The truth about meat: Do you feel bad about what you eat?

February 23, 2010
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The biggest problem with organizations such as PETA is that they distract from what is really animal abuse and focus on stopping things that aren't. Of course animal abuse exists and animal abuse needs to be fought; but about 90% of the videos and pictures of procedures done on animals, put out by PETA, are not truly abusive. Dehorning, docking tails, debeaking, farrowing crates, even the way animals are slaughtered are all totally necessary to keeping animals healthy, safe, and in less pain. The procedures aren't pretty and they are painful; but they keep animals from experiencing much worse pain and most likely death later on in life.

Dehorning, a procedure most often done on animals a few days old, it is performed by burning the growing buds of the animals horns, to keep them from growing. This procedure is quiet likely the most painful procedure that has to be done on animals, I have personally done it, and I hate to; but it needs to be done. It saves an animal from getting caught in a fence and stops an animal from harming other animals or people with strong sharp horns that can be extremely dangerous. A friend of mine had a goat that was too old to be dehorned when she got it. One day that goat was in the pasture, and the horns caused her head to get stuck in the fence. Her dogs, excited by the goats struggling and cries of fear, attacked her and tore her limb from limb, when they found her she was bleeding profusely, her ears had been torn off, and she was heavily mutilated; they quickly euthanized her to end her suffering. This all could have been avoided if she had been dehorned as a baby; a small burn on the head seems a lot less painful then that experience, now, doesn't it?

Pigs and lambs have their tails docked to stop other animals from biting them off later in life. Animals don't do this out of boredom from small or crowded conditions; this has even happened on small farms with pigs on free range. It's just something domesticated animals have grown the habit of doing. Docking tails is most often done by placing a small rubber band on the base of the tail, this cuts off the blood flow and within a few weeks, safely removes the tail. It's better this way, because it is less painful, reducing the risk of infection ten fold, and is bloodless; animals have bled to death from their tails being bitten off later in life.

Debeaking sounds like a terrible procedure, but it is actually much more simple. The ends of beaks are simply clipped or burned off as chicks—completely not intrusive and not at all painful to the animal; because of their age, the beaks do not grow back to their normal sharp and dangerous shape. This keeps chickens who get into fights from harming each other too severely; or weak animals from being pecked to death.

Farrowing crates have always been used, in every type of operation that exists. From small time family owned farms, to factory farms; they are incredibly necessary. All they do is separate the mother pig, from the piglets, with a few bars. This does not hinder the pigs ability to feed the piglets, and allows plenty of interaction, face to face, for the momma and piglets. This is for the piglets safety, it keeps the mother pigs from accidentally rolling on top of, and crushing, the baby animals. It is regulations that, outside of when a pig is caring for the very young, animals be kept in at least a 6ft by 6ft enclosure, and that while a mother pig is in a farrowing crate (usually she is for two weeks) they are walked everyday for 2 hours a day.

A lot of us would like to slaughter animals in the least painful way possible; and the truth is, that is the way they are slaughtered. You would think shooting an animal in the head would be better, but it's not, it can be more traumatic and painful. When an animals throat is slit, it severs the nerve in their neck; quickly ending their mental life. They do not feel, hear, or see a single thing after that. You will still see a physical or bodily reaction; but the animal can't feel any of it.

Animal abuse still exists, and it still need to be fought against. We need to stop fighting the procedures I've explained in this article; because they are necessary, they keep animals from more painful lives and deaths. I commend those farmers and ranchers who are willing to do these procedures that are painful and hard to do because we love our animals; because we know, while it might hurt now, it's preventing much worse later injury and death. Farmers who refuse to do these procedures out of inability to cause harm to an animal or lack of knowledge and laziness, those are the truly abusive farmers.

I will never say that agriculture is perfect, it's not. The rate at which we are raising and consuming animals is most definitely harming the environment, and making it harder to raise animals in ideal humane conditions. This isn't the problem of the farmer; it's the problem of the consumer and government of our nation. We need to be willing to pay the extra money for animals that are raised in less concentrated conditions, and we need to cut down on eating meat, which, at the huge amounts we are raising, is causing very negative environmental effects. And we need to give farmers and ranchers the money they deserve for properly raising animals, because as of right now, most are cheated out of 80% of the money they deserve; to the point where they have to get extra jobs just to pay for the expenses of their farm.

Animals are abused, some people ignore regulations put in place for the health, safety, and welfare of the animals; some workers, who don't care about the end result of the product, don't do procedures correctly and cause additional pain and trauma to the animals; and some just hurt animals for the sake of hurting animals. That is animal abuse, and it's wrong. No one in agriculture will ever disagree, and we agree it should be fought. These articles, movies, and now laws trying to fight things that are actually done for the health of an animal, are not only causing future worse pain and trauma to these animals, but are also distracting people from the real abuse that needs to be fought against.

Organizations, such as PETA, are not fighting animal abuse. Their real agendas are stopping the production of livestock completely, not simply trying to make it humane. To do this, they try and make it look impossible to raise livestock in lives that they will enjoy and make everything farmers do look abusive, which as we all know now, it is not. PETA spends the majority of its money on ads and now even porno's supporting vegetarianism. They let 90% of the animals they bring into their shelters die; because they are spending so much money on these commercials. Knowing that, it's obvious what their true agenda is, it isn't animal welfare, it's animal rights.

Should animals have rights? That decision is really up to you. I don't believe they should, and that's just because I work so closely with livestock, and I know they are happy. I raise goats, and my goats are like my dogs, I take them on walks everyday, and they cry when I leave. This weekend one of my favorite kids (baby goat) got very suddenly and severely ill; I didn't sleep for 48 hours, I spent several hundreds dollars at the vet trying to resuscitate him, and sadly, even with this intensive care, he still died. This death hit me just as hard as the death of any other animal, worse then if it had been a dog. I've cried for hours over him.

Honestly, domesticated animals live longer, healthier, and happier lives then they would in the wild. Have you ever watched animal planet? Wild animals starve to death, die slowly from injury, are eaten alive, well the list goes on. When you think of “wild” animals, you like to think of animals running through forests as happy as can be; but sadly, that's just not the way it is. Many wild animals die very, very painful and slow deaths; that would have easily been prevented in captivity or at least the animal would have been euthanized and put out of it's misery. Would you prefer a longer life, enclosed, but with free food, water, shelter, and entertainment; or a wild life, starving for food, never being able to sleep without one eye open for free of predators, and most likely a grueling death at a very young age? If I were an animal, I would prefer the first one; but if you really truly believe we don't have the right to trade a happier and healthier life of an animal for use of it's meat and biproducts after it's gone, then that is your choice, and I don't look down on you for it, but I hope after reading this, you don't look down on me for my choice either.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

guinea_pig_girl said...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 5:16 pm
    This is an interesting and unique viewpoint, and you have me somewhat convinced.  I agree that we should not fight against these processes, but I do think we should fight to make sure that they are done in the best, most careful and painless ways possible.  As for the last paragraph, I see your point, but I believe that they were meant to be in the wild- it's the natural way of life.  I'm against the whole idea of the meat industry anyway, because the animals ar... (more »)
neilh1014 replied...
Nov. 15, 2010 at 4:55 pm
I was just wondering, if you think "animals" belong in the wild, what about people, it's the natural way of life? As a student of Dairy Science I found it very heart warming to find an article that explains the real events of animals lives on a farm, not the twisted, missinformed article written by organizations such as PETA, HSUS, and Mercy For Animals.
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