Animal Cruelty Is Deeper Than We Think, But There Is A Solution

Farm factories exist for revenue, but at what cost?

“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world,” said Paul Farmer, a physician and philanthropist who travels worldwide to combat health inequality. Paul recognizes the inequality of human treatment, and we must also view animals in the same way. At times, the truth is shrouded and skewed from not seeing that animals feel compassion, empathy, and pain just as we do. Yet, we discriminate against them because they are not pets. We must find fault within our own habits and how our choices dictate the future of the human race and the future of the species around us. However, this ignorance must end with us spreading awareness of the existence of animal cruelty amongst all species, and how not all cases are brought to the attention of the public.

On the regular, cash-livestock are raised and stored in suffocatingly small cages or pens, grown and fed, simply to be sent to the slaughterhouse. This information is being hid from us so these malice companies can thrive, while the inhumanity of these factories goes unheard, and their greedy ambitions filled to the dismay of our health and these animals. According to the United Nations, around eight times the human population of the planet are the number of livestock slaughtered each year, and the reason is because of the increasing growth in demand for meat. Director, Lee Fulkerson's Forks Over Knives, reveals the unethical treatment of farm animals before they are killed and packaged for selling. Chickens are grown in battery cages measuring less than 94 cubic centimeters in volume (smaller than standard printer paper) and live out their entire lives in these cages. When these eggs are hatched, male and female chicks are segregated onto two batches. The females are grown in cages and subjected to live in small crowded cages for the duration of their lives, while others the male chicks are tossed onto conveyors where they would be grounded alive. According to these companies, male chicks cannot have eggs, so they serve no greater purpose other than being mashed like objects, not like living feeling beings. Animals, including cattle and pigs are forced into tight containment areas, where they typically live out their lives. As shown from the documentary, cattle are killed by bullets to the head, and when chickens are ready for preparation they are sent through a processing belt which slits their throats. Upon this process, some of these chickens are not properly ensured to be dead thus allowing them to experience the next process of decontamination: being dipped in scalding water. The conditions in these enclosures are callous, and it is not that they cannot afford to give them better conditions, but it is because these companies do not want to lose anymore money than they want to. Greed and indifference are the main contributors to this being allowed to happen; however, it continues because they are still selling, so the processing of this kind of inhumane processed meat still occurs.

The conditions of these living spaces increase stress levels within the livestock. The small scale enclosures or cages and lack of movement to keep order in the factories increases cortisol production in the cells. Corticotropin, according to "Stress Is Toxic To Your Body," reduces your ability to metabolize and reduce toxicity levels in the cells, thus, lowering immunity. As a result, farm factories must pump livestock with antibiotics to combat the long lasting effects of stress and the unhealthy environment. The consumption of this produce is not optimal for wellbeing. Unnaturally maintained livestock, and what is consumed from the flesh exists the emotional turmoil suffered by the produce before death resulting in toxins. Lack of exercise, would also be a contributing factor, just as how stress can be relieved through physical activity for humans. Just as we experience stress, we tend to feel weak and foggy. Now, imagine being treated like an object and mistreated for the entire span of a lifetime.

At this point of time, plant based meat companies run in a free market because the competition in this industry is not saturated yet. There are not many plant based meat companies that currently exist, If the demand for plant based meat increases at it's steady current rate, the price for plant based meat will drop; thus, making it a more available option for consumers while providing the same level of protein as regular meat, and being less time consuming for companies and less expensive for consumers. According to Carmichael's excerpt, "Plant Based Meat: What Athletes Need to know," plant based patties have 20% more protein per servings and additionally, contain the same natural taste of meat through the use of "heme" otherwise known as hemoglobin. Scientists' solution to mass produce this flavor is to extract heme from soy and yeast (a naturally producing alternative to heme also known as leghemoglobin) which is genetically modified to produce more heme. Lately, I've been hearing the fuss over veggie patties lacking the same flavor and protein as regular meat, and if the animal cruelty alone is not enough to convince you that farm factory meat should be waned from our diet (because I personally know several who don't) then perhaps through the expansion of the plant based meat industry, and getting the fact that these alternatives exist, can we bring it to a reasonable, and cheaper price. If we can wane our diets on more plant based meats we can stop the rise of produce through these harmful means. Although they are currently more expensive, the production value is not as steep as growing and raising livestock for years to turn them into produce when one could just grow a plant that tastes just like meat and without the suffering and with the lower costs of growing them in a garden.

All in all, the choice exists in our hands and our power exists in our strengths to change what is the current norm. We have this notions as humans that other species, as long as their cognitive ability is less than ours, then they are less than us morally and soulfully; however, we abuse our powers. We are merely repeating history such as how we have beaten and abused members of the human race simply for the color of their skin. This barbarity is the root of our problems, yet we enjoy to separate ourselves from animals. When we look upon something as inferior to ourselves we will treat it as such, we will not give time to understand it’s intricacies and it’s nuances. The production of plant based patties is increasing, but that number could triple if we spread awareness of the conditions placed in farm factories. The more we make the choice to abstain from meat based foods, the more big food companies and farm factories must transition to vegetable based alternatives to meet the demand.

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June Ross
See all posts by June Ross