Let me start this post by saying, I am not a vegetarian or vegan. I eat beef, chicken and pork.
But I don’t buy any meat at the supermarket. All of our meat comes from two local farmers whose animals I see grazing in the fields and lazing in the sun. Why not just swing by the store and grab that plastic wrapped pork loin or t-bone steak?
Because I know where the meat in the store came from, how the animals were raised and I cannot enjoy my meals. Restaurants and supermarkets rely on factory farms for their meat and poultry.
You’ve probably heard the term “factory farming” before but may not really know what it means. Let’s just look at chickens to help give you a glimpse inside factory farming.
Try to imagine thousands and thousands of chickens crowded into one small place, each chicken getting a 6 inch by 6 inch square to live in. Shortly after hatching, chicks have the ends of their beaks cut off. Performed without anesthesia, large scale growers say it’s to reduce injuries that result when stressed birds are driven to fighting — for space, for food, for their very lives.
A commonly-held justification for keeping and killing chickens this way is that chickens aren’t smart. Maybe…but what about pigs?
Recent research has shown that pigs are among the quickest animals to learn new routines including herding sheep, opening and closing cages and playing video games with joysticks.
In fact, they are perhaps the smartest, cleanest domestic animals known – more so than cats and dogs. And they learn as fast as chimpanzees — the animal whose genome is 98% identical to ours.
More than 100 million of these smart animals are raised in factory farms every year, confined from birth to death and subjected to intense overcrowding in every stage of their short lives, until they reach a slaughter weight of 250 pounds at 6 months old.
Animals on factory farms never get to see the sun, never graze and some, like pigs, never even get to lie down. The “farmers” say it’s a business; people who know better say it’s abuse. And it’s this type of abuse that Farm Sanctuary has fought against for more than 25 years.
What started in 1986 as a group of dedicated volunteers has grown to the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization but its mission has not changed. Farm Sanctuary is committed to, “… ending cruelty to farm animals.” This group also brings its now considerable resources to education and advocacy.
These are two tools Farm Sanctuary uses to take its message to millions of people who had no idea how cruel life for animals is on today’s industrialized farms. Farm Sanctuary also pushes for laws and policies to prevent the unspeakable conditions these thinking, feeling animals are currently forced to endure.
How can we help?
Start by understanding the real price that cows, pigs and chickens pay on factory farms. Stop buying meat in stores. Find and support a local farmer, instead. Vote with your dollars and tell factory farmers it’s time to clean up their act. And you’ll be helping Farm Sanctuary change the world, making it a better place for our fellow inhabitants — farm animals.