You've heard the horror stories. Maybe you've caught a glimpse of industrial animal cruelty in a documentary. The hypocrisy of our factory meat production is undeniable. In a country where citizens are prosecuted for leaving a pet in a hot car we continue to allow this cruelty behind closed doors.
Granted, the meat department of your local SuperStore is far removed from the common practices of this abusive industry, but your purchase of these products supports these practices. It's that simple. But you don't have to go vegan or become an activist. Just buy your meat from a more compassionate source and it's easier than you think: search for local farms and co-ops in your area using Google, put out an In Search Of (ISO) on social media, or visit your local farmers market and ask around.
You'll probably pay a little more per pound, but you'll know your food budget isn't going to a company that:
Removes Horns and Tails Without Any Pain Relief
Two to three month old dairy cows commonly have their horn buds burned with a hot iron to prevent growth. Many are also tail-docked, a common practice where two-thirds of the tail are cut off (with no anesthetic or pain relief measures) to prevent infection from the tail hanging in manure. This procedure is officially opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Slaughters Conscious Cows
While cows are usually 'stunned' before slaughter, many slaughterhouses have been found to regularly fail to do this before the animal is further processed. Which means these cows are being hung on hooks and bled out while conscious.
Confines and Clips Pigs
Sows (or mother pigs for breeding) are commonly kept confined their entire life. These pigs, usually highly social creatures, are moved from a gestation stall too tight for her to turn around in to farrowing crates that impede their ability to even stand. Piglets have not only their teeth but also their tails clipped to prevent them from biting at each others' tails, a behavior that (surprise) is only observed in factory pigs, where quarters are tight and the animals stressed and agitated. It's also important to note that illness, injury and poor conditions lead to many of these animals dying during transport to slaughter.
Crowds, Poisons, Electrocutes and Cuts off the Beaks of Chickens
Chickens kept in crowded factory conditions are allowed 0.6 sq. feet per bird, a space the size of a sheet of paper. They're also fed steroids that cause them to grow faster than their legs can develop, leaving many of the birds immobile and too top heavy to stand in this frenzy. Artificial lighting is used to keep the chickens awake and eating. Chickens in these cramped and stressful conditions have a tendency to peck each other to death, so just like with tail-docking, it is common practice for up to half of a baby chicks beak to be seared off. When prepared for slaughter, the birds are stunned by electric shock, which may or may not prevent them from feeling pain during further processing.
Uses Words Like Instantaneous Euthanization
This innocuous term is a nice way of saying they're tossing live baby chicks into an industrial grinder...and it's common. Since these chickens are bred for laying and male chicks won't grow up to lay eggs, these unfortunate males are fed directly into a grinder and used for things like pet food. A good reason to buy your eggs from a local, humane supplier.
You may not be able to single handedly take on the meat processing industry but you can choose not to support it. Find a local supplier, visit a farm, and use your grocery dollars to vote against this inhumane treatment.