Animal Welfare

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Nicole Stengel
ENG 122-009
Lawless, Caprice
04/ 11/12

Thesis
Confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s) are more commonly known as factory farms in the United States and are this country’s primary source of animal food products. Mass production of meat in The U.S. has continued to increase industrialization of itself for over the course of a century. As technology within factory farms advances, efficiency increases; profit is the primary goal in mind for these industrial owners. In the 19th century, industrialization of CAFO’s thrived in efficiency and profits with new procedures that divide labor duties, cut expenses and decreased interaction between workers and livestock (Purcell, 61). The most primary difference between CAFO’s and local farming is that CAFO’s are corporately owned, confining hundreds of thousands of animals in small spaces at one time, reducing labor expenses and necessity for land ownership (An Encyclopedia of Issues). Local farms are more traditional having an appropriate ratio of livestock to workers. These livestock are less likely to suffer from neglect, abuse or unethical slaughter procedures. The tactics of meat production within CAFO’s such as the forklift and assembly lines, as well as controlled growth rates are least concerned with animal welfare and most concerned with profit as well as production efficiency. The establishers of this industry have been able to increase profits substantially by technological advancements as such devices and the use of growth hormones in livestock to obtain a fortune of income for themselves. Unfortunately, the fortune the establishers continue to earn is handed to them at a detrimental cost to three areas of importance: a) Animal Suffering

b) Consumer Health
c) Environmental Hazards
Animal Suffering
Slaughter processes are very brutal within CAFO’s and are usually long lasting in terms of suffering. CAFO livestock are exposed to neglect, abuse, physical mutilation and psychological trauma. Most livestock agriculture within CAFO’s are so closely compacted next to each other in tiny cages, they catch diseases from living in each other’s bodily wastes(In-text note). They live in sickly environmental conditions, they do not leave their cages and never see the light of day-except, perhaps when being transported to slaughter. One procedure that occurs prior to slaughter common in CAFO’s is known as, “stunning” where cows are shot by a metal bolt to the head. Hogs are stricken with an electrical jolt. This, in all is to shock the livestock subject unconscious. However, terrified cows and hogs who attempt inhibition of this process are often left partially, or even completely conscious. Nevertheless, meat production does not slow down at the sake of one subject. The subject will be preceded to slaughter regardless of whether it is conscious or not (Freeman, 66). Chickens, however, were exempted from the Humane Slaughter Act from the stunning process. Instead, they are paralyzed by the dragging of their heads along underwater pools with electrical charges. After they are paralyzed (and fully conscious), they are continued through the slaughter process on machinery that boils them alive and/or chops their heads off consecutively on a fast paced line (Freeman, 78). Calves are kept confined in small crates tied up by their limbs and necks to keep them from moving in order to keep their muscles premature and their meat tender. Meanwhile, their diets are maintained deficient in iron to keep the color of their skin pale. The harsh conditions exposed to calves are willfully condemned upon them by farm operators as a mechanism to obtain a specific taste in the meat. It is not surprising that when compared to all diseases that spread among livestock in CAFO’s, calves are the most susceptible to fatality. Calve deaths range from 15-20% in most “successful” factory farm operations. Other than iron deficiency and confinement, this fatality for calves is...
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