Animal Suffering – Introduction
Introduction Everyday people purchase meat from super markets without thinking about what the animals went through while they were still alive. This paper will provide an argument on why factory farming is cruel to animals. Factory animals suffer so much for nothing in return. Animals are put through intolerable conditions and are treated poorly. At the end of the paper the reader will understand why it is important to gain knowledge of how animals are treated in factory farms. Argument Farming since the 1920’s has changed dramatically.
Vitamin A & D was discovered in the 1920’s and farmers realized that animals no longer needed to be raised as free range. The popular belief of farm animals is pictured as animals grazing in open pastures. It would be great if this were true. However, most farms are now factory farms. In the United States alone there are more than 2. 1 million farms. Over half of those farms produce livestock. In the past eating meat was popular only among the rich people. In the 1950’s only 0. 1 billion animals were slaughtered, in 2010 9. 1 billion animals were slaughtered. As of June 2011 4. billion animals have been slaughtered so far. (States, 2011) Due to the high demand for meat factory farming became popular. Animals raised in factory farms are treated and raised poorly. Today, there are 280 million egg laying hens in the United States. They are forced to live in battery cages. These cages are small cages made out of wire lined and stacked up. These egg laying hens are stored in huge ware houses where they are unable to get fresh air or any sunlight. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires that each hen gets up to four inches of feeding space.
However, not every farmer follows regulations. Hens are crammed up into cages where they are unable to spread their wings or move. These egg laying hens suffer psychologically and physically. Another animal that suffers in the factory farming industry are pigs. For the pigs the suffering starts with the breeding sows. The females are treated like endless breeding machines until they are no longer able to bear any more. They live an endless cycle of breeding and giving birth. After giving birth they are impregnated again. Each sow has more than 20 piglets a year.
The sows are put in small crates where they are unable to turn or lie down on the ground. Due to these living conditions they suffer from sores, obesity, and crippling knees. When a sow is unable to breed they are sent to the slaughterhouse. The baby piglets are subject to mutilation and are not offered anesthesia or pain relievers. In order to reduce tail biting the piglets tails are snipped off. To identify them their ears are snipped with notches. Only 10% of the piglets survive are 2-3 weeks of these cruel living conditions. At 6 months of age when they reach 250 lbs they are sent to the slaughter house.
The air in the factories are intolerable even to the workers who only coming in daily for just a few hours. The factories are polluted with dander, dust, and noxious gas from their waste. The workers are at high risk for bronchitis, sinusitis, and asthma. The workers can leave at the end of the day but the animals have no escape. About half of the piglets that are born don’t make it to the slaughterhouse due to the poor housing conditions. Because of poor air quality and cramped living conditions it makes diseases such as the swine influenza. In June 2008 there was a great flooding in the Midwest where most pig factory farms are located.
The flood happened due to heavy rains. Most farmers have escape plans for their animals in case of emergencies and evicted their farm animals. Some however didn’t. Farmers opened the doors to the warehouses and left the pigs to fend for themselves. At the end of the storm rescuers found pigs mangled in the pens or stuck in ventilation vents. It is hard to believe what kind of suffering the pigs went through. Before the pigs are sent to the slaughter house they are supposed to be unconscious due to the Human Slaughter Act. The method that is most popular to knock them unconscious is to stun them.
They are then hung upside down by their back legs and sometimes they are conscious. A worker will try to stick them in the neck with a knife in hopes of putting them out of their misery. Sometimes the worker is unsuccessful and is carried on the next station. At the next station they are boiled alive and fully conscious. Factory farm animals suffer every day. From the moment they are born until they are put out of their misery at the slaughterhouse. Factory farming is cruel because of the intolerable living conditions they are forced to put up with. Counter Thesis and Argument
Factory farming is popular today due to the high demand of meat. Each year there is a noticeable increase in demand for meat. Factory farming is needed to keep up with the high demand. Regular farming such as free range farming would not be able to keep up with the demand. Factory is not as cruel as vegetarians and animal activists make it seem to be. Factory farming is economically efficient and keeps people happy. There is a price difference in the market for free range than factory farming. The price difference between the two is due to the cost of living space.
For free range animals they require more space for them to roam around. Also the cost of the feed is more expensive. In the feed that is given to free range animals there is no added antibiotics that will cause the farm animal to grow at a more rapid rate like the factory farm animals. The farm workers don’t lock up the farm animals in little cages or pens because they enjoy doing. The workers do this because it is part of their job. Just because there was a video of a few farm workers doing animal abuse does not mean that every farm worker does this.
A person can’t argue all farm workers are bad because of a few mistakes other farmers have done. There have been commercials showing the living conditions that factory farm animals live through. The commercial uses the fallacy appeal to pity. That is they are persuading you to donate and make you feel sad for the animals. This same technique is used for starving children in third world countries. Factory farming isn’t bad as people make it out to be. Also factory farming makes it easier and faster for the popular demand. There are machines that automatically feed and water the animals.
This will lower the labor costs for the company. In the end this will help lower the price of the meat. The lower the cost of meat the more it will sell. This will help keep the customers and the industries happy. This argument can be seen a utilitarianism argument. Which means the greater the happiness the greater the good (Mosser 2011). Factory farming is designed to yield the highest profit from the least amount of labor and costs (Hills 2005). The machines that factory farmers use will produce meat faster than free range farms. They will also continuously do this at an inexpensive rate.
Factory farming is a better technique for farming. It is better because it is able to keep up with the popular demand. Free range farms are not able to keep up with the demand. Factory farm enables chickens to lay 300 eggs per chicken. The chicken’s ancestors were only able to lay 12 to 20 eggs a year. Thus, if factory farms were not around people would be going without a popular food they enjoy eating with their daily meals. Factory farming is also not cruel as the media and activists make it out to be. Counter Argument It is known among the public that factory farming has always been cruel to the animals.
The factory farming animals are only born and raised so they can be slaughtered. The animals have never been outside in daylight except for when they are gathered to head to the slaughterhouse. An objection to factory farm houses is that they are unnatural (Hills 2006). In the past 10,000 years animals have always been free range. (Munroe, 2005)When a person is asked what the scenery for a farm animal would be they talk about free range animals roaming around in a pasture. However, those farm houses are rare. Most likely when a person buys meat from a supermarket they buy factory produced meat.
In the past chickens were outside pecking around and surrounded by fresh air in sunlight. Today, they are crammed in battery cages with no sun light or fresh air. They sit around in dusty and smelly air. Factory farms are morally worse than free range farms because the animals suffer and are distressed. They are living in a place that is rarely cleaned. In other words, they live and sleep in their own feces. If an animal is surrounded by their own feces and the feces of other animals it is bound to cause some type of sickness. Also, because they are cramped up in a warehouse the sickness that is cause will spread quickly.
This sickness happens because they aren’t allowed access to fresh air. The sickness can cause some of the farm animals to die. Even if the factory farm workers do not cause the animals to suffer. The animals will suffer anyways due to the poor air quality and also because they are crammed into tiny spaces. The factory farm animals will suffer because they will be unable to move around freely like the free range animals. It is true that not all factory farm workers cause the animals to suffer. However, there will always be at least one farm worker who will cause an animal to suffer.
This will happen due to improper technique of stunning an animal. Animals are stunned before they are slaughtered. However, this is not always the case. In videos it has been shown where some animals have been slaughtered while they were fully aware and conscious of what has been going. The documentary Earthlings that was narrated by Joaquin Phoenix shows a few instances where pigs were conscious while they were slaughtered. Due to the rapid production rates that factory farm animals use animals seem to suffer more. This takes away the farm worker from the farm animal.
Farm animals have always had a relationship with their owners for over 10,000 years. Factory farming has taken this away. In their place are machines that raise them. The only time that the farm animals are able to see the farm workers is when they remove a dead animal or take the farm animal to the slaughter house. The machines that slaughter the animals always don’t do so well of a job. The machines that are hooked up to milk cows often cause the cows to be infected because they are not sanitized properly. Cows often develop mastitis due to the stress of producing more milk than they should. In Defense of Animals, 2011) Also, there are machines that are used for a conveyor belt for battery caged hens. Battery cages are small wire cages that confine chickens that lay eggs (In Defense of Animals, 2011). The conveyor belts run continuously to gather the eggs that are given by the chickens. Conclusion Factory farming would not be considered to be cruel if a few things were to be changed for the farm industries. The first thing would be for the animals to be living in cleaner conditions. Factory farm workers need to ensure that the animal’s crates are cleaned in routines instead of letting the feces build up.
While the farming industries think that it is better to cram as many animals into one area is cheaper, it causes the animals to cramp up. Animals living in crammed spaces can also lead to faster spreading of diseases. Also, factory farming wouldn’t seem so cruel if there were better methods of putting the animals down. Or the workers can make sure that the animals are unconscious before they are slaughtered. Things can be changed but it is up to the farming industries. It would only cost a few dollars more to let the animals have some sort of satisfaction from their lives.
To many vegetarians and animal rights activist’s factory farming would always be cruel to the animals that are raised within that industry. There will be no half way point. The author feels that it will take time for the improvement of factory farms. Everything in the world takes time to be improved. Nothing can be changed overnight, especially factory farming. However, we can always take steps to improve and ensure that factory farm animals live in better conditions and die with dignity. It is important to understand about factory farm animals because they suffer through so much without anything in return. Works Cited Cornell, C. 2010, December 09). Factory Farming Pros and Cons. Retrieved August 01, 2011, from Ezine Mark: ezinemark. com/a/factory-farming-pros-and-cons/ Hills, A. (2006). Do Animals Have Rights. Cambridge. IDEA. (2007). Debatabase Book. New York, New York, United States. In Defense of Animals. (2011, August 3). Factory Farm Facts. San Rafael, California, United States. Munroe, L. (2005, Febuary). Confronting Cruelty. Leiden, NLD. States, H. S. (2011, August 08). HumaneSociety. org. Retrieved August 7th, 2011, from Humane Society of the United States: http://www. humanesociety. org/news/resources/research/stats_slaughter_totals. html