Alternatives to Animal Cruelty

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I am not a vegetarian, nor do I have any qualms against people eating meat, I simply have issues with the way many animals are treated before they reach our dinner tables. Killing an animal for food is a basic instinct dating back to prehistoric humans. It occurs naturally in the animal kingdom and has been present with humankind through all the ages. The difference now is how the animals are treated before they become food. The current methods of animal production for food is indeed nothing short of murder. However, there are alternatives that allow one to have meat without torturing animals in the process.

The Facts:

The large majority of chickens, whether for meat consumption or eggs, find themselves crammed into tiny cages 24 hours a day. The chickens are forced to bear deformed feet from spending all their lives standing on the cage wire. Cages are stacked atop one another meaning that the feces from the higher cages drop onto the chickens below. These chickens never see the light of day. Egg-laying chickens are sorted at birth, the females being de-beaked and stuffed into cages while the males are quickly disposed of by suffocation or being tossed into a grinder while they are still alive.

Cows often have it bad, whether they are meat or dairy animals. Many beef cattle are raised inside barns, never seeing the light of day. They sleep in and consequently ingest their own droppings. They are shot up with growth hormones and fed diets of animal protein, which sometimes include ground sheep carcasses, in order to fatten them. This is not part of their natural diet. Dairy cows are kept in small stalls on concrete floors. They are given hormones to make them produce extra milk, and are then forced to endure being milked three times a day. This over-milking exhausts them so that they die young. Naturally cow can live to be around 25 years old, but over-milked dairy cows rarely live beyond the age of 6.

Dairy calves are taken from their mothers at birth and can often be heard crying for their mothers. Those calves are kept chained to tiny little huts about the size of doghouses, until they are old enough to be milked themselves. In the case of male calves, they are often used for veal and calf liver. They are given a chain about 3 feet in length, and a hut the size of a doghouse. There is no room to move in these sheds, as muscle deterioration makes the veal tender, as the customers demand it. Their mothers’ milk is taken for human consumption, so the calves are fed milk replacement, which is often deficient of their needed nutrients. They are often starved and dehydrated intentionally. After a few months of this brutal treatment, they are sent to the slaughterhouse, but many die from malnutrition before then.

Perhaps the greatest source of animal torture, comes from what many people consider a delicacy; the livers of geese and ducks. Geese and ducks are force fed to get their livers nice and plump. Their jaws are pried open so they cannot protest as food is inserted and they are overfed. Many of these animals’ stomach explode from this treatment.

The Alternatives:

Bottom line is, never eat veal or duck liver, as there is no one who treats these animals humanely. For the others, however, there are humane alternatives. Organic food is often better than non-organic, but don’t necessarily believe just the labels. There are different levels of “organic” and just because something is labeled organic does not mean it has been treated humanely. Instead look for free range chickens and beef. Look for eggs from free-range chickens. Find local milk suppliers who do not milk their animals more than twice a day. Scout around for farmers who do not use any hormones, organic or not, on their animals.

This is not foolproof, as some people do label meats free-range, when they are most certainly not, but for the most part, it is a better way to go. The best bet of all, however, is to either raise it yourself, or get it from a local farm market. The farmers selling meat at these markets usually have smaller spreads than the big agribusinesses and thus, their animals are raised in better conditions. Just look around the farm and notice if the animals are truly free range, running about the field. Many good farmers are glad to show their farms, so people know the animals are being raised in good conditions. A little research in knowing where one’s food is coming from can mean a lot in the way of better treatment for animals.

Factory Farming Exposed

http://www.undercovertv.org/EpisodeGuide_c.php

Last Chance for Animals

http://www.lcanimal.org/index.html

Sustainable Food

www.sustainabletable.org/issues

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