Why should we should stop factory farming?
Did you know over one hundred million animals are cruelly confined in factory farms every day in New Zealand. Imagine if you were stuck in a small cage, side by side to other helpless animals, rows upon rows of you. Never seeing the sun or never breathing in the fresh air. The animals are born there and killed there, all in one massive shed. How would you feel? It is believed that two out of every three farm animals worldwide are now being factory farmed, that’s the meat you eat, so I hope you take this into consideration next time you go to the store to buy your meat or eggs. Today in my speech I will talk about the conditions that the animals live in and how this affects us and the environment, then I will move on to what the animals go through and how it affects them physically, mentally and emotionally. Lastly I will speak about what we can do to help and set them free from the abuse.
When people come into New Zealand they think it’s clean and green, there are a few sheep, a few cows, but where are the pigs. Where are the chickens. The majority of animals in New Zealand are factory farmed, locked away and out of site. In NZ we intensely factory farm around 800 thousand pigs for meat, 19 million chickens for meat and 3 million chickens in cages for eggs a year. I think to myself, but what about all the space we have, surely we have enough room in NZ to farm all of these animals in their natural conditions, allowing them to express their natural behaviours and run around, but apparently not. The factory farms put the animals in large windowless sheds and artificial environments with controlled lighting and temperatures. Confining so many animals in one place produces more waste than the surrounding land can handle. As a result, factory farms are associated with various environmental hazards, such as water, land and air pollution. Just one individual cow or pig produces 15 times more waste than a human, and the daily pile-up of xcre ment can lead to major environmental problems. Any kind of farming can cause environmental damage, but in overcrowded factory farms the problem is multiplied having a negative impact on the natural environment. The farms have to store the waste somewhere so they put it in huge, open-air lagoons, which are prone to leaks and spills. The waste seeps into underground water and the residue of pesticides causes health and environmental problems affecting our water. During digestion, ruminants (roomenent) like cattle, sheep, and goats emit methane, an infamous “greenhouse gas” and key contributor to global warming. If you want this to happen to your environment then do nothing but l want future generations to see what we see, don’t you?
Most factory farmed animals experience boredom and stress so much in their lives when being factory farmed, that it leads to unnatural aggression, anxiety and illness. They have no sunlight due to being trapped in large windowless sheds, no room to move and no way to interact with others. The animals are kept in extremely small and soiled enclosures, with no bedding. They never breathe fresh air but instead inhale ammonia day after day.
Farmers get more money for chickens with big thighs and breasts. So they breed the chickens to be so heavy that their bones cannot support their weight. The chickens have difficulty standing, and their legs often break. Like other factory farmed animals, meat chickens are raised in overcrowded enclosures that they become aggressive. The beaks of chickens are often removed in factory farms to reduce excessive feather pecking and cannibalism among stressed, overcrowded chickens. Some cannot eat after being “debeaked” and starve.
Female pigs are put in sow stalls, only 2m long and 60cm wide just enough room to sit down. The mother pig is impregnated and then has her piglets on a hard concrete floor, she has no bedding or room to make a nest, the piglets aren’t able to be nurtured by the mother as if it was normal circumstances she just has to lie there while the piglets feed. Only at 4 weeks the piglets are removed from their mother and are raised in fattening pens for slaughter. The mother pig is then impregnated again and put back into the sow stall. The cycle of abuse is constant. If you think pigs are very intelligent animals, more intelligent than dogs, but if you were to put dogs in the same condition than the pigs you would be prosecuted for animal cruelty and go to jail. And yet they let this happen to pigs.
The animals are fed corn and wheat that are grown through intensive industrial farming that use large amounts of pesticides, which can remain in their bodies and are passed on to the people who eat them, creating serious health hazards in humans. Farmers also cut costs by feeding animals the remains of other dead animals. To combat unsanitary conditions, animals are fed large doses of antibiotics—but bacteria is constantly adapting and evolving. Overuse and dependence on antibiotics in our food system creates the potential for dangerous, drug-resistant strains of bacteria to develop and spread among people and animals. The animals are also injected with hormones to make them grow faster which leads to the chicken’s legs breaking and other symptoms I spoke about earlier.
An animal rights group investigated a Christchurch pig farm in early 2014. They saw severe overcrowding of the pigs, with sows in a crate so small that her newborn piglets were crushed to death. Other piglets lay dying next to their helpless mother, while other animals had infected eyes and obvious sores. They also saw a dead pig that had been left to rot among live pigs and dozens of rats running over the animals. Animals right group SAFE say the Government had failed these animals and called for a ban on sow crates. SAFE’s head of campaigns Mandy Carter said activists from Farmwatch visited the farm and filmed the animals living in cruel conditions. The condition of the animals was “disgusting”, and many sows and piglets were suffering. “This Christchurch pig farm is really very bad but the pig industry as a whole is not good,” she said. In the last couple of years SAFE had received footage from about 12 farms across the country, revealing similar levels of cruelty.
What you can do to help:
So what can you do to help? if you think that this is wrong and cruel to animals then why not help. People around New Zealand are trying to stand up for animals, and if we don’t then this will carry on. There are starting to be law changes for animals and it’s because of people like you getting involved. SAFE is one of the NZ organisations that believe most New Zealanders would be horrified to see the conditions in which these animals live. Factory farming is a practice that we should all be ashamed of, though it remains hidden from public view. This torture continues while big industries produce ever-increasing amounts of animal products at the lowest cost. SAFE’s Stop Factory Farming campaign aims to open the doors on these hidden practices, and shock the public, so they start to make animal welfare more important than low-cost, mass-produced animal products. You can help by doing as little as donating something to SAFE or SPCA or buying free range meat and eggs or even not eating meat at all!
Today I talked about the conditions that the animals live in and how this affects us and the environment, then what the animals go through and how it affects them physically, mentally and emotionally. Lastly I spoke about what we can do to help. I hope you think about what I have said today and notice how cruel it is to the animals. Maybe even do something to help them, because you and I both know that New Zealand can do much better than this. Every person who has animals knows that each one is an individual, with the capability to enjoy life, to feel pain and sadness, but above all the ability to bring happiness to our lives. So why do we treat them like this?