The Yulin DogFestival is located every year in southern China. Unlike the title may suggest,it is a place where 10,000 dogs and cats are skinned alive or beaten to deathso their meat can be eaten (Mechanic). Since many Americans have dogs and cats in their household,it disturbs them to see them in slaughterhouses.
However, this is hypocritical behaviorsince many of those who will be angered over the murder of domesticated animalsdo not care about other forms of animal cruelty in the meat and dairy industry.A writer named Jesse Mechanic agrees, stating, “There’s a largecontingent of keyboard activists who will shamelessly grab a cheeseburger forlunch right after signing a petition against animal abuse.”Thefight for animal rights began all the way back in the 17th centuryin England before industrialization occurred, but cruelty only got worse afterthat (Fellenz 2).
In today’s society, farm animals are most commonly killed bymeans of crushing, burning, stun gun, or gassing. Annually, 9.34 million pigs,2.4 million cows, and 179,000 sheep are slaughtered (Pigs). There are differentkinds of activists, some going so far as to making lifestyle changes. This mayinclude veganism, the practice of eating no meat and no animal by-products, orvegetarianism, the practice of eating no meat but animal by products.
The debate surrounding the meat and dairy industrieshas been around for a long time, the process of how they treat the animals isinhumane; luckily, there are many types of activists.Peoplefirst started questioning the means of animal cruelty all the way back in the17th century in Europe (Fellenz 2). Some authors, scholars, and philosophers felt as if it was morallyincorrect and problematic. The defense for this was that Aristotle thought animals had no reason, wereslaves, and irrational. This rationale was used as justification for manypeople for centuries. Another reason people thought it was okay for animals tobe murdered for humans’ wants was due to the Bible. In the Bible, God gavehumans’ rights over animals, stating, “Then God said, “Let us make mankindin our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the seaand the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and overall the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:26, Bible).Luckily, in the 1800’s in England and the U.
S., laws for animal protection werepassed. Unfortunately, some defended livestock, however, some did not (Evans 1).An example of one of these laws was the 28 HourLaw of 1873. It stated that livestock traveling across state line be rested andgiven water every 28 hours.
Itwas not until the 1970’s that genuine public interest arose about animalrights. Richard D Ryder, Britishwriter, psychologist, and animal rights advocate, was one of the people whoopened up societies’ eyes. He wrote a book entitled “Animal Revolution”, amongmany others. Ryder coined term “speciesism” (similar to racism and sexism) (Evans2).
He also created the word “painism” to show his opinion that everythingthat feels pain deserves rights. In 1979, Attorneys for Animal Rights, thelawyer being Joyce Tishcler, had their first case. Also, The Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL)was created in 1955 to work towards the first Federal Humane Slaughter Act(passed in 1958). More laws passed during this period were the LaboratoryAnimal Welfare Act (1966), the Endangered Species Act (1969), the HorseProtection Act (1970), and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972). The historyof fighting for animal rights has been very controversial, but it is importantto continue to stand up for what is right.The cruelty experienced by goats and cows are both veryalarming.
They receive absolutely no vet care, even when they are ill (Walls).They are also often fed spoiled food, and can be found walking and sleeping intheir own and others’ feces due to lack of cleanliness. Cattle are prone to getillnesses such as eye cancer, respiratory disease, and metabolic disease due tothe conditions they must live in (Evans 4). It has been reported that insteadof disposing of their dead bodies the correct and humane way as required bylaw, that some slaughterhouses simply throw them behind sheds and cover themwith a tarp. Workers normally beat the goats with sticks and their hands toforce them into the milking parlor (Fellenz 6). Cows and goats are loaded withhormones, such as recombinant bovine growth hormone, to force them toproduce ten times the amount of milk a wild cow or goat would. This is inhumaneand leaves a huge toll on the animals (Walls 2). Also, during the process ofbeing milked, it is not uncommon for cows to receive electrical shocks, whichmay result in immediate death.
Former slaughterhouse workers reported that theysaw conscious cattle going down the bleed rail, when they should be dead bythat point (Evans 4). Furthermore, workers also claimed that “animals wereblinking, moving, looking around, and making noises (while they were supposedto be dead)” (Evans 4).The way slaughterhouses treat cows and goats is inhumaneand should be dealt with.Pigs are also treated harshly, just in differentways. Male pigs are always castrated, meaning their testicles are removed, withno painkillers involved (Pigs).
The reason why farmers do this is becauseconsumers complain that their meat tastes odd if it is not done. On the otherhand, female pigs are constantly impregnated for four to five continuous yearsuntil they are finally killed. This can cause a huge strain on the pigs,especially because as soon as their babies are born, they are instantly takenaway from their mothers. There is no time allowed for bonding and the mothersoften cry out for their young. Also, mother pigs are placed in gestationcrates, places where it is so tightly packed that they are often unable to movearound (Fellenz 5).
While in theslaughterhouse, oftentimes the workers are unable to kill the sow with one shotwith the stun gun. If this happens, then they are not shot again and thendumped into the pot of scalding hot water and boiled alive. After the pigletsare born, they are so crowded together that they will become stressed veryeasily. Stress in piglets can cause them to convert to cannibalism or tailbiting. To avoid this, farmers will cut off their tails and break their teethoff, all done without painkillers (Pigs). Even though these animals are treated with norespect, luckily there are many who are willing to stand up for them.
Some ofthese people go so far as to change their lifestyle as a protest to animalrights. This includes veganism and vegetarianism. Veganism is when a persondoes not eat any meat nor any animal by-products, such as eggs and cheese.Vegetarianism is when a person does not eat meat, but will eat animal by-products.An activist is defined as a person who “takes direct and vigorous action tofurther a cause” (Evans 1). This may include speaking, writing, and any otherform of protesting to stand up for what they believe is correct. There are twotypes of animal activists. The first one is an animal welfarist.
They mayrescue pets and they believe animals have rights, but it depends on the correcttiming. For example, they may defend pets but will eat meat. The second type ismore radical. They are called animal fundamentalists. They believe that everyanimal has the right to live no matter what their appearance. Fundamentalistsare often driven by economics, moral, and philosophical beliefs (Evans 2). Bothtypes of activists are important in helping the animal rights movement.
Thereare also different types of animal organizations. Some examples are ASPCA,PETA, AHA, and HSUS. Their goals vary.
For example, PETA promotes veganism butASPCA does not promote nor bash veganism. Some common goals of most includebanning horses being killed for food, show casing the abuse of slaughterhouses,fighting for poultry to be covered under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act,and protecting downed, or injured, animals. Both types of animal activists dotheir best to make a difference for those who cannot speak for themselves. The way slaughterhouses and farms treat the animalsis cruel, fortunately, there are many types of activists; the debate betweenwhat is right and wrong for these animals has been an ongoing topic ofdiscussion for many years now.
There are many reasons why some choose to notinvolve themselves in the animal rights movement. One is due to religiousreasons, because the Bible states that God gave humans rights over animals.Another is that Aristotle thought it was okay to kill an animal for a human’swants. Cows and goats are often beaten and treated inhumanely to force them toproduce more milk, due to high demand from consumers.
Similarly, pigs aretreated with no respect. Farmers tear out their teeth and chop off their tails.Luckily, some laws have been passed to protect farm animals at least a bit.
Farmanimals deserve rights just as any other animals do.