11 June 2014

And You're Surprised?

I recently read a couple of books about animals and farming: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and The Emotional Lives of Animals by Marc Bekoff. A couple days ago, while discussing what I learned about factory farms with my partner, I explained to him how many cows are skinned and otherwise "processed" (aka have their legs cut off) while still alive and conscious. His answer floored me: "And you're surprised?"

Apparently it's pretty common knowledge that factory farms and slaughterhouses are terrible places where living animals are daily tortured and mutilated by sadistic excuses for human beings.

My answer is yes. Yes, I was surprised and disgusted when I found out about how these animals are treated. How can you be aware of the horrors that these animals are subjected to daily and not want to do something about it? Cows, pigs, and chickens are intelligent and emotional animals just like your house dogs and cats. When a story about dog or cat abuse or neglect surfaces, people are outraged; they demand something be done to the perpetrators so that the abuse doesn't happen again. When the same (or even worse) abuse and neglect happens to millions of cows, pigs, and chickens every single day, no one bats an eye. That's normal. Bacon tastes good, so who cares what happens to the animals that it comes from.

I'm so tired of this hypocrisy. I may be only one person among millions, but I am going to do something about it. I'm starting by educating myself and reading about factory farms and animal welfare in the United States. I'm cutting meat out of my diet (more than 90% of meat in the US comes from factory farms). I'm researching products that are not tested on animals. I'm putting my money where my mouth is. Is anyone with me?

"Silence is the enemy of social change." - Marc Bekoff


  1. I'm with you! I actually stopped eating meat about four years ago when I started working at my first animal shelter, mostly because I felt so hypocritical slaving away all day to fight for the rights and care of house pets and then going to the grocery store in the evening to put money in the pockets of people who make billions of dollars off of the inhumane treatment of animals every year.

    In addition to the way the animals are treated, a lot of the lower-rung worker are abused as well. The factory workers are often forced to work in really unsafe conditions, and the farmers are often bullied into doing things they hate or are against for fear of losing everything they have. It's really sad.

    1. Yes, some of the books I've read and the movie Food Inc have touched on the issues of abuse of workers, and I have at least one more book about workers' rights that I'm going to read. It seems like illegal immigrants are being systematically used and abused in slaughterhouses and factory farms as well as other farms. It's pretty messed up :-/