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Due to economic, profit-squeezing forces, industrialized factory-farming has become ever more cruel. The inhumanity to animals is far worse than we might imagine. There is a systemic denial that animals are sentient beings with great sensitivity to pain, intelligence, complex personalities, , and often rich social organizations in the drive to nurture and preserve life. It is amazing that we call ourselves an advanced civilization when we so cruelly mistreat other creatures. The tragedy is that this is done not due to severe hunger or dietary necessity.  It is a good idea to watch the animal cruelty videos of the PETA website. It can remind us that with each meal we either add to or reduce the level of animal cruelty in our world.

PIGS - They are housed in pens that are little more than 6 ft square. Pigs are in metal cages so narrow they can’t turnaround. The animals are treated as if they are machines in a factory, not living organisms. Living in metal or concrete pens, they experience a stench that is overwhelming.

CHICKENS – The chicken birds in such crowded conditions have their beaks cut from a third to a half the length in order to prevent pecking each other. Some chickens cannot eat afterwards and starve to death. Also when so densely crowded together, the chicks let out and live amid vast amounts of excrement. This creates a high level of ammonia which in turn burns the bird’s eyes, skin and respiratory tracts. This cruelty reminds me of my Aunt’s life, and as she went partly blind while in a concentration camp in Germany. We treat our animals with the same level of complete disrespect for life.

EGG-LAYING HENS – They are crowded in less than 1/2 square foot of space so that many hens die of asphyxiation and dehydration. When sent to slaughter due to low production, may have broken bones because their frames have become so under-nourished and fragile.

– From 1940 to 2008, average per-cow milk production rose from 2 to 10 tons per year. This is often due to artificial and unhealthy use of hormones as well as milking done more efficiently by factory machines, not by hand. If the production drops, the calves are slaughtered immediately, usually at 5-6 years of age (about 1/4th of their lifespan). Female calves are not allowed to nurse their young. Male caves may be slaughtered soon after birth. A few may be raised as veal, chained for life on 2-3 ft neck chain.

– Animals crammed together to endure extreme temperatures, and standing in their own feces for days, hundreds of thousands of such animals die during transport each year. The animals are also prodded with electric shock guns until the animals become so weak they cannot stand. “Downers” are moved via forklifts and loaders off the transport trucks – in states that are dead or nearly dead.

– Free-ranged or factory-farmed, the animal is slaughtered. First federal law requires stunning. This can involve a pistol that shoots a bolt pointed to the animals head. Or it can involve an electric stun that produces grand mal seizures before the throat is cut. It can take a half hour to turn a live steer into a steak. The cattle are supposed to be dead before the slaughter process starts, but often the animals are alive half way through the slaughtering. After being stunned, birds are put into tanks of hot water to soften their hides for skinning. Because the stunning may not kill the birds, they die boiled or drowned to death. Birds with broken legs and wings are often hung and mutilated while still alive.

Continued in Part II with health, nutritional, environmental and other reasons and inspirations.

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