Professor Jason Mallory, Ph.D.
PHI 2600 Ethics
4 Dec. 2012
Factory Farming is Unethical and Should be Illegal
Animal rights are practically nonexistent in farming livestock today. Factory farming animals is a prime example of just how inhumanly animals are treated in our society every day all over the world. When we think about farms, we think about chickens pecking corn from the grass free roaming around a farm, cows out to pasture grazing in the fields, and pigs frolicking in the mud. But the reality is that farming has changed, and animals are suffering inconceivably. Before the turn of the century husbandry was a well know word in the agricultural industry. But today, farmers now regularly practice what they call “confinement.” Chickens are kept in small, cramped cages neglected of the ability to even stretch their wings. Their beaks are chopped off to prevent them from pecking at other chickens or their eggs, leaving them in pain for the rest of their lives. Most are so stressed that they lose their feathers and are left bald and cold. The vast majority of swine are kept in severe confinement as well. The sow will spend practically her entire reproductive life in a gestation crate 2 feet wide by 7 feet long by 3 feet high. This concrete and barred cage leaves no room for the sow to turn, and the cement floors cause severe foot and leg problems. Often, they will go mad, exhibiting compulsive behaviors such as chewing on the bars. Veal calves are also treated in such a manner and perhaps the worst of all because these animals are kept in such confinement that they cannot even turn around, or even get up or lie down freely. This form of confinement prevents the growth of unpalatable muscle. They are also made anemic and refrained from roughage to keep their flesh pale, since white veal Teitsma 2
procures a higher price. (Singer 162) All of these incredibly abusive practices are performed on animals as a means to satisfy the simple interests of our own. This treatment of animals is not only unethical but inhumane and should, in my opinion, be illegal. It’s not necessary to raise animals in severe confinement and re-instituting the practice of husbandry by banning high confinement agriculture, is the only ethical answer to Animal Factory Farming. Just because the human consumption of meat will never cease, it doesn’t mean that we need to lose sight of the basic fundamental values of treating others like we would want to be treated, human or not. We live in a society where we strive to take care of the needy, feed the poor, and bless those that are less fortunate by donating or providing care for those who can't take care of themselves. How is it that we can't see the need to treat animals with the simple decency of a humane life and proper care? Confinement Agriculture is Unethical and Should Be Illegal
We don’t need, nor ought, to mistreat animals and allow them to suffer just to meet the demands of our ever changing society. As the population increases, the demand for meat production definitely increases. Should the competition to keep the prices of meat low, and our profits high, outweigh or moral compasses to remain compassionate to living beings? With so many alternatives and resources for protein, such as soy beans or other high protein vegetables, why should we resort to animal cruelty such as extreme confinement to meet the public’s demands for low cost meat? Can we not afford to pay a little more in order to help put an end to factory farming and bring back our old ways of husbandry agricultural farming? At the turn of the century our society spent more than 50 percent of our income on food. Today we spend a mere average of 11 percent of our annual income on food. (Rollin 5) I think it's unthinkable to ignore costs paid by animal welfare. It's certainly not necessary to raise animals Teitsma 3
with any form of abuse to put a few extra dollars in our pockets. With the luxuries that...
Cited: "Factory Farm Animals Are Treated Humanely." Is Factory Farming Harming America? Ed. Stuart A. Kallen. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. At Issue. Rpt. from "Understanding 'Animal Rights ' Vs. 'Animal Welfare," agednet.com. 2004. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.
Rollin, Bernard E. "Factory Farming Is Unethical." Animal Rights. Ed. Shasta Gaughen. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Contemporary Issues Companion. Rpt. from "Farm Factories." Christian Century 118 (Dec. 2001): 26. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.
Singer, Peter “Animals and Environmentalism.” Animals Are Equal, from Animal Liberation by Peter Singer.
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