The Yulin Dog
Festival 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 death
so 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 behavior
since many of those who will be angered over the murder of domesticated animals
do not care about other forms of animal cruelty in the meat and dairy industry.
A writer named Jesse Mechanic agrees, stating, “There’s a large
contingent of keyboard activists who will shamelessly grab a cheeseburger for
lunch right after signing a petition against animal abuse.”
fight for animal rights began all the way back in the 17th century
in England before industrialization occurred, but cruelty only got worse after
that (Fellenz 2). In today’s society, farm animals are most commonly killed by
means 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 different
kinds of activists, some going so far as to making lifestyle changes. This may
include veganism, the practice of eating no meat and no animal by-products, or
vegetarianism, the practice of eating no meat but animal by products. The debate surrounding the meat and dairy industries
has been around for a long time, the process of how they treat the animals is
inhumane; luckily, there are many types of activists.
first started questioning the means of animal cruelty all the way back in the
17th century in Europe (Fellenz 2). Some authors, scholars, and philosophers felt as if it was morally
incorrect and problematic. The defense for this was that Aristotle thought animals had no reason, were
slaves, and irrational. This rationale was used as justification for many
people for centuries. Another reason people thought it was okay for animals to
be murdered for humans’ wants was due to the Bible. In the Bible, God gave
humans’ rights over animals, stating, “Then God said, “Let us make mankind
in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea
and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over
all 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 were
passed. Unfortunately, some defended livestock, however, some did not (Evans 1).
An example of one of these laws was the 28 Hour
Law of 1873. It stated that livestock traveling across state line be rested and
given water every 28 hours.
was not until the 1970’s that genuine public interest arose about animal
rights. Richard D Ryder, British
writer, psychologist, and animal rights advocate, was one of the people who
opened up societies’ eyes. He wrote a book entitled “Animal Revolution”, among
many others. Ryder coined term “speciesism” (similar to racism and sexism) (Evans
2). He also created the word “painism” to show his opinion that everything
that feels pain deserves rights. In 1979, Attorneys for Animal Rights, the
lawyer 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 Laboratory
Animal Welfare Act (1966), the Endangered Species Act (1969), the Horse
Protection Act (1970), and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972). The history
of fighting for animal rights has been very controversial, but it is important
to continue to stand up for what is right.
The cruelty experienced by goats and cows are both very
alarming. 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 in
their own and others’ feces due to lack of cleanliness. Cattle are prone to get
illnesses such as eye cancer, respiratory disease, and metabolic disease due to
the conditions they must live in (Evans 4). It has been reported that instead
of disposing of their dead bodies the correct and humane way as required by
law, that some slaughterhouses simply throw them behind sheds and cover them
with a tarp. Workers normally beat the goats with sticks and their hands to
force them into the milking parlor (Fellenz 6). Cows and goats are loaded with
hormones, such as recombinant bovine growth hormone, to force them to
produce ten times the amount of milk a wild cow or goat would. This is inhumane
and leaves a huge toll on the animals (Walls 2). Also, during the process of
being milked, it is not uncommon for cows to receive electrical shocks, which
may result in immediate death. Former slaughterhouse workers reported that they
saw conscious cattle going down the bleed rail, when they should be dead by
that point (Evans 4). Furthermore, workers also claimed that “animals were
blinking, moving, looking around, and making noises (while they were supposed
to be dead)” (Evans 4).The way slaughterhouses treat cows and goats is inhumane
and should be dealt with.
Pigs are also treated harshly, just in different
ways. Male pigs are always castrated, meaning their testicles are removed, with
no painkillers involved (Pigs). The reason why farmers do this is because
consumers complain that their meat tastes odd if it is not done. On the other
hand, female pigs are constantly impregnated for four to five continuous years
until 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 taken
away from their mothers. There is no time allowed for bonding and the mothers
often cry out for their young. Also, mother pigs are placed in gestation
crates, places where it is so tightly packed that they are often unable to move
around (Fellenz 5). While in the
slaughterhouse, oftentimes the workers are unable to kill the sow with one shot
with the stun gun. If this happens, then they are not shot again and then
dumped into the pot of scalding hot water and boiled alive. After the piglets
are born, they are so crowded together that they will become stressed very
easily. Stress in piglets can cause them to convert to cannibalism or tail
biting. To avoid this, farmers will cut off their tails and break their teeth
off, all done without painkillers (Pigs).
Even though these animals are treated with no
respect, luckily there are many who are willing to stand up for them. Some of
these people go so far as to change their lifestyle as a protest to animal
rights. This includes veganism and vegetarianism. Veganism is when a person
does 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 to
further a cause” (Evans 1). This may include speaking, writing, and any other
form of protesting to stand up for what they believe is correct. There are two
types of animal activists. The first one is an animal welfarist. They may
rescue pets and they believe animals have rights, but it depends on the correct
timing. For example, they may defend pets but will eat meat. The second type is
more radical. They are called animal fundamentalists. They believe that every
animal has the right to live no matter what their appearance. Fundamentalists
are often driven by economics, moral, and philosophical beliefs (Evans 2). Both
types of activists are important in helping the animal rights movement. There
are also different types of animal organizations. Some examples are ASPCA,
PETA, AHA, and HSUS. Their goals vary. For example, PETA promotes veganism but
ASPCA does not promote nor bash veganism. Some common goals of most include
banning 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 do
their best to make a difference for those who cannot speak for themselves.
The way slaughterhouses and farms treat the animals
is cruel, fortunately, there are many types of activists; the debate between
what is right and wrong for these animals has been an ongoing topic of
discussion for many years now. There are many reasons why some choose to not
involve themselves in the animal rights movement. One is due to religious
reasons, 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’s
wants. Cows and goats are often beaten and treated inhumanely to force them to
produce more milk, due to high demand from consumers. Similarly, pigs are
treated 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. Farm
animals deserve rights just as any other animals do.