Farmed animals only live out a fraction of their natural life spans–and in miserable conditions. Moreover, the body parts that people consume come from animals who were killed as babies or toddlers, relative to their natural life span. Here’s why:
Beef cattle are typically killed at 18 months in North America; their natural life span is 20 – 25 years. Procedures such as castration, dear-notching, dehorning, and branding with a hot iron are all performed without anesthetics. If dogs and cats are not treated this way because it would cause undue pain and suffering, why is it legal and condoned for these animals? Around 4 – 5 months, these calves are sent to either back-grounding or feedlots, which range is size from 1000 to 40,000 cattle. They will be fattened here until they reach market weight around 18 months., at which time they will be sent to the slaughterhouse. It has been estimated that up to 30 percent of US cattle are improperly stunned, That’s roughly 12.6 million cattle who are hoisted up by the leg,, throats slit, skinned alive, and feet cut off, while still conscious.
Most bacon, ham, ribs, and chops that people eat come from piglets who were killed at 6 months old, merely babies. Their natural lifespan is is 10 – 12 years. Even breeding sows are killed by age 3. Piglets are castrated, teeth clipped, tail cut off, and ear-notched again without anesthetics–an industry standard. in their short miserable lives, these piglets live in barren pens of up to 5000 per pen, with concrete slats for their waste to fall through. Their raw sewage underneath gives off noxious gasses of ammonia, methane, and hydrogen sulfide, leading to pneumonia and respiratory ailments. These 6-month piglets are often electrocuted as they are loaded onto the transport trucks. A breeding sow in some jurisdictions still lives in gestation crate (a 2′ by 7′ steel crate) so small that she cannot turn around or even take one step forward. She lives almost her entire 3 years of life in these gestation crates while she’s pregnant, except for the weeks when she’s nursing when she’ll be in a farrowing crate. Because of a sow’s very limited mobility, she invariably suffers from muscle atrophy, lameness, weak bones, and foot injuries. The EU, 10 states in the US, and Canada has or will be phasing out gestation crates in favor of group housing. But this measure (though overdue) pales when we consider that these intelligent and social creatures–with intelligence greater than 3-year-old human toddlers–are reduced to machines merely for the sake of appeasing human palates. Dogs, human’s domestic pet, has an intelligence level of an 18-month toddler.
Industrial chicken barns can hold between 5,000 and 170,000 chickens. Each of the 623 million chickens in Canada and the 8.6 billion chickens in the US that are bred as broilers grow at six times their natural rate. This US figure constitutes 95% of the 9 billion commonly farmed animals slaughtered for food annually. These chickens literally eat and sleep in their own excrement. Standard industry practice is to debeak (cut off half the beak) the day old chicks without anesthetics–a painful way to be greeted upon entering the world. Their intelligence is recognized to be greater than a 4-year-old human toddler.
A chicken’s normal lifespan is about 10 years, but the chicken body parts that people eat come from chicks that are only 7 weeks old. During their short lives, they suffer from deformities because of having been bred to grow so quickly that their legs cannot support their own weight. At 5 weeks old, they usually are too heavy to walk or to even move around. This weight gain is equivalent to a 2-year-old human baby weighing 350 pounds! We have engineered this travesty quite deliberately, in order to satisfy our palates. They are killed at 7 weeks when their natural life span is about 10 years.
At the slaughterhouse, they are shackled upside down and gang on a conveyor line for the electric stun bath. Those that escaped being stunned because they are moving vigorously to get away will still be conscious when their throats are slit and dumped into hot scalding water.
Egg-laying chickens are housed in windowless sheds of up to 400,000 layers, the average being 18,000 hens in one shed. They are kept in battery cages with 6 – 8 hens crammed into a cage so that they cannot even spread their wings for their entire 2 years of life. Each has the equivalent space of a folded sheet of paper. Imagine yourself standing on a square tile for 2 years. These battery cages are stacked row upon row where feces from the row above fall through to the cages below. Upon suffering injuries in these cages, the hens are left to die without vet treatment.from starvation. Sick birds are not treated but are dumped onto the ‘dead pile’ and left to die. They suffer from osteoporosis, fatty liver syndrome, urine scale, foot deformities, blisters, feather loss, tumors, swollen head syndrome, mouth ulcers, and mold toxins.
Although battery cages have been banned in EU since 2012, they are still the standard factory farm model in North America. About half of newly born chicks are male, and they are ALL killed either by suffocation or ground up live in a high-speed grinder. This is true even for organic eggs.
Dairy cows suffer a cycle of forced impregnation repeated once a year until 4 or 5 years old, when they are deemed unprofitable. The male calves that are born are taken away from their mother 1 – 2 days after birth. The love and connection between a mother and child is strong in all mammals. Yet these babies are denied their mother’s nurture, love, and comfort by being put into veal crates for about 4 months, unable to move about in order to keep their flesh anemic. Afterwards, they will be slaughtered as veal. Female calves are groomed to replace older members of the milking herd.
Through genetic manipulation, cows today produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally for their calves. These high-yield cows suffer from ketosis whereby their bodies cannot keep up with the demands of milk production, and start to metabolize heir own fat, and subsequently, liver damages occur. Moreover, dairy cows suffer from mastitis, a bacterial infection of the udder and teats. Lameness is a significant health issue for dairy cows; they suffer from hoof rot or sole lesions from standing in their own acidic excrement on concrete. The typical image of a spent dairy cow (when they go to slaughter) is one of protruding ribs, weak, with huge extended udders from producing an unnatural amount of milk. Their bodies are so weak that their flesh is only good as hamburger meat.
Of the downers (cows too weak to stand or walk off the transport truck) that arrive at slaughterhouses, 90 percent are from the dairy industry.
You can watch undercover investigations of farmed animals by Mercy for Animals on their website. Alternatively, watch Earthlings at www.earthlings.com