Animals play a significant role in human lives. From keeping them as pets, raising livestock and using them for entertainment. Animals are a lucrative source of income for many different reasons and considering how integrated they are in our society, it is not surprising that their rights are constantly abused.
Since the beginning of human civilization, livestock farming has been a part of human society. The natural evolution of the human race meant that animals became easier to capture and kill. Livestock farming has been benefiting humans by providing dairy products like eggs, milk, meat, honey, etc. Even the skins and hides of animals have been used as raw material to manufacture various products like clothes, shoes, furniture, accessories, etc. However, overtime as the population has grown, as has the understanding for genetics moderation, animals are less of a necessity for survival. But instead these animals are treated as a property, with consideration of their sentience being overtaken by profit margins, hence our humanity towards these animals is dangerously low.
Intensive farming refers to animal husbandry compromisation. High demand, monetary values, quick production and lack of space have all bred the conditions of some of the worst environments that animals are ever subjected to. This has resulted in the goods of livestock farming to become widely and extensively available in the consumer market such as milk, eggs, cheese and meat. The intensification of livestock farming has proved itself to be cost-effective and has helped increase yields and production
Today livestock farming is the fastest expanding sector in the agriculture economy. It directly contributes to the economy and supports the livelihoods of many people. This has been made possible through the variation of livestock farming practices to increase the output and efficiency for a smaller capacity of land. This means that cattle like cows, chickens or sheep are raised on a small and congested piece of land, making it easier for the farmer to manage but difficult for the animals to survive in.
Intensive farming may bring advantages to the economy but it is wholly contradicted by it’s massively detrimental affect to the environment surrounding it, health of the workers subjected to see this cruelty and the health of the consumers ingesting these chemically treated and unsafe products. Not to mention the illegal animal cruelty and treatment due to lack of supervision on these sites. Using cost effective practices might be beneficial for humans but is alarming to animal welfare, their overall wellbeing as well as our planet.
Considered as mere commodities, animals are reared as livestock under strenuous and inhuman conditions, while slaughtering them in painful ways isn’t a rare occurrence. Animals like cows, goats, sheep, and hens are meant to be free on pastures where they can sustain their health in a natural environment. Sadly, that is a situation that is too expensive and currently, extremely rare. Whatever the labels may suggest, the buyers are never guaranteed what they are buying is an assured promise. Due to clever advertising, many companies that say ‘fresh’ and ‘happy’, including pictures of cows on lush green pastures are mere advertising tactics and the reality behind the picture is something no one would ever willingly support. Animals are kept under crowded and congested conditions, very often treated for disease and the products that are being consumed are normally unsuitable for humans, containing excrement and toxins from antibiotics.
To prevent from such diseases and illnesses caused by lack of many natural habitats and behaviors, farmers use antibiotics, which further develops bacteria and the rise of drug resistant pathogens. These issues are prevalent in the world and carried out daily; the need to address the issue of food sources and animal treatment cannot be ignored. Therefore, the methods we are using are unsustainable and endangering many lives.
Consequently, there is a dire need to introduce and establish ways and farming methods that are both animal friendly and eco-friendly. Intensive farming practices need to be revolutionized to make them safe for humans, supports high animal welfare standards as well as sustainability.
Legislation Protecting Animals
Many countries have stepped forward recognizing animals as sentient beings and not only as products for use. This makes it more unacceptable to subject animals to torturous conditions and has closed some loopholes allowing products to be sold under false pretenses as well as certain animal rights that are being compromised. The following legislation are put into effect in order to safeguard the wellbeing of animals in the best ways possible:
- Prevent the Cruel and Improper Treatment of Cattle Act 1822, United Kingdom.
- The Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations 2007, England.
- The Animal Care and Protection Act 2001, Queensland.
- Animal Welfare Act 2002, Western Australia.
- The Twenty-Eight Hour law 1873, United States.
- The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act 1958, United States.
- Animal Welfare Act 1966, United States.
- Animal Welfare Act 2006, United Kingdom
Loopholes in Legislation for Animals
Even though numerous legislation has been regulated to protect farmed animals, in reality, these animals receive only a few of the conditions provided by the legal system. Abuse, malnutrition, inhuman slaughtering, torturous rearing and many more are a few horrors afflicted on farmed animals. Livestock animals are among the most abused in the US while farms and slaughterhouses contributes to the highest number of mistreatment and brutality on these animals. Apart from this, there are a number of gruesome violations and loopholes present in the legislation.
- Farmed animals are unprotected and even omitted by most state criminal anti-cruelty laws and federal Animal Welfare Act.
- The 28 Hour Law is rarely enforced.
- The Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act permits ritual slaughter in which the animal is not rendered unconscious before slaughter.
- Tails, horns, beaks, or toes of animals can be removed without anesthesia.
- It is okay to confine animals in small and crowded places like gestation crates, veal crates, and battery cages.
- To artificially re-start the egg-laying cycles, hens are artificially made to stave.
- Male chicks are crushed alive, and piglets are killed by slamming their heads on the ground.
- Calves can be taken away from their mothers and strictly confined raised for veal.
- Limited investigations and lack of CCTV installations to discover abuse that occurs
No matter who is involved in the brutal and cruel treatment of livestock animals, these acts are largely compelled due to confusion of welfare standards, incorrect labeling and misinformation. We as consumers and responsible citizens can take steps to prevent and lessen the mistreatment of animals in various ways. From using cruelty free products to supporting The Animal Legal Defense Fund, our choices can make a huge impact on the welfare of animals. Efforts however small are desperately needed to change the future for animals.
- Shift to cruelty-free food and shopping choices.
- Buy organic food from organic farming.
- Consume only RSPCA assured and standardized products.
- Volunteer for or sign the bill of The Animal Legal Defense Fund to protect the lives and interests of animals.
- Choose vegetarian diet for food.
- Use guides to cruelty free choices by joining projects like Pet People Project and using useful applications like Animal Free, Happy Cow, Cruelty Free, VeganXpress and Vegan List.
- Raise awareness of animal cruelty and how to preserve animal welfare.
- Demote companies like Red Tractor in UK that mislead consumers.
As long as the law fails to meaningfully protect farmed animals, everyone can help reduce their suffering by adopting any of the choices mentioned above.
Make a Cruelty Free Choice Today!