My chickens have no voice, but I know that they are happy because I treat them kindly and with respect. I love my chickens, and everything they do in return for me. They are well kept, have space to free-range amongst the garden beds (when empty), and they provide our family with entertainment and an abundance of healthy eggs!
I have been quiet on the subject of factory farmed animals for quite a while, and learnt a few facts yesterday at the Sustainable Living Festival, so it is time to break the silence.
Voiceless Australia have launched a campaign highlighting the conditions that factory farmed pigs and chickens are kept in around the country. I support them 100%, and believe that we are way behind European Union standards for animal cruelty laws. As Hugo Weaving (ambassador for Voiceless) says, “If I treated a dog the way pigs and chickens are treated on these farms, I’d likely be prosecuted”.
These animals are treated like objects, and without respect and dignity. Having watched pigs as a kid on our dairy farm, it does not surprise me that it has been found that they have the intellect of a 3 year old human child, and as for chickens, they each have their own personality and social structure.
So pleased be warned that these two following TV ads may disturb some readers, but they are factual. I personally don’t think they are hard hitting enough, but they certainly do get the point across.
Frugal Queen says
Australia’s economy of scale and size of the country means a lot of your animals are transported live for days. Also, non native animals such as sheep are badly treated to stop blow fly, which they wouldn’t get so badly if they were not in an inhospitable environment. We boycott all Australian wool products because of this. Here, I can see small scale farms and very few farmers have big factory farms. Outdoor pork is not much more (i know I’ve just started buying it) and free range hens are less than a quid more. my big concern is the sweatshops that workers endure making clothes, so I go to charity shops as i’m not funding that racket any more either – i’ll be naked and hungry at this rate! love froogsxx
Thank you for reminding me of the horrendous conditions that most animals here in the states also have to endure before they’re eaten! I have given up meat…this is one of the reasons!
thanks for that – thought provoking and horrific – another timely reminder of how mindful we have to be of where our food comes from and how it arrives on the plate. Let’s not beat around the bush here, we’re omnivores and kill animals for food – it is beholden on us to treat our prey with respect.
This is an issue very much on my mind, especially since two recent instances of extreme cruelty were revealed in Australian abattoirs, one in Victoria and one in NSW.
The Victorian abattoir was one used by a number of small producers who sell at some of the farmers markets I frequent. There was a statement posted on the market website distancing the producers and the abattoir owner (who has been in business for many years) from the abattoir worker’s actions, which frankly made me uncomfortable.
I do feel that a business owner has responsibility for ensuring their employees follow all applicable laws and guidelines – including those to do with animal welfare. In my mind the owner failed to meet his responsibilities. But how much responsibility does the meat producer have, when marketing their product as ethically produced? How much responsibility do I have as a consumer to make sure that both the producer and the processor are living up to their claims? I’d love to be in a position to raise and slaughter my own animals but at this point in time that’s not possible.
CCTV cameras in abattoirs, with footage available to whoever requests it might be one part of the answer. Regular farm visits open to the general public could be another, but that has issues around insurance/liability, as a working farm can be a hazardous environment. Also farmers are often busy enough without running weekly guided tours.
I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts, and how they deal with this issue.
This is one of the reasons that we decided to raise our own animals and kill them here on our property. That way we know how they have lived, including feed and chemicals used, and how they died. The thought of chickens and pigs confined to tiny pens makes me sick. I even hate seeing a cattle truck loaded with bewildered looking cattle, I imagine my own beasts on that truck and I would never want them to have that experience. We raise them to eat, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t care about them. If you can’t raise your own, at least try to buy from ethical farmers. If you can’t afford ethical meat for every meal, you can eat more veges! There’s no excuse for treating animals as if they were objects. I liked Frugal Queen’s comment about sweat shops too, that is a very good point and a good idea to stick to op shops, even when I sew my own clothes, you can be sure that the fabric came from a sweat shop too, its impossible!
I only buy my meat direct from the farmers at a local farmer’s market, all from small producers, claimed to be free-range and ethically raised. But as mentioned above, it’s come to my attention that some of those meat producers were using the services of an abattoir where a worker was found guilty of serious cruelty. So relying on the producer’s word that meat animals were ethically treated is not enough to make sure it really is true throughout the whole process.
For the vast majority of us who don’t have enough land to rear our own meat, more needs to be done – I think greater transparency is needed in all aspects of meat production, from on-farm conditions to transport to how the animal is slaughtered.