Factory farming, as opposed to traditional farming, basically means mass producing animals for human consumption and confining them in very cramp living spaces 24/7.
Many animals endure overcrowding; no space to move and play; deprived of sunlight; grown artificially to make them grow bigger and quicker; made to produce milk or eggs abnormally frequently than nature intended; unloved; abused… the list goes on.
Those in the know say this period has the most extensively exploited animals in Earth’s history.
Traditional farms allow and enable farm animals to roam, where they can take a few steps and do what their genetics dictate them to do in that limited space they have. Those places are said to be decreasing and factory farms are proliferating. These days, the meat you buy from supermarkets and those served in fast food shops and restaurants more than likely come from factory farms.
It’s common knowledge animals are fed antibiotics. In factory farms, this is to stimulate growth and stop the spread of disease caused by overcrowding. Animals are also injected with hormones and fed chemically-enhanced food. To make matters worse, as detailed here, animals are made to endure pain and terror by being de-beaked (chickens), ears clipped and teeth cut (pigs), tied at the neck and kept restricted to keep muscles from developing (calves)—and without anesthesia. All these so farm factories can keep costs down and gain maximum profit.
For factory farm animals, jail and hell are one and the same place.
Farm animals globally are languishing there right now, hundreds of billions of them. Now it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a few hundred or a few billion because less number of animals suffering doesn’t make it any less wrong. It’s wrong because the pain and suffering they are made to endure are too extreme and callous to be tolerable.
To rub salt to injury, we fork out money to buy dead animals’ whole carcass or body parts. We continue the abuse by gnawing on their bones; biting/tearing/chewing their dead flesh with gusto. I’m sorry if I’m being overdramatic and if you feel repulsed, but the reality of factory farming is far more repulsive and deeply disturbing.
It’s not so long ago that I was devouring delicious barbecued ribs and salivating over juicy hamburgers. Now I can’t stand the sight of raw or cooked meat, and often find myself mentally tracing the short but pitiful life of the creature that was once a living, thinking, feeling animal.
Without realising it, we are very much the cause and the reason why the abominable factory farming exist. The farm animals some of us claim we love are having nightmares and those nightmares are caused by us; by the food choices we make; by where we spend our money for food.
If you can afford to buy meat and you think you’re unable to give up eating meat at this time, then buying from more humane sources would, at least, be a better option. It costs more but the issue is much greater than saving money, more than putting a stop to animal cruelty or making intelligent choices of food for your health.
When it comes to food, there are three obvious positions we can align with, those who:
- don’t have any issues whatsoever with eating meat.
- eat or support eating meat provided the animals are raised, treated and killed humanely.
- call for a stop to eating animals and the protection of animals (and push for a vegan or vegetarian diet).
After being exposed to animals’ sad life, I found these compelling reasons to no longer eat meat:
- the callous modern methods of manufacturing animals for food (which I strongly disagree with, if not detest).
- the animals you could be eating come from unhealthy or deformed animals (but you’ll never know, would you?)
- the way some workers at slaughterhouses exhibit inhuman behaviour and can become de-sensitized from badly treating and slaughtering animals.
- continuing to patronise this industry makes me question my ability and capacity to feel empathy and compassion for the pain, suffering and sense of fear of others, even if they’re ‘only’ animals.
- the undesirable and deleterious effects of eating animals that ripple through the animals, ourselves, our loved ones, on others, and our planet.
Hence, I’ve withdrawn my support to the animal meat business by consciously choosing to stop buying, cooking, eating and serving meat, whether they are factory farmed, or reared and killed more humanely.
Letting animals experience heaven on earth by attending to their welfare and keeping them happy, then slitting their throats anyway when it’s time to eat them makes no sense to me now. I have learned to see animals, which St Francis of Assisi calls our brothers and sisters, in a different light.
The above are not even the full story of manufacturing animals for food. There are other compelling reasons for avoiding eating animals (and using animals in other inhumane ways) which I will try to tackle in future posts.
We’ve got to ask ourselves some questions:
- Not all dogs, cats and horses are loved, but these species of animals are loved much more than others. We’ll condemn, if not beat the daylights out of anyone who tries to hurt our pets. Why not extend this love to other animals, more or less cuter/loveable/intelligent?
- What happens in factory farms, where food animals live and where they sometimes die from stress and/or injury?
- How about during transport on their way to slaughterhouses, where animals are sent to be killed?
- What truly happens in slaughterhouses, where food animals die and where they sometimes survive or remain conscious when kill instruments fail, which sometimes happen during slaughter?
If you try and find out the reality of the extent of how animals suffer on every stage of their existence—chickens would apparently often defecate due to pain and terror—you will be in shock to see or read about the gory and despicable details, and I’m not referring to the sight of animal blood and exposed entrails.
All that I’ve seen on documentaries and have read in books and elsewhere were enough for a long-time meat lover like me to lose my love and craving for animal meat. Thanks to the courageous and caring people who did undercover investigations, animal activists and other people who used to work/are working in factory farms who take/took a lot of risks secretly filming or complaining about or divulging what goes on inside the high, windowless walls of factory farms and slaughterhouses, we now know what is going on.
So there is no more excuse for us to remain blissfully ignorant and apathetic about the life of the animals we kill for food because by doing so we become complicit in their current and continued abasement. Unless we change our diet or at least avoid buying meat from cruel sources, we are guilty of this untold cruelty inflicted on animals — whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not, or whether you know it or not.
It’s hard to digest but it’s a reality that no amount of denial or turning a blind eye or dismissing it will erase.
The New Testament says it’s okay to eat animals, but no one in that time period predicted the rise and rise of factory farming towards the end of the 20th century. Factory farming is said to start to exist only in the 1920s and started to thrive in the last 25 or so years.
Don’t worry; no one is going to hell for this, not even to jail—except the animals.
It begs another question: Why are these defenseless, mild-mannered, harmless inarticulate animals in jail/hell?
Animals are factory-farm raised for maximum profit and sold to us…
We reward this cruel livestock business by our enthusiastic patronage…
The perpetrators get bloody rich… [pun intended]
And the cycle continues.
You and I — Let’s help the animals and stop this cycle of human-manufactured nightmare for animals. It’s time we rouse ourselves awake and open our eyes, mind and heart about the reality of factory farming. I now truly GET there is every reason for me—and you—to start caring. You may choose to continue to eat meat regardless of the ethical, moral, health and environmental issues, but there is more to these issues than you realise.
Learn more and see what truly goes on in the highly secretive factory farms through the eyes of those who have been there.
Read. Think. Feel empathy.
There are many literatures and documentaries to educate us and help us make better choices of the food we ingest and feed our loved ones. Please take a moment to consider the significance of meat eating and how we can make a difference by eating less or no meat.
‘When we eat factory-farmed meat, we live, literally, on tortured flesh. Increasingly, that tortured flesh is becoming our own.’ ~ Jonathan Safran Foer.
* * *
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
Other recommended reading:
Against Eating Animals:
Animal Liberation by Peter Singer
The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason
Dominion, the Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully
Why Animals Matter, the Case for Animal Protection by Erin Williams and Margo DeMello
For Eating Animals, with conditions:
Animal Rights and Wrongs by Roger Scruton
Updated: 27 May 2011