Factory Farming, also known as Intensive Farming, is a form of Animal Abuse. Did you know that out of the 26 million egg laying hens in the UK, over 16 Million are kept in battery cages?!
These cages are far too small for the hens. They are so cramped they can’t turn around or spread their wings.
Image: Factory Farming: Hundreds of chickens in cages far too small for them. They spend their whole lives in these cages, only getting out to be slaughtered. Source
It is not just hens and chickens that suffer. Millions upon millions of other animals are farmed in this way across the world. 2 out of 3 farm animals across the world are factory farmed.
I find factory farming statistics such as these, and how factory farmed animals are treated, very upsetting. This web page will inform you about the perils of intensive farming to both the animals and humans.
We will also look at some of the real stories that barely scratch the surface of what goes on through factory farms across the world. The practice must be stopped NOW.
What Is Intensive Farming?
What is Factory Farming? This barbaric practice began in the 1920’s. Animals are abused throughout their life, right and through the slaughter house.
The more meat, milk, eggs and other animal products that can be produced, the more money factory farmers make. This is the essence of the process.
Farming machinery and techniques developed to the point where the animals ‘didn’t need to be raised outside’. No sunlight or exercise required. They could be kept inside; in a smaller space – a cost saver.
The perpetrators soon found disease spread amongst the animals. No problem. Large amounts of antibiotics could be sprayed all over the animals. Problem solved.
The development of steroids meant that animals could be grown faster and bigger – increased productivity means increased profit.
Image: Pigs In Small Cages Feeding Notice The Blood On Their Snouts From Rubbing Against The Bars. Source
Animals such as Cows, Calves, Pigs, Turkeys and Rabbits are often clamped in small, cramped cages or small enclosures where they are unable to move. Imagine the stress this puts the animals under!
They never get the chance to go outside and exercise. Their lives are purely for the production of eggs, milk, or their flesh for human consumption.
Make no mistake, these cages and confined spaces are disgusting. They often have low lighting, or no lighting at all. The animal waste is rarely cleared away, triggering disease.
Steroids, other drugs and genetic changes make the animals fatter, faster. They produce more milk and lay more eggs than they would normally.
These drugs halve the time it takes for a calf to reach maturity, with untold stresses on the calf’s body. The animals are also fed high carbohydrate diets what are not natural to them – increasing the animals weight and body stress.
The overcrowding spreads disease. A quick way to remedy this is to spray them with pesticides and feed them antibiotics. These drugs remain in the bodies of the animals humans consume – a potential health hazard.
It is due to these disgusting conditions, and disgusting treatment, that the animals become agitated and start fighting amongst themselves. This leads to more abhorrent treatment of the animals, such as beak searing and castration.
Image: A Poor Chicken Enduring The Painful Beak Searing Process. Source
These unfortunate animals are not thought of as living, breathing individuals. They are food producing robots.
The horror stories documented below are just the tip of the iceberg of what goes on throughout intensive farming, and what this Industry does not want you to know. Animal abuse and factory farming go hand in hand!
The brutality dished out by abusive workers and the Corporate Businesses are both shocking and upsetting. If you are unaware of what goes on to put beef, eggs and pork on your plate, read on.
If you are against factory farming, remind yourself why you are vegetarian or vegan. Your actions help combat the atrocities that goes on every single day.
When austerity bites it is not just people that suffer. In 2010, 400,000 newborn Chickens were murdered by the bankrupt Krasnaya Polyana Chicken Farm is Russia.
The farm was owned by a Russian member of parliament, Alexander Chetverikov, and the chicks were killed in the most horrendous ways:
Drowned in rusty barrels of water
Leaving them outside to freeze to death
Starved to death because the company could not afford to feed them
The adult chickens were thrown into a pit and buried alive
Image: Workers from the Krasnaya Polyana Chicken Farm Tipping baby chickens into oil cans for drowning or freezing to death. Source
The savagery of the owners also resulted in similar deaths of another 3,000,000 chicks!
Shockingly, barbaric action such as this IS NOT ILLEGAL!. These living, breathing animals have the capacity to suffer just like you! And this sort of thing is happening all over the world, everyday.
Even if these chicks survived, they would be destined for a life inside a battery cage, or even ground to death if they turned out to be male.
Broadcast 24 hours a day, it showed in real-time the dreadful lives of 3 battery caged hens. They are locked in a cage 40cm long, 33cm wide and 45cm high. To put this into context, each hen lives in a space less than the size of a sheet of A4 paper!
They can’t stretch their wings. They stand on wire mesh, not solid ground, and obviously can’t run, fly, dust-bath and all their other natural behaviours that makes them happy.
Watch the video below for recorded footage from this initiative:
Video: Recorded footage of Battery Hen life in Israel
To truly understand the lives of factory farming battery hens, you need to walk a mile in their shoes, as the saying goes. Animal Visuals enables you to do this by turning you into a battery hen, with 6 others in a cramped cage.
You have a 360 degree view of what it must be like for millions of them all over the world. Take a look for yourself. The animation is provided below. Are you now thinking twice about how your eggs and chicken came from?
Video: The animated world of the Battery Hen
Mercy for Animals published their findings from an undercover investigation at Hy-Line Hatchery in Iowa. 150,000 male chicks are killed in a grinder every single day!.
Image: Factory Farming Male Chickens Being Ground To Death-While Alive. Source
They are thrown into a spinning auger before being tripped to pieces whilst still alive by a high-pressure macerator.
Male chicks are seen as useless because they don’t lay eggs, and they do not grow quickly enough to be a meat bird. What is the human race doing here? How can this gruesome end even be considered when you find out they become trapped in or behind the machinery, suffering unimaginable pain before dying!
Watch the video below to see for yourself. These animals are thrown away like rubbish and dropped without any consideration to their welfare.
They are ripped away from the comfort of their mothers and thrown onto a loud, churning conveyor belt before meeting their end. Can you imagine how terrifying this is for them?!
Video: Undercover Footage of Factory Farming Activity
As well as being ground up alive in grinding and mincing machines, live male chicks are also used as a packaging filler by the poultry industry, knowing they are going to suffer and die either in transit, or shortly after arrival. They are used as ‘padding’ in packaging, which is acceptable industry practice in the poultry industry.
Pigs are also victims of Factory farming. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) documented shocking footage and information about the treatment of pigs by the worlds largest pork producer, Smithfield foods.
Their evidence shows female pigs crammed into gestation or sow crates which are far too small for them to move around in.
This leads to the pigs biting the metal crates in frustration, cutting their mouths and increasing their risk of infection.
The never-ending cycle of suffering is compounded by the fact that the piglets are born on hard concrete or metal floors. Stressful for the pig, she cannot nurture her young properly. Often she watches her young fall though the metal slats and drown in the manure pits below.
This leads to behavioural problems resulting in aggression and injury. With the intelligence of a 3 year old, this reaction is understandable, but leads to more intense cruelty to deal with it!
Surgical procedures such as cutting out their teeth, slicing off their tails and male castration, all without any pain relief, is commonplace.
If the suffering of Pig Factory Farming isn’t enough, it is compounded by their treatment at the hands of the workers. HSUS found a “basketball-sized abscess” on the back of one of the pigs. This was cut open with an unsterilised razor, without anaesthetic or a vet present.
Another pig was shot in the head but was still alive when thrown into the bin. As with chicks, piglets were tossed into carts without any consideration to their welfare.
The following undercover video was taken from the Smithfield exposure. It is heartbreaking!
Video: Smithfield Investigation Footage
Below is life on a factory farm, looking from a factory farmed pig’s point of view.
Dairy cows also suffer at the hands of Factory farming. After 9 months of forced pregnancy, the calves are taken away from their mothers after only a day or two. The cows cry out in pain all the time for their young, stolen from them to be slaughtered for veal meat.
The milk to nurture the calf is then bottled and put in your supermarkets or on your doorstep by the milk man. The forced pregnancies must make living in their bodies unbearable. Their udders often swell with the disease mastitis, which is difficult to cure in these circumstances.
Thousands of male calves are shot or murdered in other ways as they are useless to the dairy industry. They will not produce enough beef to be profitable, even if they are drugged to abnormally increase their growth rate, causing heat disease and other pains, like cows bred for meat are.
Image: Factory Farming Slaughtered Newborn Male Calf.
In the UK, veal calves that survive are often crammed into lorries and transported to the continent when they spend their lives indoors, in a small pen, without any daylight or natural stimulation. These calves spend their short lives being fattened up before being slaughtered.
Live export is where animals are transported for many hours, or days on end across countries and continents. They suffer in searing heat with no water or food, squashed together in a cramped space.
Just like humans, sheep spread their legs and take small steps back and forth in order to balance, but when they do not have the space to do this, fall, crush and trample injuries occur more often. There is no room for the animals to lie down and rest so the animals suffer pain.
Stress hormones like cortisol rise steeply in sheep during transportation, and ewes may skip or delay their estrus (heat) cycle. The immune systems of pigs become weaker. Chickens overheat and die, even on cold days. The animals are often handled in a way that causes them pain and injury when being loaded and unloaded.
Studies have shown that the vibration and noise of a lorry can feel uncomfortable and frightening to animals. In the European Union, animals can be transported for two 14 hour blocks in a row, with just one hour rest in between for water.
Image: This is how tightly sheep are packed in to lorries to be taken on journeys over counties and continents, with just a short break for water. This does not allow space for animals to spread their legs and take small steps to help them balance, or to lie down when tired. This results in injuries and pain. Studies have shown that when given more room, the animals suffered fewer injuries and less pain. Source
Next, we document some of the testimonies of factory farming workers. These people know what goes on daily in the intensive farming industry. Thankfully some of them speak out.
Virgil Butler worked the night shift at Tyson Plan in Arkansas in the receiving department as a live-hanger and on the kill-floor.
He says chickens were not stunned properly because the stunner was turned down by the supervisor. They would ‘escape’ behind the killing machine and be scalded to death by the water of the scalding tank (used to loosen the feathers for easy plucking). Chickens are supposed to be dead by this stage…
Virgil was responsible for slitting the throats of the chickens that escaped. Failing to do so means they are scalded alive. They scream, kick and their eyeballs pop out of their heads. They have broken bones and are disfigured by the scalding process.
If they had a mechanical breakdown chickens would be left hanging upside down in the stunner in the water to drown. To speed the process up the conveyor belt would be turned up and overloaded with chicks. Hundreds of birds ended up being smothered to death every night.
He once heard a supervisor say: “I would rather smother a few hundred god-damned birds than to lose time because of empty shackles.” (This was said in late July 2002 when temperatures in the hanging cage were exceeding 100 degrees in the middle of the night).
Faulty climate control meant either chickens were frozen to death, frozen solid to the conveyor belt, or dying from heat stroke and heart attack from the sizzling heat in summer.
To quote Virgil directly:
“I have witnessed a fellow employee build dry ice bombs (made by putting dry ice and a small amount of water in a plastic Pepsi bottle and screwing the lid down tight) and putting it on the belt with live chickens during break time. This results in a high pressure explosion that rips the chickens’ bodies apart and scatters them all over the room. This occurred numerous times”.
”I have also seen a fellow employee rip the heads, legs, and wings off of live chickens, or just stomp them to death on the floor because he was aggravated. This occurred on a regular basis for about the last year and a half that I worked there”.
”I have also witnessed a forklift driver run over the chickens on purpose, then laugh about it. These kinds of incidents were ongoing and repetitive–just a part of a regular night’s work”.
”We were given thousands of chickens to hang that were above the size limit we were used to…. In the process of hanging the live birds, we were forced to break their legs to get them to fit into the shackles. This was unnecessary. The shackles could have been spread out to fit the larger-sized birds… However, one of the supervisors decided that it wasn’t necessary and didn’t want to lose the production time to do it”.
Krysta Jenson worked for Circle Four Farms in Utah – part of the Smithfield empire. He performed castration and tail docking without any training or the right tools “They kept telling me, it doesn’t hurt them, and I said, ‘then why are they squealing?’ They would scream…. No anaesthesia was used ”.
“Sometimes they [the workers] would knock them, meaning they would raise them above their heads, and knock their head on the pavement.
”It didn’t even matter if they were newborn, if they were ready to ship out, and they were healthy running pigs going to the truck, if they were under five pounds they got picked up and knocked next to the wall or on the pavement”.
”I witnessed one worker raise a pig above his head, and he slammed the pig down on the pavement and he didn’t kill it all the way, and the pig was bleeding from his head, and it’s body was walking around in a circle while its head was on the pavement. And he didn’t even bother to kill the pig completely. He said, ‘that’s what knocking is.’”.
For more real-life stories read the documented evidence from more factory farm workers on the Mercy for Animals website.
Factory farming should be transparent so you can judge for yourself what goes on make their own decision. As Paul McCartney once said “If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be vegetarian.” The same goes for Factory Farms!
Out of sight out of mind is no way to live your life. You may think you treat your fellow animals with kindness – your dog, cat, or gerbil.
However, every time you eat meat you are choosing to contract a factory farm and slaughterhouse to treat the animals you think you have respect for, in the manner describe in this article, in your name.
Do yourself a favour and don’t be a part of it. The next section looks at ways to help you change your lifestyle.
There are lots of ways you can help stop factory farms and help factory farmed animals. Most of the suggestions below will not cost you a thing. Do you have the conscience to change?
You can stop eating animal products all together by adopting a vegan diet. However, to continue eating eggs, the only kind way is to EITHER adopt ex-battery hens and eating the eggs they lay, OR buy eggs from people who have adopted ex-battery hens.
You will be letting them experience life how they should have always had it, rather than being slaughtered straight after their life of hell.
If a change to veganism is too big a jump for you, many people first go vegetarian and then find the transition to full veganism much easier.
People are funding the cruelty to cows through buying milk dairy products. Again adopt a vegan diet where you can find alternatives to cows milk & dairy products.
Fight the intensive farming community plan to make it illegal to video inside factory farms. They are also planning to criminalise job seekers who get employment to expose their vile activities. See the Mother Jones website for more details.
Animals Australia have a wonderful site that explains how you can take action by changing your shopping and eating habits.
Take a look at my cruelty free shopping page where you will find animal cruelty free Companies you can deal with.
If you would like to find organisations needing your action and support to fight against a specific type of cruelty, enter the type of cruelty you want to help stop (for example “Stop factory farming”) into a search engine online, or search bar on social media.
Use a fundraising search engine so you can raise money to help animals with every search.
Other Ways To Help Stop Animal Cruelty And Suffering
On this site there are many varied ways you can help stop animal cruelty, and there are ways that will suit everyone, no matter what your personality.
If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal suffering, please have a look at the Types Of Animal Cruelty section of this site. It will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of animal abuse that happens in the world.
Sadly, what you will find is only the tip of the iceberg, but do not worry, because in the Help Stop Animal Cruelty section of this site, you can find a large and varied choice of ways that you can help stop the suffering. Have a look and see what ways would most suit you.
Help animals further by sharing the ways to stop animal cruelty you learn with other people and on social media. Doing this could mean more people help stop the cruelty, and therefore you are responsible for more animals being saved from suffering.