Help Save Farm Animals
The problems with factory farming are numerous. Animals have no outlet for natural behaviors—in some cases, they're not even allowed to turn around. They are separated from their mothers at only a day or two old, are subjected to painful procedures without anesthesia, and may be undernourished or overfed. To control disease, industrial farmers feed antibiotics to the animals, resulting in the growth of disease-resistant bacteria that are harder to treat in both animals and humans.
- Cattle usually stand between 4 feet, 9 inches and 5 feet, 6 inches, and beef cattle range from 850 to 2,500 pounds depending on breed and gender.
- In non-commercial herds, cows have been observed nursing their male calves for up to three years.
- Cattle have almost panoramic vision, which allows them to watch for predators or humans. They can see in color, except for red.
- They have an amazing sense of smell, and can detect scents more than six miles away.
- Cattle are ruminant herbivores and will swallow vegetation whole, then later masticate their "cud" (chew their partially digested food).
- The scientific name for the cattle group is "bos taurus," a subfamily of the bovidae family, which includes other hollow-horned animals. Interestingly, bulls are much less likely to use their horns than cows. However, the level of aggression can be influenced by the degree of confinement.
- Cattle will learn from each other's mistakes: If an individual is shocked by an electric fence, others in the herd will become alarmed and avoid it. If a herd is confined by an electric fence, only 30% will ever be shocked.
- Cattle enjoy swimming and running in the moonlight, as they have been shown to remain active for a longer period between their two sleep sessions when the moon is full.
- The lifespan of cattle averages 20 to 25 years. However, the lifespan of cattle raised for beef is significantly abbreviated. These animals are typically weaned at 6 to 10 months, live 3 to 5 months on range, spend 4 to 5 months being fattened in a feedlot, and are typically slaughtered at 15 to 20 months.
Despite their reputation, pigs have many positive attributes including cleanliness, intelligence, and a social nature. Pigs are indeed clean animals. Yes, they do roll in mud, but only because they can't sweat like people do; the mud (or water) actually keeps them cool. If available, pigs, who are excellent swimmers, prefer water to mud. Pigs also carefully keep their sleeping area clean, and will designate a spot as far from this area as possible for waste. Even piglets only a few hours old will leave the nest to relieve themselves.
Swimming gracefully across a pond or waddling comically across the land, ducks are a common feature of the landscape of most of America. There are statues devoted to them in a park in Boston, and every year that city holds a parade for the Bostonian ducklings. Walt Disney created the sputtering Donald Duck, and Warner Brothers followed with a less feisty, yet still speech-impaired, Daffy Duck.
A bald eagle, as the nation's official bird, adorns the Great Seal of the United States of America. But if Benjamin Franklin had had his way, a turkey, not a bald eagle, might have famously gripped those 13 arrows and an olive branch as part of the seal. Franklin knew, like others who have spent time around this large bird, that it would have been an honor for the turkey to represent the United States.
- You can take an active role by decreasing or eliminating meat and dairy products from your diet. You and the cattle will both benefit from your efforts. The 1997 Dietary Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorses vegetarian diets for the first time since dietary advice was first issued in 1916. Seven common diet-related conditions -- heart disease, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, gallstones, obesity, and food-borne illness -- are attributable to meat consumption. (For a copy of the report, write: Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250.)
- Report any suspected farm animal abuse or neglect to your local authorities.
The average consumer may not be aware of the suffering of billions of birds raised for meat and egg production in the United States each year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s National Statistics Service reported that 7.07 billion "broiler" chickens, 67 billion "egg" chickens, and 321 million turkeys were killed in 1998 for food. In addition, millions of birds die as a result of disease, injury, and during transportation.
- Decrease or eliminate foods containing poultry products from your diet. The 1997 Dietary Guidelines for Americans published by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorses a vegetarian diet.
- Factory farming is an extremely cruel method of raising animals, but its profitability makes it popular. Farm animals are sentient beings that experience all the same emotions we do. The best way to save animals from the misery of factory farming is to stop or reduce your consumption of meat, milk, cheese and eggs.
Consumers who avoid meat for ethical and/or health reasons often still consider dairy foods nutritious and humane. But products made from cow's milk are far from "natural" for humans and anything but humane for cows and their calves.
- Birds are routinely confined to small cages or crowded pens.
- Birds are force-fed tremendous amounts of feed via a 12- to 16-inch plastic or metal tube, which is shoved down their throats and attached to a pressurized pump.
- The force-feeding may be performed twice daily for up to two weeks for ducks and three to four times daily, for up to 28 days for geese.
- Force-feeding causes the liver to increase in size about 6-10 times compared to the normal size for a bird.
- Increased liver size forces the abdomen to expand, which makes moving difficult and painful. An enlarged abdomen increases the risk of damage to the stretched tissue of the lower part of the esophagus.
- Force-feeding results in accumulated scar tissue in the esophagus.
- The liver can be easily damaged by even minor trauma.
- Don't patronize the carriage horse industry.
- Educate others about carriage horses.
- Pressure from concerned residents has resulted in bans on carriage horses in a growing number of cities, including Palm Beach, Florida; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Las Vegas, Nevada; London; Paris; and Toronto.
Many people believe that shearing sheep helps animals who might otherwise be burdened with too much wool. But without human interference, sheep grow just enough wool to protect themselves from temperature extremes. The fleece provides effective insulation against both cold and heat. Until shears were invented in 1000 B.C., the only way to obtain wool was to "pluck" sheep during molting seasons. Breeding for continuous growth began after the advent of shears.