Why We Must End Animal Cruelty on Factory Farms (Statistics + Images)
WARNING: This is not one of those wellness articles you enjoy reading. It won’t leave you with a smile on your face, thinking how beautiful it is to learn something new and improve your wellbeing. On the contrary, it will be a hard pill to swallow.
The Harsh Truth About Animal Cruelty
You are about to learn the harsh truth about animal cruelty on factory farms, statistics and graphic images included. Some of them will probably evoke a mixture of remorse, anger, and disgust—and they’re meant to.
Then why would you even read further? Because this knowledge will inspire you to form some great wellness habits and transform your health.
I want this article to hit you hard as it is the only way to take the following issues seriously and do your part to stop factory farming. They say that ‘a lie is sweet in the beginning and bitter in the end, and truth is bitter in the beginning, and sweet in the end.’ As you are about to see, the story behind factory farming serves as a perfect example of that saying.
What Is Factory Farming?
"Intensive animal farming or industrial livestock production, also known as factory farming, is a production approach towards farm animals in order to maximize production output while minimizing production costs." - Wikipedia
Sounds legit. After all, you get to choose from a myriad of appealing animal products at every store. They look fresh, taste great, and aren’t that costly if you grab some ‘sensational discount’. The packages picture happy animals, enjoying their natural habitat.
The reality, however, tells an opposite story about the effects of factory farming on animals—one that resembles a horror movie. Those products are body parts, fluids, and fetuses of conscious beings that had spent entire lives in animal concentration camps.
The word ‘captivity’ is way too mild to describe what the animals on those farms are going through. You are about to learn some of the most disturbing factory farming facts and statistics. Hopefully, they will inspire you to act instantly and help end this terrible practice.
Factory Farms Statistics
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), factory farms account for over 95% of total livestock farming the US.
Animal Cruelty on Factory Farms
Animals on factory farms go through the everyday agony and brutally painful procedures; farmers keep them in choking cages, often chained and unable to move.
- Poultry and Eggs
Most of the egg-laying hens have their beaks cut off to prevent them from pecking—and eventually killing—each other. So-called ‘beak trimming’ exposes the animals to huge amounts of pain and suffering, causing severe abnormalities in about 50% cases. Some European countries, like UK and Sweden, have already banned it.
Don’t let the “free-range” labels fool you. Picturing a happy hen roaming under the open sky, right? Sorry to disappoint you, but it usually refers to massive warehouses in which hens can barely move.
Egg-laying chickens and the ones raised for meat defer a lot. So, what does the egg industry do with all the male chicks? Ready? They grind them up (or suffocate) as soon as they hatch. Those “fresh” eggs in your supermarket don’t mention the industry behind their production?
Animal Cruelty Statistics
More than 100 million male chicks are killed by the egg industry every year (according to the PETA article linked above).
- Cows and Dairy
‘Tail docking’—another phrase in factory farming that sounds neat and benign. Never mind, farmers just cut off every cow’s tail so they can milk them with less effort. Speaking of milk, cows need to give birth and spend time with their calves in order to produce it. But, the farmers steal their calves immediately after birth because they’re not supposed to drink cow’s milk—we are!
Mother cow will grieve for days, calling her newborn in vain. To force milk production, workers inject them with Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)—a GMO product that can cause infections and malformations in both cows and milk consumers. The European Union banned it almost 20 years ago.
You may be wondering what happens to the calves. Meet the veal crates—here it gets super-disgusting. Farmers capture the calves in tiny crates and often chain them, blocking their every move. The industry needs them to stay weak and anemic; that’s what makes your veal soft and pale. Bon Appetit!
Did you know that pigs are highly intelligent and sensitive beings? In their natural environment, pigs have an organized social structure and take care of hygiene (they DO enjoy rolling in mud, which is a healthy thing). On factory farms, pregnant sows are caged and immobilized 24/7. This time, the neat phrase is ‘gestational crate’.
Mother sow spends the entire (though very short) lifespan lying in her own feces. Farmers take away her piglets very soon and mutilate their tails, ears, and reproductive organs. Most of these practices are also banned in the EU.
PETA has been shouting about the horrors of the pork industry (and revealing the statistics about animal cruelty on factory farms) for decades.
Factory Farming and Human Health
Besides animal torture and abuse, factory farming has terrible consequences for human health, too. All the evil we impose on those innocent animals comes back to us through the animal products we consume and environmental issues. You reap what you sow.
In the conditions described above, no animal can be healthy. Infectious diseases like pneumonia run wild both among animals and farmers. To keep the animals alive, fattened, and productive farmers inject them with loads of antibiotics and hormones.
And what about our planet? The environmental issues of factory farming are among the biggest threats to our survival!
Of course, a portion these toxins eventually end up in our food and our bodies. What’s more, the use of antibiotics in factory farming is responsible for one alarming issue — “superbugs” resistant to antibiotics (like MRSA) that cause life-threatening infections.
In the US, workers on the animal farms are mostly Mexican and other immigrants. They toil for disgraceful wages; often get nasty injuries; contract diseases and infections from the animals; inhale noxious gases, fumes, and organic dust. Animals are not the only victims of factory farming.
Dr. Mercola published an excellent infographic, summing up the scary statistics about animal cruelty on factory farms.
How Factory Farming Affects Your Wellness
You are what you eat. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, cancer, superbug infections…. These and many other physical and mental diseases are skyrocketing. Just a coincidence? Factory-raised animal products may appeal to your taste-buds, but they may detrimentally affect your health and well-being.
Those animals are sick, infected, loaded with hormones and antibiotics; they spend every second of their lives in pain and agony. Do you really want to consume their fluids and body parts?
Science is clear: the food we eat acts as information and affects our DNA on a daily basis. In the light of these findings, can you imagine the potential long-term impact of factory-raised animal products on your physical and mental health?
How to End Factory Farming
Hopefully, you are waking up to the ugly truth about factory farming. If you want to help end it, start right now. The solution is simple as can be—stop buying animal products from factory farms (read: almost all animal products from stores and supermarkets, unless specifically labeled as pasture-raised). Easier said than done, but keep in mind all the potential benefits of this wellness resolution.
Choose Pasture-Raised Meat and Dairy
You don’t have to give up animal products, just make sure you pay attention to their sources. Do your homework — find locally-grown products from pasture-raised animals and support organic farming.
Game and wild-caught fish are also much healthier and eco-friendly alternatives—as long as everyone obeys the rules of ethical hunting. These products may cost you more but the investment is worth every cent.
Just remind yourself of the horrors that billions of animals are going through each day. It’s REALLY happening—YouTube is loaded with shocking animal cruelty footage.
With every industrial animal product you buy and eat, you fuel this agony. As long as there’s a demand, the wheel of torture will keep spinning.
Choose a Plant-Based Diet
Another potentially positive step you can take to reduce animal suffering is switching to a plant-based diet. If practiced properly, a balanced plant-based diet can benefit your health in many ways and reduce your risk of major chronic diseases.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
The final message should alleviate the bitter aftertaste this story left you with. You can change the world with your decisions and actions—starting NOW. Say no to animal products from factory farms and your health & wellbeing will flourish in return.
A huge thank you to Farm Sanctuary for these eye-opening photos and their charity work.
What are your thoughts on factory farming? Have you already taken steps to help end it? Anything you would like to ask or share with others? Please hit a comment and start a thoughtful discussion.
Image Source: Flickr
Author Bio: Aleksa Ristic is a freelance health writer with a Master's degree in Pharmacy, currently writing for a wellness blog called Big Blue Waves. His main fields of interest are nutrition, herbal medicine, and a healthy sustainable lifestyle. He found a way to merge his two biggest passions—writing and health—and use them for noble purposes. Ultimately, Aleksa’s mission is to inspire the readers to improve their wellbeing and live their lives to the fullest. Connect with him on Facebook and Blogger.