Some of us are audible learners, some of us hands-on learners and many of us are visual learners. I respect and appreciate that each of our learning experiences are different and unique. They say "A picture is worth a thousand words." Well then this video is worth a million. Mahalo for being open minded, curious and interested in educating yourself.
Factory farming is this generation's genocide.
By eating meat, dairy, poultry, or by purchasing leather, wool, chiffon, silk or cashmere you are (and most commonly unknowingly) contributing to the mass murder, torture, abuse, pain, mis-treatment, cruelty, rape, slaughter and violence that we as the consumers allow to be carried out onto these animals. Unfortunately we do all of this in order to feed one thing - Our ego. Our desire to be greedy. Our habitual actions of selfishness. Our lack of morals, respect, tolerance, love, compassion, knowledge and presence. By being a consumer of these products you are individuality contributing to this.
With every slice of pizza ate, cheeseburger ordered, Starbucks drank, late night pint of ice cream purchased and designer hand bag that you "treat yourself" to, you are contributing to a mass murder that is so much larger and more terrifying than you could ever imagine. And the worst part is, that no one ever told us.
There are seriously no exceptions. There are so few small scale farms that consistently carry out "humane" procedures when it comes to raising, farming and slaughtering animals, that we have no right to consider them in our minds as the exception. In every factory farm, animals are crammed by the thousands into indescribably filthy, dark, bacteria-ridden and unhygienic sheds. For months and months on end, these animals are stuffed into rusted wire cages, previously-used metal crates, and numerous other torturous devices that we as humans have managed to consider a "shelter" for these beings.
These animals, who are capable of seeing, hearing, touching, feeling, protecting, birthing, and caring for will never have the chance to raise their families. These living beings who have eyes, ears, mouths, lungs, central nervous systems and organs similar to our own will never be able to root around in soil, build nests, reproduce with a mate or do anything that is natural, normal and important to them. Most of these animals won’t ever have the chance to feel the warmth from the sun. That is, until the day they’re loaded by the hundreds onto trucks and transported immediately to slaughter.
The goal of factory farms is simple and clear.
This industry strives to maximize their overall output while minimizing costs. While always at the animals’ expense. However, the meat and diary industry hasn't mastered this act just yet - That is, because although they profit immensely from the millions of animals that pass through these buildings per year, (Big shout out to us and our infinite consumerism!) many of the animals will die from disease and infection. And then, more often than not are left for weeks on end to rot and die until another animal becomes ill and eats them or they are removed to create space.
"Space." That's a funny word. Now that I see it typed on my computer screen I realize that my choice of wording is incorrect and inaccurate. Space is boundless, free, infinite and unrestricted. These animals are often given so little room that they can’t turn around, rest or sit down comfortably.
ANTIBIOTICS IN YOUR FOOD
A plethora of antibiotics, medicines and vaccines are used during this process to make animals grow faster, bigger and to keep them alive longer in these unsanitary conditions. Research has shown time and time again that factory farms’ widespread use of these antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This acts as a threat to human health. Thats right, meat/dairy eaters. Us. Our health is at risk. Not theirs (even though its quite clear we don't particularly care about that anyways.) Our health is at immediate risk.
Mostly all factory-farmed animals have been genetically manipulated to grow larger faster or to produce more milk, eggs, flesh (thats what meat is - flesh) than they would normally. Many chickens grow so unnaturally large and wide that their legs and claws cannot support their outsized bodies. These birds often suffer from starvation or dehydration when they can’t physically walk to reach feed and water. They die in their crates and aren't removed until the farm is "wiped." This procedure usually happens once every 2-5 weeks. Meanwhile the rest of these chickens use these 5 weeks (and a mixture of hunger and mental/physical illness caused by living conditions) to eat the foul, infected, dead bird laying on the ground below them. Yup, they eat a dead, rotten and infected bird caracas, and then we eat them. Yum.
When these animals have grown large/wide/fat enough to slaughter, or their bodies are no longer able to produce breast milk or eggs (due to over milking/egg-laying) these animals are crowded onto large trucks and transported for hundreds of miles through all weather/traffic/temperature extremes. This transportation process is typically carried out without any food or water. Some road trip, huh? At the slaughterhouse, the few animals who have successfully survived the trip will be brought into the factory to have their throats slit. This often happens while they’re still awake and entirely conscious. If their throats are not slit, many of them are plunged into scalding-hot water. This process is carried out to speed up the de-feathering, and de-skinning process of the animals before their tortured bodies are hacked into pieces.
ANIMALS USED FOR FOOD
Ducks & Geese
Ducks and geese are most comfortable when they are in water, on land and flying freely in the air. In their natural habitats, these animals have been recorded to fly hundreds of miles each and every year. It has also been observed that all ducks and geese fly and swim in formations that most efficiently reduce air and water resistance for the birds in the rear. Can't get much more considerate than that. Ducks always live in pairs or couples, and pairs of geese mate for life. They find their sole partner and are able to reproduce and create a family with that one mate. These animals are also known for mourning the death of their partner for lengthy periods. Sometimes even months on end.
Unfortunately, most people (myself included at one point in time) don’t immediately think of these animals when discussing cruelty and the abuse that is put forth on farmed animals. Wether we like to think of it or not, these birds are severely abused by the meat and foie gras industries by the hundreds of thousands each and every year.
Geese and Ducks raised for their flesh spend their entire lives forcefully crammed into dark, dirty, and small sheds, where they more often than not suffer from injury and die from infectious disease. These animals are deprived of everything that is natural, normal and important to them. At the slaughterhouse, many birds survive the electric stunning process. Meaning that they are still entirely conscious as their throats are cut and they are thrown into the scalding-hot water of the de-feathering tanks.
FOIE GRAS (iS FO' BULLIES)
Ducks and geese raised for foie gras suffer from the torture inflicted by humans the worst. No doubt about it. These animals have steel thick pipes, tubes and funnels forcefully shoved down their throats up to three times daily. These tubes ensure that four pounds of grain can be pumped into their stomachs quickly, and produce the diseased and desired “fatty liver” that many diners consider a "delicacy." Nothing too delicate about that, if you ask me. When their infected livers swell to up to 10-12 times of their normal size, these birds are sent to slaughter and de-feathered, slit and killed. Force fed, infected, killed.
There are absolutely NO federal laws or regulations protecting ducks, geese, or any other birds from cruelty at slaughter. Not one. This means that we are entirely unable to mandate and regulate what type of conditions, treatments and procedures are carried out onto the precious lives of these beings.
According to PETA, Chickens are arguably the most abused animal on the planet. In the United States alone, more than 7 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year. Over 305 million hens are used and abused for their eggs. Over ninety-nine percent of these animals spend their lives in total confinement. This means that from the moment they hatch until the day they are maliciously killed, these animals have absolutely no access to sunlight, fresh air or open space. Their entire life is a combination of pain, mistreatment, malnourishment, abuse and death.
More chickens are raised and killed for food than all other land animals combined. Yet, not one single federal law protects chickens from this never ending abuse. With tens of thousands of chick and chickens packed into each building, the sheds become more and more crowded as the animals grow larger. Chickens more often than not have to walk on top of one another. And as mentioned above, frequently over the bodies of other birds who have previously died. This over crowding and abuse often leads to frustration and fear, resulting in chickens who peck at one another for days on end. Commonly causing injury and death.
So many of us do not realize that chickens are intelligent, inquisitive and interesting animals. These being are as intelligent as mammals such as cats, dogs, and even some primates. Which are most closely related to our own species. These birds are exceptionally social and enjoy being around other birds, taking dust baths, roosting in trees/bushes, eating and laying down to sun bathe. Sounds a little bit like me, actually.
In factory farms, these birds are bred and drugged to grow so large so quickly that their legs and organs can’t keep up, making heart attacks, organ failure, and crippling leg deformities common among many. Many become crippled under their own weight and eventually die because they can’t reach the water nozzles. When they are only 6 or 7 weeks old, they are crammed into cages and trucked to slaughter.
Here is an exert I took from PETA.com describing the conditions in which hens must endure on factory "farms."
"Birds exploited for their eggs, called “laying hens” by the industry, are crammed together in wire cages where they don’t even have enough room to spread their wings. Because the hens are crammed so closely together, these normally clean animals are forced to urinate and defecate on one another. The birds have part of their sensitive beaks cut off so that they won’t peck each other out of frustration created by the unnatural confinement. After their bodies are exhausted and their production drops, they are shipped to slaughter, generally to be turned into chicken soup or cat or dog food because their flesh is too bruised and battered to be used for much else." That's funny. I don't remember "exhausted, injured, abused hen meat" being labeled on the bags of Pedigree food at the pet store.
The male chicks of egg-laying breeder hens are unable to lay eggs. They are also not bred to produce excessive flesh/meat for these companies, so they are killed. To save space, money, resources and money. And money. Every single year, more than 100 million of these baby birds are ground up alive or tossed into bags to suffocate. Remember how freaking adorable, innocent and excited those baby chicks you raised in 7th grade science class were? So do I.
At the slaughterhouse, these bird's legs are forcefully clamped into shackles. Their throats are cut, and they are dumped in scalding-hot water, a technique designed to remove their feathers. Because they have no federal legal protection, nearly all of the chickens are still entirely conscious when their throats are cut. And on the off chance that they don't die then - Many chicks are literally burned to death in the feather-removal tanks after missing the throat cutter.
Fish & Sea Animals
When I hear people refer to fish as a "health food," I literally cringe. Every single time. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say "You'd be so proud, I gave up meat 6 months ago and only eat fish now," I would be exceptionally wealthy - and probably not sitting in my apartment working on this webpage, but rather vacationing on my yacht somewhere in the pacific.
Just because we cannot hear a fish scream, cry, wail, howl, growl or bark, does not mean that these beings are not feeling the same amount of pain, agony and distress as those who are able to physically voice their fearful emotions. These aimals have eyes, mouths, central nervous systems, organs, skin and the ability to mate and reproduce. Similarly to dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, cows, bird, rabbits, sheep and humans.
Fish are exceptionally smart, interesting animals who withhold their own unique personalities. Fish feel pain. Fish feel pain.
Fish feel pain.
Scientists who have spent countless years reviewing studies are in complete agreement that a fish's pain response is basically identical to the pain response system in mammals and birds.
Fish are so much more intelligent than we are taught to believe. Did you know that fish are able to learn how to avoid nets by watching other fish in their group who swim ahead of them? Fish can also recognize individual “shoal mates.” Many fish gather information by eavesdropping on schools of other fish in the waters nearby. The South African fish has been observed to lay its eggs on leaves so that it is able to carry them to a safe place. Meaning that many fish even use tools to find and create safe shelters for their young.
Unfortunately for the fish, and our rapidly depleting oceans (the U.S. fish industry slaughters more than 6 billion fish each year, while sport fishing and angling kill another 245 million animals annually) the killings have not declined. Without any legal protection from cruel treatment, these intelligent and complex animals are impaled, crushed, suffocated, sliced open and gutted, all while they’re fully conscious.
More than 40 percent of all the fish consumed each year are now raised on land - or ocean based aqua-farms. Land-based farms raise thousands of fish in ponds, pools, or concrete tanks. Ocean-based aqua-farms are situated close to shorelines, and fish in these farms are confined to cramped nets or mesh cages.
Fish on aqua-farms spend their entire lives in crowded, filthy enclosures. So many suffer from parasitic infections, diseases, and debilitating injuries. Conditions on some farms are so horrendous that 40 percent of the fish may die before farmers can kill and package them for food. Fish who survive are starved before they are sent to slaughter in order to reduce waste contamination of the water during transport. That super fresh and delicious, low fat, high protein, wild alaskan (bullshit) salmon that you love, for example, those fish are starved for 10 full days prior to killing. Way to go out with a bang, huh?
In the wild, hundreds of billions of fish—along with “non target” animals, including sharks, sea turtles, birds, seals, and whales—are caught each year in ocean-ravaging nets or dragged for hours on long-lines for the commercial fishing industry.
Today, scientists, along with the United Nations, project that by 2050, our oceans will be so depleted of fish due to overfishing that seafood will be a soon forgotten thing of the past. How horrible it is to think that our children will no longer be able to swim, surf, scuba dive or snorkel in flourishing oceans, abundant with fish and natural marine beauty. What a tragedy it is to think that my own grandchildren may never be able to study and admire the countless fish I have only a few decades prior.
In the U.S. alone, more than 42 million cows suffer and die for the meat and dairy industries each and every year. When they are still very young, many cows are painfully burned with hot irons (branded). Their horns are gouged, cut or burned off upon their arrival to factory farms. Male cattle have their testicles ripped out of their scrotums ( commonly referred to as being "castrated")—all without painkillers. Not one. If you are a male and eat meat, or consume beef products in any way, shape or form, I'd like to hope that you can sympathize with these gentle beings and their gentle balls. Please realize that the pain they must feel during this torturous time is in no way excusable for our desire to eat their flesh and blood.
Once they have grown large enough, these gentle giants are immediatley sent to massive, filthy feedlots that are exposed to the elements. Here they will be quickly fattened before slaughter.
Female cows on dairy farms are repeatedly impregnated with bull semen by factory farm workers. These females have absolutely no sexual interaction with any male cows at all. They will have a hand/arm/rod or semen filled tube shoved forcefully up their vagina to implant the semen numerous time throughout their life. Like all animals, cows form strong maternal bonds with their calves. Constantly on dairy farms and ranches, female cows have been been heard frantically crying out for their cows for several days after separation. This traumatic experience is something they must undergo numerous times. Just as we humans do, these cows protect, nourish and provide for their young for months while inside the womb, only to have them stolen from them immediately after birth. Think of that traumatizing scene in "Blackfish" where we watched the mother whale mourn and cry over her stolen baby. Finally their bodies wear out and they are sent to be killed.
Cows are gentle giants—large in physical size but incredibly sweet in nature. They are curious, intelligent and clever animals who have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to escape from slaughterhouses.
If you are a female, know a female, or have ever met a female and consume milk or dairy products, I ask you to take a step back. Please realize that our bodies are ours and no one else's to exploit or use for profit. Around the globe, trafficking women and young girls for sexual use is illegal. We do not find it justifiable to use these women's bodies in abusive, dangerous and potentially fatal ways. Why is it any different for these females?
You wouldn't drink my breast milk, your sister's breast milk, your daughter's or your aunt's breastmilk. You wouldn't suck milk from a female raccoon, bear, horse, pig or a cat. Why have we decided that a cow's (who is also someone's sister, mother, daughter and aunt) milk is acceptable?
Please. Know that a cow's milk is intended for one life and one life only - the life of her young calf. Cow's milk is exceptionally high in protein and even more so in fat (which scientists have proved is detrimental to our blood pressure levels and over-all health.) This fat is needed by a small calf to grow very large, very quickly (some up to 150 pounds in their first year- and usually around 350 lbs. by the age of adulthood.) Unless you have the desire to weigh upmost 350 pounds, there is absolutely no reason to consume the breast milk from this animal's utters.
We have access to so many more healthy, logical and humane options. Please. Leave the cow milk for calves. Breast milk is for babies. Go find your own milk alternative and leave the nipples/utters for the newborns. Seriously - it's just weird and entirely unnecessary.
SO NOW WHAT?
Eat something else. Anything else. Please. Eat fresh fruits, plants, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, starches, sprouts, fermented food and just about any other vegan food (cake, cookies, pizza, milkshakes, mac n' cheez and brownies) you can find on the market.
Eat natural, plant based, locally grown, seasonal and vibrant foods that feed your body and soul. Eat foods that our bodies were naturally intended to chew, swallow, digest and release - free of trouble and pain. Major scientific studies have linked the consumption of animal products to fatal heart disease, cancer, and other leading killers. These studies have suggested that it’s these components of animal foods—dense amounts of animal fat, animal protein, and a lack of fiber—that lead to a higher risk of developing many illness and diseases.
Remember that energy is everywhere. It makes up our bodies, our planet, our cells and our souls. The food you eat must contain the most positive and beneficial energy that you can get your hands (and mouth) on. When an animal is killed, it's life forces leaves the physical body immediately. That flesh is now entirely void of any health benefits whatsoever. You cannot expect to live a healthy, happy, positive, abundant and pure life while consuming the negative energy and karma inflicted into these animal's. You cannot except your body to live when the food you are eating is dead. Organic and free-range animals are killed in the same filthy slaughterhouses as the animals from factory farms, so their flesh is subject to the same potential for bacterial contamination and infestation from unsanitary conditions.
If you have any other questions, comments or concerns please, please leave a comment below. I would be more than thrilled to discuss this topic with anyone further. I feel so compassionate and strongly drawn towards the hope for the lives of these animals. I aspire to live by example and show as many of you as possible that plant based living has improved my own life in so many tremendous ways, physically, mentally and spiritually. I am an animal lover, and I am not a hypocrite. I am conscious, mindful, educated and informed. I can only wish that on each and everyone of you.
If you have made it thus far in my blog, I genuinely thank you. It wasn't easy for me to write this post, and I am sure it wasn't all that easy for you to read it.
Mahalo for taking the time, energy and effort out of your day to be here in this moment, and to be aware of the hurt, harm and violence that is being carried out each and every second.
Make efforts to be more mindful, considerate, compassionate and thoughtful each and everyday. Always try to leave a person/live being/situation better than when you found it.
Food for thought.
PS- The video I have linked below rocks! If you know anyone who's ego is currently larger than their heart and feels the desire to question, attack or criticize your dietary/lifestyle choices. Please let homeboy Gary Yorofsky show them whats up. Seriously. He's so great!