Animal Liberation Page
Why Vegetarian

For Animals

If more people were aware of the suffering that is inflicted upon animals in factory farms and witnessed the goings on at a slaughterhouse, very few of them would eat meat. Anyone who genuinely loves and cares for animals will stop consuming them. The compassionate aspect of being vegetarian is what inspires many people to make the transition. Surely, resting in the knowledge that our lives are as cruelty-free as possible and that we are saving the lives of our fellow beings is much more fulfilling than complying with the trivial cravings of our palates.

Since humans first devised tools for killing animals, we have considered ourselves masters of all beasts and lords of the animals. We have deemed it as our birthright to have dominion over other living creatures for anything that we need or desire, regardless of how cruel, heartless and brutal our treatment of them might be.

Most people who eat meat do not feel they are committing any grave moral offence. Some even foolishly believe that animals do not feel pain as we humans do and that we "need" to eat meat to survive and have optimum health. Also, even though most meat eaters are aware that modern factory farming inevitably involves exploitation and slaughter of living creatures, few would have any knowledge of the extent to which this abuse occurs.

When selecting meat at a restaurant or supermarket, the ugly truth of its production is carefully screened from our eyes by means of bloodless, neatly sliced and packaged "cuts". Names like pork-not-pig and veal-not-calf also numb our minds and remove us even further from acknowledging the sad truth of our habitual consumption of animal flesh. How many people pause for even an instant whilst tucking into a burger or gnawing on a chicken bone to think that they are eating the body of a creature once full of life and to ask what has been done to that creature to enable them to buy and eat it.

The modern factory farm is a large scale operation where animals are treated as meat-producing machines that are fed low-cost fodder that eventually turns into high priced flesh. To document in detail the atrocities that take place at these farms would require pages and pages of information which I am unable to include in this short article (Essential reading for anyone interested in animal rights is Animal Liberation, the immaculately researched and very influential book by Peter Singer.). However, I will attempt to illustrate briefly some of the injustices that occur against animals that people should be aware of.

bullet Caged hens, pigs in stalls and calves kept in crates are denied basic freedoms that are necessary to all conscious beings. They are, to turn around, to groom, to get up, to lie down and to stretch the limbs freely.

bullet Chickens are genetically engineered to multiply their weight 50 times during their unnaturally short life span of six to seven weeks. This rapid growth causes them to suffer gross skeletal deformities as their young bones struggle to support the weight of their obese bodies. Under normal conditions chickens can live up to twenty years.

bullet Five million pigs are killed in Australia each year for bacon, ham and pork. Peter Singer writes about the deplorable condition in piggeries, '...As for the cages themselves, ordinary citizens who kept dogs in similar conditions would be prosecuted for cruelty. A pig producer who keeps an animal of comparable intelligence in this manner, however is more likely to be rewarded with a tax concession or, in some countries, a direct government subsidy.'

bullet Almost all beef cattle are dehorned and castrated. All of these processes cause the animal severe physical pain and anaesthetics are not used.

bullet For the first few weeks of their lives, a baby calf's diet is its mothers milk which keeps its flesh pale: hence the highly prized and highly priced veal. However, modern farming has created ways of fattening up the calf whilst keeping the flesh pale and making a larger profit margin. This involves restraining the growing calf in an area too small for it to stand or move to present muscles strengthening and the flesh darkening. On top of this deplorable treatment, the calves are deprived of any dry feed or roughage that they would normally start eating at a few weeks of age. Instead, they are fed solely on a liquid diet of milk powder pumped with vitamins and added fat. As a consequence, the calves are anaemic and suffer from chronic diarrhea and indigestion. To add to their torment, the calves are taken away from their mothers at a premature age and desperately try to suck on some part of their rough wooden enclosures, causing their delicate baby mouths to bleed.

bullet An additional horror that cattle and pigs usually face before their sad lives come abruptly to an end is the torturous trip to the slaughterhouse. Cattle often spend up to forty-eight or even seventy two hours in a truck without being unloaded and suffer from a combination of travel sickness, fear, near starvation, exhaustion and possibly extreme chills. Many animals die or are severely injured even before they reach the slaughterhouse.

bullet The sensory organs of all fish and shellfish are highly developed and their nervous systems are complex. Many people still conveniently assume that fish can't feel and do not consider their flesh as meat. The barbaric practise of live-baiting involves hooks being stuck through the jaws, flesh or even the eyes of fish which are then used as bait for larger fish. The lips and mouths of fish are well supplied with receptor cells that are similar to that of humans and other mammals. A common practise at restaurants is to toss live lobsters (who have already been agonised and half suffocated since they were caught) into boiling water. During the painful moments before they actually die, the lobsters let out a mournful screech and scrape their claws on the side of the pot in their desperate attempt to escape.

As we can clearly see, buying and eating meat directly supports the factory farming industry, and the cruelty and exploitation that it inflicts on many millions of animals every year. Becoming a vegetarian is a practical and effective form of protest against this cruelty, and a choice each one of us can make to put an end to it.

by Irene

Cameron Green
Last Updated - Fri, 30 Jan 2015 07:04:32 -0600