When finally a tiny baby chick manages to push her way through the shell, she finds herself in a barren hostile world of a mechanical universe, a hatchery, in an industry which sees her as nothing more than a resource. She will never know a mother’s love or comfort. One of the first things she will experience is being picked up by rough uncaring hands and having her beak chopped off, leaving a painful deformed mutilation which will make it agony and often difficult to eat. Her brothers will be sorted from the thousands of baby chicks and will be ground up alive as useless by products of the egg industry, or thrown into giant bin bags and left to slowly suffocate to death.
As a female layer hen she will be forced into a cage with many other hens in a darkened barn, to stand on wire mesh cage bottom which hurts her feet. Many will die in these horrendous conditions and go unnoticed and be left to die and rot in the cage. Those who survive are forced to live in the cage for several years, never knowing the light of day, or being able to run or move, or express any natural behaviours.
The faeces she stands in and which drops on her from the birds in the cages above becomes ammonia and burns her legs lungs and eyes, sometimes causing blindness. Battery Hens are prone to bone breakages. Their bones are brittle through over-production of eggs and lack of exercise. A high percentage have Osteoporosis. By the time they are finally slaughtered up to 56 per cent of caged hens have suffered painful fractures. Stressed and crowded hens peck at each other. This is why the farmers cut off a third of the chicken’s beak with a hot wire guillotine. This causes severe pain at the time and the chicken may die of shock. Also the nerves in the beak stump are still active and the hen suffers pain for months, perhaps years afterwards. Many have great difficulty eating for the rest of their lives. Hens moult in Autumn and are off-lay for 2-3 months to rest. Battery farmers reduce this non-productive period by semi or total starvation of the hens for 5-14 days, in order to bring them back on-lay more quickly. Many hens die during this process. Prolapse and tumours are common, as is acute calcium deficiency leading to “layer fatigue”. This occurs when the hen’s body can take no more and she finally collapses. Whether free-range or battery, hens past their laying peak are regarded as useless. They are dragged from the cages, stuffed into crates, trucked to the abattoir and shackled upside down on a conveyor belt to await slaughter. Many suffer multiple fractures during this process.
The lives of broiler chickens are not so different to egg laying hens, the same din and stench, the same ammonia faeces laden floor, and toxic polluted air which hurts to breathe, and burns their eyes and legs. Added to this suffering, hens which are so overbred for their flesh their legs cannot hold their weight and the excess flesh in their bodies squashes up their lung capacity so that its hard for them to breathe. The sight of a shed full of broiler chickens is a pitiful sight beyond words. The floor littered with burns whose legs have given way, with large burns on their bodies from being unable to do anything but lay on the burning faeces. Everywhere birds lay half dead or dying slowly suffering greatly, unnoticed in the tens of thousands of other birds. The rest of the birds wander as one would expect them to, utterly bewildered, confused, in so much pain, never having known a moments love or comfort in their lives, no contact with their mothers, no ability to express natural behaviours, never seeing the sun or sky, or breathing fresh air. Some of the injuries they suffer are as follows;
‘’Broiler chickens are crammed into large broiler sheds holding up to tens of thousands of others. Shed sizes vary, but a typical new shed is 150metres long and 15metres wide and holds around 40,000 adult chickens. However, some larger sheds can hold up to 60,000 birds. A typical broiler farm often has three – ten sheds on one farm. The chicken population of a new farm would be around 320,000 chickens, with eight sheds holding approximately 40,000 chickens/each. The average area can be around 23 birds per square metre! In such unnatural and overcrowded conditions, many health and welfare problems are common.
Acute Death Syndrome (ADS) or Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) which is a significant cause of death by heart attack or lung oedema. Without warning, chickens suddenly lose balance, flap their wings violently, go into spasmodic attacks and flip onto their backs.
Respiratory problems that are caused by the poor air quality which leads to a build up of ammonia, carbon dioxide and organic dust.
Skin problems, including breast and hock burns, bruising, foot pad lesion and ulceration. These conditions become worse and the birds grow. As they grow their mobility lessens and thus they spend more time resting on the litter.
Legs and joint problems are caused by the accelerated growth of an immature body and reduction in mobility. These include:
valgus deformation: legs tilted outwards
spondylolisthesis: slipped vertebrae pinching the spinal cord
dyschondroplasia: excess cartilage around the growth plates of the tibia
Broilers are the only livestock that are in chronic pain for the last 20% of their lives. They don’t move around, not because they are overstocked, but because it hurts their joints so much.” – Prof. John Webster, University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science. (The Guardian, 14/10/1991).’’
All birds if they survive these hellish experiences, are taken to slaughter. As what they’ve been through isn’t already bad enough, the brutal handling, long journeys to the slaughterhouse end in a terrifying ordeal and slow painful death.
‘’ Workers rush through the sheds, grabbing multiple birds by their legs and slinging them into crates for transport. Every year, tens of millions suffer broken wings and legs from the rough handling, and some hemorrhage to death. The journey to the slaughterhouse may be hundreds of miles long, but chickens are given no food or water and are shipped through all weather conditions.
After this nightmarish journey, the bewildered chickens are dumped out of the crates, and workers violently grab them and force their legs into shackles so that they are hanging upside-down, breaking many birds’ legs in the process.
The terrified animals struggle to escape, often defecating and vomiting on the workers. An undercover investigator at a Perdue slaughterhouse reported that “the screaming of the birds and the frenzied flapping of their wings was so loud that you had to yell to the worker next to you.”
Once in the shackles, the upside-down birds are dragged through an electrified water bath meant to paralyze them, not render them unconscious.
In her renowned book Slaughterhouse, Gail Eisnitz explains: “Other industrialized nations require that chickens be rendered unconscious or killed prior to bleeding and scalding, so they won’t have to go through those processes conscious. Here in the United States, however, poultry plants—exempt from the Humane Slaughter Act and still clinging to the industry myth that a dead animal won’t bleed properly—keep the stunning current down to about one-tenth that needed to render a chicken unconscious.” This means that chickens are still completely conscious when their throats are cut.
After the blade cuts their necks, blood slowly drains from the dying birds. But many birds flap about and miss the blade. These birds may have their throats slit by the “backup cutter,” but workers testify that it’s impossible for them to catch all the birds who miss the blade. According to USDA records, millions of chickens every year are still completely conscious when they are dunked into the scalding-hot water of the defeathering tanks.’’
All cows are separated from their mothers almost as soon as they are born, most, at a day old, some, are dragged out of her and taken wet from birth to auction to be sold that day, barely able to stand, crying for their mothers. In my research I’ve heard such heart-breaking unforgettable stories. One man went vegan after watching a baby calf taken straight from their mother the moment they were born, and the mother ran after the farmer helplessly, as the door slammed in her face, she turned and went back and buried her face in the afterbirth on the floor, the only thing she will ever know of her baby. Mother and baby will cry for each other for days to weeks, until they lose their voice. Another person told of watching a mother cow returning pitifully to the place her calf was taken from her even months later as if she was sniffing around looking for her baby.
If she is a female calf, she will be sold to a dairy farmer and taken and put in a tiny enclosure all alone for months, I’ve seen these calves, desperate, crying, as if they are insane with grief and longing, pushing themselves against the walls of their pen trying to get the comfort they would from their mothers. When she is old enough she’ll be taken to another enclosure where she’ll stay until she’s ready to be impregnated.
The ‘rape rack’ as its known in the trade, is a process they will run from if they can. Painful, violating, the cow is penned in so she cannot move and a whole arm forced up her anus and one which holds the gun filled with semen into her vagina. After nine months she will give birth to her baby, and face the grief of loss. This will happen to her over and over again as she’s kept in a constant cycle of pregnancy. Commonly never seeing the light of day, the sky or fresh air, confined in a mechanised world where she barely has room to turn around, she will be fed hormones and manipulated to produce up to ten times the normal amount of milk, till her udder are infected and bleeding and give out under the weight. This extra weight will give her chronic pain in her legs and feet.
There are other painful procedures inflicted on these cattle, the tragic horror story seems never-ending, but added to this undercover investigations show that the norm on factory farms and abattoirs is the routine violent abuse of animals, beating, punching, kicking, verbally abusing, putting cigarettes out on the animals.
Sometimes the cow is sent to slaughter when she is about to give birth, so that the soft skin of her unborn baby can be harvested as its of higher financial value. Here is a video of slaughterhouse workers laughing and smoking as they tear her unborn baby out of her womb. The poor cow is about to give birth, in that sacred space of bearing a new life into this world, and she’s had no anesthetic, is fully conscious, has her throat slit, then is half hoisted by one leg into the air as young men smoking and laughing take a knife and cut her stomach open and tear out her unborn child. This is the dairy industry.
A dairy cow will undergo several agonizing mutilations;
Up to two-thirds of the tail may be amputated, usually without anesthesia.
Scissors may be used on very young calves (1-2 days old), and “emasculators” (used in the castrating of male calves) crush the tails of slightly older calves (6-8 weeks old).
Grown cattle have bands or rubber rings wrapped tightly around their tails. Oxygen is cut off so the dead tail either falls off, or is cut off.
Cows may suffer from chronic pain similar to “phantom limb” pain in people
Young calves suffer more pain than adult cows, but are given no pain medication
Cows no longer have a tail to use to communicate with others
They spend a lot of time trying to get rid of flies by stomping their feet and shaking their heads. This behavior disturbs their grazing.
Disbudding and Dehorning
Dehorning means removing the horns after they have formed from the horn bud. It goes without saying it is done without anaesthetic.
A hot iron or caustic paste is used on calves under 10 weeks old, and a scoop, saw, guillotine shears or wire used on older calves.
Dehorning of adult cattle is associated with increased risks of sinusitis, bleeding, prolonged wound healing, and infection.
I’ve seen this process of dehorning involving a metal ring being inserted through the nose of the cow and her head shoved between two metal bars. One man holds her head down by the painful metal bolt in her sensitive nose, while another takes giant pliers and cuts off the full grown horns. The amount of pain she experiences and blood which spurts out makes it look identical to if someone just came and cut your nose off..
Here is more footage of the dairy industry;
And no, there is no such thing as humane dairy. Smaller organic farms investigated show the same levels of cruelty, and even those rare examples that don’t, still forcibly impregnate, enslave, continually steal their babies and send the babies off to auction to some unknown likely horrific fate.
‘’To mark cows for identification, ranchers restrain the animals and press hot fire irons into their flesh, causing third-degree burns, as the cows bellow in pain and attempt to escape. Male calves’ testicles are ripped from their scrotums, without any pain relievers, and the horns of cows raised for beef are cut or burned off.
While “on the range,” most cows receive inadequate veterinary care, and as a result, many die from infection and injury. Every winter, cattle freeze to death in states such as Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota. And every summer, cows collapse from heatstroke in states such as Texas and Arizona.
After about a year of facing the elements, cows are shipped to an auction lot and then across hundreds of miles to massive feedlots—feces- and mud-filled holding pens where they are crammed together by the thousands. Many arrive crippled or dead from the journey.
Cattle on feedlots are fed a highly unnatural diet to fatten them up. This causes chronic digestive pain—imagine your worst case of gastritis that never goes away. The stomach becomes so full of gas (a condition called bloat) that breathing is impaired because of compression of the lungs. According to a study published in the Journal of Animal Science, this diet also causes potentially fatal liver abscesses in as many as 32 percent of cattle raised for beef. Those animals who escape this fate may still suffer from a severe increase in stomach acid, causing ulcers to form, resulting in a condition (acute acidosis) in which bloody fluid rushes into the rumen and kills the cow.
The feedlot air is saturated with ammonia, methane, and other noxious chemicals, which build up from the huge amounts of manure, and the cows are forced to inhale these gases constantly. These fumes can give the cows chronic respiratory problems, making breathing painful.
Cattle raised for food are also regularly dosed with drugs such as antibiotics to make them grow faster and keep them alive in these miserable conditions. Instead of taking sick cattle to see a veterinarian, many feedlot owners simply give the animals even higher doses of human-grade antibiotics in an attempt to keep them alive long enough to make it to the slaughterhouse.’’
TRANSPORT TO THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE
Cattle who survive feedlots, dairy sheds, and veal farms face a hellish trip to the slaughterhouse. They are crammed onto trucks where they typically go without food, water, or rest for the duration of the journey, which can sometimes be days. Many cows collapse in hot weather; in the cold, cows sometimes freeze to the sides of the truck until workers pry them off with crowbars.
By the time the exhausted cows reach the slaughterhouse, many are too sick or injured to walk. These cows, known to the meat and dairy industries as “downers,” often have ropes or chains tied around their legs so that they can be dragged off the trucks.
Of those animals who arrive at the slaughterhouse healthy enough to walk, many are frightened and don’t want to leave the truck, so they are shocked with electric prods or dragged off with chains. “Uncooperative animals are beaten, they have prods poked in their faces and up their rectums,” says a former USDA inspector.
You can read about these things, but they really do need to be witnessed. Nobody wants to look, everyone thinks its unbearable, but so many who find it unbearable to look, continue to pay for these tortures. We need to face the pain of looking, or generally, we are still so disconnected from a lifetime of cultural indoctrination to think this is ok, surrounded by everyone else who is not looking and gorging on the suffering of these animals, we continue to do the same ourselves.
Even if you are vegan. I was a vegan for several years, but I never tried to help these animals till I watched footage of what is happening to animals, and became a full time activist overnight. We need to face the pain, feel the outrage, go into the darkness to bring it to light. If you really care and really want to help, you need to find the courage to look this in the face, to look them in the face, and hear their cries, and hear the terrible sounds as the thud of fists, shouts of abuse, implements of torture rain down on these poor animals.
If the animals have to undergo it with their bodies, we should at least honor them by witnessing it with our eyes and ears. So we can be where they are at, and speak out for them. They have no way to voice their suffering to the world, it is our job to help them. We cannot do that, if we refuse to see it.
Most of all pigs used in the ‘pork industry’ in the world, apart from UK, some states in US and Sweden, will spend their whole lives, encapsulated…not only behind bars…but bars which are a metal crate no bigger than their actual body.
Hundreds of millions of souls in America alone, each year will spend all the years of their lives in this state. They lay on cold concrete floors, covered in filth and their own faeces. They get painful ‘bed sores’ where they lie and often suffer with botched infected mutilations, great big puss filled oozing and bleeding sores. These mother pigs, are seen as nothing more than pork making machines. As soon as they are old enough they will be artificially inseminated, and begin pregnancy after pregnancy of birthing piglets. They are moved from one type of crate to another, with a little more room on a cold concrete or metal floor where their babies will lay. Her deepest need will be to move and nuzzle and make a straw bed for her babies. But she can never, ever move. She will go so insane in these conditions that she will chew endlessly on the metal bars of her cage, and continually neurotically bang her head against the water bowl.
Her babies will be taken at a few weeks old and have their testacies, teeth, tails and ears cut off. I’ve seen this happening and it would be a bit like taking your dog to the vet to be neutered, and the vet picking up your puppy, taking a knife, slicing off their scrotum, their tail and getting some pliers and breaking off their front teeth and then cutting half their ear off, then throwing them back on the filthy floor. After this they will be taken to holding pens so tightly packed, forced to live in a darkened room, never knowing sunlight or the feel of grass or fresh air, and stuck, so tightly packed that like their mothers, they will never be able to move.
When the pigs are moved from one crate to another, as this is the only time in their lives they’ve ever been allowed to move they really don’t want to go back inside the crate, so workers beat them with whatever implements and in whatever ways they can… using whatever violence necessary to force them into the crate again.
Pigs are fastidiously clean by nature, they only roll in mud to keep cool because they don’t sweat, but living in their own faeces and vomit, often amid rotting corpses or sickly bodies of their half dead cell mates causes them deep distress. Extreme crowding, poor ventilation, and filth cause rampant disease. By the time they’re sent to slaughter, many pigs on factory farms suffer from lung lesions caused by pneumonia. At any given time, more than one-quarter of pigs suffer from mange. They are fed antibiotics as a growth promoter, but many pigs still die from infections.
Their bodies grow too large too quickly from forced genetic manipulation so they suffer chronic arthritis and joint pain. Often they are forced to live on slatted wooden floor with a manure pit below, and their legs get stuck and severely injured in the slats.
It is standard practice to kill pigs who are really sick rather than give them medication and often they are beaten to death with metal pipes or killed any which way is easiest and most economical. Baby weakling piglets or very sick piglets will be picked up by their back legs and the worker will thrash them against the floor to smash their heads in…often, chucking them aside and leaving them half dead to die slowly.
If they survive all this, when they are deemed big enough they are shipped off to slaughter.
As for the pigs on UK farms, and likely if I investigated the same would be true of Sweden and the states in America who, although they have banned the torturous crates, are still profiting from these animals flesh, and their conditions of care reflect this accordingly. Here is a report on UK farms from Animal Aid’s website
BEST WELFARE STANDARDS IN THE WORLD? THE BRITISH PIG INDUSTRY EXPOSED
Posted 17 June 2008 – Animal Aid website
The British pig farming industry makes repeated claims that it has some of the highest welfare standards in the world. Its promotional message – which recently featured in a number of prominent national newspaper advertisements – bolsters this claim by showing healthy-looking pigs on thick straw or out in the fields with plenty of space to roam.
In March and April 2008, as part of a major investigation, Animal Aid visited 10 English pig farms spanning five counties: Cornwall, Somerset, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire. Instead of idyllic images of straw-filled pens amidst leafy trees and bathed in sunlight, we found squalor, filth, death and disease. Where the industry portrays pigs growing up outside with acres of space to roam, we found dead and dying piglets living in utterly barren, overcrowded pens. In the promotional images, pigs can root around in the earth. In reality, these inquisitive, lively and intelligent animals often had nothing but a metal chain – and sometimes nothing at all – to stimulate them and help fulfil their basic instincts.
Two of the farms we visited have board members of the British Pig Executive as their company directors. Others are owned or directed by individuals with positions of influence within the industry, by being connected to the National Pig Association, the Pig Industry Development Scheme, the European Pig Producers’ Association or the National Farmers’ Union. One farmer currently serves on the government’s official advisory body, the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC). Another is a former FAWC member.
According to one press advert, the Quality Pork Standard mark ‘is proof that farmers care about the welfare of their animals’. But the proof of how welfare-friendly British farms are lies not with industry propaganda but with photos and film taken on unannounced visits to real farms. And further proof of the low regard that farmers have for the welfare of pigs can be found in their tradition of opposing legislative moves that would raise welfare standards. Dry sow stalls and tethering continued to be used for an additional three years when the Pig Husbandry Bill was sabotaged. And even when welfare laws are passed – such as the ban on routine tail docking – they continue to be flouted. Pigs at all ten farms we visited appear to have undergone this mutilation.
Somehow I think of sheep as having an easier time of it than other animals viewed as food, but as I turn to write about them, it seems the saddest, most macabre thing of all, that – we eat their babies! Of all different types of suffering we inflict on animals, with sheep we like to eat their babies.
I’ve seen pictures of the sheep desperately following the farmer as he has in his hands her babies, dangling by their legs as they scream for her, carrying them as if they were sacks of flour or something, no concern whatsoever for their fear, their discomfort, their pain, as if they were just nothing carrying them off to slaughter. And the heart breaking sight of their mother whose face looks as any mothers would screaming and chasing after them. These poor sheep are imprisoned, artificially induced to produce up to three or four lambs per year instead of their natural one or two, lambs who they protect and bond with and love as all mothers and babies love, pinned to one another’s side, mother teaching baby and keeping her safe, a special language of sounds communicating back and forth between them constantly. Yet three to four times a year she will have her babies stolen this way and be utterly helpless to stop it. Her babies to face sometimes long journeys of extreme suffering in live export, terrified without their mums, starved, denied water for days, suffering exposure to extremes of temperature and all the way through this rough handled and terrified along by brutal savage uncaring people who will ultimately profit from their very flesh.
As I read I discover that the sight of sheep roaming in the fields is not quite so innocent or peaceful a picture as we are led to believe. Sheep are much better adapted to higher rockier ground, and they suffer problems with their hoofs on the low lying land they are forced to live on for commercial purposes, that’s the first pain. As babies, male sheep will suffer the castration mutilation, or will have a tight elastic band placed around their scrotum till it rots and drops off. Forced to produce lambs at the wrong time of year and often left out to face extremes of temperature some 15 to 20 per cent of all lambs perishing within days of birth, principally from disease exposure or malnutrition.
We don’t just kill and eat their babies then…up to twenty percent of them we leave out to die of cold, starvation and disease.
‘’ The June 7 issue of Farmers Weekly described an East Yorkshire farm in which 600 ewes were manipulated into producing nearly 1,000 lambs in January. But instead of the youngsters leaving the sheds and grazing for a few months prior to slaughter, they were fattened on an intensive diet indoors and sent straight from the sheds to slaughter after 16 weeks.
In other words, the factory methods of pig production are now being applied to lambs.’’
Animal Aid website
‘’Sheep have been bred to grow more wool than nature intended. Domesticated sheep have to be shorn every year before the weather becomes too hot and uncomfortable and it can be a stressful experience for animals not used to being handled.
About 27 per cent of UK wool comes from slaughtered sheep,
‘’Yet another harrowing incident has underlined the desperate need for a ban on the export of live animals.
On Wednesday 21stNovember, two lorry-loads of sheep were subjected to a shocking ordeal. They spent six hours travelling on the open deck of a ship which had set off from Ramsgate Port ignoring severe weather warnings and pleas from the RSPCA.
Some of the sheep had already spent fourteen hours in transport-lorries. Alongside the blatant cruelty, the decision to set sail in such conditions was utterly pointless as the ship had to turn back.
Sadly, these sheep are only the latest victims. The ban on live exports was lifted from the UK in 2006, and ships carrying live animals began to depart from Ramsgate Port over a year ago. In September, the death of 46 sheep resulted in a temporary suspension of live exports from the port, but this has now resumed in spite of vigorous campaigning by animal protection groups.
Once these animals arrive at the continent, animal welfare laws offer them even less protection than in the UK. For example, two-week old calves travel to the continent to be reared in conditions that are now illegal in this country. Animals suffer enough when they are slaughtered. If exported while still alive, they are also subjected to hunger, thirst, overcrowding and temperature extremes. There is clearly no excuse for this.’’
FOUR PAWS website
Australia Produces 50% of World’s Merino Wool
‘’Shearers are usually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without regard for the welfare of the sheep. Says one eyewitness, “[T]he shearing shed must be one of the worst places in the world for cruelty to animals … I have seen shearers punch sheep with their shears or their fists until the sheep’s nose bled. I have seen sheep with half their faces shorn off …”
In Australia, where more than 50 percent of the world’s merino wool—which is used in products ranging from clothing to carpets—originates, lambs are forced to endure a gruesome procedure called “mulesing,” in which huge chunks of skin and flesh are cut from the animals’ backsides, often without any painkillers’’
‘’ Within weeks of birth, lambs’ ears are hole-punched, their tails are chopped off, and the males are castrated without anesthetics. Male lambs are castrated when they are between 2 and 8 weeks old, either by making an incision and cutting their testicles out or with a rubber ring used to cut off blood supply—one of the most painful methods of castration possible. Every year, hundreds of lambs die before the age of 8 weeks from exposure or starvation, and mature sheep die every year from disease, lack of shelter, and neglect.
Millions of these sheep who survive on the farms are then shipped to the Middle East on crowded multilevel ships. These live exports, which can last for weeks, go to countries where animal welfare standards are non-existent. The suffering sheep are dragged off the ships, loaded onto trucks, and dragged by their ears and legs to often unregulated slaughterhouses, where their throats are slit while they are still conscious.
No amount of fluff can hide the fact that anyone who buys wool supports a cruel and bloody industry. There are plenty of durable, stylish, and warm fabrics available that aren’t made from wool or animal skins. Please join the millions of people all over the world who know that compassion is the fashion. Save a sheep—don’t buy wool.’’
‘’ When sheep age and their wool production declines, wool farmers no longer have any use for them and discard them for slaughter. Every year, 4 million sheep endure the cruelty of live export from Australia to the Middle East and North Africa aboard filthy, multitier ships.
Sheep from Australia are slaughtered in the Middle East after enduring gruelling journeys on extremely crowded, disease-ridden ships. The voyage can last weeks, and the sheep can be exposed to all weather extremes.
Many sheep fall ill or starve to death because they are unused to the pellet food provided on board. Lame sheep are trampled, unable to lift their faces from the faeces-laden floors. The extremely crowded conditions and heat stress can lead to diseases such as conjunctivitis (“pink eye”) and salmonellosis.’’
The film I’m watching about the Australian wool industry has no sound and is just the camera filming perhaps secretly, but in an enormous barn, with nobody there, no workers, no movement at all, except for stall after stall containing a sheep staring in the gentlest softest bewilderment, distress and despair I’ve ever seen. And they look so helpless, so defenceless, looking around as if they are waiting for someone to come and let them out, to help them. Some bite in boredom at the wires and wooden frames of their pens, some try to exercise by turning around walking two paces and walking back again. Driven out of their minds, but in the gentlest ways of expressing that.
I’ve watched so many videos of the different animals being abused in the ‘food’ industry the last week, and all of them are gentle and helpless, but as I see these sheep they just seem so very soft, almost ephemerally gentle, I feel it so soft inside me to look at them, and to think something so sacred and innocent is being abused so much.
Because I saw earlier a slideshow of all the tools of torture of the wool industry. The painful tags or tattoos inflicted to identify them, these terrible thing which looked like a miniature circular saw, which they called a teeth grinder, though sometimes they said they use another implement to cut the teeth off right up by the root. But the worst torture tool of all, is the muelsing sheers. They look something between shears and secateurs that you would clip roses with. That sharp, but longer, and what they use them for is this. Imagine someone just took that tool and strapped you into a mediavel contraption where all your legs and arms were rendered immobile, and they cut a great big several inch wide welt of skin and flesh out from the back of half your spine. Then left you, like that, to heal.
Well because your skin is naturally rivulated, and because humans are going to grow your wool unnaturally thick then leave you in some of the hottest temperatures on Earth, the Australian sun, sweat will gather in your ridged skin and attract flies and disease. So the solution humans have come up with, is to cut a huge piece out of you, so that when your skin grows back its smooth and won’t cause such a problem with sweat and flies.
And to think that these sheep will be taken at the end of all this and crammed into a ship, forced into extremes of temperature, sometimes starvation, no water, sickness and death all around, for weeks on end, till this hellish journey ends by being dragged off by brutal hands into countries where the most cruelty possible and no animal rights at all exists, to be killed in brutal, violent, terrifying and agonising ways.
PETA The Wool Industry
I ate fish long after I stopped eating other flesh, under the completely ill-considered and ignorant notion that ‘well we’ve all got to die and they at least had a free life in the ocean’ ‘its part of the chain of life’.
Right now I feel physically sick when I think of the cruelty and suffering I’ve caused in my life because I never considered or researched the actual truth.
Now I know that the oceans have been almost fished ‘dry’ and they have football pitch sized trawler nets which enormous ships drag along the ocean floor and scoop up all life, causing the inevitable bruising, breaking of scales, the damage and terror you can imagine it would were you one of those creatures. Half of all the creatures, sea birds and sea mammals also caught in the net, will be thrown back half dead as nothing more than waste by catch, whilst the other fishes will die a long slow death of asphyxiation. When fish are yanked from the water, they begin to suffocate. Their gills often collapse, and their swim bladders can rupture because of the sudden change in pressure.
They are luckier though, than the majority of fishes who will be eaten by humans, who these days are factory farmed like every other poor creature on this earth deemed nothing more than a resource for the human palate. We don’t even measure the number of fishes killed by humans each year but its estimated around 90 to 100 million tons are killed for food, they are also farmed to feed to dairy cows, who will produce more milk if forced to eat fishes though cows are naturally herbivorous animals. The number is just unimaginable. These factory farmed fishes, who all feel pain as we do, who ordinarily would swim miles everyday, will be stuck their whole lives long in water tanks thick with other fish so they can’t move, the water black with toxic faeces and chemicals to keep them alive, and parasites live in the water which eat them alive. Most of these fishes as they are still dying slowly of asphyxiation will be cut open and gutted alive.
The pollution coming off these enormous fish farms is so toxic that the fish industry is second only to the beef industry in terms of environmental pollution.
Then there are the fishes that humans find it a peaceful and joyful activity to entice with bait on the end of a hook which will push painfully through their mouths and hook them by this painful wound out of the water.
How could we not have thought this wrong before? Given it more thought? Had a heart?
Why are the human species so quick to deny pain, even, to find it offensive when someone points out they should consider someone else’s life and pain, to matter more than their own pleasure or desires?
‘’Fish are smart, interesting animals with their own unique personalities, and just like dogs, cats, and humans, fish feel pain. Scientists who study pain are in complete agreement that the fish pain response is basically identical to the pain response system in mammals and birds.
Did you know that fish can also learn to avoid nets by watching other fish in their group and that they can recognize individual “shoal mates”? Some fish gather information by eavesdropping on others, and some—such as the South African fish who lay eggs on leaves so that they can carry them to a safe place—even use tools.’’
‘’ Fish on aquafarms spend their entire lives in crowded, filthy enclosures, and many suffer from parasitic infections, diseases, and debilitating injuries. Conditions on some farms are so horrendous that 40 percent of the fish may die before farmers can kill and package them for food. Fish who survive are starved before they are sent to slaughter in order to reduce waste contamination of the water during transport. Salmon, for example, are starved for 10 full days.
In the wild, hundreds of billions of fish—along with “nontarget” animals, including sharks, sea turtles, birds, seals, and whales—are caught each year in ocean-ravaging nets or dragged for hours on long-lines for the commercial fishing industry.’’
Oh my God, just when you think you have seen the worst. I’m investigating goats dairy industry, and the first thing I hear is their little goat cries so pitiful, so like a human baby sound. I’m shown babies being taken from their mothers, their mothers desperately trying to get to them, the baby goats struggling in the arms of their captors with a horrified look of panic… ‘What are you doing to me!’ And they cry and cry. The mother goats in their stall are moving in the same panic, though they are packed in so tightly they can hardly move at all. The look on their faces is as the look on their crying baby’s is, and the same as a human face would be if they were penned in and having their babies stolen.
Then I’m shown the babies, screaming in pain as they are held down and have a tight elastic band put round their testicles, and left there, till their genitals rot and drop off. It must be agony, but the torture’s not over yet, next they get ‘tagged’ which looks like an earring being pushed through your ear only about a hundred times thicker.
Next image is the most sickening sight of all though. Industrialised milking machines, this enormous room sized machine with actual bodies hooked up into it as if they were no more than metal parts. Goats pinned side by side in a row, hundreds of them with these enormous distended udders so abnormally huge, that they drop down to almost their ankles and make it difficult to stand as they are pushing apart their back legs they are so big. These udders look agony, and many have red sores on them, and the teats look so swollen and painful. But they can’t move, they are strapped in, and the milking machine is forced onto their teats. They are swollen and red still from having just given birth, infected and filthy and swollen in bizarre ways, their bodies look so abused and broken. This must be utter hell and so painful.
Next they show how they have their horns burnt out, held down and burnt out in an operation so painful that vets recommend it should be done under full anaesthetic…but it isn’t It just looks like a torture chamber, and the pitiful almost human baby cry like sounds coming from these sweet gentle helpless creatures.
In the Viva film I am watching they show disease was all around the farm, and I watched as a hand slung carelessly another dead body onto the pile of dead bodies, in a giant dumpster in the yard. As if they were absolutely nothing at all. How can this be happening on Earth? How can any human ever be so cold and monstrously cruel in the name of profit and pleasure…so utterly disregarding of life, I will never know.
As two ‘farm hands’ drag a dead or dying goat by their legs as if its as mundane and boring and repetitive an act as dragging a lump of wood at a saw mill might be, the commentator reads out the description this company who supply ‘Delaware’ goats products puts on their website describing the treatment of their goats. ‘Waited on hands and foot, with room service delivering the perfect menu of food,’ Then lists all the big supermarket chains and wholefoods who this company are supplying.
The film moves on to another dairy and I watch as this poor goat with udders so big they are practically dragging on the floor, helplessly limps obviously with pain so bad in her back hoof she can’t put it down. Like the scene of the milking machine where their hooves had received no care and they all moved uncomfortably as if in constant pain, and one goat had dropped to the floor on her front legs, unable to support herself any longer.
This is just an industrialised nightmare of suffering where all that matters is profit and productivity, and some human’s taste buds at the end of it.
Each animal I turn to look at seems to suffer a worse horror. Ducks, are aquatic birds, they have webbed feet, they swim and live on water. How much more cruel then even than doing this to the chickens and turkeys, to take these ducks out of their very element, divorce them that much from what gives their lives meaning, allows them to fulfil their natural desires and behaviours. How sick is that! To take these beautiful creatures we are blessed to have gracing our natural waterways, and house them in the same enormous darkened factory farmed barns, crowded in forced to live in their own faeces which becomes ammonia and burns their legs, lungs and eyes. So that not only are their dear legs and feet and bodies not feeling their beloved water, they are actually burning in hell.
You may be thinking right now… well I don’t eat duck meat. But do you wear feather down jackets or have a feath down pillow? Those ducks are housed in tiny boxes no bigger than their bodies, isolated from birth, unable to move, in their own burning faeces. Except for when they undergo the terrifying ordeal of being torn out by the brutal workers who pin them down and roughly pull all the feathers from their breasts, often tearing the skin in the process, which afterwards they will sew up with a needle and thread and no anaesthetic, before confining the birds in toxic burning faeces laden boxes again.
Who in their right minds, could read of this suffering and continue to pay for it? A worse question still, a much darker business indeed, is how did any human conceive of doing this for profit, or any government not only legally support these practices…but financially subsidize them as well?
‘’ The lives of these essentially aquatic birds consist of pushing their way through the mass of other birds to avail themselves of pelleted food and drinking water from shallow drinking points or nipple drinkers. They can never swim. Webbed feet, evolved for swimming, and bills brilliantly designed to sieve food particles from rivers and ponds are both entirely redundant. In the pursuit of profit, the industry has overlooked just one thing – duck welfare. The ruthless exploitation of the species has been rapid and far-reaching. It is now world wide and growing, as the Asian industry readily boasts:’’
Viva uk website
Beak trimming – a terrible mutilation
‘’Bill trimming is common outside the UK (Viva! stopped its occurrence within the UK, though it is still legal) despite research showing that life-long pain can result. It is a pain likened to that suffered by human amputees. The scientific term for this mutilation is ‘partial beak amputation’ – or PBA.
Rather than change the conditions under which birds are kept, to reduce aggression, the mutilation is sanctioned, despite powerful evidence that it causes birds acute pain and seriously affects their behaviour. It can lead to a reduction in the effectiveness of their pecking and reduced feedback from the beak, together with increased dozing, general inactivity and depression.
Scientists have shown that ‘debeaking of ducklings is … traumatic to the bird as the beak is innervated up to the tip”.
Viva uk website
Duck and Feather Down Industry
‘’Millions of birds are plucked alive every year in Europe alone.
The figure is even higher in China, the world’s largest producer of down and other feathers. China exports to a number of European countries where the down is used in duvets, pillows and jackets.
Regardless of the origin of the feathers, the consequences for the geese are clear: they are tormented and badly stressed during the plucking process. WSPA is strongly opposed to the plucking of live birds.’’
What a bizarre and schizophrenic relationship to animals humans have. Who hasn’t at some point in their lives stood by a natural waterway and marvelled at the beauty and grace of the ducks swimming in the water, marvelled over their babies following along. Taken our children to feed them as if they were this divine, miracle of life, as indeed, all living beings are.
Then later we tuck the same child up in a duvet made from the feathers of birds who have lived torturous lives and never known water, only the violent tearing of their feathers from their flesh, and ultimately a brutal violent death at the slaughterhouse. Many consumers however, as with the meat and dairy industry, never know, or never even consider the source of these objects made from the suffering of animals.
How can we view them as a marvel, and use them as nothing more than a resource, at the same time? All justified under the belief that ‘this is just what we do, this is normal, animals and everything we have power over on this earth, is just here for us to mercilessly exploit in any way we choose’.
Then later we sit around at the park and play happy families together and coo and aagh over the beauty of the animals, believing that’s who we are…the good people, who stop and wonder for a moment, who take bits of stale bread to feed them. No – we are much much more often, those who enforce lives of living hell, without compunction, onto other, for our own personal comfort pleasure or gain. Humans need to wake up and realise they are not the person who takes their dog for a walk, or spoils their cat. They are the most violent brutal cruel species, ever dominated this earth, and use all other species in every conceivably cruel way. The few ducks floating on the pond moments, and petting the dog on the head….are NOT, the real you.
Not unless you’re vegan.
I’m sitting here, putting off finishing the work on ducks in the food industry. It’s the Fois Gras part I must face now. Like a child there’s a part of me saying… I don’t want to go there… I want to cry and beg to not have to go there, and it strikes me, how much more this must be true, for these ducks, as they are forced towards the pipe, which will be pushed down their throats, and into their stomach, making them gag and choke filling them with terror and horror, as they are then force fed food until the food is coming back up to choke them some more, even as the food keeps being forced down the pipe, sometimes…till their stomachs burst and blood comes up to choke them too.
How…can any human ever have done this to a living being? Much less thousands, hundreds of thousands, and worse…the people who knew, who bought the fatty livers of these poor birds who they’d paid to have tortured this way for years.
How can anyone seriously contemplate this with feeling and consciousness, and know humans did this for their own pleasure, nothing more, and not think the word…evil.
Imagine that, being kept in filthy conditions of confinement, never knowing daylight or being able to move let alone express any other natural behaviours, and several times a day having a metal tube shoved into your stomach to force feed you until your liver is intentionally swollen with disease, because some vile sick uncaring life form, liked to stuff their sick faces with it.
Whoever has ever contributed to this, either by inflicting it on these birds with your own hands, or knowingly paid others to do it for you, may you rot in a hell where the same is constantly done to you.