Last Updated 07 Aug 2020

Animal Abuse: Animal Suffering in Factory Farms

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Animal abuse is a matter that comes in several ways. Not many people are informed of the different types of animal abuse, it’s much more than just hitting an animal. There is fur farming, dog fighting, neglect, animal experimentation, poaching. Just like humans, animals suffer effects from abuse; they become depressed, afraid, distrustful, etc. Animals don’t deserve abuse; they have feelings too. Even though there are many different types of animal abuse, the leading abuse is factory farming. There are many different types of factory farms, they come in all shapes and sizes but one thing they all have in common is the abuse and suffering they cause for animals. From the day the animals are born they go through unimaginable suffering.

Some people may think of factory farms as a traditional farm, where pigs are rolling in mud, hens are nesting, and cows eating grass. Some may consider that factory farms and traditional farms are the same because of ad campaigns persuading people that factory farms are no different from traditional farms. However, animals in traditional farms have more freedom and live a longer and healthier life than animals in factory farms. Animals in factory farms are being abused instead of being treated as living beings who deserve humane treatment and appreciation. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) “Farm Animal Welfare” the term ‘Factory farm’ is often used to describe an industrial facility that raises several farm animals in intensive confinement where it’s very difficult for animals to make any movements.”

An example of a factory farm that misleads its customers for claiming their support on animal welfare is the Fairlife dairy brand. On the brands’ website, it states that the brand has a commitment to animal welfare and claims that they are ensuring that the animals that are being used for their dairy products are being cared for and it’s their top priority as a brand. Not only is Fairlife known for their support in animal welfare but also for their phrase “happy” with a picture of a cow and for their name.

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The name Fairlife can convey as if cows are free-range when in fact it’s the opposite. The Fairlife brand is purposefully misleading customers into thinking they are buying from a brand that supports animal welfare and claims to have “happy” cows, when, in fact, it’s the opposite.

On June 2019, the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) released undercover footage The Operation Fair Oaks Farm Dairy Adventure. The Video is an undercover mission to expose the Fairlife Corporation, the video takes place in Fair Oaks Farm, the largest dairy corporation in America. In the description, ARM stated, “the video reveals what it considers to be the first realistic and honest audit of the Fair Oaks Farm and the Fairlife Corporation’s operation.” The undercover footage shows various forms of abuse calves go through daily.

For instance, the video shows employees force-feeding, throwing, beating, and kicking calves, calves being violently thrown into their huts, employees pulling the calves by their ears, and neck and will even drag the calves by their neck while driving a tractor. Not only does the footage shows abuse towards calves but also towards the mama cows. Once the cow gave birth to her newborn, the employees separated the mom and her newborn and would send the mama cow to slaughterhouse.

Although before the mamas are being sent to slaughterhouse many employees would abuse the moms, in the undercover footage, it shows employees kicking, pushing, and pulling the cows tail right after birth. The video also shows the calves living in dirty, overcrowded and hot conditions along with dead calves all over the place and some are dumped in a pile. The footage shows more brutal abuse of what goes on behind doors.

The undercover mission was not only to expose the largest dairy farm in America but to also inform people that even the biggest dairy farm that supports animal welfare and claim to take care of their animals are being abused to an extreme level. As some people may know, factory farms are the main cause of animal suffering and abuse, the reason why animals suffer in factory farms is because of what they can provide for the people along with the life they have to go through in factory farms.

The Animal Equality organization, “Why Factory Farming is The Largest Cause of Animal Abuse in History,” goes in detail about what the animals go through from birth to being sent to the slaughterhouse. For instance, chickens’ beaks are cut off soon after hatching; then they are sent to fattening farms where the chickens live up to forty-two days then are sent to the slaughterhouse. Weak chicks are thrown in the trash where they are suffocated or crushed. Ducks from the foie gras industry spend their entire life cramped in cages, eggs industry keeps thousands of hens, where up to six of them live in small cages together with very little or no room to move. When animals are being transferred to different locations, the conditions are brutal and sometimes are not given any water or food.

With the many animals that are living in such small and crowded space, and not being taken care of properly, they end up living in their own manure. Not only are the animals living in their own manure but they also eat their own manure since their cages are not being taken care of properly. Factory farms aren’t just bad for the animals living there but also for the environment and human health. Sentient Media, “Factory Farming: The Horrifying Secrets Behind the Scenes” is an article that discusses the phrase “you are what you eat” and how it turns out to be true.

The website discusses how the body digests animals’ flesh that has been treated brutal, given a lack of nutrition along with getting pumped up on hormones and antibiotics. Apart from the fact that the animals are being treated brutally, not given any nutrition, and living and eating their own manure, they even tend to eat their own species flesh since they are being starved and have no choice but to eat their manure and species flesh.

With the poor living conditions in factory farms, the animals will most likely get sick and eventually die. Not only do the animals get ill from poor nutrition and poor living conditions but it also affects people. Once anyone consumes an animal who had an illness, the person can also develop illness after consuming, it may not happen to everyone but there is still a chance that it can happen.

For years, animals have been giving antibiotics on a routine basis since it makes the animals gain weight faster, antibiotics are mainly prescribed for an illness or for post-surgery. Since animals in factory farms are given too many antibiotics they soon develop antibiotic-resistance - bacteria being able to survive or grow in spite of the use of an antibiotic that was formerly able to stop.

With animals developing antibiotic-resistance it can make its way to anyone and can cause a major health threat that can be very difficult to cure along with being very expensive. According to MotherJones, a journalism website, the livestock operations burn through about 70 percent of the “medically important” antibiotics used across the nation along with microbes that have evolved to resist antibiotics that have cause two million Americans to become ill and killed twenty-three thousand people each year.

Even though factory farms are the number one cause for animal suffering and abuse along with being unsanitary, without factory farms, there will be no food for people. However, the animals that are being used for food have no rights because they can’t make any moral claims, don’t know what’s right from wrong. The animal’s main purpose is to be food, even if they are being abused, at least they are being sent to the slaughterhouse soon after they are born so their life isn’t a long miserable one. Despite animals suffering from abuse and poor living conditions in some factory farms, doesn’t mean that all factory farms are abusing and suffering animals.

For instance, Tyson Foods made a statement that all animals in their farms are being treated well along with having their members of the company follow their core values having a program called “FarmCheck” to come to the farm and make sure that the animals are being treated right. There are even factory farms that make sure their animals are living in a natural way like other animals, such as organic farms, free-range, natural farms, cage-free, hormone-free, etc. There are even laws that prevent animal abuse, for instance, the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act (HMLSA) was created to decrease the suffering of animals they experienced during slaughter. The HMLSA even have inspectors to make sure that animals are being properly treated.

When it comes to brands stating that their farms or industries are “natural,” “free-range,” “organic,’ ‘cage-free,” etc. does not mean that the farms don’t abuse the animals. The labels that brands claim to be are constantly misunderstood, for example, when a brand says that their ‘natural’ doesn’t mean that it impacts animal welfare. According to the Consumer Reports, on the CBS website, labels that say they are ‘natural’ have no clear meaning and are misleading costumers. “In fact, they think it means no artificial ingredients or colors, no GMO - and it doesn’t mean any of those things,” said Urvashi Rangan, director of Consumer Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports.

Another label that can be misleading is ‘free-range,’ to people who buy “free-range” products, they think that the animal is living in natural conditions with freedom. Although the only legal requirement of the phrase is that the animal has access to the outdoors but doesn’t mean that they ever do go outside. “Cage-free’ brands just suggest that hens aren’t being raised in cages but instead they are being raised in crowded sheds which doesn’t make anything better. One of the most commonly misunderstood labels is “organic,” organic is a term that indicates that farms are taking more responsible actions to take better care of their animals.

According to the USDA, their requirements for organic farms are for the animals to be raised in living conditions that are adaptable to their natural behaviors, animals are being fed organic, and there are no hormones or antibiotics. People even believe that animals from organic farms are exposed to fresh air and have more benefits that animals from non-organic farms, when in fact there are no specific requirements for anything that the USDA requires. Phil, Lempert, author of the article “Why Factory Farming Isn’t What You Think,” discusses the misconception of the factory farms.

Lempert states that factory farms can be both profitable along with being considerate for animals-life and how factory farms are the reasons why many people consume meat daily along with factory farms being mainly known not only for consuming dairy and meat products but also for abusing animals. Although it is true that a factory farm can be both profitable and be considerate for animals-life, but people will have to be careful in who and what brand to trust when it comes to choosing their dairy and meat products. Just because a brand claims that their “organic,” “cage-free,” “hormone-free,” etc. or farms having inspectors don’t mean that the animals aren’t suffering daily.

Much of the animals in factory farms deal with the constant brutal of suffering daily, before ending up in the slaughterhouse they must deal with the pain that is being caused by the workers along with the poor living conditions. Animals living in the factory farms will never know or understand how it feels to be free and that they are supposed to have a long healthy life like other traditional farm animals. No animals deserve a cruel life or even death at a young age.

There are other ways that animals can live a long healthy and happy life while still providing for food. For instance, people can avoid any bad factory farms that are known for their abuse, by using clean meat, which is a solution that can end factory farming. Clean meat is also known as “cell-based meat,” “cruelty-free meat,” etc. Clean meat is identical to meat from animals, except it uses lab-grown cells that won’t require the use of live animals who suffer daily for humans and will have a cleaner carbon footprint since the process will become environmentally friendly.

People can also go for more sustainably raised meat and dairy products, such as LocalHarvest, EatWild, or even farmers market which every state has and is better than eating meat from factory farms. Supporting local farms and buying meat and dairy from others along with using clean meat, not only stop the suffering and abuse animals go through for everyone but also help the environment and people’s health.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You can use it as an example when writing your own essay or use it as a source, but you need cite it.

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