Tag Archives: animal suffering on factory farms

We crucified the Lamb of God — Why do we still slaughter sheep?

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By Dan Paden

As I read Exodus and Leviticus this Lent, the ritual sacrifices of lambs, oxen and other animals strike me. Imagining how the offerings of these slaughtered animals looked, sounded and smelled fuels powerful meditations on the death of Jesus, the “Lamb of God.” It also makes me wonder: Why do the faithful still have countless lambs and sheep — among other species — killed so violently for us?

Christ’s death, after all, made animal sacrifices obsolete. According to Saint Paul, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, no one else — including lambs and other sheep — need die for our sins. But need they die for us at all? God put animals’ fate into our hands only after He lamented our ancestors’ wickedness and flooded the Earth. This likely left Noah’s family with little to eat and wear but animals. That’s a bleak position to be in: Kill, eat and cover oneself with God’s creations — or perish.

I don’t face such desperation. Very few readers do. We don’t need to eat lamb — hundreds of healthy, happy Trappist monks and nuns across the U.S. can attest to that — or wear wool.

And yet, in a nation where more than 70 percent of the population self-identifies as Christian, around 37,000 lambs and older sheep are slaughtered every week at federally inspected plants. Nearly 190,000 lambs and sheep were killed on U.S. farms from 2014 to 2015.

In Colorado, my friend documented a shearer who twisted one such victim’s neck, breaking it, and then kicked her headfirst down a chute, where she died.

That horrible treatment cannot be considered an isolated incident. In 2014, another colleague of mine documented that workers in Argentina cut the throats of conscious lambs and started to skin some of them while they were still kicking. Months earlier, PETA had revealed that in Australia, workers beat sheep while shearing them.

All that pain and agony was inflicted on God’s creations here and elsewhere simply so that someone could buy a lamb chop or a pair of socks made of wool. The U.S. produced more than 25 million pounds of wool — and imported millions of pounds more — in 2015.

So we must ask ourselves: Are the sheep and lambs who are slaughtered today dying because of our sins?

Sin “is an offense against … right conscience … caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods” (Catechism of the Catholic Church). If we wouldn’t slit a conscious lamb’s throat or break a sheep’s neck ourselves, can our conscience rightly accept having others do so on our behalf?

Isn’t it only our stubborn attachment to mere taste preferences — whether for a particular dish or a certain sweater—that keeps us buying lambs’ flesh or wool in the face of such endemic cruelty?

I confess that I once cherished the wool sweaters that my grandparents gave me each Christmas. But when I learned of the agony woven in with that yarn and the blood washed out of it, I could no longer in good conscience wear them or any wool. To do so would be to support all the terror and suffering that exist in the interconnected wool and sheep-flesh industries.

This Lent, as we strive especially hard to turn away from sin, may we also take up Christ’s instruction to “proclaim the gospel to every creature.” We can start to bring His good news to all creation by leaving lambs and sheep off our plates and their skin and fleece off our backs.

For the faithful — and indeed, for all kind people — our choice is simple but stark: We can work toward God’s peaceable kingdom to come, in which no animal will be harmed or destroyed — or pay others to harm and stab these docile, fellow living beings on our behalf.

Which will you choose?

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Top 10 Reasons to Go Vegan in 2017

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Rose stopped eating red meat, pork and lamb 30 years ago, after her sojourn at a hippie-veggie commune💙! She used to eat chicken dinner 3x/year. Fish maybe 1x/month. She gave up chicken for the New Year. She’s hoping to cut poultry out of her diet FOREVER. So far, so good … Mix her mostly plant-based diet with her two hyper-active, LOVE-THEIR-DAILY-WALKS dogs + one crazy little rag and Rose has lost and kept off 25 lbs … and feels pretty good for an old broad!😉

From PETA.ORG:

Many people’s New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, eating better, getting healthier, and doing more to make the world a better place. The good news is that you can accomplish all these goals by switching to a vegan diet—and you’ll enjoy delicious, satisfying meals as well.

Here are our top 10 reasons to go vegan this year:

1. Slim down and become energized: Is shedding some extra pounds first on your list of goals for the new year? Vegans are, on average, up to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters are. And unlike unhealthy fad diets, which leave you feeling tired (and usually don’t keep the pounds off for long), going vegan is the healthy way to keep the excess fat off for good while leaving you with plenty of energy.

2. It’s the best way to help animals: Did you know that every vegan saves more than 100 animals a year? There is simply no easier way to help animals and prevent suffering than by choosing vegan foods over meat, eggs, and dairy products.

3. A healthier, happier you: A vegan diet is great for your health! According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans are less likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure than meat-eaters are. Vegans get all the nutrients that they need to be healthy, such as plant protein, fiber, and minerals, without all the nasty stuff in meat that slows you down and makes you sick, such as cholesterol and saturated animal fat.

4. Vegan food is delicious: So you’re worried that if you go vegan, you’ll have to give up hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and ice cream? You won’t. As the demand for vegan food skyrockets, companies are coming out with more and more delicious meat and dairy-product alternatives that taste like the real thing but are much healthier and don’t hurt any animals.

5. Meat is gross: Meat is often contaminated with feces, blood, and other bodily fluids—all of which make animal products the top source of food poisoning in the United States. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tested supermarket chicken flesh and found that 96 percent of Tyson chicken was contaminated with campylobacter, a dangerous bacterium that causes 2.4 million cases of food poisoning each year, resulting in diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever.

6. Help feed the world: Eating meat doesn’t just hurt animals—it hurts people, too. It takes tons of crops and water to raise farmed animals. In fact, it takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh! All that plant food could be used much more efficiently if it were fed directly to people. The more people who go vegan, the better able we’ll be to feed the hungry.

7. Save the planet: Meat is not green. Consuming meat is actually one of the worst things that you can do for the Earth. It is wasteful and causes enormous amounts of pollution, and the meat industry is also one of the biggest causes of climate change. Adopting a vegan diet is more effective than switching to a “greener” car in the fight against climate change.

8. All the cool kids are doing it: The list of stars who shun animal flesh is basically a “who’s who” of today’s hottest celebs. Joaquin Phoenix, Natalie Portman, Ariana Grande, Al Gore, Flo Rida, Tobey Maguire, Shania Twain, Alicia Silverstone, Anthony Kiedis, Casey Affleck, Kristen Bell, Alyssa Milano, Common, Joss Stone, Anne Hathaway, and Carrie Underwood are just some of the famous vegans and vegetarians who regularly appear in People magazine.

9. Look sexy and be sexy: Vegans tend to be thinner than meat-eaters and have more energy, which is perfect for late-night romps with your special someone. (Guys: The cholesterol and saturated animal fat found in meat, eggs, and dairy products don’t just clog the arteries to your heart. Over time, they impede blood flow to other vital organs as well.) Plus, what’s sexier than someone who is not only mega-hot but also compassionate?

10. Pigs are smarter than your dog: Although most people are less familiar with pigs, chickens, fish, and cows than they are with dogs and cats, animals used for food are every bit as intelligent and able to suffer as the animals who share our homes are. Pigs can learn to play video games, and chickens are so smart that their intelligence has been compared by scientists to that of monkeys.

This Valentine’s Day, show some serious love to animals! Pledge to go vegetarian – or eat way less meat! Drop the fur – forever! Bannish wool from your closet! Fight for ALL animals (even the ones you don’t think are cute)!💙

From PETA.ORG. Some sweet – and arresting – images. – R.T.

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Don’t give up now: Your New Year’s resolutions are doing more good than you know!

But first …

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Surprise! Rose found these beauties all a-bloom on her kitchen window ledge yesterday! Tender reminders of April in January…She hid this 2-year-old African violet behind the blue draperies, away from Cece’s digging, pulling and peeing but believed her little kitten had out-smarted her again and had gotten into the pot to make mischief … pics: R.T.

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Cece has made a mockery of Rose’s recently “unearthed” interest in house plants!

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The sole survivor!

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The plain pissed-off!

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Love you, Miss Cece!💝💝💝💝

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By Michelle Kretzer

If you need some extra motivation to stick with New Year’s resolutions that seemed so easily attainable just a few weeks ago, consider this: Much like the butterfly effect, your resolutions have the potential to make a positive impact on the environment and animals — including butterflies.

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, made by nearly a third of Americans, is to eat better and lose weight. The two go hand in hand, of course, which explains why numerous people — including Beyoncé, Al Gore, James Cameron and Alicia Silverstone — found that when they traded in their usual diets filled with meat and dairy products for colorful plant-based foods, the pounds fell off and didn’t come back. And the fringe benefits are nothing to shake a carrot stick at. For every day that you eat plant foods instead of meat and dairy products, you will save 1,100 gallons of water, 40 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forest, 20 pounds of CO2—and the life of an animal.

If you are among the many people who will stop smoking this year, you may save not only your own life but likely the lives of some dogs, mice, rats and monkeys. It has long been proved that cigarette smoking causes diseases in nearly every organ of the human body, yet tobacco companies continue to conduct painful experiments on animals. When you stop buying cigarettes, you cut off the experimenters’ funding.

Many Americans are determined to find love in 2017. Dating apps are great tools, but a tried-and-true way to meet people who share your values is to get involved in community-service organizations. You can join groups that help clean up local parks and beaches, hold adoption fairs for homeless animals, plant neighborhood gardens and run countless other volunteer projects. The same goes for resolutions to spend more quality time with family and friends. Working together to have a positive impact on your community instead of simply having dinner will strengthen your relationships and your health.

A lot of us have certain pesky tasks that always seem to get put off, so we tell ourselves on New Year’s Day, “I am going to get this done.” One that often seems to get put on the back burner is establishing a plan of action for emergencies. But if you’re checking that one off this year, don’t forget to include a plan for keeping your animal companions safe in a crisis situation, too. Fill a carrier with leashes, bowls, veterinary records, medicines, a bottle of water, a photo of each animal and a list of hotels that accept animal guests during natural disasters.

If you resolved to spruce up your yard, planting flowers and bushes will provide food sources for butterflies, bees and other wildlife, helping their populations and filling your yard with flora and fauna.

New Year’s is a popular time to decide to save more money, perhaps for a vacation, for a big-ticket item or to build up a nest egg. One easy way to economize that most people haven’t thought of is to order a meat-free dish when dining out. A good vegetable stir-fry, asparagus and mushroom risotto, or veggie sushi roll can cost you about half (or less) what most meaty dishes would. If you dine out twice a week, the savings add up quickly. And of course, if you “DIY” and make plant-based meals at home, you’ll save even more. Either way, as mentioned above, eating vegan is kinder to animals and the planet.

Perhaps best of all, this means that if you can stick with your resolutions for improving your own life, then your intention to do more good for others will easily take care of itself.

Go, Lettuce Ladies, go!!!

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PETA’s Lettuce Ladies have toured the world — from England to India, and beyond — with their vegan message, helping countless folks turn over a new leaf.

They’re culturally conscious advocates who encourage people everywhere to ditch meat by offering them free, delicious, plant-based meals, …

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… vegan starter kits and leaflets bursting at the seams with information about how our choices affect animals.

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Lettuce Ladies embody empowerment! Our advocates are all volunteers. Lettuce Ladies choose to turn heads to protect animals, improve people’s health, and help fight climate change.

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They know that, unlike themselves, millions of animals suffering and dying on factory farms and in slaughterhouses are never given the chance to consent. Cows, pigs, chickens, minks, foxes, and all other animals exploited by the food and fashion industries have no say in what happens to their bodies, so our Lettuce Ladies use their own to call attention to the plight of these living beings.

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Today, in a society that uses scantily clad models to sell everything from cars to cheeseburgers, those who use their bodies as a political or an emotional statement to call for justice and compassion — as our Lettuce Ladies do — are a breath of fresh air!

There will be a (vegan) revolution in the new year … and … 3 so-easy veggie pasta dishes by Chef Joey

By Heather Moore

It’s time for a vegan revolution!

I mean … resolution. Each new year, countless people resolve to lose weight and eat healthfully, but many find themselves no thinner—or healthier—in July than they were in January. Perhaps this year, everyone should put some stock in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (AND) new position paper on vegetarian and vegan eating and resolve to ditch meat, eggs and dairy foods.

The updated AND paper, which was published in December, confirms that wholesome vegan foods “are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” It specifically points out that people who eat plant-based meals are less likely to suffer from obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.

According to the authors, people who go vegan reduce their risk of developing diabetes by a whopping 62 percent, of being hospitalized for a heart attack by 33 percent, of suffering from heart disease by 29 percent and of succumbing to any form of cancer by 18 percent. Men can reduce their chance of developing prostate cancer by 35 percent just by eating vegan.

And in case you weren’t listening the first time they said it, the AND reiterated its assertion that a vegan lifestyle is suitable—even beneficial—for everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies, children, adults, athletes and your third cousin, twice removed.

And that’s not to mention anyone who professes to care about animals or the environment.

The report even includes information on the environmental aspects of eating vegan. Susan Levin, one of the report’s authors, acknowledges that the AND’s expertise is in nutrition but says that it’s impossible to ignore the evidence proving that plant-based foods are better for the planet. Research has shown that if everyone ate a plant-based diet, it would cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent and save 8 million human lives by 2050.

Going vegan spares countless animals, too, so it’s the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint. And not to sound like a teenager, but everyone is doing it. According to a Harris Interactive study, there are nearly 4 million adult vegans in the U.S. alone (and even more vegetarians). More and more companies now offer plant-based options in order to meet the growing demand. Ben & Jerry’s, for example, introduced four vegan ice cream flavors in 2016, and Unilever, maker of Hellmann’s and Best Foods, recently introduced its own nondairy mayo spread—after previously suing another company that makes vegan mayonnaise for alleged false advertising, because it argued at the time that mayonnaise must contain eggs.

In late 2016, Tyson Foods, Inc.—the largest U.S. meat company by sales—invested in Beyond Meat, a company that makes vegan meats. It was a smart move: The vegan-meat market is projected to reach $5.2 billion globally by 2020.

So, yeah, I guess a vegan revolution is taking place—an innovative one at that. A few months ago, a meat-free gastropub opened in Miami, and the city is getting a vegan butcher in early 2017. It won’t even be the nation’s first—The Herbivorous Butcher opened in Minneapolis in January 2016. A popular Mexican restaurant in Dallas made news when it switched to serving all-vegan fare, and North Dakota recently got its first vegan restaurant.

Out with the old and in with the new, as they say. If you want to turn over a new leaf, resolve to go vegan in 2017. And if you need help—and extra inspiration—check out Jackie Day’s new book, The Vegan Way. It includes 21 days’ worth of tips and encouragement that will help you be a happy, healthy vegan.

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“recipes,” photos and cutlines by Chef Joey

Three vegetarian pasta dishes

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Butter and mushrooms on spinach pasta

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Tomatoes and mushrooms on spinach pasta

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Butter, mushrooms and sage on gluten-free noodles

Early voters! All voters! – Please VOTE YES on QUESTION 3

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Rosalie asks you to Vote YES on Q 3 – for the animals!

Question 3 – Humane Conditions for Farm Animals

Question 3 “would prohibit any confinement of pigs, calves, and hens that prevents them from lying down, standing up, fully extending their limbs, or turning around freely.”

PLEASE VOTE YES ON QUESTION 3!

By Rosalie Tirella

Don’t believe the fear-mongers!!! A YES vote on Question 3 helps the Mass. economy! Especially our local Worcester County farmers, all of whom farm with wisdom and compassion! A YES vote means an economic boost for our local farmer guys and gals! A YES vote means you are supporting our LOCAL biz folks – mostly small biz folks. Many of whom are third/fourth generation farmers…

Egg, pork and veal suppliers from other states who “factory farm” – an innocuos-sounding phrase that only hints at the cruelty/neglect that is never-ending when raising farm animals in gargantuan, miles-long warehouses, “animal-factories” where pigs, chickens and calves are treated like widgets/assembly line parts and not like animals – will have to make improvements. Animals that need sunlight; space in which to turn around, walk around, stand up, fully extend their limbs; caregivers who don’t kick, stomp, punch or fling them will at least be given “the right” to turn around in their crates and cages, lie down, turn their heads, stand up. So basic!!! This is all Q 3 asks for!

Factory farms that truck their “product” “produced” by animals living in factory farm animal-hells will be prohibited from selling their “product” in Massachusetts. Their pork, eggs, veal will not be accepted here until their farm animals are housed more humanely. Just like the way McDonald’s and Wal-Mart treat their egg suppliers: If you house your chickens in animal hell, these multi-billion dollar global corporations tell the factory farms, then we don’t buy your eggs – do business with you!

OUTSTANDING! VISIONARY!

The ABUSE of farm animals in America on factory farms MUST STOP! LIKE ALL AMAZING animal/human (the two are intertwined!) RIGHTS crusades, A NEW AND BETTER WORLD FOR FARM ANIMALS needs to start somewhere. Why not in beautiful Massachusetts, once home to the abolitionists and suffragettes and now home to climate-change visionaries and women’s rights crusaders? Suppliers will get the message and, for love of the holy BUCK$$$, they WILL MAKE the necessary improvements. They will make THEIR HUGE FACILITIES MORE HUMANE so they can once again sell their “product” in Massachusetts. Like Woody sang: It’s all about the do(ugh) re me!

If all 50 of our great states had a Question 3 on their ballots election day what a wonderful America it would be! And if it was voted in, millions of farm animals would be able to literally breathe more freely, cry out in pain and fear a little less often, physically ache not as intensely … stand, turn around, move their heads in their cages/crates, fully extend their limbs! This is all we ask! To alleviate some of their suffering! 

Slavery in the U.S. was once called “good business” by millions of “good” people in this country!

Child labor was once labelled “good business,” too!

Circuses with performing elephants were “business” as usual all over the world.

But times change. People evolve – our hearts grow bigger. We see the light.

SEE THE LIGHT this election season! EARLY VOTERS and NOV. 8 VOTERS – please Vote YES  on Question 3!

Thank you!

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The yes on Question 3, Citizens for Farm Animal Protection (www.citizensforfarmanimals.com) state on the Secretary of State’s ballot information mailer:

• “A YES vote prevents cruel treatment of animals in Massachusetts by ending the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small they can’t turn around or stretch their limbs, and will remove inhumane and unsafe products from the Massachusetts marketplace.”

• “Endorsed by the MSPCA, Animal Rescue League of Boston, The Humane Society of the United States, and 400 Massachusetts veterinarians because no animal should be immobilized in a cramped cage.”

“Endorsed by the Center for Food Safety and Consumer Federation of America because cage confinement increases food safety risks, and a YES vote protects Massachusetts consumers.”

“Endorsed by Massachusetts family farmers and the United Farm Workers because proper treatment of animals is better for farmers. From McDonald’s to Walmart, retailers are switching to
cage-free eggs—the right thing to do at the right cost.”

VOTE YES ON 3!!!!

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From PETA.ORG:

Factory Farming: Misery for Animals

On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and stuffed into wire cages, metal crates, and other torturous devices. These animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural and important to them. Most won’t even feel the warmth of the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they’re loaded onto trucks headed for slaughterhouses.

The factory farming industry strives to maximize output while minimizing costs—always at the animals’ expense. The giant corporations that run most factory farms have found that they can make more money by squeezing as many animals as possible into tiny spaces, even though many of the animals die from disease or infection.

Animals on factory farms endure constant fear and torment:

They’re often given so little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably. Egg-laying hens are kept in small cages, chickens and pigs are kept in jam-packed sheds, and cows are kept on crowded, filthy feedlots.

Antibiotics are used to make animals grow faster and to keep them alive in the unsanitary conditions. Research shows that factory farms’ widespread use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.

Most factory-farmed animals have been genetically manipulated to grow larger or to produce more milk or eggs than they naturally would. Some chickens grow so unnaturally large that their legs cannot support their outsized bodies, and they suffer from starvation or dehydration when they can’t walk to reach food and water.

When they’ve grown large enough to slaughter or their bodies have been worn out from producing milk or eggs, animals raised for food are crowded onto trucks and transported for miles through all weather extremes, typically without food or water. At the slaughterhouse, those who survived the transport will have their throats slit, often while they’re still conscious. Many remain conscious when they’re plunged into the scalding-hot water of the defeathering or hair-removal tanks or while their bodies are being skinned or hacked apart.

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VOTE YES ON QUESTION 3!

Nov. 8 please vote for humane living conditions for farm animals! Vote YES on Question 3

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Rosalie – 10/12/2016 …Over the years she’s run hundreds of articles in InCity Times on animal cruelty. Massachusetts farm animals need your support this election! Educate yourselves! Learn more below (we’ve made some sentences bold):

VOTE YES ON QUESTION 3

Please visit citizensforfarmanimals.com

Thank you,

“Rose”

Factory farms abuse animals

By Craig Shapiro

Imagine spending your life confined to a crate that is so small you can’t turn around. Imagine being mutilated without getting a painkiller or being forced to live in your own waste.

Billions of farmed animals endure these and other abuses every day — and when their bodies give out, they’re slaughtered for their flesh.

Mother pigs spend most of their lives in “gestation” crates about 7 feet long and 2 feet wide. After giving birth, they’re moved to farrowing crates that are only wide enough for them to lie down and nurse. Some piglets are just 10 days old when they’re taken from their mothers, who, in a cruel cycle, are impregnated again.

Piglets are held in crowded, filthy stalls until they’re separated to be raised for breeding or meat. The stress of confinement often leads to cannibalism and tail-biting, so their teeth are broken off with pliers and their tails are chopped off. Millions are also castrated — without being given painkillers.

Cows produce milk for the same reason humans do — to nourish their young — but calves on dairy farms are taken from their mothers when they’re just a day old. They’re fed milk replacers, including cattle blood, so their mothers’ milk can be sold to humans.

Female cows are artificially inseminated just after their first birthdays; once they give birth, they lactate for 10 months and are inseminated again. Some spend their lives standing on concrete floors while others are crowded onto massive feedlots and forced to live amid their own feces.

The stress of these conditions leads to disease, lameness and reproductive problems that make the cows worthless to the dairy industry, and after four or five years, they’re trucked to slaughter. A cow’s natural lifespan is about 20 years.

Female calves who aren’t slaughtered immediately replace their mothers in the dairy herd. But many males end up in miniscule veal crates that intentionally prohibit exercise and normal muscle growth. Kept in darkness, they are fed low-iron milk substitutes so that they will become anemic and their flesh stays pale and tender.

Many suffer from chronic pneumonia, diarrhea and other diseases that are caused by their unhealthy living conditions. These young calves are often just 12 weeks old when they’re sent off for slaughter. Many can barely walk because of disease or muscle atrophy.

More than 8 billion chickens are raised and killed for meat each year — in fetid, windowless sheds that stink of ammonia. To keep up with demand and cut costs, farmers give chicks steady doses of growth-promoting drugs to ensure they reach “processing” weight quickly, often in as little as six weeks.

The hundreds of millions of hens who are raised for their eggs spend their lives in wire-mesh cages that rub off their feathers, chafe their skin and cripple their feet. Chickens can live for a decade, but these hens are so exhausted their egg production wanes after about two years. More than 100 million “spent” hens are slaughtered every year.

Male chicks born on egg farms don’t survive nearly that long. Millions are just a day old when they’re killed, usually in high-speed grinders called “macerators.”

Factory farms don’t want us to know their dirty secrets, but there is a cruel, bloody story behind every piece of animal flesh, cheese or egg on our plates. The silver lining is that we can end this abuse by switching to a humane, healthy, eco-friendly, plant-based diet.

For more info, visit:

http://www.citizensforfarmanimals.com

Not eating poultry – always in style! … An industry built on suffering

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They’re not chickens and they’re not dinner, but they’re lovely strutting before this cute little blue South Worcester home! Go, Worcester’s inner-city, go!!! pic:R.T.

By Dan Paden

What’s the backbone of the poultry industry?

Suffering.

And few touched by this industry escape unscathed.

Earlier this year, an Oxfam report found that workers at this country’s four largest chicken conglomerates are ignored, ridiculed or even threatened with being fired if they dare to ask for or take “unscheduled” bathroom breaks. Those who are unable to “hold it” are forced to urinate or defecate in place, while working the processing line—a demeaning and disgusting prospect. Some have resorted to wearing diapers while on the job.

Workers take additional hits in the form of ridiculously low wages and exposure to dangerous air conditions that may lead to asthma, bronchitis or other chronic respiratory illnesses. Those who work in slaughterhouses may lose fingertips—or even worse—to the machinery.

The poultry industry also turns a blind eye to the environment. Three of the top 15 U.S. waterway polluters are chicken companies, and poultry producers suck up clean water at an alarming rate. Chicken farms pump harmful bacteria and other pollutants into the air, potentially sickening nearby communities. And ironically, the current industry trend toward organic chicken—which produces smaller animals—exacerbates environmental decay: Raising smaller chickens means that the number of birds has to go up in order to meet demand, which, in turn, means more water wasted and hundreds of thousands of extra tons of manure to cope with (not to mention a larger number of suffering individuals).

In light of its complete disregard for its own workers and even the very air we breathe, it’s no surprise that the poultry industry condemns chickens, too, to widespread suffering. These inquisitive, clever animals are raised in filthy, windowless sheds, crammed in by the thousands, with virtually no opportunity to engage in natural forms of behavior, such as dustbathing and roosting. At slaughter time, they’ll be crammed into open-air trucks in the dead of night and transported through all weather extremes to the slaughterhouse. Some birds will die along the way, succumbing to dehydration, heat exhaustion or freezing temperatures or crushed under the weight of their cagemates.

The survivors will have their legs forcibly jammed into shackles, and as they hang helplessly upside-down, their throats will be cut by a spinning blade. But not all will die immediately: Each year, nearly 1 million birds will still be conscious when they are immersed in scalding-hot water so that their feathers can be removed.

Even at birth, chickens are shown little kindness. A recent PETA exposé of a massive North Carolina hatchery operated by Sanderson Farms, Inc.—also one of the companies cited by Oxfam’s damning report—documented that chicks who hatched later than expected were often left to suffer in barren plastic crates. These hours-old babies—deprived of warmth, comfort and mothering—are seen gasping for air, some too weak to stand or lift their heads. Discarded but still-living chicks were dropped into a giant grinding machine called a macerator—but some fell to the side and were simply left alone to languish and die.

Perhaps what’s most shocking is that in the poultry industry, it’s standard practice for unwanted chicks to be ground up alive, just as it’s standard practice to confine older birds for their entire lives to windowless sheds. None of this everyday suffering is illegal in the many states whose anti-cruelty statutes exempt “normal” factory-farming practices.

Most consumers, though, have no idea that when they buy eggs, chicken, other types of meat or even dairy foods at the grocery store, they are financially supporting institutionalized abuse. Investigations by PETA and other concerned groups into the abuse that occurs out of the public eye are crucial for consumers to understand where their foods come from. But across the country, anti-whistleblower laws (commonly referred to as “ag-gag” laws)—which block people from documenting and exposing cruelty to animals—threaten these vital investigations. Such laws protect abusers, never the abused.

All those chicken fingers, buffalo wings, rotisserie-roasted breasts—every single purchase contributes to suffering. Every single purchase declares your support for the abusers rather than for the abused. Stick up for the abused: Go vegan!