We try to keep things pretty positive here on VWJ.
Rather than focus on the negative, we try to keep all our articles focused on the positive: how to build a happier life, eat a great diet and make the healthiest life possible for you and your family. But sometimes, the scary, negative news is just too important and we just have to share it here.
Just today The Guardian released a shocking headline that instantly caught my attention on my Facebook feed:
Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history
We’ve written about the dangers of factory farmed meat before, and even talked about why and how to shop for cruelty free cosmetics and body care, but this cruel system of systematic animal abuse and suffering is really at the heart of the debate.
Animals are raised to live in inhumane conditions, then slaughtered cruelly for human and animal consumption. Industrial animal agriculture has grown wildly in the past few decades, and despite overwhelming evidence that this system is bad for the animals, bad for humans and bad for the planet, the system continues. And everyday we have the opportunity to step away from this system of cruelty.
“What makes the existence of domesticated farm animals particularly cruel is not just the way in which they die but above all how they live. Two competing factors have shaped the living conditions of farm animals: on the one hand, humans want meat, milk, eggs, leather, animal muscle-power and amusement; on the other, humans have to ensure the long-term survival and reproduction of farm animals.
Theoretically, this should protect animals from extreme cruelty. If a farmer milks his cow without providing her with food and water, milk production will dwindle, and the cow herself will quickly die. Unfortunately, humans can cause tremendous suffering to farm animals in other ways, even while ensuring their survival and reproduction.
“The root of the problem is that domesticated animals have inherited from their wild ancestors many physical, emotional and social needs that are redundant in farms. Farmers routinely ignore these needs without paying any economic price. They lock animals in tiny cages, mutilate their horns and tails, separate mothers from offspring, and selectively breed monstrosities. The animals suffer greatly, yet they live on and multiply.”
“The fate of animals in such industrial installations has become one of the most pressing ethical issues of our time, certainly in terms of the numbers involved. These days, most big animals live on industrial farms. We imagine that our planet is populated by lions, elephants, whales and penguins. That may be true of the National Geographic channel, Disney movies and children’s fairytales, but it is no longer true of the real world.
“The world contains 40,000 lions but, by way of contrast, there are around 1 billion domesticated pigs; 500,000 elephants and 1.5 billion domesticated cows; 50 million penguins and 20 billion chickens.
“In 2009, there were 1.6 billion wild birds in Europe, counting all species together. That same year, the European meat and egg industry raised 1.9 billion chickens. Altogether, the domesticated animals of the world weigh about 700m tonnes, compared with 300m tonnes for humans, and fewer than 100m tonnes for large wild animals.
This is why the fate of farm animals is not an ethical side issue [emphasis mine].
It concerns the majority of Earth’s large creatures: tens of billions of sentient beings, each with a complex world of sensations and emotions, but which live and die on an industrial production line. Forty years ago, the moral philosopher Peter Singer published his canonical book Animal Liberation, which has done much to change people’s minds on this issue. Singer claimed that industrial farming is responsible for more pain and misery than all the wars of history put together.”
I would encourage you to read more in this brilliant article to learn about the history of animal agriculture, and what our grim future is for all of us. Find the article here: Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history | Books | The Guardian