When you go out to eat and look at your thick and juicy T-bone steak what do you think about? When you look at that gorgeous mink coat in the department store what is going through your mind? When you here that cigarette smoke causes cancer in lab animals what is the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are that in each of these cases you were not thinking about how the cow suffered while it was being fattened up, ho painful the trap was that caught those mink, or the conditions those lab animals hat to endure to develop that cancer. Most people do not think about these things. However, in this paper, you will be enlightened on the pain and suffering of animals in three different industries and you will also hear from the other side of this issue. First, one of the biggest culprits of animal suffering is the animal food industry.
This is an industry in which people have a tendency to block out or ignore the animal mistreatment; this is done by disassociating oneself with the direct harm and ignoring the indirect harm (Harnack 133). A good start under this example in the case of pigs. Normally, pigs are intelligent animals capable of showing affection. They have very good senses of smell, which is why pigs have been used as hunting animals (Coats 31). This normal behavior is disrupted however in the food industry. Pigs are taken to slaughter at about twenty-four weeks of age when they are approximately 220 pounds (Coats 32). Pigs are usually mass-caged into groups that consist of other pigs of the same sex and age. This can cause excessive aggressiveness in the animals due to the stifling of the natural social orders, which are accomplished though mixing (Coats 33).
Due to inactivity in cages, pigs become “bored” and do things such as gnaw on the bars of the cage or on the body parts of other pigs. Factory owners attempt to remedy this by doing things such as cutting off a piglets tail shortly after being born (Coats 33). There is also gender specific cruelty. To reduce aggressiveness, male pigs are castrated. Most of the time, this is done without anesthetic. This is a practice seen in other divisions of the farm industry as well (Coats 33). “A factory breeding sow [pig] averages two and a half litters a year and ten litters in a life time.
With ten or eleven piglets per litter, she brings 100-110 piglets into the systems during the first four to five years of her life” (Coats 34). The pig factory owners try to get the greatest amount of piglets in the least amount of time. They do this by trying to find the optimum amount of time to leave a piglet with his mother. The later a piglet is weaned away from his mother, the better chance it will live, however this is time that the mother is not pregnant (Coats 34). Pigs confined in cages in factories have a high rate of disease and physical problems that range from respiratory diseases to lame and broken legs (Coats 45).
Next, we have cows. Cows have the “opportunity” to go into three different division of the farming industry: dairy cow, veal calf, or beef cow (Coats 7). Firstly, concerning milk cows, the only time that a female cow produces milk is after she has had a calf, and she only produces for as long as the calf suckles (Coats 50). To keep the cows producing milk, they must be impregnated about once a year and give birth (Coats 56). While a calf is still getting milk from its mother, it drinks small quantities about twenty times a day. The cow replenishes itself as needed. In the dairy farm, a cow is “sucked dry” approximately two to three times per day. This forces a cow to be over loaded and weighed down with milk (Coats 50-51).
When an exceptional cow is found, she is put aside for breeding. She is given drugs to induce the production of more eggs. These eggs are fertilized with the sperm of “super-bulls” and the embryos are implanted into different cows. This can cause problems if the calf implanted is larger than the mother can bear (Coats 56-57). Secondly, under cows, we have the veal calf. The main resource for veal calves is the calves of dairy cows (Coats 61). According to David Coats, “The concept is simple yet very cruel; from birth, calves are kept in solitary confinement in small wooden crates, deprived of mobility” (62). The diet of a veal calf consists of little iron and fiber but contains a high concentration of growth stimulant, starch fats, sugars, etc. This is the only food given; no water is allowed. This diet makes the flesh of the calf very pale which is optimum (Coats 64). Veal calves are killed about four months into their life.
If the calves were kept longer, they would die due to their deprived diet and psychological problems (Coats 62). Lastly, we have the beef cow. The beef industry is about a thirty billion dollar a year industry in the U.S. (Coats 69). “In 1986, the average American consumed 78 pounds of beef, accounting for 7% of supermarket sales” (Coats 69). Beef cattle, unlike other farm animals are not packed into cages, because they produce nothing until they are taken to slaughter (Coats 71). Beef cattle are “out on the range” at the start of their lives. At about the last 100 days of life the cattle are taken into feedlots where they are crowded together and have no room to move (Coats 71-72). “It used to take three years for a calf to become an adult of sellable weightnow, with new finishing techniques, calves are pushed from birth through to slaughter in just ten to eleven month”(Coats 72). When cattle are put into feedlots, they are separated into same age and sex.
This causes problems similar to pigs when put in the same position. They are denied the development of their natural social order (Coats 73). Castration is a common occurrence in beef cattle. One reason is that it is said that uncastrated meat has a different and undesirable taste. Another reason for cattle castration is to make them more passive (Coats 75). “In surgical castration, the scrotum is cut open and the testes are cut off or just pulled off. Common complications are hemorrhage, infection, tetanus and maggot infestation” (Coats 75). To nonsurgically castrate cattle, a tight rubber band like device is put around the top of the testes. As the blood is restricted, the testes eventually go numb, decay, and fall off, but before they go numb, the cattle go through a great deal of pain (Coats 75). Another quality control is dehorning.
Cattle are dehorned using chemicals which burn out the root to prevent poking out of eyes and harm to handlers when the cattle are close together (Coats 77). Finally, in regards to the farming industry we will deal with chickens. There are two types of farm chickens: broilers and layers. Broilers are those raised for eating (Coats 81-82). Between Europe and America, over 7.3 billion chickens are slaughtered each year (Coats 810. When laying chickens are hatched, they are separated into male and female by professional chicken sexers. The males are thrown out because they are not useful in laying and are unsuitable for eating (Coats 84). About the same number of male chickens are hatched as female. This means that millions of chicks are pointlessly “left by the way side” (Coats 84). Both broilers and layers are forced to endure a debeaking process.
This is done by placing the upper portion of the beak against a hot metal blade at about 1500F for approximately two seconds (Coats 85). “Debeaking is the cutting off of either the entire tip of the beak or the top half of the beak, the upper mandible” (Coats 85). Some believe that the beak is like a nail and can be cut with no pain. The beak contains highly sensitive tissue within it (Coats 85). The industry says that chickens are debeaked to protect the chickens from themselves. In the confined and stressful crates and cages, the chickens have a tendency to become cannibalistic (Coats 86). When it comes to broiler hens, the object, again, is to produce the most and biggest in the least amount of time for the least amount of money (Coats 87). By the time the chickens are ready for slaughter, they have about a one half square foot of room with which to barely move (Coats 87). The social structure needed in pigs and cows is more important to chickens.
The “pecking order” is an essential part of their life. This is disrupted by constant shifting of chickens and cramped condition (Coats 87). The next topic to discuss is animal experimentation. About 25-35 million animals are involved in research testing and teaching each year in the U.S. (Fox 58). Animals are used to test the safety of products such as drugs, carcinogens, cosmetics, etc. (Fox 60-61). Because there are 40 to 60 thousand chemicals in common use, it is pointless to test their combinations on animals because there are so many possible combinations. The animal tests become mere propaganda to dispel consumer worries (Fox 61). Often times when animals are used as test subjects, the laboratory condition needed for testing such as in the case of diseases.
Psychological disruption, which might occur, can affect the outcome of experiments (Fox 62). In conclusion to animal testing, an ethical consideration in justifying this practice is as follows: “If the pain and suffering to the animal would be greater than the amount of pain and suffering that a human might fell under the same experimental conditions, then the experiment should not be permitted” (Fox 64). Lastly, we have wildlife practices and the fur industry. Furs are made from pain. Wild animals are trapped in traps with steel teeth. These animals can feel this pain (Rohr 178). The leghold trap, the most common, has been banned in 65 countries due to cruelness, yet in America it is legal (Rohr 181). People who try to refute cruelty to animals site that the Bible says we should eat meat.
This is a fallacy. In Genesis 1:29-30 of the King James Bible, it says: And God said, behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat; and it was so. Only after sin is introduced, which is later, do we see eating of animals. Scientists often say that to save a human, animals are expendable, and this is true, but in putting mascara on a rabbits eye, there is no help. Lastly, some say that animals can be treated anyway desired because they make no moral judgements and have a lack of ability to do so (Harnack 29).
It is therefore the responsibility of humans to uphold the moral obligation of taking care of animals. In summation, this paper has given evidence of pain and suffering of animals involved in different industries. From these examples, it is clear that it is wrong of anyone to intentionally inflict pain and suffering on animals for the sake of human enjoyment.
Coats C. David. Old MacDonalds Factory Farm: The Myth of the Traditional Farm and the Shocking Truth about Animal Suffering in Todays Agribusiness. New York: Continuum, 1989. Harnack, Andrew, ed. Animal Rights: Opposing Viewpoints. Sand Diego: Greenhaven, 1996. Fox, W. Michael. Inhumane Society: The American Way of Exploiting Animals. New York: St Martins, 1990. King James Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1970. Rohr, Janelle, ed. Animal Rights: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1989. Bibliography Coats C. David. Old MacDonalds Factory Farm: The Myth of the Traditional Farm and the Shocking Truth about Animal Suffering in Todays Agribusiness. New York: Continuum, 1989. Harnack, Andrew, ed. Animal Rights: Opposing Viewpoints. Sand Diego: Greenhaven, 1996. Fox, W. Michael. Inhumane Society: The American Way of Exploiting Animals. New York: St Martins, 1990. King James Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1970. Rohr, Janelle, ed. Animal Rights: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1989.