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Farm Animal Sanctuary Directory

Hidden in Plain Bite: The Truth About our Food System

Links to Some Cruelty-Free Shopping and Other Vegan Resources

How Do I Go Vegan

Animal Legal Defense Fund Resources

Vegan Starter Kit

Vegan veterinarian Randall Cannon shares his knowledge about how to truly care for animals.

21 Previously Unknown Reasons Why The World Needs You to Eat Vegan Today (And It Has Nothing To Do With The Animals)!

The Implications of Animal Consumption on Health, the Environment and Ethics.

How to Report Animal Cruelty

Videos About Animal Rights

Watch videos about animal rights at Films for Action. Click here to watch.

Animal Rights: A History King Asoka

King Asoka ca 273-232 BCE

 

 

 

King Ashoka, 268-223 BC, popularly known as Ashoka the Great, a monarch of India become Buddhist after witnessing first hand the huge number of casualties caused by one of his military campaigns. At this time be was sincerely grieved and as a result he converted to Buddhism, after which this once ruthless, cruel and bloody leader became transformed into a kind and gentle person. He bought about a number of changes and established some of the first animal rights laws. In his edicts King Ashoka expresses his concern about the number of animals killed to provide him with a meal and his intentions to end such killing. He therefore stopped the royal hunting parties and ended the killing of animals for the royal kitchen and abstained from eating meat. He outlawed the sacrifice of animals and made it illegal to kill many species such as parrots, ducks, geese, bats, turtles, squirrels, monkeys and rhinos.

Non human animals were included with humans as beneficiaries of his programs for obtaining medicinal plants, planting trees and digging wells. In his fifth pillar edit King Ashoka decreed protection from slaughter for young animals and mothers still feeding their young , prohibited forests from being burned to protect the creatures living in them along with the banning of a number of hunting practices harmful to animals. He decreed that certain days were “non-killing days,” and on these days fish could not be caught, nor any other animals killed. He established wells and watering holes, places of rest and hospitals for humans and animals alike.

In Addition Ashoka taught his people to have compassion for animals and to refrain from harming or killing them. In one of his famous pillar edits he declares:

“I have enforced the law against killing certain animals. The greatest progress of Righteousness among men comes from the exhortation in favour of non-injury to life and abstention from killing living beings.”

Furthermore he sent missionaries to other Kingdoms to spread the Buddhist message of compassion and nonviolence to all beings. Buddhism was spread over the Indian sub continent because of the patronage of King Ashoka.

Edicts of Ashoka

Please note: The author of the text refers to himself as “Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi” rather than Asoka but they are the same person

The Fourteen Rock Edicts 1. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, has caused this Dhamma edict to be written. Here (in my domain) no living beings are to be slaughtered or offered in sacrifice. Nor should festivals be held, for Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, sees much to object to in such festivals, although there are some festivals that Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does approve of.

Formerly, in the kitchen of Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, hundreds of thousands of animals were killed every day to make curry. But now with the writing of this Dhamma edict only three creatures, two peacocks and a deer are killed, and the deer not always. And in time, not even these three creatures will be killed.

2 …Everywhere has Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, made provision for two types of medical treatment: medical treatment for humans and medical treatment for animals. Wherever medical herbs suitable for humans or animals are not available, I have had them imported and grown. Wherever medical roots or fruits are not available I have had them imported and grown. Along roads I have had wells dug and trees planted for the benefit of humans and animals.

4. In the past, for many hundreds of years, killing or harming living beings and improper behavior towards relatives, and improper behavior towards Brahmans and ascetics has increased. But now due to Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi’s Dhamma practice, the sound of the drum has been replaced by the sound of the Dhamma. The sighting of heavenly cars, auspicious elephants, bodies of fire and other divine sightings has not happened for many hundreds of years. But now because Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi promotes restraint in the killing and harming of living beings, proper behavior towards relatives, Brahmans and ascetics, and respect for mother, father and elders, such sightings have increased.

8. In the past kings used to go out on pleasure tours during which there was hunting and other entertainment. But ten years after Beloved-of-the-Gods had been coronated, he went on a tour to Sambodhi and thus instituted Dhamma tours. During these tours, the following things took place: visits and gifts to Brahmans and ascetics, visits and gifts of gold to the aged, visits to people in the countryside, instructing them in Dhamma, and discussing Dhamma with them as is suitable. It is this that delights Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, and is, as it were, another type of revenue.

9. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus:…many vulgar and worthless ceremonies [are] performed…but they bear little fruit. What does bear great fruit, however, is the ceremony of the Dhamma. This involves proper behavior towards servants and employees, respect for teachers, restraint towards living beings, and generosity towards ascetics and Brahmans.

11. Beloved-of-the-Gods speaks thus: Father and mother should be respected and so should elders, kindness to living beings should be made strong and the truth should be spoken. In these ways, the Dhamma should be promoted.

Minor Rock Edict 2. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: There is no gift like the gift of the Dhamma…And it consists of this: proper behavior towards servants and employees, respect for mother and father, generosity to friends, companions, relations, Brahmans and ascetics, and not killing living beings. Therefore a father, a son, a brother, a master, a friend, a companion or a neighbor should say: “This is good, this should be done.” One benefits in this world and gains great merit in the next by giving the gift of the Dhamma.

The Seven Pillar Edicts 2. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: Dhamma is good, but what constitutes Dhamma? (It includes) little evil, much good, kindness, generosity, truthfulness and purity. I have given the gift of sight in various ways. To two-footed and four-footed beings, to birds and aquatic animals, I have given various things including the gift of life. And many other good deeds have been done by me. This Dhamma edict has been written that people might follow it and it might endure for a long time. And the one who follows it properly will do something good.

3. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: People see only their good deeds saying, “I have done this good deed.” But they do not see their evil deeds saying, “I have done this evil deed” or “This is called evil.” But this (tendency) is difficult to see. One should think like this: “It is these things that lead to evil, to violence, to cruelty, anger, pride and jealousy. Let me not ruin myself with these things.” And further, one should think: “This leads to happiness in this world and the next.”

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: Twenty-six years after my coronation various animals were declared to be protected — parrots, mainas, ruddy geese, wild ducks, bats, queen ants, terrapins, boneless fish, fish, tortoises, porcupines, squirrels, deer, bulls, wild asses, wild pigeons, domestic pigeons and all four-footed creatures that are neither useful nor edible. Those nanny goats, ewes and sows which are with young or giving milk to their young are protected, and so are young ones less than six months old. Cocks are not to be caponized, husks hiding living beings are not to be burnt and forests are not to be burnt either without reason or to kill creatures. One animal is not to be fed to another. On the three Caturmasis, the three days of Tisa and during the fourteenth and fifteenth of the Uposatha, fish are protected and not to be sold. During these days animals are not to be killed in the elephant reserves or the fish reserves either. On the eighth of every fortnight, on the fourteenth and fifteenth, on Tisa, Punarvasu, the three Caturmasis and other auspicious days, bulls are not to be castrated, billy goats, rams, boars and other animals that are usually castrated are not to be. On Tisa, Punarvasu, Caturmasis and the fortnight of Caturmasis, horses and bullocks are not be branded.

7. …Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, says: Along roads I have had banyan trees planted so that they can give shade to animals and men…I have had wells dug, rest-houses built, and in various places, I have had watering-places made for the use of animals and men. But these are but minor achievements. Such things to make the people happy have been done by former kings. I have done these things for this purpose, that the people might practice the Dhamma.…

…Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, speaks thus: This progress among the people through Dhamma has been done by two means, by Dhamma regulations and by persuasion. Of these, Dhamma regulation is of little effect, while persuasion has much more effect. The Dhamma regulations I have given are that various animals must be protected. And I have given many other Dhamma regulations also. But it is by persuasion that progress among the people through Dhamma has had a greater effect in respect of harmlessness to living beings and non-killing of living beings.

King Ashoka, Fourteen Rock Edicts, Minor Rock Edicts and The Seven Pillar Edicts in The Edicts of King Ashoka; An English Rendering by Ven. S. Dhammika (Buddhist Publication Society: Sri Lanka, 1993; DharmaNet Edition, 1994).

buddhanet.net/pdf_file/edicts-asoka6.pdf

important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

http://www.think-differently-about-sheep.com/Animal_Rights_A_History_King%20Asoka.htm

Top 5 Books on Animal Theology

Theologians and scholars have been exploring Christianity’s relationship with animals for years—often concluding that Christians have an important and biblical responsibility to animals. We’ve picked out our top five favorite animal theology books for you! Don’t see your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments.

1. Animal Gospel by Andrew Linzey

Linzey is often cited as the leading authority on animals and Christian theology. If you’re new to animal theology or want a good overview of how Christian beliefs and ethics should inform our treatment of animals, this book is perfect for you! In Animal Gospel, Linzey lays out why animal suffering is an issue for Christians and the Church by reexamining dominion as a call of merciful responsibility to the most vulnerable.

2.  A Faith Embracing All Creatures: Addressing Commonly Asked Questions About Christian Care for Animals, edited by Tripp York and Andy Alexis-Baker

This book addresses some of the most commonly asked questions of Christians who advocate for animals—what’s the purpose of animals? Did Jesus eat meat? What about sacrifices in the Bible? Didn’t God give humans dominion over other creatures? This thoughtful collection of essays is perfect for equipping you with the answers you need to clear up some of the most misunderstood biblical passages about animals.

3.  For Love of Animals: Chistian Ethics, Consistent Action by Charlie Camosy

For Love of Animals takes a thorough look at our Christian responsibility to the animal kingdom. Camosy uses both scripture and Catholic tradition to explore current issues, from factory farming to animal testing. And it takes a close look at what may be the most ethical and Christ-centered diet for Christians today. Camosy has also published numerous thought-provoking articles, including “Can Christianity Take Vegetarianism Mainstream?”

4. Animal Theology by Andrew Linzey

In Animal Theology, Linzey seeks to engage Christians about their relationship with animals by reexamining God’s original intent for dominion. Although some Christians have used their unique relationship with God to justify cruelty to animals, Linzey suggests that our special vocation requires great responsibility for the vulnerable and oppressed. This book is more in-depth than Animal Gospel and has been the resource for Christians and theologians interested in why Christians should care about the issue of animal suffering.

5. Living With Other Creatures: Green Exegesis and Theology by Richard Bauckham

Living With Other Creatures mines the entire biblical canon and thought from notable historical Christian ecologists to develop a comprehensive ethic of care for God’s creation and reminds readers of our rightful place in it. Marked by careful exegesis and compelling writing, this is a must-read for any Christian seeking to know more about what the Bible says about the human relationship with other creatures.

 Bonus

On Animals: Volume I: Systematic Theology by David L. Clough

This volume is a project in systematic theology—a rigorous engagement with the Christian tradition in relation to animals. Clough’s work examines the human relationship to other animals through the doctrines of creation, reconciliation, and redemption and in dialog with the biblical and theological voices central to Christian tradition. The book shows that such engagement with the tradition with the question of animals in mind produces surprising answers that challenge modern anthropocentric assumptions.

Eating Animals: Addressing Our Most Common Justifications

We’ve heard them all before — the justifications people give for continuing to consume animal products even when faced with an abundance of plant-based food options. Here are some of the most common justifications for eating animals that vegans encounter from those confronted with the facts about animal farming and the opportunity to make more compassionate choices. Each objection is followed by a counter argument, which may include links to supporting sources. 

If I wasn’t meant to eat meat, I wouldn’t have these canine teeth!

There are several serious problems with the “canine teeth” argument, the most glaring one being the idea that the presence of canine teeth means we are “meant to eat meat.” The truth is that nearly all mammals have canine teeth. Many herbivores and primary plant-eaters have ferocious canine teeth; in fact, the largest canine teeth of any land animal belong to a true herbivore. Check out our photo gallery and accompanying nine reasons why your canine teeth don’t make you a meat-eater

Humans were designed to eat meat; we are omnivores, after all

The term omnivorous doesn’t mean must eat some animal products. It means capable of subsisting on both plant and animal matter. Of the two, we are able to thrive without eating animals; however, if we eat no plants, we die. In fact, decades of scientific evidence have demonstrated that humans have no biological need to consume flesh, eggs or dairy products. We can get all the nutrients we need on a plant-based diet, without the unhealthy animal protein and cholesterol, and without inflicting needless suffering and death on billions of animals. 

Animals eat other animals, so why shouldn’t we?

Many people insist that eating animals is “natural” — and therefore morally neutral — because other animals eat animals. But it’s important to realize that, with a few exceptions, when humans kill other animals for food, we’re not doing what animals do in nature. Read article… 

Animals can’t reason like us. They don’t deserve the same treatment.

Regarding the question of how we ought to treat nonhuman animals, philosopher Jeremy Bentham famously wrote, The question is not, “Can they reason?” nor “Can they talk?” but, “Can they suffer?” Read article...

What about hunting? Wildlife populations have to be controlled.

“Hunters sometimes argue that if they were to stop hunting, the deer population would explode. This is a false argument, because if hunting were to stop, we would also stop the practices that increase the deer population.  Read article…

We have been eating animals since the dawn of humankind.

Prehistoric humans and their ancestors ate some amount of meat. There’s no question about that. However, an in-depth analysis by science writer Rob Dunn published in the Scientific American reports on recent studies indicating that Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians. But, again, is what our ancestors ate really relevant to the very different circumstances we face today regarding our food choices and lifestyles? We are no more compelled to eat like our ancestors than we are to practice cannibalism, rape, slavery, murder, or any of the other violent traditions which are all an unfortunate part of our human legacy.

Our large brains developed from meat eating.

Well, one could claim that our brains have also developed to become addicted to smoking, gambling, video games, alcohol, drugs, sex, violence, and harmful fast food.  Our brains have evolved to create complex societies where Hitlers and Stalins exist along with great visionaries like Ghandi and Leonardo da Vinci.   Read article…

We are apex predators at the top of the food chain.

Claiming to be at the top of the food chain has become a popular yet shallow affirmation of our ability to violently dominate everything and everyone. Yet justifications for violence that draw on notions of power and supremacy are based on the philosophy that “Might makes right” — the principle behind the worst atrocities and crimes of human history.possible, minimizing our harm to other animals, humans and the planet.  Read article…

Farm animals have a much better life than they would in nature. In the wild they would be eaten alive!

Fans of this line of thinking often present an either/or situation: either the animals we eat die a horrible death in nature after a difficult existence, or they have a comparably “easy” life and a better death on farms. This is inaccurate, and a false dilemma. Farmed animals would never exist in the wild; they are artificially bred into existence to be used on farms. Animal agriculture is not some heroic intervention into “tooth and claw” nature whereby animals are saved from a horrible death that would have been far worse than the pseudo-salvational slaughter they experience at human hands. They are not rescued or “saved” from predators; they are bred by humans to be killed by humans without a fighting chance.

– See more at: http://freefromharm.org/eating-animals-addressing-our-most-common-justifications/#sthash.kFhPlfFu.dpuf

Factory Farming

Factory farms dominate U.S. food production, employing abusive practices that maximize agribusiness profits at the expense of the environment, our communities, animal welfare, and even our health.

Far from the idyllic, spacious pastures that are shown in advertisements for meat, milk, and eggs, factory farms typically consist of large numbers of animals being raised in extreme confinement. Animals on factory farms are regarded as commodities to be exploited for profit. They undergo painful mutilations and are bred to grow unnaturally fast and large for the purpose of maximizing meat, egg, and milk production for the food industry. Their bodies cannot support this growth, which results in debilitating and painful conditions and deformities.

The factory farming industry puts incredible strain on our natural resources. The extreme amount of waste created by raising so many animals in one place pollutes our land, air, and water. Residents of rural communities surrounding factory farms report high incidents of illness, and their property values are often lowered by their proximity to industrial farms. To counteract the health challenges presented by overcrowded, stressful, unsanitary living conditions, antibiotics are used extensively on factory farms, which can create drug-resistant bacteria and put human health at risk.

Source: www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/

Cows Used for Meat

In 2010, 34.2 million cattle were slaughtered for beef in the United States. Often beginning their short lives on rangeland, calves are soon separated from their nurturing mothers and endure a series of painful mutilations. Before they are a year old, young calves endure a long and stressful journey to a feedlot, where they are fattened on an unnatural diet until they reach “market weight” and are sent to slaughter.

factory farm beef

  • After being taken from their mother, calves’ cries can be so intense that their throats become irritated.
  • Calves raised for beef may be subject to a number of painful mutilations, including dehorning, castration, and branding. Even though each of these procedures is known to cause fear and pain, pain relief is rarely provided.
  • Because it is thought to improve meat quality and tenderness, male calves are castrated at a young age. Methods include removing testicles surgically with a scalpel, crushing spermatic cords with a clamp, and constricting blood flow to the scrotum until testicles die and fall off. Each method is known to cause pain that can last for days.

Factory Farm cow

 

  • Cattle in the U.S. are often branded by having an iron hotter than 950 °F pressed into their skin for several seconds. This is done so that beef producers can identify cattle and claim ownership.
  • Between 6 months and a year of age, cattle are moved from pasture to feedlots to be fattened for slaughter. Calves gain weight on an unnatural diet and reach “market weight” of 1,200 pounds in just 6 months.
  • The majority of cattle are fattened in feedlots in just four U.S. states. Since calves are born all over the country, they often endure long and stressful trips from their place of birth to these states without food, water, or protection from the elements.

factory farm-beef

  • Once they reach “market weight,” cattle in the beef industry are trucked to slaughter. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act requires that livestock be rendered insensible to pain before shackling and slaughter; however, investigations have found that some animals are still conscious when they are shackled and have their throats cut.In 2010, 34.2 million cattle were slaughtered for beef in the United States. Often beginning their short lives on rangeland, calves are soon separated from their nurturing mothers and endure a series of painful mutilations. Before they are a year old, young calves endure a long and stressful journey to a feedlot, where they are fattened on an unnatural diet until they reach “market weight” and are sent to slaughter.factory farm beef
    • After being taken from their mother, calves’ cries can be so intense that their throats become irritated.
    • Calves raised for beef may be subject to a number of painful mutilations, including dehorning, castration, and branding. Even though each of these procedures is known to cause fear and pain, pain relief is rarely provided.
    • Because it is thought to improve meat quality and tenderness, male calves are castrated at a young age. Methods include removing testicles surgically with a scalpel, crushing spermatic cords with a clamp, and constricting blood flow to the scrotum until testicles die and fall off. Each method is known to cause pain that can last for days.

    Factory Farm cow

     

    • Cattle in the U.S. are often branded by having an iron hotter than 950 °F pressed into their skin for several seconds. This is done so that beef producers can identify cattle and claim ownership.
    • Between 6 months and a year of age, cattle are moved from pasture to feedlots to be fattened for slaughter. Calves gain weight on an unnatural diet and reach “market weight” of 1,200 pounds in just 6 months.
    • The majority of cattle are fattened in feedlots in just four U.S. states. Since calves are born all over the country, they often endure long and stressful trips from their place of birth to these states without food, water, or protection from the elements.

    factory farm-beef

    • Once they reach “market weight,” cattle in the beef industry are trucked to slaughter. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act requires that livestock be rendered insensible to pain before shackling and slaughter; however, investigations have found that some animals are still conscious when they are shackled and have their throats cut.

Source: www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/dairy/#Beef

Cows Used for Dairy

More than 9.3 million cows were used to produce milk in the United States in 2008, and more than 2.5 million dairy cows were slaughtered for meat. Cows used by the dairy industry are intensively confined, continually impregnated, and bred for high milk production with little concern for their well-being. Far from being the “happy cows” the industry makes them out to be, these typically playful, nurturing animals endure immense suffering on factory farms.

cow on dairy factory farm

  • Like all mammals, dairy cows must be impregnated in order to produce milk. Cows in the dairy industry spend their lives in a constant cycle of impregnation, birth, and milking with just a few short months of rest between pregnancies.
  • Nearly all cows used for dairy in the U.S. are eventually slaughtered for human consumption. At an average of less than 5 years of age, exhausted cows are considered “spent” and sent to slaughter, and millions of them are eaten by Americans as hamburger. In a natural setting, a cow can live more than 20 years.

  • Usually just within hours of birth, calves are taken away from their mothers. Calves can become so distressed from separation that they become sick, lose weight from not eating, and cry so much that their throats become raw.
  • Because male calves will not grow up to produce milk, they are considered of little value to the dairy farmer and are sold for meat. Millions of these calves are taken away to be raised for beef. Hundreds of thousands of other male calves born into the dairy industry are raised for veal. Many people consider veal to be cruel, but they don’t realize that veal production is a product of the dairy industry.
  • In the vast majority of dairy operations in the U.S., cows spend their lives indoors, typically on hard, abrasive concrete floors, frequently connected to a milking apparatus.

cow on dairy factory farm

  • In 2007, the average cow in the dairy industry was forced to produce more than 20,000 lbs. of milk in one year — more than double the milk produced 40 years before. Breeding cows for this unnaturally high level of milk production, combined with damage caused to the udders by milking machines, contributes to high levels of mastitis, a very common and very painful swelling of glands of the udder.
  • In the name of increased milk production and profit, some dairy cows are repeatedly injected with bovine growth hormone, a genetically-engineered hormone that has been shown to increase the risk of health problems like mastitis and lameness.
  • Arguing that it improves hygiene, dairy producers cut off cows’ tails, called “tail docking,” either by placing a tight rubber ring around the tail until it falls off or by cutting it off with a sharp instrument. Each method causes chronic pain. Cows use their tail to swish away flies and can suffer immensely during fly season.
  • Investigations have found that cows who collapse because they are too sick or injured to walk or stand, known as “downers” by the industry, are routinely prodded, dragged, and pushed around slaughter facilities.

Source: www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/dairy/

Pigs

The life of a breeding sow in the U.S. pork industry is one of extreme confinement, stress, and suffering. There were more than 5.8 million pigs used for breeding in the United States in 2011, most of whom were confined to gestation crates, typically lined up row after row in large sheds. These naturally curious and intelligent animals are first impregnated at 7 months of age and live out their lives in a cycle of pregnancy, birth, and nursing until they are eventually sent to slaughter.

pig factory farm

  • The majority of breeding sows spend nearly the entirety of each pregnancy confined to a gestation crate, which is only slightly larger than their body, making it impossible for them to lie down comfortably or even turn around.
  • Gestation crate floors are usually made of slats, which allow manure to fall through, meaning that sows live directly above their own waste. This design exposes sows to high levels of ammonia, and respiratory disease is common in confined sows.
  • Standing on the hard, unnatural slatted flooring of a gestation crate takes a toll on pigs’ feet, causing excessive foot injuries, damage to joints, and even lameness.
  • The intense boredom and frustration pigs suffer in gestation crates have been blamed by researchers for abnormal, neurotic behaviors confined pigs sometimes exhibit, like repetitively biting at the bars of the gestation crate or chewing with an empty mouth. These behaviors can lead to additional suffering by causing sores and mouth damage.

pig on factory farm

  • Shortly before piglets are born, sows are moved to “farrowing crates” where the piglets will be nursed. The crates, meant to separate the mother from the piglets to avoid crushing, are restrictive to the point that the mother pig can only stand and lie down — she cannot even turn around to see her piglets.
  • At only 17–20 days old, the piglets are taken away from their mothers and undergo a series of mutilations, including being castrated and having a portion of their tails removed without any sort of pain relief. The piglets spend the next 6 months of their lives confined to pens until they reach “market weight”; they are then trucked to slaughter.

pig factory farm

  • Once piglets are weaned, their mothers are put back into the restrictive gestation crates and re-impregnated, and the cycle continues at an average of 2.1–2.5 litters per year until the sow is considered spent and is sent to slaughter herself.

Source: www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/pigs-used-for-pork/

Chickens Used for Eggs

Chickens used for egg production are among the most abused of all farm animals. In order to meet the consumer demand for eggs, 280 million hens laid 77.3 billion eggs in 2007. From hatching to slaughter, egg-laying hens are subjected to mutilation, confinement, and deprivation of the ability to live their lives as the active, social beings they are.

egg factory farm

  • Because male chicks will not grow up to lay eggs and, therefore, have little value to the egg industry, 260 million are killed each year upon hatching. Methods include being sucked through a series of pipes onto an electrified “kill plate,” being ground up alive and fully conscious in a “macerator,” or being gassed.
  • Female chicks are “debeaked” at a young age, most commonly having a portion of their beaks seared off with a hot blade. Debeaking is meant to prevent the abnormal feather-pecking that can result from the stress of confinement in a battery cage. A chicken’s beak is filled with nerves, and debeaking can result in severe and possibly chronic pain.
  • 95% of egg-laying hens spend their lives in battery cages. Battery cages commonly hold 5–10 birds, and each chicken may be given an amount of floor space equivalent to less than a sheet of letter-size paper. Constantly rubbing against and standing on wire cages, hens suffer severe feather loss, and their bodies become covered with bruises and abrasions.

egg factory farm

  • Today’s hen, selectively bred and artificially induced to yield high egg production, will produce more than 250 eggs annually, compared to 100 eggs annually a century ago.
  • In order to shock their bodies into another egg-laying cycle when production declines, hens are sometimes starved and denied any food for up to two weeks — a process known as “force molting.”

egg factory farm

  • The lifespan of an industry chicken would be 5–8 years. However, when egg production declines after 1–2 years, hens are considered “spent” and sent to slaughter. Chickens and turkeys are exempt from the Humane Slaughter Act, a federal law that requires some animals to be rendered insensible to pain before slaughter.
  • Due to a declining market for “spent” hens, producers often elect to kill them by gassing them with high concentrations of carbon dioxide. In some cases, the gas does not kill the birds, and there have been reports of live hens found at landfills crawling out from piles of decomposing chickens.

Source: www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/chickens/

Chickens Used for Meat

Every year, 9 billion chickens are slaughtered for meat in the United States. Called “broilers” by the industry, these curious, social birds are treated simply as production units, selectively bred and fed for abnormally fast growth without consideration for their well-being. The resulting large size contributes significantly to suffering, disease, and early death.

  • Chickens raised for meat are selectively bred to grow to “market weight” at an alarming pace. In the past 50 years, the amount a chicken used for meat grows each day has increased by more than 300%.
  • Chickens in the meat industry typically spend their lives confined to warehouse-like buildings, each packed with as many as 20,000 chickens. On average, the space per chicken is only slightly larger than a sheet of letter-size paper. This crowding can result in scratches and sores from the birds being forced to walk all over each other.
  • A 2006 study found that 55% of uncooked chicken purchased from supermarkets contained arsenic, which is known to cause cancer in humans. Arsenic is added to the feed of approximately 70% of the broilers raised each year because it is believed to promote growth.
  • Since more than one flock is sometimes kept on the same litter before the floor is cleaned, floors can be covered in the waste of tens of thousands of chickens. Excessive ammonia levels that can result from the waste breaking down can lead to health problems for chickens, including difficulty breathing.
  • The lights are kept on nearly constantly in the buildings where chickens raised for meat are confined. This can stimulate eating and unnaturally rapid growth and limits the opportunity for chickens to sleep and rest, all of which leads to serious health problems.

chickens transported to slaughter

  • Studies have consistently shown that approximately 26–30% of broiler chickens suffer from difficulty walking because their skeletons have trouble supporting their rapidly growing bodies. This can also lead to deformities and lameness.
  • The rapid growth of broiler chickens is often associated with acute heart failure. The hearts and lungs of the rapidly growing birds are not able to effectively get oxygen circulated throughout the body. This problem is the leading cause of death in chickens as they reach “market weight.”
  • With bodies taxed beyond belief, chickens who survive their time in production are often slaughtered at just 42 days old. They are still “peeping” the sound of baby chicks when they are killed – even though their bodies have ballooned to the size of giant adult chickens in this short time due to industry practices.
  • At the slaughterhouse, there is no law in place requiring chickens to be rendered unconscious before slaughter, and the electrified water bath stunning used has been shown to cause painful shocks before it stuns the birds.

chicken slaughter

Source: www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/chickens/#MEET

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