Our factory farming system is built on cruelty

Bernhardt: Knowing your farmer vital to humane world

Our sentimental image of pigs, chickens, and cows being raised on an idyllic family farm is seriously outdated.

“We have happy cow ads, happy chicken ads, and it’s all a lie. It’s totally dishonest, but it’s not illegal. You can do anything you want to an animal whose flesh or milk or eggs you intend to sell, and you can lie about it all you want, because we have made this semantic distinction between some animals and others. Some we love, others we not only butcher, we torture.”

 

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows – an Introduction to Carnis, by Dr. Melanie Joy

 

Our sentimental image of pigs, chickens, and cows being raised on an idyllic family farm is seriously outdated. Over 95 per cent of the staggering 650 million animals raised and slaughtered for food in Canada today are mass produced on factory farms.

Here, they live their short lives indoors in intensive confinement systems, deprived of everything that is natural to them including sunlight, family, fresh air and even the ability to turn around.

The horrific conditions that exist on Canadian modern farms are beyond shameful and include animals being crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds, wire cages, gestation crates, and other cruel confinement systems. These animals suffer staggering neglect, mutilation, genetic manipulation and drug regimens that cause acute and chronic pain and debilitation. During transport thousands die from overcrowding and extreme temperatures. Their tortured lives end in terror with violent and gruesome deaths in slaughterhouses across the country.

Factory farming is built on an attitude that regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit. In animal agriculture, this attitude has led to institutionalized animal cruelty, massive environmental destruction, resource depletion, and animal and human health risks.

And somehow we rationalize this, forgetting that all of these creatures have something incredibly important in common. They all draw breath from the same source as we do. They are all parts of the earth community. “All God’s critters,” someone wisely said,” have a place in the choir.”

How can you be part of the solution?

Know your farmer — purchase meat and eggs from a trusted source. Ask questions of your butcher, grocer and food server about the conditions in which your ‘food’ was raised. ‘Grass Fed’ and ‘Pasture Raised’ mean that the animals have had their feet on the earth while growing up for you.

Demand fair living practices for the animals that give life and fuel to you and your family and be part of the solution — compassionately.

You can check out the BC SPCA Farmed Animal Welfare page online for tons of info about advocacy, farm animal facts and to sign up for the FarmSense ENewsletter. Public input is requested in drafting welfare laws.

Your voice makes a difference — speak up for those that can’t.