What you are about to see is beyond your worst nightmares. But for animals raised on modern intensive production farms and killed in slaughterhouses, it is cold, inescapable reality. Once you see for yourself the routine cruelty involved in raising animals for food, you’ll understand why millions of compassionate people have decided to leave meat off their plates for good.
Chickens are probably the most abused animals on the face of the planet. They are crammed into filthy sheds by the tens of thousands, immersed in their own excrement among the corpses of other birds who died of heart attacks or stress. Some even die of starvation brought on by becoming crippled from growing so large so fast that their legs can’t withstand the weight, which makes them unable to reach food. After being genetically manipulated and fed antibiotics to promote unnaturally rapid growth, their hearts, lungs, and legs often break down under the added weight—heart attacks and crippling leg deformities are far too common.
A PETA investigation found this farmer killing sick and injured turkeys by beating them with a metal rod and then tossing them aside, leaving them still conscious and suffering. This was deemed legal and standard by the industry. This undercover video shows the standard method of gathering chickens for slaughter.
After enduring weeks in filthy, crowded conditions, the animals are loaded onto trucks and taken through extreme weather conditions, without food or water, to slaughterhouses—where they are snapped into shackles by their fragile legs and have their throats slit, often while still conscious.
Many are scalded alive in the feather-removal tanks.
If you thought it couldn’t be any worse, think again. Between five and 11 hens are crammed into tiny, wire cages during egg production. The animals might go insane from the oppressive conditions and attack one another, so their beaks, which are filled with nerve endings, are painfully seared off with a hot blade.
These hens are so crowded that they are unable to spread even one wing during their entire miserable lives. They are unable to do anything natural, such as dust-bathing or foraging through the grass. It takes an average of 34 hours in these conditions to produce just one egg. When egg production drops, producers often shock the bodies of the worn-out birds into another laying cycle by withholding food for up to 14 days. Many die of starvation. Because their bones are so weak and their bodies so worn-down, up to 90 percent of hens have broken bones or are hemorrhaging by the time they make it to slaughter.
Cattle are castrated, have their horns chopped off, and are repeatedly branded—all without painkillers. At auctions, electric prods are used to torment the frightened animals into going where the workers want them to go.
The USDA allows meat from animals with cancerous lesions and pus-filled wounds to be certified as “USDA Pure,” so injuries and illnesses often go untreated. After enduring close to a year crammed into feedlots, cattle are loaded onto transport trucks and shipped through all weather extremes. At slaughter, their throats are slit open, and many are skinned and dismembered while still fully conscious.
Dairy cows have it even worse. Even though they give milk for the same reason that humans do—for their babies—on today’s dairy farms, mother cows are treated as nothing more than milk machines. Forty percent of dairy cows are lame by the time they reach the slaughterhouse.
They are hooked up to machines a few times per day—machines that often injure them. At the end of their lives, they are either sent straight to slaughter or are sold for slaughter at cattle auctions.
More than 100,000 cows are unable to walk off the transport trucks every year, yet they are slaughtered for human food anyway.
At a fraction of their natural life span, they’re shipped to slaughter. Most hamburger in this country comes from spent dairy cows.
Cows give milk for their offspring, not for human beings. These mother cows are impregnated annually to keep the milk flowing, and their babies are torn from them shortly after birth, which causes both of them profound distress. Many of the males are sold to veal farmers, who cram them into tiny crates where they cannot turn around or even comfortably lie down. If you’re consuming milk, you’re supporting the veal industry. Veal calves, who can barely walk because their muscles have atrophied from a lack of use and an anemia-inducing diet, are also often sold at auctions.
Confined to tiny stalls that don’t even allow mother pigs to turn around for most of their pregnancy, the first time that these animals will breathe fresh air is when they are on the back of a truck headed for the slaughterhouse. Many will go insane from the complete lack of stimulation.
Shortly after birth, baby pigs have their ears mutilated, the ends of their teeth chopped off, their tails cut off, and they are also castrated.
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.