Animal abuse is defined as a deliberate infliction of psychological pain, distress, deprivation, or death of an animal by human beings. Animal abuses occur every time human beings fail to meet the animals’ basic needs. In general, animal abuses comprise of all intentional, socially, and unacceptable behaviors that threatens the welfare of our fellow animals. Such behaviors include kicking, throwing, malicious killing, use of animals for research and entertainment, and neglect and failure to provide an animal with adequate food and veterinary care.
Notably, in our factory farms millions of animals such as dairy cows, sheep, pigs, and chickens suffer extremely in the production of food, clothing, and other animal products for human consumption. Surprisingly, many individuals in our society are unaware of these sufferings inflicted on animals. In the USA, 70% of all human foods comprises of animal products. These animal products are produced behind closed barn doors that house the animals producing them. Before the 20th century, cattle, pigs, and poultry in the USA used to roam in green pastures. However, the increase in human population has forced farm factories to confine these animals to specific cages to meet the ever- increasing demand for animal products.
Most meat products are produced in farm industries that confine, mistreat, and deny the animals their natural behavior needs. Although these practices should be unlawful, amendments to the Animal Cruelty Act have seen animals excluded from being treated fairly. As such, these farm factories are almost free to subject their animals to severe suffering with the intention of increasing their products.
In developed countries, industrialization of agriculture has seen dairy cows being exploited to meet the increase in demand for milk (Schmid 1).
As compared to the dairy cows reared 60 years ago, modern dairy cows have been demeaned from cattle to objects. Currently, dairy cows produce 3 times the milk they could have produced at that time. This has been made possible through modern technologies that have focused on improving the animals’ udder size and production.
Currently, dairy cows are confined in barns or drylot feed yards. In these cages, the animals are confined indoors for the whole year denying them their right to roam and feel the heat of the sun (Rimas & Evan 12). More often, lactating cows are restrained in stalls forcing them to stand in between manure and a mixture of storm water. Dairy farms have adopted genetic selection and selective feeding programs with the aim of increasing milk production. It should be noted that cows’ bodies do not adapt quickly to the high-grained feeds fed to them in the farm factories.
Therefore, these feeding methods should be blamed for the increase in metabolic disorders among the dairy cows. Because of being fed and raised in an unnatural environment, these animals have become more vulnerable to the cattle disease that they would have resisted unrestrained. Among the diseases that these cattle have become vulnerable to is mastitis. According to the veterinary experts, millions of dairy cows suffer from the disease causing them to endure painful infections of their udders. After birth, calves are separated from their mothers. Thereafter, male calves are castrated, or killed for veal (Burros 1).
Given the fact that these calves are not given opportunities to live their normal lives, human beings should feel compassion for such animals. On the other hand, female calves are raised in special stalls until they are mature enough to be impregnated. In their stalls, these animals are subjected to intense suffering through removal of extra teats, tail docking, and dehorning. In the US, it is estimated that thousands of dairy cow’s calves succumb to scours and diarrhea.
Just like the dairy cows, chickens are subjected to intense suffering in the poultry farms. By being subjected through battery farming methods, chickens are forced to live in tiny cages that do not allow them to turn around. In these cages, the birds cannot stretch their wings, walk around, or sit comfortably while laying eggs (Ginzburg 1). To avoid birds from fighting one another, their beaks are cut off using sharp metals through painful enduring processes.
Some animal activists have real footages of poultry workers mistreating these animals. In these footages, some workers have been captured handling the birds in hostile ways, shoving the birds into their cages, and crushing the birds’ feet in the cage doors. Through these footages, it is heartbreaking to imagine the kind of suffering chickens undergo through in their cages. According to some articles, when a bird limb is stuck in the cage parts, the bird is immobilized and if the animal is not rescued in time, it will die a slow painful death. With these kinds of heartbreaking deaths that chicken endures in their poultry farmers, it is high time that consumers should be concerned with the welfare of these animals and campaigned against their inhumane treatments.
In the USA, 97% of all the eggs consumed are from chickens reared in cages. The above percentage is disturbing considering the extent of suffering endured by birds reared in battery cages.
In farm industries, pigs are the other victims of animal suffering. Immediately they are born, they are forced to bear agonizing surgical procedures such as tail docking and castration (Bdale 1). Afterwards, they are denied their chance to be with their mother by being taken away and locked in crowded enclosures. While pregnant, their mothers are locked up in tiny cages for up to 16 weeks.
Usually, the cages are so small that the animals cannot walk around or turn around. In the cages, these animals have to endure boredom and depression. Prior to giving birth, the animals are relocated to smaller cages referred to as farrowing crates (Bdale 1).
When they give birth, the piglets can suckle from outside the farrowing crates. Since their mother is trapped between the tiny cages, the piglets can hurt her nipples without her defending herself. Based on the above real experiences, it is heartbreaking to imagine the extent of pain pigs have to endure through to meet the pork demand.
Human beings should realize that pigs feel pain, undergo through stress, and suffer just as our pets. Therefore, we should look for better ways of reducing and ending the suffering, we have subjected pigs in our factory farms.
An example of an organization aimed at reducing animal suffering
In the USA, several organizations have been formed to attempt to reduce the suffering of animals in farm industries. American Humane is such an organization formed with the aim of safeguarding children and animals’ welfares. This nonprofit organization has been concerned with the way animals are being treated in our farms. Currently, through its extended programs the organization is engaged in trying to improve farm programs.
Through this program, the organization aims at ensuring that farms certified under their programs meet the required animal welfare standards. Despite the relentless efforts of such organizations to end animal suffering, billions of animals continue to die and suffer from the inhumane conditions of our factory farms. According to underground investigations, most animal products for human consumption are the products of horrific deaths. It is facts that as long as human beings are going to depend on animal products for consumption animal suffering will continue to persist. In this regard, animal activists, governments, and the consumers should be committed to preventing, ending, and denouncing animal suffering. Equally, appropriate regulations should be formulated to lessen the suffering and improve the welfare of these animals.
Researchers should work tirelessly to ensure they design appropriate facilities for farm animals. These facilities should be stress free and enhance the welfare of the animals. Similarly, appropriate slaughtering methods should be designed to reduce the pain endured by animals in slaughterhouses.
In conclusion, human beings should note that they are morally obligated to let animals enjoy the brief lives before they are slaughtered. As such, it will be more appropriate if animal farms allowed these animals to roam freely in their habitats. Equally, animal slaughterhouses should adopt ethical means of slaughtering these animals.
Likewise, if we humans preach and practice civilized morals in our society, animal suffering in our farm factories should be put to an end because animals have every right to enjoy their existence as we humans.
Burros, Marian. “Veal to Love, Without the Guilt – NYTimes.com.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia .
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“Factory Farms Revealed: Animal Abuse and Cruelty | The Last Newspaper.” The Last Newspaper | Rowan University Comp 1 Fall 2010 Hodges. Version 1 . N.p., 13 Oct. 2010. Web.
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Ginzburg, Ralph. “ANIMAL-RIGHTS GROUP ASSAILS EGG FARM – New York Times.” The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Version 1. N.p., 17 Jan. 1988.
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/1988/01/17/nyregion/animal-rights-group-assails-egg farm.html?scp=20&sq= battery+cages&st=nyt>. Rimas, Andrew, and Evan D. G. Fraser. Beef: the untold story of how milk, meat, and muscle shaped the world . New York, NY: William Morrow, 2008.
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Washington, DC: NewTrends Pub., 2009. Print.