Hi. I’m Paul McCartney. I’ve often said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”
Animals raised on modern factory farms and killed in slaughterhouses endure almost unimaginable suffering. I hope that once you see the routine cruelty involved in raising, transporting, and killing animals for food, you’ll join the millions of people who’ve decided to leave meat off their plates—for good.
Chickens and turkeys are arguably the most abused animals on the face of the planet. They’re crowded into filthy sheds by the tens of thousands and forced to live in their own excrement. Chickens and turkeys are selectively bred to grow so large so fast that many become crippled under their own weight. Workers in slaughterhouses and on mechanized farms are poorly paid, and their work often goes unmonitored. Many investigations into chicken and turkey slaughterhouses have revealed shocking cruelty that goes beyond the standard abuses, such as this recent footage from a top turkey producer.
Hens used by the egg industry are crammed into cages so small that they can’t do anything that is natural or important to them—not even spread a single wing. The ends of their sensitive beaks are cut off with a hot blade, causing chronic pain that studies have shown lasts for more than a month. Chickens are intelligent animals whose ability to reason in some instances is greater than that of dogs and children. Chickens are also very social animals with an elaborate “pecking order,” or social-ranking system. Yet hens used by the egg industry are confined to tiny cages for their entire lives. This causes their muscles to waste away and their bones to deteriorate and break from lack of use. Their feet become lacerated and their bodies bruised and cut from standing on wire for 18 months before they’re sent to the slaughterhouse. At the end of their miserable lives, chickens and turkeys are forcefully packed into crowded cages and transported for hours through all types of weather conditions without food or water.
At the slaughterhouse, these birds’ legs are forced into shackles and their throats are cut, many while they are still completely conscious.
Pigs are more intelligent than dogs, even outperforming some primates on a variety of tasks, such as operating interactive video games. They have cognitive abilities beyond those of 3-year-old human children. Yet on factory farms, they are imprisoned in crowded, filthy conditions, and many will go insane from the stress, abuse, and complete lack of mental stimulation.
Breeding sows are treated like machines, forced to churn out litter after litter. They give birth in barren stalls without enough room even to nuzzle their piglets.
Conditions are so dismal in today’s pig-breeding facilities that the sickness and death of piglets is common and considered acceptable by the industry. Pigs are bred to grow unnaturally fast, which causes injury, sickness, and constant pain.
They are then subjected to grueling transport before being killed. Stunning by the electrical tong method is unreliable, which means that many pigs remain completely conscious while their throats are cut.
Cows never forget a face or a place, and they have complex problem-solving skills. Cambridge University Professor Donald Broom documented the fact that these gentle animals become excited and sometimes even jump into the air when they’ve figured out the solution to a problem. Cattle used for meat and milk are fed an unnatural diet to maximize growth and milk output that causes them to be constantly bloated and in pain. During the winter, they are crowded into filthy, congested sheds in much the same way as pigs and chickens, and in some cases, they are even kept indoors all year round.
Female cows produce milk for their offspring, not for human beings. Mother cows in the dairy industry are kept perpetually pregnant to keep the milk flowing. Their calves are taken away from them shortly after birth, which causes both of them profound distress. On today’s dairy farms, mother cows are treated as nothing more than milk machines. Some are genetically manipulated to produce 10 times more milk than their calves would naturally suckle. Several times per day, they are hooked up to these machines, which can cause painful mastitis from repeated milking. When they are no longer useful for milk production, they, too, are sent to slaughter, usually to be ground up for burgers and soups.
Whether they are raised for meat or milk, cattle endure a harrowing journey to slaughter at the end of their lives. Some don’t even survive the trip. As with pigs, the stun gun is often ineffective, causing even more agony. Ritual slaughter is at least as cruel as conventional slaughter methods. The meat from these animals was certified as kosher by the largest kosher certifier in the world, the Orthodox Union.
There is a scientific consensus that fish are intelligent and have distinct individual personalities.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.