We see animals every day. They are our pets, companions, and, to some, family. They are also our dinner, new jacket or bag, and the pain behind our household products. So when does it qualify as cruel, or even inhumane? What is animal cruelty? According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) “Intentional cruelty, or abuse, is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, socialization, or veterinary care. Maliciously torturing, maiming, or killing an animal. ” Three major examples of animal cruelty today are found in the food industry, shelters, and testing facilities.
The first example of animal cruelty can be found in the food industry, where the food we purchase and consume is manufactured. Today’s factory farming, where livestock is raised and killed to produce the meat and eggs we find on our store shelves, are filled with daily acts of cruelty. While farming will continue to go on, questions arise as to whether the workers are uneccassarily torturing the animals. As it stands, the animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds, and confined to wire cages, gestation crates, and dirt lots.
They are fed drugs to make them grow faster, and keep them alive in conditions that would normally kill them. Last Chance for Animals. com states, “97% of the ten billion animals tortured and killed each year are farm animals. ” While still very young many cows are branded with hot irons. Their horns are cut or burned off, and male cows are castrated, the process of removing genitals, without the use of painkillers. When large enough, they are sent to huge, unsanitary feedlots, to be fattened up for slaughter.
Those that survive the transport, are shot in the head with a device known as a captive bolt gun, it is meant to stun the animal prior to slaughter. They are hung up by one leg, taken on to the killing floor, where their throats are cut open, and they are skinned and gutted. Some cows remain fully conscious throughout the entire process. Mother pigs spend most of their lives in gestation crates, which are tiny metal boxes that they can’t turn around in, or hardly move at all. A poll done in 2007 by the American Farm Bureau states that 64% of Americans agree that gestation crates are inhumane.
They are artificially impregnated, by machines, time and again until their bodies can no longer handle it, and then they are sent to slaughter. Piglets are taken from their mothers a few weeks after birth. Their tails are chopped off, the ends of their teeth are snipped off with pliers, and the males are castrated. All done without the use of any pain killer or anesthesia. After years spent in overly crowded pens on tiny slabs of dirt or concrete, they are then transported through extreme conditions to slaughter.
In May of 2012 the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) filed a legal complaint against Tyson Foods, Inc, the second-largest mast producer in the world, for making deceptive statements regarding animal well-being. Altough Tyson Foods, Inc. claimed to follow rigid animal welfare laws, an undercover investigation by HSUS at the Wyoming Premium Farms, a former supplier of pigs to Tyson subsidiaries, revealed their statements to be false. In fact, this investigation uncovered prolonged suffering of mother pigs and piglets, by being locked constantly in gestation crates, and sever abuse by farm workers.
More chickens are raised and killed for food than any other animal. Chickens raised for their flesh, called “broilers” by the chicken industry, spend their whole lives in dirty, cramped sheds with thousands of other birds, which is also a breeding ground for disease. They are bred and d being drugged to grow large so quickly, that, very often their legs and organs can’t keep up with the rapid growth, making heart attacks, organ failure, and crippled legs common. At only six to seven weeks of age, they are sent to slaughter.
The two hundred and eighty million chickens used for eggs, called “laying hens” by the egg industry, endure a nightmare that lasts for two years. At just a few days old, a large portion of each hens beak is cut off with a burning hot blade, with nothing used to dull the pain. Many of the birds, unable to eat because of the pain, die from dehydration, and weakened immune systems. After these mutilations, hens are shoved into tiny wire “battery” cages, which are approximately eighteen to twenty inches and hold five to eleven hens, each of whom have a wingspan of thirty-two inches, making movement nearly impossible.
They are crammed so closely together, that these normally clean animals are forced to urinate and defecate on one another, spreading bacteria. Many die and are left to rot, while the living birds are left to live amongst the rotting carcasses. Male chickens, worthless to the egg industry, are tossed into trash bags to suffocate, or are thrown into high-speed grinders, or “macerators” while still alive. Not all animal shelters are the same. Fortunate homeless, or unwanted animals end up in the hundreds of open-admission shelters.
These shelters are staffed by professional, caring people, and the frightened animals are reassured, and their quarters are kept clean, and dry. Sick or injured animals receive treatment, or a peaceful end to their suffering. Workers at these facilities never turn away needy animals, and give careful consideration to each animals emotional and physical needs. To be able to offer this refuge to every animal in need, open-admission shelters must euthanize or “put to sleep” un-adoptable animals. The alternative, turning them away, is cruel and leaves the animal in danger.
Many less fortunate, lost, or abandoned animals end up in pitiful shelters that are nothing more than shacks, without walls or other protection from the elements. Where animals are often left to die from exposure, disease, or fights with other animals. So-called “no-kill” or “turn-away” shelters, have the luxury of not euthanizing animals because they turn away the one’s that they think nobody will adopt. Many keep waiting lists, which compromise animals safety, by leaving them in situations where they are unwanted, subjecting them to possibilities of further abuse or neglect.
Some animals that are turned away by these shelters, are dumped on the road, in the woods, or the yard of local animal hoarders. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) estimate that 32. 4% of animals, are neglected by humans. Animals that are accepted into no-kill shelters may be warehoused for months, years, or the rest of their lives, becoming more withdrawn, aggressive, or depressed, reducing their chances of adoption. Because euthanization is expensive, many of these shelters resort to gas chambers, tossing in as many animals that can fit.
It can take up to a half hour or more for the animals to die in the chamber. The act of testing consumer products on animals, known as vivisection, is an extremely cruel, and unnecessary practice. The animals used for testing are subjected to harmful chemicals, which affect their health. For example, albino rabbits are tested for chemicals that cause eye irritation in humans. The liquid form of such chemicals are dropped into the rabbits eyes and left for two to three days. Animals are forced to consume and inhale deadly chemicals. Dogs are made to eat chemicals, such as pesticides, which can be lethal.
Also animals, mainly rabbits, rats, and mice, are locked in cages, shocked, and sometimes starved of food. Apart from these animals, statistics show fifteen million animals worldwide, are tortured daily in laboratories. These animals are used for research purposes, and are kept in very inhumane conditions. They are left to suffer, and die, while their researchers are busy finding a cure to free mankind of its troubles, or for a cosmetic company to test their new lipstick. According to PETA, “Every year, more than 1. 1 million animals in the US are used for the purpose of research and testing of different kinds of products. ”