You Can Have Your Breakfast …

 “We Can Have Our Bacon and Eat It Too”

                Imagine living confined in a small area in which you can’t even move. You never get to see sunlight. You have become so sick and depressed you don’t even care what happens to you and your body; if you under perform a task, you will be killed on the spot. This is what life is like for pigs in confinement operations in American factory farms. One of the huge moral struggles of our time will be for the rights of animals. When it comes to animal agriculture, it’s the practice not the principle that matters; we need to look at industrial farming, biodynamic agriculture and what people need to do about it.

            The suffering of animals is not a concern to In industrial farming, these are referred to as CAFO’s, (Confined Animal Feeding Operation). Animals who are unfortunate to be “raised” in CAFO’s live under horrible conditions. For instance, American laying hens are kept in cages so small they can’t even expand their wings. Living under these conditions cause the animals’ great stress and changes the way they act. For example these hens adapt behavioral issues in which they will rub their bodies against the cages until they bleed, or will attack one another. Broiler chickens have the same problem in cannibalizing one another; to stop this from happening, their beaks are cut off. In the operations with pigs, they develop learned helplessness. Pigs are kept in cages so small they can’t turn around; a lot of the pigs get trampled to death. They never see the sun or get to breathe fresh air.   These animals aren’t treated fairly and suffer their entire life and live under horrible conditions. The sole purpose of American factory farms is to raise a mass amount of animals in an effort to produce the highest output at the lowest cost. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word raise as “to breed and care for to maturity”. These CAFO’s, don’t care about the animals well-being or if they live in healthy conditions; they are exempt from any laws having to do with air and water pollution, not to mention they are free from “bio-surveillance, that is, public monitoring to detect, observe and report on the outbreak of diseases”.

            Biodynamic agriculture is the superior choice over industrial farming when it comes to raising animals. In comparison to CAFO’s, the animals that are raised in biodynamic agriculture are raised differently. In biodynamic agriculture, animals on these farms get treated as individual and unified organisms. An example of biodynamic agriculture would be the Polyface farm in which animals live like animals. The cows graze in the pasture, while the chickens spread around the manure and eat larvae. Everything at the Polyface farm works together. Yes, these animals still are raised to die, but they aren’t suffering their whole life, they’re living as animals should. These animals aren’t being confined to a small room with several of their kind, they are free to roam around and live as they were intended to. In fact, you can actually visit farms that will let you tour the slaughterhouses and even go as far as letting you onto the kill floor.

            Instead of going out and eating any kind of meat, people need to limit their meat and animal products to nonindustrial animals. Everyone doesn’t need to stop eating meet forever and become a vegetarian. Biodynamic farming has provided a healthier alternative that benefits the animals as well. These products can be found anywhere, and they have the American Humane Association’s label, “Free Farmed”. This indicates that meat and eggs have been humanely grown; unlike the meat that is found in CAFO’s which produce cheap, flavorless meat. Fast food chains take this meat and create highly tempting, addictive foods by pumping it full of sugar, salt, fat and chemical flavorings. Now isn’t that something you want in your body? America as a whole is letting animals be treated mercilessly and then eagerly eating them up because we can’t see the bigger picture because we are unable to see past our gut.  

           When it comes to eating animals, people either cast a blind eye, or become vegetarians. When it comes to animal agriculture, it’s the practice not the principle that matters; we need to look at industrial farming, and biodynamic agriculture, and what people need to do about it. It’s when we stop and look at what we’re eating that matters. There are ways to care about animal rights, and still be able to eat meat.  People don’t need to stop eating meat forever, but they need to take a step back and look at what they’re eating and how the meat is being processed. When at the store, people need to look for the packages with the labels that state it was humanely grown. This provides a way for us to have our bacon and eat it too.

-Michelle Stacey

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