Factory Farming: An Overview

 Taken by Farm Sanctuary

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian”

– Paul McCartney

A friend of yours on Facebook just posted a video titled “Cruelty of Factory Farming.” Do you think any meat-loving person would watch it? I would say most likely not. People don’t want to think about where their meat comes from, for fear that it might make them stop eating something they think tastes so good. I totally understand the feeling, but now that I know the truth about how the meat industry treats their animals, I want everyone to know. You may think you know how factory farms work. But if you are still eating meat, you most likely have no idea how bad it really is.

In eighth grade, I saw a PETA video on a friend of mine’s MySpace. I saw the title of the video and was tentative about watching it at first, not wanting to give up the sweet taste of meat but finally I decided to give it a try. The video contained the most gruesome images I’ve ever seen; however, I didn’t watch the whole thing. I just skimmed through the video because it was hard to see and hear animals in that much pain. After “watching” the video, I vowed to never eat meat again. I thought by just skimming through a video about factory farmed animals, I knew everything there was to know when, in reality, I barely knew a thing. Sadly, I lasted about a week and a half before giving up and getting some chicken nuggets at McDonalds (ugh, can’t believe I ate such filth). My point is that I know how hard it is to give up meat. But it’s the best thing you can to to your body. Also, after a few weeks without meat, you feel really good and a lot more healthy.

Factory Farms in the US

Not only is factory farming cruel to animals, but it’s also cruel to the environment. For those of you who could care less about how animals are treated, take this into consideration: A large quantity of grains grown in the U.S that are perfectly good for human consumption are fed to farm animals. There are more farm animals than humans,  so forests, wetlands, and other natural ecosystems are being forced to turn into crop and grazing land as food for these animals. This is not even for human consumption, but for factories with thousands of animals to feed and fatten. The amount of waste produced by farm animals in the U.S. is also a huge problem: there is 130 times more than of human waste. This waste has been known to “runoff” and has polluted many of the streams and rivers. Also, according to Worldwatch Institute, 51% of human-caused greenhouse gasses are caused by the raising livestock and poultry. 1 

Another reason you shouldn’t get meat from factory farms is because the over-crowded animals and unsanitary conditions lead to diseases such as Avian Flu, Swine Flu and Salmonella. Remember that egg recall last August in 2010? You can thank factory farms for that one, along with the several others over the past few years.

Battery Cages

These chickens have never seen daylight. Typically they get no room to spread their wings and they cannot participate in things that normal chickens get to do such as dirtbathing, nesting, and perching.

People may argue that if it weren’t for factory farming, the meat that you buy today would not be as cheap as it is. Americans eat A LOT of meat. Therefore, people argue that we need factory farms to fulfill the humans’ craving for meat. This is true; however, if people cut back on their meat consumption, we could rule out the cruelty and the number of animals brutally killed. It’s terrible how much suffering and stress these animals must endure. Can you imagine being cramped into a cage for 6 months or more? Layer hens’ area of space is similar to a sheet of printer paper. Most never get the chance to even spread their wings until they fulfill their egg laying duties and are slaughtered for cheap meat, dog food and/or cat food. Breeding sows (female pigs) often go insane from being in a gestation crate for a long time, not even having enough room to turn around. They have litter after litter of baby piglets, each litter taken away from her after less than one month. Female animals in the factory farm system are never impregnated naturally because biological manipulation has rendered them to get more product; they must be artificially inseminated.

540x360_pigs_gc_fs

These are just a few reasons why factory farming just isn’t natural and why it isn’t right. I will be talking about the cruelties of each industry in my future posts. I ask if you could please read them all. If you truly love the taste of your meat, then you don’t have to become a vegetarian. I’m not forcing you to do that. The whole purpose of me writing about factory farming is to inform you. What’s the purpose if nobody is going to read my posts? I tried to make this post not too overwhelming for you, although I warn you, the meat industry is not this happy place people make it out to be. Even if you know a little bit about factory farming, the things in my next posts will shock you. All I ask is that you read what I write. At the bottom of my posts, I’ll put an optional video for you to watch. You don’t need to watch it, but it will have a bigger impact on you than my words will. Here are all of the different type of industries I’ll be discussing:

  • Poultry Industry (dairy)
  • Poultry Industry (meat)
  • Hog and Pig Industry
  • Dairy Cattle Industry
  • Veal Industry
  • Beef Cattle Industry
  • Fish Farming Industry
  • Foie Gras (Duck) Industry
  • Sheep Industry
  • Goat Industry
  • Horse Industry

I also want to let you know about a book that changed the way I look at meat and dairy. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer is a fantastic book that tells you all about the meat industry. Foer was an off-and-on vegetarian all of his life; that is, until he had children of his own. This book is part memoir and part investigative report. Foer’s book is not in any way an attempt to make meat-lovers become vegetarians. He doesn’t force vegetarianism onto you but simply makes learning about factory farms easier to learn about. I HIGHLY recommend this book to everyone, whether you’re a meat-eater, vegetarian, or a vegan; you’ll learn a lot from this book!

Below is an example of what kind of video I’ll use at the bottom of my future posts about the types of factory farms. Try to watch this one. The reason why I posted this video is also because I hate Perdue. Their commercials may seem innocent and it might look like their chickens are “humanely raised”. But in this day and age, there is no such thing. Most popular companies (whether we are talking about makeup or meat) abuse animals in some sort of way.  I’m not saying ALL but most. Anyways, watch the video or at least try.

Perdue is not a humane company in the slightest. Don’t fall for their bullshit. There is no such thing as a humanely raised chicken.

Also: Take a virtual tour of Farm Sanctuary and Investigate the production of factory farms.

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Animal Testing for Cosmetics, Toiletries, and Household Cleaners (My View)

 

Animal testing is a very controversial topic in society today. While many people say we need it to make sure our products safe, the truth is that most of the ingredients used today are already shown to be safe/not safe. Do we really need to cause these animals to suffer for the purpose of human beauty products? You be the judge.

When I was a sophomore in high school, my teacher wanted us to choose a controversial topic to write a persuasive essay about. I knew I wanted to pick a topic having to do with animals, but I struggled for a few days to find a good one. At first, I thought about writing it on the benefits of being a vegetarian, but since I was not yet a vegetarian (I did become one very soon after) I couldn’t input my experience. Then it came to me- Animal testing. The topic was perfect for me. I cared enough to not procrastinate and I ended up handing in all the rough drafts on time. This paper ended up changing my life and my goals for the future. It opened up my eyes to the abuse that lab animals endure to make sure our windows look shinier or that our hair is just a little bit less frizzy. Some of these animals suffer and/or die to make sure our teeth are whiter than usual. I ended up throwing out most of my cosmetics because I had no idea certain companies tested on animals! I also persuaded some of my close friends and family to do the same by informing them of what I learned.

Since people do not want to risk killing a human being, they decide testing on an animal for the sake of human kind is a better idea (for humans). Now, I can’t really tell you my opinion on animal testing until I give you the facts about it first. Ninety-four percent of animal testing is used to determine the safety of cosmetics and household products. This leaves only 6% for medical research. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require animal testing for cosmetics. Yet, most popular brands of eye shadows, eyeliners, and mascaras are still being tested on rabbits, mice, and even dogs! It’s true! When people think of cosmetic testing done on animals, they usually think that lipstick is just smeared on the animals lips or something like that. But that’s not what they do at all! There are many different ways they test makeup on animals. In Defense of Animals tells us:

“Product testing is commonly performed on animals to measure the levels of skin irritancy, eye tissue damage, and toxicity caused by various substances used in the manufacture of cosmetics. In the Draize test, caustic substances are placed in the eyes of conscious rabbits to evaluate damage to sensitive eye tissues. This is extremely painful for the rabbits, who often scream when the substances are applied and sometimes break their necks or backs trying to escape the restraints.”

Every time I see a CoverGirl or a Maybelline commercial, it makes me want to scream at the TV. Why? Because I know they test on animals! AND THEY DON’T EVEN NEED TO! In fact, most makeup ads that you see on the TV are companies that test their ingredients on animals before they sell the final product to you.

THESE POPULAR PRODUCTS ARE TESTED ON ANIMALS: Maybelline, CoverGirl, L’Oreal, Pantene, Dove, Windex (Yes, they do test this on the eyes of animals), OxiClean, Aussie Products (Shampoo & Conditioners), Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Old Spice, ect. To get a full list of products, click here. Now, the major companies that I DESPISE WITH A BURNING PASSION are:

  • Proctor & Gamble (Crest, CoverGirl, Downy, Tide, Bounce, Mr.Clean, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Febreze, IAMS pet food, Scope, Old Spice) People, words can not express my utter HATRED towards this company. I have so much hate, that it makes me sick to my stomach. If an award were given out for Company-that-Inflicts-Pain-On-Animals, it would go to Proctor & Gamble. If you look on their website, they state that they do not test their products on animals unless they absolutely need to. But if that were the case, then why wouldn’t they say “This product was not tested on animals” on ANY of their products?! Wouldn’t they advertise it if it were true? All of the other cruelty free companies say it directly on the product. If P&G truely cut out all animal testing, it would say so on the brand name items. I’m not buying their bullshit. You shouldn’t either. To learn all about how P&G carries out testing done on animals, click here.
Testing some products on this poor innocent bunny.

This is the life of an animal whose sole purpose is to make sure we look nice
  • Johnson & Johnson (is the maker of Acuvue, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, Listerine, Lubriderm, Neutrogena, Rembrandt, ROC)
  • Unilever (Axe, Comfort, Dove, Lever Bros., Lux, Ponds, Suave, Sunlight, Sunsilk, Surf, Vaseline)
  • Dial Co. (Dial, Purex, Right Guard, Soft & Dri, Soft Scrub)
  • Clorox (Armor All, Ever Clean, Formula 409, Fresh Step, Glad, Green Works, Pine-Sol, Scoop Away, Tilex)

The other day, I was looking at this list (where I got all of this information about companies) and I got so angry when I saw Green Works was on the list of products tested on animals. The reason for this is because it states on the back that the product was not tested on animals. I had been using this product to clean my windows and mirrors. So of course, as an animal activist, I got extremely mad. So mad, I wrote an angry letter an email I found on Green Works’ website. This is what it said:

“Hi. My name is Alyssa. I use Green Works, but do you want to know the only reason why I use it? I use it because it clearly states on the back of the bottle “not tested on animals”. Well, today I was looking at the list of companies that DO test on animals, and guess what company was on there? GIVE UP!? YEAH, GREEN WORKS WAS ON THERE! And you know what Mary Seltzer? I’m kind of pissed off. Unless of course, they made a mistake and put Green Works on there. Which I don’t think happens too often. Look, I do like your product. But I really need to know if this product is tested on animals or not (which it shouldn’t test if you say this product is a “green product”, seeing if it were actually “green” no chemicals would be used and you wouldn’t need to test on cute little animals). I want an honest answer, no bullshit. If you don’t reply to this email, I’ll take it as a “Yes, we do test this product on animals.” And I’ll add Green Works to my new blog to alert others that your company hurts animals for making windows a little bit cleaner. PLEASE RESPOND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! I need to know. “

I gave them a week or so to write back to me. They never did. Therefore, I am letting you know not to use Green Works. If you need to clean your windows or mirrors, get products from Seventh Generation. Because they are awesome.

  • Reckitt Benckiser (Air Wick, Easy-Off, Finish, Lysol, Mop & Glo, Old English, Resolve, Rid-X, Spray ‘N Wash, Veet, Woolite)
  • L’Oreal (L’Oreal, Maybelline, Garnier, ect)

I used to use a lot of Maybelline makeup. That was before I learned that they tortured cute animals to make my eyes look pretty. When I did discover this, I immediately switched to Origins eyeliner. Both  eyeliners work great, the only difference is the cost and that one kills animals. Origins is a rather expensive store, but I know that Hard Candy and Revlon have inexpensive makeup that doesn’t test on animals & it works just as good.

  • S.C. Johnson (Drano, Fantastik, Glade, Nature’s Source, Pledge, Oust, Scrubbing Bubbles, Shout, Skintimate, Windex)
  • AND MANY MORE!

People who support animal testing say “It’s better than testing it on our own children” or “We need to make sure that the ingredients in a product are safe before using it or letting our children use it.”  Animals and humans are not the same. Just because something worked on a mouse doesn’t mean it’ll work on Timmy over there. Sure, animal testing has proved successful for certain things. But science is improving and alternatives to animal testing are becoming more well known.

Does this look right to you?

Animal testing really doesn’t need to continue. This is proven by the many companies that have sworn off of them from the start! They care for animals and have refused to test their products on them.  To name a few:

Burt’s Bees, Bath and Body Works, Dermalogica, Greenwood Naturals, Hard Candy, Mary Kay, Nature Clean, Pangea Organics, Seventh Generation, The Body Shop, Urban Decay (found in Sephora) Revlon, Origins, Tom’s of Maine (all organic toothpaste/soap company), Avon, Paul Mitchell, and many more.

** This is a VERY small amount of companies listed here. There are actually a lot more than just this. Click “many more” to get a full list of companies. I only named the larger companies. **

Make sure you read the labels on your makeup to see if they test or not. The one way to be 100% sure your makeup isn’t tested it to look for the Leaping Bunny symbol.

    Look for this symbol!

A lot of companies that have tested on animals in the past are coming out with products that claim they are not tested on animals. A good example of this is L’Oreal Paris EverPure line of hair care products. They CLAIM it’s sulfate-free shampoo and that they didn’t test it on animals. I have mixed views about this subject. Of course, I think you should support their decision to go vegan with their products. Maybe if a large amount of people buy the EverPure products, then this will convince the company to change the way the company test their products. However, there are many different ways companies such as L’Oreal could invest the money they make from this vegan line. Who’s to say they won’t invest in more animals to test on? This thought stops me from buying anything from a company who hasn’t phased out animal testing all together. I suggest you buy from a company that has never tested on animals before. Just to be safe.

Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) is a non-profit organization that is looking for new ways to replace animals with non-animal methods, to cut down the number of animals being used, or to refine methods and make them less painful and stressful for the animals involved. I think this is great, but I hope they invest most of their efforts in finding non-animal methods.

Lots of places have fazed out animal testing all together. Cosmetic testing on animals is banned in Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.K.. Europe. Sadly, animal testing still continues in the United States of America. I hope that in the future, people will become more informed of the companies that do test on animals and stop using them until they show some compassion and quit using animals in labs all together.

How to become a Compassionate Consumer:

    1.) Look at the back of your cosmetics and/or household cleaners. If you see any of the company names I talked about that test on animals OR if it doesn’t say anything about being cruelty-free, throw it out. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t want to put things to waste, give it to someone. Just make sure you let them know why you’re not using it anymore.

    2.) Research cruelty free products. A lot of the cosmetics that are organic and vegan can be very expensive. But you just have to keep looking! There are some cheap vegan products out there, I promise!

    3.) Pledge to be cruelty free.

    4.) Buy the products. Then try them out. Let me know how they work for you! If you really like them, tell your friends to stop using products tested on animals and try the cruelty-free products. If everyone would do this, maybe one day, we’ll stop animal testing all together. Now that’s a nice thought!