If only farms had windows
Note: Contains content some viewers may find disturbing.
I am certainly not very good with words, especially seeing a my policy is ‘writing is re-writing’. So I thought it would be much easier to write about something I know and care a lot about. My sincere apologies if this sounds opinionated, ranty, and boring to you; but I’m going to talk about animal rights.
This is the idea that non-human animals are entitled to the possession of their own lives. And that their basic interests, like not experiencing pain or suffering, should be given the same consideration as these interests in humans.
So first of all I would like to say that I am 100% ok with the argument that humans are the dominant species on the planet- it is true (as far as we know, anyway). What I’m not ok with, is that this somehow gives us the right to do what we like with those who are “inferior” to us. I’m going to list some facts to illustrate this now, and I want you to really think about them, take your time to read them, and hopefully somewhere inside you it will make an impact. Because this is the reality behind your dinner, your leather wallet and even your shampoo.
- Over 55 billion farmed animals are slaughtered every year for food. This doesn’t include animals like fish and other sea creatures, whose death toll is so large it can only be measured in tonnes.
- In the US alone, 80% of corn is fed to livestock, and over 90% of soy bean. The land we use to farm animals would produce an incredible amount more corn than the quantity of meat we gain from breeding and farming animals.
- Factory farming accounts for nearly 40% of methane (CH4) emissions. Methane has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2.
- Animal welfare groups have discovered that a huge portion of livestock have been skinned or gutted whilst still fully conscious.
- Federal law requires mammals (other than rabbits) be stunned prior to slaughter. Their head will be restrained and then, typically, electric current is used to induce a heart attack and/or seizure; or a captive bolt gun is used to deliver a blow to the skull or shoot a rod into the animal’s brain.
View image here (before gun is shot)
- It is not uncommon for animals to regain consciousness after this. *
- Most farmed animals are kept in vast quantities in tiny sheds, or in cages that they spend their entire lives in- eventually they grow so big they cannot turn around. These animals will often suffer from broken or crippled legs.
- We catch around 120 million tonnes of fish annually. Fish, like us, have complex nervous systems enabling them to feel pain- for example when they are skinned alive, crushed under the weight of the other fish caught on mass, or physically decompressed from the change in pressure.
- The 100 million animals per year, bred in laboratories for medicine and cosmetic testing are injected, infected, dissected, gassed, burned, blinded, and frankly tortured, until they eventually die. For our “benefit”.
View image here (rabbit draize eye test, L’oreal)
- Their bodies do not react to products in the same way we do. There are countless cases where drugs have been safely tested on animals, but have caused fatal reactions in humans. **
- Some labs bioprint synthetic human skin now, and it enables us to get a far more accurate judgement on whether a product is safe, so is testing on animals still necessary?
- By adopting a vegan diet, individually we can save around 95 animals per year. And thousands during a lifetime.
- Some ‘faux’ fur is actually dog or cat fur imported from China, 2 million dogs and cats are killed for their pelts every year.
- The traps that catch these animals are usually left untouched for weeks, and in this time some foxes have been known to chew their own limbs of in order to escape. Although often these traps will catch their faces, leaving them in agonising pain and unable to free themselves for up to several weeks.
View image here (Wolf in leg hold trap)
- Other ways animals are captured and killed include gassing, clubbing, injecting them with poison, breaking their necks and even anal electrocution- simply because it won’t harm their pelt.
These are just a few of countless breaches of the basic rights of animals, I hope I have shown enough to make my point. Currently organisations like Greenpeace, PETA, and NAVS are protesting for these rights to be considered, but if you want to get involved a good staring point is simply to cut back on the amount of meat you consume.
Yes, most of you will turn your noses up at this suggestion, or read it and not really think about it. But I encourage you to do this, simply by paying for less meat will give the companies less profit, and therefore they will have to cut back on the amount of resources they use, and they will be unable to keep as many livestock. It also has hundreds of health benefits. Every single person that does this will make a difference, however insignificant it seems in the grand scheme of things, you have to think about every individual animal as a life, with the same basic rights that we share. By doing this you will not only save these lives, but influence the others around you to do the same.
*If you would like to learn more about the slaughtering process for livestock, I recommend this website.
** See 50 examples of where animal testing has had disastrous effects on humans here.