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Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.

Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher, physician, and musician (Nobel 1952)

Inside the slaughterhouse: an investigation on the industrial slaughter of animals

February 22, 2021
by
Tras los Muros

Let’s cut the absolute nonsense of “humane” slaughter. First, the US excludes nine billion poultry slaughtered yearly from the (oxymoronic) Humane Slaughter Act resulting in tens of thousands being “boiled alive”, as listed as “cadavers” : https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/Todays_Reports/reports/pslaan19.pdf

The following is an article published more than two years ago exposing the incalculable suffering experienced by animals – nothing has changed to “improve” poultry slaughter:

Chickens freezing to death and boiled alive: failings in US slaughterhouses exposed

Second, and most importantly, no animal happily, joyfully, willingly dies. To describe a killing “process” as “humane” while requiring fear, pain, and violence, means “humane” is a term meant for human moral comfort and not for the animals who are forced to endure such.

It’s baffling that people praise laws that require suffering and violent death. The following is a Washington Post article that exposed the vicious cycle of violence in slaughterhouses as perpetrated by animal consumers, and although it is older, today the lines are faster with more animal victims, and the industry is being deregulated requiring “self-policed” audits:

The Die Piece by Piece

If you consume animals, please take time to read about their suffering. It’s tragic that people will spend weeks looking for a new appliance but don’t bother to spend time discovering how the suffering they consume was rejected as deserving of empathy, body autonomy, and life. SL



Source Tras los Muros

By Aitor Garmendia

Translator: Eva Canada


Modern slaughterhouses have been designed to take the highest number of animal lives, as fast as possible. Industrialised animal slaughter is a huge business, and some of these factories —which are becoming increasingly technological and are using equipments ever more and more modern and specialised—, take thousands of animals to their deaths every day. The slaughterhouse owned by Grupo Jorge, Le Porc Gourmet, kills 13,000 pigs a day; Veravic, owned by the Ibergallus society, 80,000 chickens; Faccsa has recently initiated formalities to build a slaughterhouse in Andalusia with the capacity to kill up to 40,000 pigs. These are some of the highest production rate slaughterhouses within the Spanish State, and they help us get an approximate idea of the industry’s exploitation and extermination pace.

Between November 2016 and October 2018, I gained access into 16 slaughterhouses in the Spanish State. Inside them, I was able to document the slaughter of cows, pigs, lambs, chickens, and rabbits.

The material I’m including in my investigation is aimed to show —as opposed to the meat industry’s obscurantism and propaganda— the institutional and systematic violence suffered by animals in slaughterhouses. It provides relevant information to revive the debate that, promoted by the anti-speciesist movement, questions the legitimacy of animal exploitation and advocates for its abolition.

As long as its use is pro bono and exposure-oriented, I’ll make all the graphic material obtained available upon request, for free.1


Meat Industry: secrecy and power of influence

Social concern about the abuse suffered by animals in farms and slaughterhouses is on the rise, and the images of violence against them are increasingly taking more and more space in the media. Those images are usually obtained by activist researchers who, either by using subterfuges that allow them to enter these places with a camera in their hands, or by placing hidden cameras, expose to the public eye the truth of an industry that’s becoming increasingly armoured to the sight of its consumers.

The debate about speciesism 2 —the discrimination and subsequent oppression suffered by animals— and the social movement born to fight against it, wouldn’t be where they are now without the existence of graphic investigations carried out by organizations and activists. These investigations have helped people all over the world become aware of the atrocities perpetrated behind the slaughterhouses’ walls, and consequently, they have inspired them to get committed with the defence of animals.

The constant abuses captured by these images are not isolated instances of animal cruelty; they are just part of a systematic exploitation regime backed by the support of our institutions. This kind of investigations are undermining the meat business image, and provoking massive monetary losses.3, 4, 5 With the aim of never letting these images come to light, managers in meat companies receive specific guidelines so as to prevent the hiring of undercover activists who could gain access to their premises6, 7, 8

In the US, the animal rights movement has an extensive historic trajectory, and investigations carried out by activists have shown the brutal treatment received by animals in farms and slaughterhouses owned by important food brands (Tyson FoodsMcDonald´sJBSPerdue FoodsPilgrim’s Pride, etc). The armouring measures taken by the animal exploitation industry in this country have not been limited to hinder the infiltration of animal advocates: the deployment of their power has gone one step further. During the last decade, the powerful lobbies of the livestock industry have been responsible for laws prosecuting the filming and capturing of images inside farming premises. These laws, known as Ag-gag,9, 10 have sparked great controversy, and some law courts have declared them to be unconstitutional.11 Journalists, activists, jurists, and civil rights organizations have warned that they threaten freedom of expression, entitlement of information, animal welfare, workers’ rights, and food safety.12, 13


The Spanish meat industry’s power of influence on public opinion and institutions has also become apparent in several recent scandals.

  •  In 2016, some strategic documents 14 were leaked to the press. In them, four important meat groups (Interporc, Provacuno, Asici e Interovic) were mentioned as authors of a sleight aimed to manipulate the public opinion with regard to the WHO’s report, where cancer was linked to meat consumption. One of the measures listed in the plan included an “evangelization strategy” to counterbalance the “negative information” of the report created by the IARC and the WHO.
  • In February 2018, the Spanish TV show Salvados broadcasted a controversial report about the meat industry that showed pigs with malformations, eating each other, and in a serious health condition.15 The images, which were obtained during an undercover visit together with a team of Animal Equality researchers, belonged to a farm that’s a supplier to El Pozo. The images, which were obtained during an undercover visit together with a team of Animal Equality researchers, belonged to a farm which is a supplier to El Pozo. The broadcast provoked a big social upheaval, extensively covered by national media, and it made the brand plunge into a reputation crisis.16 Days after that, Jordi Évole, the host of Salvados, accused the Minister Isabel García Tejerina of representing the meat sector’s interests instead of those of the citizenship and also of not having opened any investigation.17
  • In March 2018, the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Castilla-La Mancha condemned the Regional Government and Incarlopsa —company that supplies meat products to Mercadona— for having taken disciplinary action against two veterinarians and having removed them from their post, after they reported non-compliance with the current regulations in the company’s pig abattoir. According to the news, pigs were not being exposed to the effects of CO2 long enough so as to lose conscience, so they remained awake during the throat slitting and bleeding processes. After that, they were introduced into the scalding tank, where the water reaches up to 65 degrees Celsius, while they were still alive. These brutal practices were carried out for three years in an abattoir where more than 3,000 pigs are «processed» every eight hours.18

The investigation

For over three years, I managed to gain access to more than 80 slaughterhouses located in Mexico and the Spanish State, and I had to earn the trust of each and every one of their managers. It was not easy at all. Had I arrived with the declared intention of showing the slaughter of animals to the public, I wouldn’t have been allowed to enter any of them.

In many of my visits, I was accompanied by a manager watching me closely, and in some of them I was forbidden to access the areas where animal suffering is most blatant, such as the stun box or the throat slitting area.

In November 2016, months before setting off for Mexico in order to finish what the media have called the biggest graphic research ever made about slaughterhouses,21 I was starting another parallel investigation in Spanish State. Part of it was carried out in collaboration with NOR, a recently founded Basque collective against speciesism which was at the time preparing its public presentation with an investigation also made in slaughterhouses. Additionally, I made all my visits together with Linas Korta, the fellow activist who has filmed part of the images shown in the audio-visual report.

We knocked on many doors, some of them belonging to big abattoirs, but all our attempts were in vain. In the last few years, and especially since the broadcasting of the report about the meat industry in Salvados, the industry’s secrecy has grown exponentially. They are aware of the risk they face, and they don’t want any cameras inside their plants. However, we managed to gain the trust of some of those slaughterhouses’ managers, assuring them that the images were not going to be published, and so we could get inside 16 slaughterhouses located in the Spanish State.

The images we obtained are a sample of the structural violence and systematic exploitation that’s being held against animals in these places. Electric discharges, captive bolt shots, or electrified water baths are standardized procedures22 and, brutal as they may seem, are a part of the regular activity in any slaughterhouse.


The fraud of animal welfare

In the face of the increasing social concern about the treatment of animals in farms and slaughterhouses, meat companies try to make consumers believe that animals are protected under animal welfare regulations. This is absolutely untrue. The so-called animal welfare and the implementation of its legal framework are only applied as long as it does not meaningfully impact production rates. It’s under these specifications that it was initially conceived.

During the 60s, the British Government commissioned Roger Brambell, Professor of Zoology at the Bangor University, a study to investigate the exploitation conditions of farm animals.24 The aim of this research was to give an answer to the social outrage provoked after the controversial publication of Animal Machines, the book by Ruth Harrison, where the horrors of intensive animal rearing had been described.

The eartags are used to identify the origin of the animals and are part of the traceability system required by the Ministry of Agriculture. In this slaughterhouse they are classified for that purpose once the animals have been killed.

Nonetheless, as it can be drawn from its own analysis, animal welfare standards do neither prevent animals’ deaths nor help avoid their physical and emotional suffering —inherent to the meat production system— for they are dominated by the industry’s needs.


[The Five Freedoms] form a logical and comprehensive framework for analysis of welfare within any system together with the steps and compromises necessary to safeguard and improve welfare within the proper constraints of an effective livestock industry. (The Five freedoms, Farm Animal Welfare Council.)


Animal welfare measures reduce the suffering in the industrial exploitation and slaughter of animals, that much is true, but thinking they protect them in any way is a mistake. Not only do they not protect animals, but their implementation is also unfeasible in many cases, and in others they have no effectiveness at all. Thus, their only reason to exist is to sweeten the industry’s image.

The existence of a law framework does not guarantee its effective enforcement. Many of the practices observed during this work, some of the recent scandals linked to national slaughterhouses —such as the one linked to the Incarlopsa company 26 or the one linked to a slaughterhouse located in Riaza 27— and the numerous investigations carried out in abattoirs all over the world underline this point.

The procedures followed during the slaughter of the more than 60 billion animals sent to abattoirs in the world every year —800 million in the Spanish State 29— are also impossible to verify. Modern slaughterhouses are factories where trucks arrive relentlessly, loaded with hundreds or thousands of animals. Some plants process up to 10,000 chickens an hour or 10,000 pigs a day. There’s no way to control their procedures.

The animal welfare discourse leads the debate to a dead end that only benefits the industry and not the animals, presenting two options as the only possible alternatives: rightful, humane exploitation vs. its opposite..

And it makes us forget there is another answer, the only one that’s acceptable for animals: the complete abolition of their exploitation.


Transport and unloading of animals

According to the last survey on livestock slaughter carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Food (MAPAMA,) in 2017, more than 850 million animals were killed in Spanish slaughterhouses30 Cows, bulls, calves, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens and animals of other species were carried in trucks up to these death factories.

Pigs truck about to depart for the slaughterhouse.

A study made in Italy during four years in more than 50 poultry abattoirs revealed that the amount of animals arriving dead to the premises reached rates of up to 1.62%.32 It might seem a small percentage, but if we apply it to the volume of birds that are transported every year to Spanish abattoirs —over 750 million during 2017—33 lhe figure we obtain involves millions of them.

During the loading, many birds suffer bone fractures. Poultry is harshly introduced into cages, loaded into the truck, and transported without any care. Several researches carried out in Germany unveiled that up to 15% of these animals were injured as a consequence of this practice.34

We should also bear in mind that there’s an important amount of animals who never reach the transportation or slaughter phase. The number of animals who perished in farms due to health problems associated with the hard exploitation regime —illnesses provoked by genetic selection, metabolic disorders, respiratory problems, etc.— or due to what the industry calls discard —the killing of animals at the farm for not reaching the optimum levels of production— is estimated to be millions.35 36

On the other hand, a sudden temperature change in the plants were they are overcrowded or a power failure may lead to the death of thousands of animals. Others may perish in road accidents during their transportation. Injured animals are not assisted. They’re killed at the very place where the accident took place or loaded again in another truck with the same destination, at best.

During the investigation, I witnessed the arrival and unloading of animals in slaughterhouses, most of them with medium-sized premises and similar architecture. Animals are received through a gateway that’s directly connected with the pens, which are usually dismal and dirty, and are guided to the stables through noises that terrify them or using electric pushers. Sometimes kicks or blows are given to those who offer resistance, and the smallest animals are tossed forward or thrown directly from the truck to the ramp leading to the stables. On many an occasion, electric shocks are given while animals are being slaughtered in some other area, and the veterinary officer cannot supervise both activities at the same time. This means that no verification is made as to whether the animal protection regulation is being properly applied. Some animals may stand for hours in the pens, while others are guided to the slaughter area right away.

In one of the slaughterhouses, a farmer unloaded two lambs from his car’s boot. They were very frightened when they arrived, and their legs were tied. Breaching the current regulation and in the presence of a veterinarian, they were carried to the stables being held upside down.


Animals shall not be tied by the horns, the antlers, the nose rings nor by legs tied together. Calves shall not be muzzled. Domestic Equidae older than eight months shall wear halters during transport except for unbroken horses. (Annex I, Chapter III, Handling, 1.11 of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations.) 37


Two lambs arrive in the boot of a minivan with a rope tied to their four legs. This practice is prohibited by Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations.

Birds and rabbits are disposed inside the same containers they have arrived in. The cages are stacked up in a pile, and nobody prevents —as the European regulation requires— their urine and feces from falling upon the animals.


1.4.When containers are put one on top of the other, the necessary precautions shall be taken: (a) to limit urine and faeces falling on the animals placed underneath; (Annex III, Operational rules for slaughterhouses, 1.4 of the Council Regulation (EC) No1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing.38


In other abattoir I visited, the last rabbits to be slaughtered were dirty, covered in urine, and they spent several hours locked in plastic cages with barely any space to move. The veterinarian asked me specifically not to take any photographs of these animals.

Regulations require priority attention to those females who have given birth during the transport. In other words, they recognize there are females that are sent to be slaughtered when they are about to give birth.


1.5. For the purpose of slaughter, unweaned animals, lactating dairy animals, females having given birth during the journey or animals delivered in containers shall be given priority over other types of animal. (Annex III, Operational rulkes for slaughterhouses, 1.5 of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing.39


Towards death: stunning methods

The stunning methods applied in the pre-throat slitting phase are one of the most controversial and polemic issues in the animal welfare debate. They’re aimed to guarantee immediate loss of consciousness in order to prevent animals from suffering during the bleeding. According to the regulations, any process that provokes instant death is also considered as a stunning method.40

The meat industry assures that, using these methods, animals do not suffer, 41 but they know that in their abattoirs, for different reasons, the truth is quite another.

Procedures included in the European regulations require that these practices must be carried out with a precision I never saw in the places I visited. Hitting the target on a frightened cow’s head, when the cow weighs nearly half a ton and she is resisting death, or placing two electrodes on the sides of a pig’s head while he’s restlessly slipping on a floor full of blood are not easy tasks to do, and even less with the accuracy required by animal welfare standards. The production pace in slaughterhouses —ever more and more hectic— where one single worker has to perform the same task hundreds of times a day, increases the difficulty to comply with the procedures. In addition, sometimes stun guns get stuck, or electric devices are poorly regulated, or animals wake up from the stunning and are completely awake while their throat is slit, etc., and this expands their wait, stress and suffering.

Besides, as we previously stated, in some abattoirs regulations are directly contravened in the presence of a veterinarian. During my investigation, I visited two lamb abattoirs where animals were not previously stunned. In a third one, I was not allowed to access this particular area, and in another one the worker confessed that the only reason why he was stunning animals was because he was in the presence of a camera.

A pig after entering the restrainer, a machine that immobilizes and moves the pigs one by one from the pens to the point of stunning, where the electric shock is applied.

Due to these exceptions and to the existence of malpractices in the enforcement of animal welfare regulations, everything suggests that many animals are put to death in a state of full conscience.

What comes next is a list of the stunning methods I observed during my investigation. All of them are considered, according to the regulation, as simple stunning methods —they do not provoke instant death of the animals— and they must necessarily be followed by a killing procedure.


Captive bolt gun

Due to its low cost and easy functioning, the captive bolt device is probably the most widespread stunning method in the world, used for cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and horses.43

The gun shots a bolt, driven by a gunpowder cartridge or by compressed air, which retracts itself to its initial position after entering the animal’s skull, provoking a brain trauma. In order to achieve an effective stunning, regulations require beef cattle to be duly placed inside the stun box, and the weapon to be firmly held against the place where they will be shot.

The regulation itself recognizes that the waiting time in the stun box may cause deep distress to the animal, that’s why it demands the waiting time to be as brief as possible. In three out of the five cow abattoirs I visited, however, this specification was not complied with. Some animals remained several minutes in the box without the presence of any operator. In one of them, a cow’s tail was harshly twisted —another practice specifically forbidden by the regulations— to make her get into the stun box. At the same time, the stun box must «have a system to limit the movements of the animal’s head, both sideways and vertically». Most slaughterhouses are not obliged to abide by these measures until 2019. Nonetheless, it should be pointed out that they were not fulfilled in any of them; furthermore, the animals could move their heads vertically, hampering the task even further. A cow even managed to turn around completely and get out of the box.

This method is not only used with beef cattle. I also witnessed its use in a sheep abattoir. Sheep were gathered against a corner and the worker shot them from behind, under the base of their horns, without holding them in any way. Once they fell on the floor, the slaughterer dragged them, holding one of their back legs, up to the conveyor hooks. Some of them showed signs of being still conscious.

This technique, even when it is correctly applied, doesn’t guarantee that the animal will lose consciousness, and some animals show signs of suffering after being shot. A study carried out in Europe on 585 bulls, 306 cows, 58 steers, and 49 calves revealed that the stunning had failed 12.5% of the times, and that the average gap of time between the shot and the throat slitting had been of over 100 seconds.44

Electrical stunning

The equipment is composed of an electric panel and, attached to this panel, a couple of pliers with electrodes at the tips. The pliers, placed on both sides of the head, give an electric shock to the animal. When used correctly, the shock causes an epileptic seizure and the momentary loss of consciousness. This is a reversible procedure, which means that in case the stunning is achieved, the animal may recover consciousness in a brief space of time.


Electrical stunning on pigs

  • Restrainer. A machine that restrains and transports pigs one by one from the pens to the stunning area, where the electric shock is applied. It’s composed of two conveyor belts placed in such a way that the pig gets completely immobilised. Pigs are carried through a tunnel up to the base of the restrainer. If they refuse to advance, they are pushed using electric shocks or hitting them. Some pigs remain at the stunning point longer than the regulation states.
  • Stunning Box. Pigs are introduced, usually by force, in a metal framing. The electric shock is applied from the end where their head rears off. After that, the animal falls through a lateral hatch and he’s dragged up to the bleeding elevator. Sometimes, when the pigs have not been properly stunned, a second electric shock is applied while they’re suspended by their legs and are being carried towards the throat slitting area.
  • Stunning pen. When there’s no restrain equipment available, pigs are guided in groups —usually by shouting and hitting them— to a room where they are stunned one by one. Pigs shake seethingly, trying to run away. Sometimes they climb on each other, or they skid and fall on the floor. The first attempt is not always successful, which makes the animals’ stress escalate.

To speed up the task, many pigs are lifted to have their throat slit while being stunned. Sometimes the slaughterers, in order to attach the animal’s chained legs to the elevator hooks, press their chest with one leg. I have witnessed this practice —which contravenes the regulations— in different slaughterhouses.

Several studies have proved that a high number of pigs remain conscious after having been applied this stunning method. Bristol University showed, after a research performed in 29 English slaughterhouses, that 36% of the pigs were not properly stunned, 15.6% had to be stunned again, and 20.5% of them were in a state that allowed them to recover consciousness.45 England is one of the places in the world where the animal welfare regulation is most demanding. Another —more recent— study carried out in a Colombian slaughterhouse where the application of electronarcosis was examined in 1,341 pigs showed that it was only effective in 20.6% of the cases.46

The stunning of pigs during lactation is done with a pair of less powerful clamps between two workers. While one holds the animal, the other applies the electric shock to the head.


Electrical stunning on sheep and lambs

Sheep and lambs are guided up to a sheepfold, usually connected by a door with the pens. Lambs are visibly scared and they group together against one of the sheepfold corners. I haven’t observed any specific restraining method. They are often restrained between the slaughterer’s legs, who applies the shock with the pliers. In two abattoirs I visited, lambs were stunned while suspended by their rear legs at the bleeding elevator. In one of them, workers even hung two lambs in the same hook. Both these practices are expressly prohibited by the regulation.


A guiding sheep, carrying the herd to the slaughter area

Guiding animals to the slaughter area is not an easy task. The transportation and their time in the pens is a dramatic change of scenario for them. Many of those animals have just been severed from their mothers; some of them even have their umbilical cord still attached. They are scared, and they refuse to walk. The following conversation —registered with a hidden camera— was held between my research fellow and a veterinarian.


—There are rams who refuse to enter the box. That’s because they can smell the blood of the animal that has been slaughtered before them. They’re always scared of the unknown, they have always lived in the farm and you suddenly bring them here… They’re always scared. But I think it is because they can smell the blood.—


At some slaughterhouses, adult sheep are used in order to facilitate the moving of the lambs to the slaughter area. These guiding or meek sheep —also called Judas sheep in some industry manuals—47, 48 are trained to guide the lambs to the place where they receive the electric shock and are then slaughtered.49, 50 They live their life in the pens, and every day they guide thousands of lambs to their death. I have observed this practice in two abattoirs.


Electrical stunning on rabbits

The rabbit’s head is placed in a device equipped with a pair of tweezers that are operated through a pedal. Once they receive the electric shock, the animals are hung by one of their rear legs in a hook of the conveyor.

A study carried out in a slaughterhouse located in North Italy on 1,020 rabbits showed that the procedure was wrongly executed more than 10% of the times. Besides, several animals recovered consciousness after being stunned.51


Electrical stunning in water tank

Bathing chickens or other similar sized birds in electrified water in order to stun them is the most widespread procedure in the Spanish state and, in general, in the whole European Union (81%).53, 54, 55 Chickens arrive totally crammed inside cages that are placed on top of each other, right at the starting point of the slaughter line. Then they are hung by their legs, upside down, in the hooks of an air conveyor that moves them along the different areas of the slaughterhouse.

Broiler chickens have been genetically engineered in such a way that many of them suffer from severe disorders in their legs and can barely stand on their feet.56 A specialised worker can hang over 1,000 chickens an hour.57 f this process is not performed correctly —something quite common, given the speed reached by some processing lines—animals may suffer even more damages than the ones they are bound to undergo. A study concluded that, after being hung, 3% of the chickens had broken bones;58 another study pointed out that hanging increases the chances of having broken bones in a 44%.59 In the poultry abattoir I visited, some of the birds remained hanging for more than a minute in the pre-stunning phase, exceeding the maximum waiting time stated by the regulation. Once they were hanging, and in a desperate attempt to get away, they flapped their wings and squirmed in anguish.

In 2003, Alternativa para la Liberación Animal, a pioneering association and seedbed of some important animal advocacy organizations in Spain, published in its Boletín Informativo a heartrending statement by a poultry slaughterer:


They come in trucks, inside cages. Between 2,500 and 3,000 chickens come in every truck, all crammed on top of each other, with their feathers, their legs, their wings rearing out of the cages. They come from Huesca and other locations. It’s quite a long trip, and it’s so cold outside that many of them arrive completely frozen, dead, or in very awful conditions. […] You hold them by the leg or whatever part of their body you grab, because when you take a chicken you do it without even looking at it, you may grab them by the neck or the legs, and then you hang them upside down. Then, they get into a container full of water with two power cables, we make this to numb the chickens. (Entrevista a un matarife. Newsletter issue 02-03 by Alternativa para la Liberación Animal – ALA) 60


With the equipment in motion, the conveyor carries the chickens to a tank full of electrified water. Their heads are immersed in the water for a few seconds but, as confirmed by several researches,61 some animals manage to raise their head, or they are too small and pass through the water tank without having been stun. Electricity flows through their entire body and may cause bleeding and broken bones.62 If the access to the tank is wet, they may receive an electric shock moments before their head is immersed in the water.


The complexity of multiple bird waterbath stunning is not conducive to maintaining good welfare. Effectiveness of the stun cannot be determined. The method, widely practiced because it is simple and cheap, cannot be controlled. You can’t control the amount of electrical current flowing through a bird. You can’t harmonize electrical resistance in broiler chickens. The waterbath has to be replaced. (Dr. Mohan Raj, USDA Seminar, December 16, 2004.)63


With this stunning system, the voltage is steady and equal for all. If the sizes and weights of the chickens are uneven, some of them might not receive enough electric power to induce the loss of consciousness.64 Virgil Butler, former worker of the meat corporation Tyson Foods and currently animal rights activist, pointed out that this method’s objective is to increase production rather than to prevent the chickens from suffering. These were his words about this particular issue:


The stunner is strictly to facilitate line speed. Before they implemented the stunner down at that plant, the line ran 98 birds per minute, with two killers. After adding the stunner, it jumped the speed up to 120. Then, they added the killing machine, dropped one of the killers, and turned the speed up to 142. Now, of course, it runs 186 birds per minute. All it does is paralyze the muscles. It doesn’t render them unconscious or make them insensible to pain. In Tyson’s own words to the workers, «It makes the plant more efficient».65


The slaughter

Throat slitting is the most common slaughter process. It is performed manually with a sharpened knife, “systematically sectioning both carotid arteries or the vessels they stem from”.66 The most sophisticated chicken slaughter lines have an automatic blade capable of slitting thousands of chickens’ necks per hour.67

According the Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing, throat slitting must be carried out immediately after the stunning, before the animal recovers consciousness.68 However, since numbing methods are not a hundred per cent effective, since they’re sometimes performed incorrectly, or their use is totally skipped (which goes against regulations), a percentage of animals arrive totally conscious to this phase of the process. During my investigation, I observed this circumstance in several slaughterhouses, and I witnessed very brutal and violent scenes; there was no compassion or care in those places, just speed and brutalization.

Zona de desangrado. El matarife apuñala a un cordero tras haber recibido la descarga eléctrica.

The slaughter of pigs is similar to the process used for sheep. After the throat slitting, the animals are carried to the scalding tanks and to the scorching oven, two machines used to remove their hair. The tanks are full of hot water that covers completely the pig’s body.69 he regulation requests that the animals arrive to this phase being already dead, and that before they are immersed in the water, «absence of life in the animal must have been observed.» In some of the abattoirs I visited, the veterinarian was not present and the processing line was not stopped for this reason.

Investigations carried out by activists and institutional entities, together with the testimonies offered by workers, prove that in those slaughterhouses where the same procedures I observed during this investigation are followed, many pigs are immersed in the scalding tanks while still being alive.

Scalding tank. Several investigations have proven that many pigs are still alive at this stage of the process.

In her book, Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industryinvestigator Gail Eisnitz also shows testimonies by workers who have witnessed how some pigs were still alive when they arrived to the scalding tanks.


—These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water and start screaming and kicking. Sometimes they thrash so much they kick water out of the tank. Not a lot of water, but it was obvious what was going on because I could hear them screaming. Sooner or later they drown.

—There’s a rotating arm that pushes them under, no chance for them to get out. I am not sure if they burn to death before they drown, but it takes them a couple of minutes to stop thrashing. You think management cares about the pain of being drowned or boiled to death?

—I’ve seen hogs in the scalding tub trying to swim.


In some abattoirs, a blowtorch is also used to scorch the pigs’ hooves and detach them from their legs. This practice should only be performed when the pig is already dead. I once observed how, in order to save time, a worker burnt a pig while he was still breathing. The flames reached his face. He was being burnt alive:

Age-restricted video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/qXBibhvd1bU


In other pig abattoir I witnessed how the animals were dragged on the floor up to the slaughter area using a hook stuck in their throats. This practice is forbidden, and the slaughterhouse staff expressly asked me not to publish those images.

The slaughter of poultry and rabbits I documented for this report took place at the same abattoir. The chickens are hung by their legs and carried to the electrified water tank in order to get stunned. Then, they reach the bleeding area, where a worker slits their throat with a blade. After the stunning and throat slitting phases, some of the birds seemed to remain totally conscious.

Flaying area of ​​a rabbit slaughterhouse.

In the case of rabbits, some of them also show signs of being conscious after the throat slitting. They shake their legs, twist their bodies, and lift their heads. As shown by the study performed in an Italian slaughterhouse, animals may recover consciousness after the stunning phase.77

Beef cattle has been the least documented species during this investigation. I observed the slaughter of over 20 cows. After the stunning, they are expelled to the floor through a hatch located right beneath the box. The vast majority of them are still moving after the throat slitting.

As I explained before, and as opposed to what the meat industry and their institutional representatives try to convey, animal welfare measures do not protect animals at all. The regulation that controls the implementation of the animal welfare standards in the EU slaughterhouses even recognizes that the slaughter of animals can cause «pain, distress, fear or other forms of suffering to the animals even under the best available technical conditions».78 And, indeed, I have been able to confirm this is completely true.


Age of the animals at the slaughterhouse

The meat industry takes good care of the way it presents animal exploitation to the consumers. The industry is becoming more and more aware of the impact words and images have in their consumption habits, and for some time now, it has understood that relating their products to industrial exploitation and slaughter of animals is not a good sales strategy.79

Current campaigns by the industry show us animals living in pastoral landscapes, under the care of very friendly farmers. They never show any images of their slaughterhouses, nor do they explain that most animals are sent to those places very early in their lives. And they never mention that the life expectancy of those animals in an exploitation-free environment would be much higher. Some of them are killed just a few days after their birth, others are traumatically severed from their mothers and still have their umbilical cord attached when they reach the slaughterhouse.

Sheep have a life expectancy of 10 years, but are often taken to slaughterhouses between 3 and 10 months of age.


Our connivance supports them

The meat industry deliberately hides animal exploitation and slaughter. They lie about the treatment animals receive in their sickening slaughterhouses and farms. Through the implementation of animal welfare seals, and labels that say «cage-free» or «free range», they try to make us believe that animals are protected precisely in the place where their lives are taken from them.

I’ve been visiting animal exploitation plants for many years. I’ve climbed over the walls of industrial farms together with other activists while they were carrying out their investigations. I have traveled inside trucks loaded with cows and I have accessed almost a hundred slaughterhouses. In them, I have witnessed countless abuses and aggressions suffered by animals, and I have verified the systematic exploitation they endureThere’s no place for welfare in any farm or slaughterhouse.

The apparent concern shown by the livestock industry about the treatment animals receive is nothing but propaganda. Just another part of their sales strategy. They have a detailed knowledge of what’s going on inside their premises, and they have no interest whatsoever in taking care of or protecting animals, for that would mean the end of their business.

Nevertheless, their business cannot work properly without the connivance of those who demand their products. Many of us have the feeling —or already know for sure— that there is something ethically unacceptable behind those walls, but we choose to look the other way and accept the industry’s version. We justify atrocious ways of violence against certain animals that we’d never tolerate against others. If the animal whose head we immerse in an electrified water tank or who we shoot inside a stun box belonged to another species —like a dog or a cat, for instance— we’d be accused of animal cruelty, and we’d even be brought to court.

In slaughterhouses, the biggest form of violence and abuse is perpetrated against terrestrial animals. A kind of exploitation articulated under the ideological umbrella of speciesism, the historical oppression suffered by animals.

The images shown in this report are another window to the secretive world of industrial livestock farming, and they’ve been taken for the sole purpose of offering some tools to face the distress suffered by millions of animals.



NOTES

  1. Conditions of the use of the images (photographs and videos) in the following link.
  2. Gallego J.L. (2018) Ahora que especismo está en el diccionario. Eldiario.es. Link to the article.
  3. Botemiller H. (2012) Landmark Settlement Reached in Westland-Hallmark Meat Case. Food Safety News. Link to news.
  4. Dickrell J. (2016) All those animal abuse videos are having an effect. Dairy Herd Management (Farm Journal, Inc). Link to news.
  5. Arnold M. (2017) «Ag-Gag» laws. Husch Blackwell. Link to the article.
  6. Alumbaugh J. (2017) Activists Recruiting Undercover Investigators. Central Ag Supply Inc. Link to the article.
  7. Carlson C. (2012) Undercover Factory Farm Investigator Shares His Story. Animals Australia. Link to the article.
  8. Foust Prater L. (2016) How to Avoid Hiring an Animal Rights Activist. Succesful Farming. Link to the article.
  9. Bittman. M. (2011) Who Protects the Animals?. New York Times. Linkto the article.
  10. Prygoski A. (2015) Detailed Discussion of Ag-gag Laws. Michigan State University College of Law. Link to the article.
  11. Douglas L. (2018) Federal court finds Wyoming’s ag-gag laws unconstitutional. The Food & Environment Reporting Network. Link to the article.
  12. (2017) Public Interest Coalition Challenges Constitutionality of Iowa’s “Ag Gag” Law. American Civil Liberties Union. Link to the article.
  13. Fasset C. (2018) Unconstitutional “ag-gag” laws criminalize journalism and insulate factory farms from accountability. Freedom of the Press Foundation. Link to the article.
  14. Gestión de crisis IARC – OMS. Sprim. Link to the article.
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  16. San Esteban N. (2018) La crisis reputacional de El Pozo: silencio en España, vetos internacionales. El Español. Link to news.
  17. Évole J. (2018) Carta a la ministra de Ganadería. El Periódico. Link to the article.
  18. Placer D. (2018) Mercadona fue socia de la cárnica que la proveía cometiendo maltrato animal. Economía Digital. Link to news.
  19. El sector cárnico español. Asociación Nacional de Industrias de la Carne de España (ANICE). Link to the report.
  20. Countries Compared: meat production in thousand metric tonnes. Nation master. Link to news.
  21. (2017) El documental ‘MATADERO’, la mayor y más brutal investigación realizada en mataderos. Eldiario.es. Link to news.
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  24. Rogers Brambell F. W. (1965) Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals kept under Intensive Livestock Husbandry SystemsLink to the document.
  25. Five fredooms. Farm Animal Welfare Council. Link to webpage.
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  27. Placer D. (2018) El matadero de los horrores. Economía Digital. Link to news.
  28. FAOSTAT. Datos del año 2014.
  29. Encuesta anual censal de sacrificio de ganado en mataderos 2017. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación MAPAMA. Link to the archive.
  30. Encuesta de sacrificio de ganado. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación MAPAMA. Link to the survey.
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  32. Petracci M., Bianchi M, Cavani C., Gaspari P., Lavazza A. (2006) Preslaughter Mortality in Broiler Chickens, Turkeys, and Spent Hens Under Commercial Slaughtering. Link to the article.
  33. Encuesta de sacrificio de ganado. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación MAPAMA. Link to the survey.
  34. Langkabel N., P. O. Baumann M., Feiler A., Sanguankia A.t, Fries R. (2015) Influence of two catching methods on the occurrence of lesions in broilers. Link to the article.
  35. Marco E. (2011) Sistemas de producción porcina en España. Axon veterinaria. Link to news.
  36. Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare. (2000) The Welfare of Chickens Kept for Meat Production (Broilers). European Commission. Health & consumer protection directorate-general. Link to the report.
  37. (2004) Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97.Official Journal of the European Union. Link to the regulation.
  38. (2009) Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. Official Journal of the European Union. Link to the regulation.
  39. (2009) Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. Official Journal of the European Union. Link to the regulation.
  40. (2004) Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations and amending Directives 64/432/EEC and 93/119/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1255/97.Official Journal of the European Union. Link to the regulation.
  41. (2013). Nueva normativa sobre el aturdimiento de los corderos y los cabritos. Interovic. Link to the article.
  42. Justicia A. (2011) Los sacrificios por el método musulmán representan el 35,6% en Mercabarna. La Vanguardia. Link to news.
  43. G. Chambers P.; Grandin T.; (2001/4) Guidelines for Humane Handling, Transport and Slaughter of Livestock. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Link to the website.
  44. Atkinson S, Velarde A, & Algers B. (2013). Assessment Of Stun Quality At Commercial Slaughter In Cattle Shot With Captive BoltAnimal Welfare, 22(4). 473-481. Link to document in PDF.
  45. Anil M.H. & McKinstry J.L., (1993) Summarised results of a survey of pig abattoirs in England and Wales. Division of Food Animal Science, School of Veterinary Science. University of Bristol.
  46. González LM, Romero MH, Sánchez JA. Evaluación de la eficacia del método de insensibilización por electronarcosis en porcinos. Proyecto de investigación financiado por la Vicerrectoría de Investigaciones y Postgrados de la Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Colombia. Link to document in PDF.
  47. Dwyer C. (2008) The welfare of sheep. pp 314. Springer Science & Business Media.
  48. Ekesbo I., Gunnarson S. (2018) Farm Animal Behaviour, 2nd Edition: Characteristics for Assessment of Health and Welfare, 2nd Edition. pp 144. Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI).
  49. Bremner K. j., Braggins J. B., Kilgour R. (1980) Training sheep as “leaders” in abattoirs and farm sheep yards. Division of Food Animal Science, School of Veterinary Science. University of Bristol. Link to the handbook.
  50. Grandin T. (2014) Livestock Handling and Transport, 4th Edition: Theories and Applications. pp 202. Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI).
  51. Rota Nodari S., Lavazza A., Candotti P. (2008). Evaluation of rabbit welfare at stunning and slaughtering in a commercial abattoir. 9th World Rabbit Congress, Verona (Italy). Link to document in PDF.
  52. G. Chambers, P, Grandin, T. (2001) Directrices para el Manejo, Transporte y Sacrificio Humanitario del Ganado. FAO. Link to the website.
  53. Estrategias de inspección y alternativas tecnológicas del sacrificio humanitario en pequeños establecimientos. EU-Brazil sector dialogues support facility. Link to document.
  54. Sanz M. (2013) Aturdido eléctrico en baño de agua. Congreso científico de avicultura. Link to the document in PDF.
  55. Estrada consulting. (2014) Aplicación de la corriente eléctrica adecuada en el aturdido a la luz de la normativa de la ue. Congreso científico de avicultura. Selecciones avícolas. Link to document in PDF.
  56. Robbins, J. (1987) Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth.
  57. Departamento Tecnico de Sistemas Agropecuarios JAT SA. de CV. (2013) Soluciones integrales para plantas de procesamiento. Engormix. Link to the article.
  58. Controlled-atmosphere killing vs. electric immobilization: a comparative analysis of poultry-slaughter systems. Reporte de Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Link to document in PDF.
  59. Gregory N.G; Wilkins LJ. (1989) Broken bones in chickens: Effect of stunning and processing in broilers. Link to document in PDF.
  60. Alternativa para la Liberación Animal (2002-03) Entrevista a trabajador de un matadero. Link to the interview.
  61. Göksoy O, McKinstry L. J, Wilkins LJ, Parkmanm I, Phillips A.; Richardson RI & Anil, MH. (1999) Broiler stunning and meat quality. Poultry Science, 78:1796–1800.
  62. Shields SJ1, Raj AB. (2010) A critical review of electrical water-bath stun systems for poultry slaughter and recent developments in alternative technologies. Link to the article.
  63. Davis K. (1996. Edición revisada 2009.) Prisoned chickens, poisoned eggs: an inside look at the modern poultry industry.
  64. Berg C, Raj M. (2015) A Review of Different Stunning Methods for Poultry—Animal Welfare Aspects (Stunning Methods for Poultry)Link to document in PDF.
  65. Testimonio de Virgil Butler, ex operario de la corporación cárnica Tyson Foods y más tarde activista por los derechos animales. Link to the website.
  66. (2009) Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. Official Journal of the European Union. Link to the regulation.
  67. Degollador automático. Aviprosave. Link to the machine.
  68. (2009) Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. Official Journal of the European Union. Link to the regulation.
  69. (2009) Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. Official Journal of the European Union. Link to the regulation.
  70. Placer D. (2018) Mercadona fue socia de la cárnica que la proveía cometiendo maltrato animal. Economía Digital. Link to news.
  71. – Hope A. (2017) Tielt slaughterhouse closed after graphic video footage released. Flanders today. Link to news.
    – Link to the investigation video.
  72. Wasley A, Robbins J. (2016) Severe welfare breaches recorded six times a day in British slaughterhouses. The bureau of investigative journalism. Link to the report.
  73. Eisnitz G (2006) Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry. Paperback. Link to the book.
  74. Kindy K. (2013) USDA plan to speed up poultry-processing lines could increase risk of bird abuse. The Washington Post. Enlace a la noticia.
  75. Wasley A, Robbins J. (2016) Severe welfare breaches recorded six times a day in British slaughterhouses. The bureau of investigative journalism. Enlace al reportaje.
  76. McGrath P. (2017) Chickens boiled alive at Star Poultry Supply abattoir in Melbourne, secret footage reveals. ABC News. Link to news.
  77. Rota Nodari S., Lavazza A., Candotti P. (2008). Evaluation of rabbit welfare at stunning and slaughtering in a commercial abattoir. 9 th World Rabbit Congress, Verona (Italy). Link to document in PDF.
  78. (2009) Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. Official Journal of the European Union. Link to the regulation.
  79. Fiddes N. (1989) Meat. A natural symbol. University of Edinburgh.
    «Traditional retailing centres around offering the public bits of animals and often identifies meat with livestock.»
    «But modem consumer attitudes shy away from this link and so the butcher would be much better served by thinking away from the animal and more towards the meal when dressing his window and presenting his products (British Meat, Summer 1987.4). https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/12813249.pdf»





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4 Reasons Why We Don’t Advocate for “Humane” Animal Products

February 16, 2021
by
Source Free From Harm


To define a “commodified process” requiring bodily control, intrusion, mutilation, and violent death as “humane” means that “humane” benefits only humans who design the terms to describe the suffering of others in manners personally, morally comfortable, not the animals whose bodies are taken and killed.

Hypocritically, the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) considers CO2, for example, a ‘humane’ method of ‘euthanasia’ for pigs but specifically condemns the use on cats and dogs; in fact, there have been aggressive and active campaigns against the use of such on ‘overpopulated’ cats and dogs while, hypocritically, the same people routinely consume animals who suffered the same fate they actively protest on a few ‘special’ animals.

ALL animals suffer regardless of euphemisms employed by fact-and-empathy-challenged people who prioritize transient taste preference over the lives of ‘other’ animals. SL



Source Free From Harm

By Robert Grillo


  1. Imagine if we tried to apply this logic to any other social issue. When we see an increase in harm to an oppressed group, how do we respond to that? Do we “back off,” “soften up,” or look for ways to enable the exploitative practices and systems? Of course not! We step up our opposition against it instead. And we don’t realistically expect that 100% of society is going to completely denounce any injustice, a fact that certainly does not deter us from doing the work of ending the injustice. 
  2. Who decides what is “humane?” The industry-paid veterinarians or animal industry spokespeople who look you in the eye and actually tell you that grinding up chicks and sexually assaulting cows to impregnate them is humane? Of course not! We need to define it for ourselves. I advocate that we define humane treatment of farmed animals by the same ethical standards that we use for cats and dogs and other animals we claim to value. In this context, even the most allegedly humane farming practices would have to be considered abusive, torturous and cruel! You just don’t get away with shooting a calf point blank in the head and trying to spin this as a good humane deed. Sorry!

In the words of former pig farmer and writer, Bob Comis:

Livestock farmers, no matter what kind — from the largest, most cynical, and inhumane factory farmers to the smallest, seemingly most ethical pasture-based farmers — traffic in death. It is death that is our aim, our purpose. Death is the end. Life is the means. Money the reward.


To read the rest, please click HERE






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Surge: Our Must-See Documentaries from 2020

February 8, 2021
by

Source Surge


From glimpses into the world of farm investigations to a prediction of the state of the world in 30 years’ time, we round-up our pick of short films and documentaries that came out in 2020.


INVISIBLE: A Rare Glimpse into the Life of an Undercover Investigator


Starting with a short film to ease you into things, INVISIBLE follows undercover investigators ‘Emily’ and ‘Sarah’ – not their real names, obviously – as they enter a pig farm somewhere in Europe.

It’s a rare insight into a world few people truly understand, but one that a lot of people make a great many assumptions about. The videography is cinematic and poignant, not just for the sake of a beautiful shot, but to emphasise how painstaking, slow and deliberate every move an investigator makes can be.

Emily and Sarah talk honestly about the trust they share in each other, having to keep things from their friends and family, and of course the emotional challenges of seeing the conditions in which many non-human animals are kept.

INVISIBLE is a We Animals Media production as part of the Unbound Project. Directed by Chris Shoebridge, a lovely chap who does incredible work.



Vegan 2020


The Plant Based News annual round-up of everything significant in the world of veganism has become something of an institution. The 2020 edition starts off with, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic and its zoonotic origin, linking animal rights concerns with something that has drastically changed the lives of almost every human on the planet in some way.

With such an important angle, PBN has raised the bar in regards to production, knowing full well that the audience for such discussions has never been broader. We hope Vegan 2020 is seen by a mainstream audience beyond the sphere of veganism.

Read more on Plantbasednews.org.



Endgame 2050: Humanity’s Last Chance Is Now


Filmmaker and practising physician Sofia Pineda Ochoa has used the docufiction genre to present a vision of what the world could be like in 2050, should we continue down our current path of environmental destruction.

Fishless oceans, water rationing and all manner of natural disasters brought on by what we are doing to the planet right now. The dramatisations make the issues more accessible for a broader audience and provide colour to the science that the experts explain between scenes.

The film includes a host of high-profile campaigners and respected academics, including Moby, Paul Ehrlich and Claire Kremen.

www.endgame2050.com



Hogwood: a modern horror story


Not for the fainthearted, Viva’s harrowing documentary about its campaign against Hogwood Farm has been picking up nominations and awards at prestigious film festivals and celebrity endorsements from Lewis Hamilton among others.

Hogwood follows investigators as they enter the farm, but also Viva founder and director Juliet Gellatley as she confronts the people responsible for the terrible conditions.

Narrated by Jermome Flynn, Hogwood: a modern horror story is available to stream from Amazon Prime.



Akashinga: The Brave Ones (National Geographic)


Executive produced by James Cameron and directed by Maria Wilhelm, AKASHINGA: THE BRAVE ONES tells the story of Akashinga, the all-female anti-poaching unit in Zimbabwe that is revolutionising the way animals are protected and communities are empowered.

If that isn’t enough to convince you to watch this short 13-minute documentary (free to view online), the trailer above should do the trick. We also recommend you check out the website, which in typical National Geographic style is visually rich – the photo gallery is a treat.

films.nationalgeographic.com/akashinga



TAKEOUT


TAKEOUT is very reminiscent of Cowspiracy in that it tackles the link between animal agriculture and environmental degradation. However, unlike Cowspiracy, TAKEOUT centres the narrative on Amazon forest fires and their connection to the global animal food production systems as well as our personal food choices.

The film also exposes the corruption in Brazil’s government and shows how industry shapes the politics related to agribusiness both in South America and in the US.

takeoutdocumentary.com



The Animal People


It took 15 years to tell the story of six American animal rights activists targeted by the FBI and a government under the influence of corporations threatened by the impact they were having.

The Animal People is important viewing as an insight into pressure campaigning and direct action and the more recent history of the movement. The repercussions are still being felt not only within the animal rights sphere but in other movements such as Occupy and Black Lives Matter.

Available to watch on Netflix now.



Andrew Gough is Media and Investigations Manager for Surge.






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we are seen
we are heard
in unison we shout
for those who cannot
speak a word!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Every last slaughterhouse will shut down in one human generation. Here’s how …

February 1, 2021
by
DxE / YouTube


Source Direct Action Everywhere (DxE)

Join the DxE Network HERE.

Help the whistleblowers facing prison time for exposing factory farm abuses and rescuing suffering animals, support the Right to Rescue by signing HERE.

Help DxE provide care for rescued animals, defend whistleblowers, and pass animal rights legislation, donate HERE.



Who’s the terrorist? Those subjecting animals to horrors unimaginable to humans or those who rescue the animals? Make no mistake, the laws, including the Animal Welfare Act – AWA – (which all animals exploited for “food and fiber” are specifically exempted from as they are considered products undeserving of consideration) are meaningless to the animals required to suffer and die for them: you cannot protect animals who are bred to die, such as for vivisection or for agriculture. Why people praise laws that “protect” animals by killing animals is baffling. And it’s important to note that some animals exploited for testing, who are “protected” by the AWA, are intentionally denied pain relief when administering such is considered detrimental to the testing results.

That’s how effective and important the AWA is to the actual victims who are required to suffer so humans can praise the laws that legalize their torment and violent deaths. SL

Page 7:


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Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

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Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

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treat all others as you wish to be treated
or you are no more than an expletive,
deleted.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Tofu never caused a pandemic …

January 25, 2021
by

Source YouTube , Plant Based News


VEGAN 2020 – The Film is sponsored by abillion – where you can find recommendations and review vegan-friendly restaurants near you, food products and cruelty-free beauty items.

This film is free, however if you wish to make a small donation to help it reach more people, please consider supporting us here 👉 https://plnt.news/supportus


(Clicking times will take you to the YouTube page)

00:00 – Opening scene

02:06 – Introduction

02:24 – January

06:10 – February

08:22 – March

11:38 – April

14:51 – May

19:20 – June

25:08 – July

32:28 – August

39:05 – September

42:00 – October

44:36 – November

46:18 – December





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Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



eat kind
eat cool
and never
eat cruel!!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



EU Challenged by Plant-Based Community on Climate-Hostile Amendment: Please sign petition

January 19, 2021
by
Source Animal Equality

No person or entity has the right to copyright a word; while the inherently-abusive industries of animal exploitation are obviously threatened by integrity and a rejection of cruelty, considering that the vast majority of the world consumes animals, nobody needs permission or encouragement via censorship of words on humane alternatives. While historically euphemistic images and terms have been exploited and nuanced to represent unethical animal exploitation, it’s ludicrous to object to other uses of a WORD to represent humane versions of such. It’s almost as if the people who exploit animals actively promote animal cruelty, and why anyone would promote that is based on a global foundation of speciesist mentality supporting mass suffering, violence, and fearful death. That is not something to advertise or be proud of.

For those who consume dairy, ie., the breastmilk/secretions from a different species, beyond infancy, requiring pain, bodily intrusion, mutilation, separation from and immediate death of (male) child, and violent death when no longer ‘financially productive’, please watch the above video and tell me why ANYONE would object to a humane alternative using a word that doesn’t require or euphemistically represent global relentless suffering and pain. SL


Source ProVeg International

Please sign HERE


In Follow-Up of the ‘Veggie Burger Ban’

Following last year’s successful campaign to ‘Stop The Veggie Burger Ban’ ProVeg International will take action to Stop AM171

AM171 will be discussed as part of the CMO trilogues scheduled to start on January 27thIn spite of existing restrictions on the plant-based sector including a ban on using terms like ‘oat milk’ and ‘soya yoghurt’, the new amendment would go even further. 

The new law would prohibit any use of ‘evocations’ of dairy products on plant-based packaging or in advertising. The ban could even prohibit brands from using images of their own products or applying factual disclaimers such as ‘does not contain milk’. 

The plant-based community has voiced concerns about further censorship of the plant-based sector. Such restrictions would make it more difficult for consumers to choose plant-based foods in spite of ever-increasing demand, and also threaten consumers’ right to information and companies’ right to fair competition. Amendment 171 also directly interferes with the EU’s vital sustainability efforts such as the Green Deal. 

Censoring plant-based-dairy not only contradicts the EU’s public-health goals and the promotion of healthy diets – it sits in direct opposition to the sustainability objectives of the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy. If implemented it would pose a substantial threat to the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

In Practice, Amendment 171 Could Prohibit the Following:

  • Describing a plant-based food, its taste, or function by referring to familiar ‘dairy’ terminology. For example, using wordings such as ‘it’s like milk’, ‘creamy’, or ‘buttery’ to inform the consumer about the purpose, texture, or flavour, either on packaging or advertising. This includes informative descriptions, even if they are purely factual. For instance, using the phrases “does not contain milk”, “suitable for persons suffering from lactose intolerance”, or “plant-based alternative to yoghurt”.
  • Showing climate impact by comparing the carbon footprint of a plant-based food item with its dairy equivalent.
  • Using a picture of a plant-based white beverage being poured at a breakfast table, or white foam swirling into a cappuccino.
  • In its most restrictive interpretation, this could result in bans on plant-based food packaging that looks visually similar to dairy packaging.

Please see HERE for plant-based information, recipes, and suggestions from ProVeg International





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



censoring kindness
is
encouraging pain
it is morally bankrupt and
basically,
insane!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Victory As US Dietary Guidelines Acknowledge Health Risks Of Dairy

January 11, 2021
by

While I do not often refer to the human-centric tangential benefits of veganism, as rejecting animal exploitation is all that is required to be vegan, I think this is very important, in particular to those who bizarrely/inaccurately suggest that animal cruelty is necessary for optimum human health; to those who are currently consuming, or considering, a plant-based diet; and to those who are future vegans. SL

Please see referenced campaign HERE

Please see the newly-updated inclusion of soy milk on the USDA Guidelines HERE

Please note that in the US cow’s milk is fortified, so opting for a fortified plant milk provides necessary nutrition absent unnecessary suffering. For ideas, please see Switch4Good’s Ultimate Guide to Dairy-Free Alternatives

Free plant-based diet information sheets can be found from Plant Based Health Professionals



The US Dietary Guidelines have acknowledged lactose intolerance as a serious health issue after advocacy efforts from health campaigners


Health advocates are celebrating a major victory as the US Dietary Guidelines have acknowledged lactose intolerance as a serious health issue.

Campaigners including plant-based physician Dr. Milton Mills and health organization Switch4Good worked towards the victory.

US Dietary Guidelines Committee

They have both presented information to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee about the health risks of dairy. 

The Committee, which is comprised of nationally recognized nutrition and medical researchers, academics, and practitioners, updates the dietary guidelines every five years. 

It invites experts to speak and share current scientific and medical evidence in nutrition.

Dairy and people of color

One of the key points made by advocates was how dairy disproportionately affects people of color. Speaking to the committee, Dr. Mills said: “The vast majority of people of color in this country are intolerant to the lactose that’s in milk. 

“Yet because they think they have to eat this stuff, they go out, eat it, get sick, and think they have some sort of intestinal problem. When I encourage them to stop eating dairy, their problems clear up.

“It’s really outrageous to encourage people to eat foods we know will make them sick, particularly when the number one reason advanced for dairy foods is its calcium content. But African American women are genetically protected against getting osteoporosis. So we’re making them sick for no good reason.”


The new 2020-2025 guidelines state that soy milk is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk (for the first time ever!)


Switch4Good

Describing the victory, Switch4Good – whose executive director is Olympic silver medalist Dotsie Bausch – said: “Together, we compelled the US Dietary Guidelines to acknowledge lactose intolerance as a serious issue and add soy milk as an option for the millions of Americans who are sickened by dairy (over one-third of us!). 

“The new 2020-2025 guidelines state that soy milk is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk (for the first time ever!). Compared to the former guidelines that barely alluded to anything but dairy, the inclusion of soy is HUGE.” 

“As the guidelines underwent revision in 2020, you helped us launch a tidal wave of public comments to remove dairy as a food group. While we may not have claimed this victory (yet), seeing dairy alternatives front and center is something to be celebrated.”

Continue the fight

The organization added that it will continue to fight against the ‘dairy industry’s grasp on our government’. 

It will campaign for dairy alternatives in all public schools, comprehensive explanation of lactose intolerance including the symptoms and who is most at risk, and the complete removal of dairy as a food group.

Dairy detox

In addition, Switch4Good is currently running a 14-day Dairy Detox pledge.

It says: “Some may notice changes immediately, whereas others may take a week or two to really feel fantastic. Our bodies are different, but there is one thing they can agree on: dairy does not do a body good.

“Commit to the Dairy Detox and treat your body with compassion. When you sign up, you’ll receive exclusive tips, recipes, and constant motivation to stay on track.”

You can find out more about Switch4Good’s dairy detox here





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



each step forward, a life is saved.
every life is ALL life

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



The Meat Industry’s Bestiality Problem

January 4, 2021
by
A farmer squeezes semen into a cow’s uterus to begin her next pregnancy.
Source Jo-Anne McArthur / Animal Equality

Source The New Republic

By Gabriel N. RosenbergJan Dutkiewicz


Big Agriculture’s artificial insemination is abusive. Most states have rewritten old laws to absolve it—but some haven’t.

It isn’t spoken of much, but a significant chunk of the Kansas economy depends on pervasive violations of its anti-bestiality laws. In 2010, the Kansas legislature revised the state’s “criminal sodomy” statute—historically vague laws criminalizing multiple forms of nonprocreative sex—to delete language that criminalized consensual gay sex. But it preserved other itemized crimes in the law, including making “sodomy between a person and an animal” punishable by up to six months in prison, defining the crime to encompass “any penetration of the female sex organ by … any object.” Although it made allowances for “generally recognized health care practices,” it offered no exemption for everyday animal breeding. This makes Kansas an outlier. The overwhelming majority of states that use similar laws to criminalize sex between animals and humans provide precisely such an exemption. With the explosive growth of artificial insemination in the past 30 years, much meat production in the United States depends on forcibly inserting objects into female animals’ genitals.

For decades, the meat industry in America has been running up against the contradictions in how Americans conceptualize animal cruelty. A growing number of Americans claim to care about animal welfare and support animal welfare legislation. But the average American consumes over 200 pounds of flesh and 600 pounds of dairy products each year, most of it sourced from animals raised on concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, or fattened on concentrated feedlots. Farmed animals have few meaningful legal protections and are routinely subject to forced confinement, painful practices like castration and tail-docking, and sexually invasive interventions such as artificial insemination. How Americans claim they want to treat animals and how American animals are actually treated are two very different things, and in bestiality laws, these contradictions are laid bare.Bestiality, a highly stigmatized act, lends itself well to loud denunciations but not so much to moral consistency.

Surely when the Kansas legislature voted to prohibit criminal sodomy in 2010, it did not intend to ban artificial insemination. But the letter of Kansas’s law—which would weigh heavily in an actual court case, particularly with a textualist court—is unambiguous. While a specious reading of the “health care” exemption might be stretched to encompass artificial insemination by veterinarians, most artificial insemination is done by low-wage manual laborers. This would make virtually every farm in the state a hotbed of bestiality.

The unsavory reality is that the labyrinthine structure of American bestiality laws derives from a contradiction most consumers would find unpalatable: Many people wish to protect animals from abuse, but the system of industrial meat and dairy production they patronize depends upon practices that would not only horrify them if they were done to dogs and cats but would often be patently illegal. If animal farming had to confront the cruelty of the insemination practices by which its product is created, cheap meat and milk production would be impossible.



Anti-bestiality laws have a long and twisted history. In the colonial period, bestiality was classed with other forms of “unnatural” sex, including homosexual sex, fornication, oral sex, and masturbation, in various “sodomy” and “crimes against nature” statutes whose broad target was any form of nonprocreative sex outside of marriage. Among those acts, bestiality was the most severely punished, and it resulted in at least seven executions. Colonists believed that bestiality was a violation of a divinely established natural order and, thus, they executed not only the human transgressors but also animals, which were seen as conspirators in, rather than victims of, the crime.

But these anti-sodomy laws, written in rather figurative language, were flexible and evolved alongside changing sexual mores. By the mid-nineteenth century, courts turned to sodomy statutes to prosecute cases of sexual assault with male victims (nineteenth-century rape statutes were written to criminalize only sexual assault against women). Not until after World War II, during what historian David Johnson calls “the lavender scare” conflating homosexuality and Communist sympathy, were anti-sodomy laws consistently used to police consensual gay sex. Breeding technicians insert an arm into the cow’s anus to manually flatten the bovine cervix prior to insertion of a “breeding gun.”

When many states in the latter half of the twentieth century repealed sodomy statutes now primarily associated with homophobia, they also—in the process—axed the anti-bestiality laws. Sparked by equal parts horror and embarrassment when sensational cases of interspecies sex could not be prosecuted, state legislatures then moved to recriminalize it. With the assistance of the Humane Society of the United States, 27 states have enacted specific anti-bestiality statutes since 1990. Bestiality remains legal in four states (Wyoming, West Virginia, New Mexico, and Hawaii), while 19 other states have statutes that date to the nineteenth century or even the Colonial period.

These new statutes are distinct from older sodomy statutes in that they define the proscribed acts with precision. They apply the legal definitions for sexual contact found elsewhere in criminal codes to circumstances where one party is an animal, usually (as in Kansas) defining it as any contact between the body, genitals, or wielded object of a human and the genitals of an animal. These statutes also explicitly treat animals as victims worthy of moral consideration, with many explicitly naming the proscribed crime as “animal sexual abuse”.

Cognitive dissonance has haunted these statutes from their inception: Bestiality, a highly stigmatized act, lends itself well to loud denunciations but not so much to moral consistency. Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for instance—infamous for racial profiling accusations, constructing the “Tent City” outdoor jail in the Arizona desert where inmates regularly suffered from heatstroke, and organizing a “posse” to round up undocumented immigrants—played a pivotal role in the passage of Arizona’s 2006 anti-bestiality statute, and zealously enforced it: In 2016, he posted fake Craigslist ads around the country to lure bestialists to Arizona where he could arrest and prosecute them. But Arpaio’s sympathy—unsurprisingly, given that he rarely extended it to humans—was highly selective: He happily scarfed down hamburgers at political meet-and-greets, despite most cattle suffering just as much as the abused dogs and cats for which Arpaio established a no-kill rescue shelter inside an abandoned prison.



As the laws were evolving, so was agriculture. While the meat industry had been dominated by consolidated, high-volume slaughter and processing since the nineteenth century, pro-big-farming government policy and corporate agribusiness-backed regulations accelerated this trend and spread it throughout the farming world in the late twentieth. Consolidation and ever-tightening margins drove the meat industry to discover new efficiencies and untapped profits in the bodies of livestock animals. The industry itself refers to this as “commodity” animal production: Thanks to the sophisticated tools of modern life sciences and genetics, animals themselves are mass-produced to be interchangeable in ways that were unimaginable 50 years ago.

Artificial insemination stands out as a uniquely powerful technology to standardize animal reproduction. It allows farms both to produce homogeneous animals and to standardize the breeding process itself, removing the inconvenience and unpredictability of letting animals breed the old-fashioned way. For example, it allows factory farms to sync the estrous cycles of entire barns of animals, which, in turn, maximizes the efficiency of impregnation, gestation, and birthing. In other words, artificial insemination allows farms to guarantee that animals breed on the market’s clock rather than their own biological one. The global market in livestock semen for artificial insemination also ensures ever-more-sophisticated interventions in animal genetics: Breeders are no longer limited by their own (or neighbor’s) prized studs; they can use semen from animals all around the world. And refrigeration means that particularly valuable animals often continue to stud even long after they have died and been ground into sausage.

Artificial insemination was first developed to improve the productivity of dairy cattle immediately after World War II. Dairy cattle must be continually impregnated to give milk and must be spatially confined to be milked. These logistical details made artificial insemination a good fit for most dairy farms, and farmers could expect to offset its higher capital and labor costs with considerable productivity gains. By 1960, the practice had become the dairy industry standard in the U.S. By the 1970s, it was also increasingly used in turkey production, where it helped farmers manage low fertility rates and the unusual seasonality of demand imposed by Thanksgiving. Pork and beef producers saw little promise in the technology until CAFOs farming—which was pioneered with chicken megafarms as early as the 1950s—began to dominate pork and dairy production starting in the 1980s.The legal distinction between artificial insemination and bestiality was not a foregone conclusion. Rather, it is the product of the lobbying power of large farms.

CAFOs, in which animals—rather than grazing or foraging as naturally inclined—are raised in tightly confined quarters, meant that animal reproduction could be centralized on a smaller number of high-volume breeding farms. Wage-laborers could then cheaply inseminate an endless stream of animals, creating the economies of scale needed to make artificial insemination profitable. By the 1990s, it was making inroads in the pork industry; by 2000, it was employed on 70 percent of farms. Today, it is “near-universal,” and the beef industry is undergoing a similar transformation. Only in broiler chicken production is artificial insemination still relatively rare. Chickens, the most-eaten animal in America, are bred in such massive quantities and have such high fertility that for now the technology has not been seen as cost-effective; but even there, experts speculate that it is only a matter of time before industry consolidation, the cheapness of the technology, and the production gains it enables push the industry past a tipping point. To put it bluntly, artificial insemination is so pervasive in industrial agriculture that, if it were prohibited over concerns for animal welfare, much industrial meat and dairy production would grind to a halt overnight.



The legal distinction between artificial insemination and bestiality was not a foregone conclusion. Rather, it is the product of the lobbying power of large farms.

As state legislatures began proposing anti-bestiality laws in the 1990s, the agriculture lobby repeatedly opposed the bills due largely to concerns they would criminalize artificial insemination. Missouri offered a particularly clear example of the process. In 2000, Sheila Rilenge, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Abuse Legislation, explained to the state’s legislature that animals needed sexual protection from the state: “There is no consensual sex with an animal.… They are unable to speak out loud about this abuse.” But this argument ran afoul of the state’s agricultural lobby, and the proposed anti-bestiality law Rilenge was testifying for died in committee, where an identical bill had also perished in 1999. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a rancher named Morris Westfall, feared that the law would be used to prosecute veterinarians and farmers who harvested semen from bulls and artificially inseminated cows. Westfall blocked another version of the bill in 2001. The following year, the legislature finally passed a version of the statute that included a blanket exemption for “accepted animal husbandry, farming and ranching practices or generally accepted veterinary medical practices.”

Of the 27 states that have enacted bestiality statutes since 1990, 24 include nearly identical exemptions for animal husbandry. (Kansas, Iowa, and Delaware’s laws do not.) With the exemptions included, agricultural interests in many states have gone from covertly opposing anti-bestiality bills to either staying mum or even lobbying for them—an alleged sign of their commitment to animal welfare. Only in New Hampshire in 2016 did the farming lobby put up Missouri-esque unconditional resistance to anti-bestiality laws, driven by concerns from small, low-volume dairy farmers that they weren’t large enough to qualify for the law’s exception.



Artificial insemination is a clinical and detached term for a practice that involves invasive and sustained bodily contact between humans and animals. Anthropologist Alex Blanchette, who worked in the field as part of his ethnographic study of a massive Midwestern hog farm in the early 2010s, described it in visceral detail: “Our bodies were meant to act as mere weights, imitating the back pressure of a boar’s mounting until the sow’s uterine muscle contractions draw the semen in through a catheter-like spirette attached to a plastic bag.” Pig production textbooks refer to all this extensive human-animal contact unironically as a “courtship.” Novel artificial insemination technology like post-cervical artificial insemination is even more invasive than what Blanchette describes, requiring workers to deposit semen in the uterus through a catheter rod that penetrates past the cervix. For cattle, breeding technicians insert an arm into the cow’s anus to manually flatten the bovine cervix prior to insertion of a “breeding gun.”Meat and dairy production currently account for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations.

If modern farms are factories, breeding animals are reproductive machines, micromanaged to maximize their fecundity. The volume and standardization of livestock on modern farms makes artificial insemination profitable, but it can only be profitably managed through ongoing systematic cruelty. After insemination, workers on some farms inject sows with drugs to ensure farrowing occurs at precisely 114 days and within regular working hours. Humans will generally also be present to midwife the ever-larger litters: Intensive selective breeding has pushed sow fertility well beyond what pig bodies can naturally sustain.

Sows on many farms now often farrow more piglets than they have teats, leading to both fatal pregnancies and the pervasive problem of low birth weights and “runts,” animals born too weak and sickly to survive on their own and either killed or nursed back to health by farmworkers. As for the sows, when they do not immediately return to estrus, they are sometimes fed or injected drugs to jump-start their cycles again. After a few cycles of this, when their sexual organs wear out or lose productivity, sows will be killed and their used-up bodies, unfit for full cuts of meat, will be ground up for pepperoni or pet food.

The co-evolution of CAFOs and artificial insemination have made the two difficult to disentangle. Feedlot-style farming is what made the technology cost-effective in the first place. And artificial insemination, in turn, has expanded the production capacities of industrial agriculture; with razor-thin profit margins, farms that resist the technology and other high-production practices are destined for obsolescence. As a result, artificial insemination is increasingly affecting animals’ lives not just directly through unnatural and painful impregnation practices but also by supporting an entire system of inhumane practices.

And the effects aren’t just limited to animals. The litany of harms caused by factory farms, including poisoning local communities with dangerous air pollution, land-clearing and deforestation for feed crops, water contamination, and even meat production’s heavy greenhouse gas emissions are all compounded by the sheer scale of production on megafarms, itself in large part the result of industrialized breeding techniques like artificial insemination. Meat and dairy production currently account for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations.



Many Americans claim to care about animal welfare but are a bit hazy on the specifics. Some, like Arpaio, may imagine that animal abuse involves a few sadistic bad apples engaging in the sorts of brazen cruelty that animal rights groups often expose through undercover videos. The reality is that conventional animal agriculture is routinely abusive in ways that are perfectly legal.

The U.S. does not have meaningful federal standards for on-farm animal welfare. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 only applies to slaughterhouses and is spottily enforced. As a result, animal welfare is in the hands of states, where the political heft of the meat industry ensures that efforts to reduce animal suffering routinely exempt farms. The meat industry has been strikingly effective at gutting regulations (for instance by lobbying for privatized safety inspections at meat plants) and escaping public scrutiny (through support for so-called “ag-gag” laws that criminalize whistleblowing about animal abuse on farms) in ways that increase profits at the expense of workers, consumers, animals, and the environment.

Taking on the meat and dairy industry is a herculean task. But most other forms of animal abuse, sexual or otherwise, are trivial by comparison. The cruelty of some pet owners decried by dog and cat rescues, for example, is a drop in the ocean compared to the sustained abuse our food system accepts as a given. This is the perverse irony of the Humane Society’s pivotal role in bestiality recriminalization. By pushing for laws that exempt farms, the Humane Society helped to install a legal regime that normalizes and even exhorts practices that it considers intolerable when done to pets. Such laws may be a small victory for pet-lovers and liberal sensibilities, but they harden the cruel boundary between companion animals and livestock ever more.

If we were consistent with our concerns, we would recognize that the most common source of harm to animals, sexual or otherwise, is industrial agriculture. That this system is legal has a lot to do with agricultural interests skewing the law-making process, but it has just as much to do with most Americans choosing to look away from the harms caused by a system in which they participate on a daily basis. We may feel justified in locking up “perverse” animal abusers, but we’re willing to stomach the ones who feed us three meals a day.


Gabriel N. Rosenberg @gnrosenberg

Gabriel N. Rosenberg teaches at Duke University and is the Duke Endowment Fellow of the National Humanities Center.

Jan Dutkiewicz @jan_dutkiewicz

Jan Dutkiewicz is a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University in Montreal and a visiting fellow in the Animal Law and Policy Program at Harvard University.




Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Download Your FREE Dairy-Free PDF HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



disgusting, cruel, stupid and in this the 21st century, will accepted???

fhat the wuck!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Is a landmark vegan crowdfund the sign we’ve all been waiting for?

December 28, 2020
by
Source Vegan for the Planet , @_AnimalAdvocate

Source Surge , Global Vegan Crowd Funder (GVCF)


New site launching soon: Global Vegan Crowd Funder: Crowd Funding Ethical and Ecological Change


A bunch of “crazy” vegans got together and decided to do something amazing: convince the public to chip in and buy a plot of land once used for grazing dairy cows to turn it towards something plant-based. Is their crowdfunding victory a fluke, or is it a sign that the world is finally changing? Jackie Norman looks at other projects at the vanguard of alternative land use.

A landmark purchase is ‘just the beginning’ for an organisation whose mission is to acquire land currently used for animal agriculture, and give it back to nature and the sentient life that depends on it. The Vegan Land Movement made history in September when they successfully won an auction for 3.3 acres of dairy grazing land in the UK, purchased with donations to their funding platform, Global Vegan Crowd Funder.

From the outset, support for buying out the land was high, with donations flooding in on social media from those eager to be a part of something which collectively could make a big difference. The land, at Earlake Moor in Somerset went under the hammer for £16,000 and promises to become a fertile haven in an area surrounded by dairy farming. This huge milestone is a powerful indication of the public desire for change, resulting in another inspiring example of how many areas of farmland are being transformed around the world.


Growing oats with ease

With sales of plant-based alternatives increasing by 25% last year alone, more and more dairy farmers in Switzerland are recognising the extent of animal suffering and working on transforming their land into kinder, more sustainable enterprises where a variety of crops can be grown to benefit both animals and people. One such example is Urs Marti, whose family milked cows for generations. Today, Urs and wife Leandra Brusa are responsible for producing some of the country’s first organic oat milk and also grow polenta corn and lentils:

“We no longer wanted to be part of this eternal cycle in which the cow is inseminated, the calf is taken away, the cow is milked, the calf is fattened and slaughtered – and then everything starts all over again. The animals no longer have to do anything here, except grow old, fat and happy.”

In return, the cows aid the growing process by simply being themselves, helping to cultivate and fertilise the land.


A cow’s milk can only flow when calves are born. Therefore, dairy cows have to be inseminated and give birth all the time. The new-born calves are shredded into dog food or sold abroad. The screams of mothers for their children are bloodcurdling.


Hazelnuts and hiking

Fellow countrywoman Danique Kottelenberg has been instrumental in encouraging her parents, Gerard and Joke, to convert their dairy farm from animals to plants. A sixth-generation farmer, Danique has her eyes firmly set not on milking cows like the generations before her, but using the land to grow hazelnuts and almonds:

“Why are we buying hazelnuts from other countries when they can be grown well here?”

The family’s new sustainable farming plan also includes an edible native forest of almost four hectares, which will produce berries, fruit and nuts. They even plan to create hiking trails in the forest for overnight hikers and would-be foragers, demonstrating there is no shortage of options for those who want to truly make the most of their fertile and beautiful land.


From slaughterhouse to sanctuary

In Beat and Claudia Troxler’s eyes, there is no difference between farm animals and pets. ‘They are all equally valuable and individual’. Until recently, the Troxler farm was like any other ‘normal’ farm. Pigs were fattened and taken to the slaughterhouse every few months. Cows gave birth and their babies were taken and sold. No more, however. Today the farm is a ‘farm of life’, where the only milk in its future is oat milk and if space allows, the couple also hope to take in other animals rescued from the slaughterhouse. ‘Our cows are no longer inseminated and the calves are allowed to stay with their mothers and drink their milk. We have pigs, horses, alpacas. Everyone is happy and will be allowed to live here forever’.


Choosing kindness over cruelty

Shutting the gates permanently on his dairy farm may have been a gamble but for Pierre Zocher and his 110 cows it was worth it:

“A cow’s milk can only flow when calves are born. Therefore, dairy cows have to be inseminated and give birth all the time. The new-born calves are shredded into dog food or sold abroad. The screams of mothers for their children are bloodcurdling.”

Pierre wanted his animals to be treated with the respect and love they deserved, rather than as ‘goods’. There was one major obstacle however – how would he manage to maintain the costs of feed, water, electricity and other essentials for them and the land? Just like the Vegan Land Movement, Pierre discovered there is no shortage of people wanting to help make a difference and he was able to find sponsors for his entire herd, who support his project with EUR 50 per month. The ex-dairy farmer now operates organic agriculture and his cows have a safe home all together for life.


Keeping one step ahead of the plant protein demand

Sixth-generation cattle rancher Richard Traylor is living proof it’s never too late to change. He and his wife Cindy became vegan in 2018 after one of their cows, Honey, became injured and Cindy tried to find a sanctuary where she could live out her days, rather than being sent to slaughter. After reaching out to several sanctuaries with no luck, Cindy connected with fellow Texan Renee King-Sonnen, founder of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. Not only did Renee find a home for Honey, she was also able to establish positive conversations with the couple about veganism. Today, instead of farming animals, Richard and Cindy are looking into growing all manner of different crops, including fava beans and peas, to keep one step ahead of the increasing demand for plant-based protein.


A lifeline for animals, and farmers

Fellow American Mike Weaver left behind 15 years of poultry farming after becoming disillusioned with welfare and practices and instead repurposed his chicken houses for growing hemp and extracting CBD oil. Both he and the Traylors have embraced the support and inspiration offered by animal welfare groups such as Mercy for Animals, Miyoko’s Creamery and the Rancher Advocacy Program, who are all committed to helping farmers transition away from livestock farming.

Swiss-based agricultural consultant Sarah Heiligtag has noticed a huge increase in farmers wanting to make the change, almost all of them dairy farmers:

“As many as five get in touch every week.  The decisive factor is usually animal suffering.”

There is also the climate aspect: cattle farming is responsible for a large part of the emissions in agriculture. To help combat some of these effects in the Netherlands, the government launched an initiative last month in which livestock farms with high nitrogen emissions can apply for financial support to give up animal husbandry.  Participation is voluntary and is part of the government’s goal to achieve a ‘healthy nitrogen level’ in at least half of its protected Natura 2000 areas by 2030. It plans to provide a total of 1.9 billion euros over the next 10 years to buy out companies who are willing to stop keeping livestock and instead use the land for nature conservation or other sustainable farming methods.

Dutch farmers already successfully implementing their own initiatives include brothers Bart and Tom Grobben, who began converting their dairy farm to soy and soy milk production in 2017:

“Our ancestors back then went with the times by producing cow’s milk.  We as the youngest generation are also now responding to the developments of this time. With our own Dutch soy, we can continue to build on the foundation that the generations have laid before us. Together with consumers and other Dutch farmers, we are building an entirely new galaxy.”


So, what’s next for Earlake Moor?

With the land now safely tucked under their belt, the Vegan Land Movement say they are in no immediate hurry to redevelop:

“We are currently exploring a range of options; most likely the land will be rewilded and perhaps, in conjunction with local groups/volunteers we could consider establishing a community orchard or allotment. We want to see what already grows and flourishes naturally, which will steer us to enable the land to achieve its full potential with our assistance. This first land buyout is the start of what will hopefully be a powerful and transformative change to the way we live, eat and view the world. We are also working on creating a trust structure to protect Earlake Moor and any further buyouts in perpetuity. Other countries have developed structures to do just this and we are taking guidance from these pioneering examples.”

“Our vision is to unite people around this simple idea, which has begun with this small 3.3 acre plot of land. Then we may begin to see more and bigger land buyouts, more rewilding of our Earth, more veganic produce for us all to benefit from and less species’ declines. Imagine for example, the possibility of converting an intensive animal factory farm into veganic mushroom production? This is where the power of the Vegan Land Movement lies, in building a community to effect real change.”

For more information on the Vegan Land Movement and to donate, please visit Globalvegancrowdfunder.org/vegan-land-movement





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Download Your FREE Dairy-Free PDF HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE

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Click HERE to search.

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Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

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treat all others as you wish to be treated or you are no more than an expletive, deleted

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Photographers Capture Powerfully Moving Images of Animal Exploitation Around the World

December 21, 2020
by

Please remember that all animals exploited for human use suffer, no matter the country; animal suffering is not limited to certain locations or areas, an animal whose body is used, manipulated, taken from, and violently killed, is an animal who is abused, no matter the conditions endured prior to vicious, terrifying slaughter, but that 99% of all animals in the United States, and >90% globally, are “produced” in extremely confined, CAFO/Factory Farm conditions. The ONLY humane is vegan. SL


Source One Green Planet , HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene

Animal exploitation and abuse are not an exception nor a rarity in today’s society; they are the norm. They happen everywhere in such an abundance that not supporting animal cruelty is not the default, but a decision that must be made over and over. This is in part a product of anthropocentrism, a worldview that revolves around the notion that human beings are “the central or most significant entities in the world.”

We’re Living in an Anthropocentric World

According to the philosophy of anthropocentrism, humans are “separate from and superior to nature” and “human life has intrinsic value while other entities (including animals, plants, mineral resources, and so on) are resources that may justifiably be exploited for the benefit of humankind.” This philosophy so strongly characterizes the state of our current world and how humans have impacted it, that some scientists refer to the current epoch as the Anthropocene. The general consensus is that the Anthropocene began in 1950 “when human activity started to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems.”

Hidden: Animals in the Anthropocene

Because today’s predominant worldview privileges humans over other animals, animal exploitation pervades all aspects of our society. From our food and our clothes to our traditions and forms of entertainment, animal suffering is commonplace. And yet, animal suffering and cruelty is also still hidden; not despite, but because of the ubiquity of exploitation. It is so pervasive and thus, normalized, that we are able to interact with and support these exploitative practices without truly comprehending or internalizing the pain that they cause.

Existing in a state of willful ignorance, one can look at a product of animal exploitation and only think of the surface-level: the rich taste of a steak, the awe of a circus trick, the cultural significance of a bullfight, the warmth and elegance of a fur coat. However, once we critically evaluate the exploitative structures in our society, as well as realize the inherent value and sentience of the creatures that experience such cruelty, it’s impossible to look at the world in the same way.

HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene by photojournalists Jo-Anne McArthur and Keith Wilson wakes its viewers up. The book confronts the gruesome reality of animal exploitation through disturbingly intimate photographs from around the world. Each image compels its viewer to look at the reality of an exploitative practice that many people would prefer to keep out of both sight and mind. However, to do so is to remain ignorant and complicit in the suffering of countless beings. When presented with another’s suffering that we have the power to do something about, it’s vital that we not only look, but also bear witness.


Industrial Farming

Source: Andrew Skowron/We Animals Media
Dairy farms – Steel barriers, concrete floors, tiled walls and push-button technology make up the habitat of the modern day dairy herd. Poland

The USDA estimates that in 2018 alone, 9.59 billion animals were slaughtered for food in just the United States. Animals that are exploited by the industrial farming industry, are confined to tiny, unsanitary spaces, stolen from their mothers immediately after birth, genetically modified to grow at rates that are too quick for their bodies to handle, and physically tortured until they are slaughtered.


Dog Meat

Source: Jose Valle/We Animals Media 
Who’s next? At this dog slaughterhouse, a butcher chooses the dog he will beat to death with an iron bar while the other dogs look on. China

Dogs that are slaughtered for consumption are kept and transported in terrible conditions. Like many animals used for food, these dogs may be physically abused, denied a sufficient amount of food and water, and confined to tiny cages where disease can spread rapidly. Sadly, there have also been many cases of dogs being stolen from people’s homes or off the streets to be slaughtered for food.


Slaughter

Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media
A pig screams as she is clubbed before slaughter. In some small Asian slaughterhouses, clubbing is used to stun pigs. This often fails to render the animals fully unconscious before their throats are slit. Thailand

Slaughter is the final cruelty that farmed animals suffer. However, many don’t even survive the harsh conditions of a factory farm long enough to make it to the slaughterhouse.  When it’s time for slaughter, tens of thousands of chickens are boiled or drowned alive, cows who have become too weak to walk are dragged with chains around their legs, and “uncooperative” animals are prodded and shocked. Animals are often stunnedclubbed, or subject to some other painful practice to render them unconscious or unable to feel pain. Sadly, this often doesn’t work and the animals die a slow, painful death.


Live Transports

Source: Aitor Garmendia/We Animals Media
Ear tags are removed from animals after slaughter and stored temporarily for record-keeping. Spain.

Live animal exports are extremely stressful for the animals involved. These animals will suffer for days without access to food or water until they finally reach their destination – just to be slaughtered. Often times, they are kept in extreme weather conditions without any protection. There have been multiple cases of live transport animals dying due to heat stress or even drowning in overcrowded ships.


Fishing 

Source: Paul Hilton/We Animals Media
A fisherman carries a shark at a market in Lombok, one of the largest exporters of shark fin to China. Indonesia

Finning a shark involves slicing off a sharks’ fins and then dropping back into the ocean, oftentimes still alive. These sharks slowly sink to the bottom of the sea where they will eventually die. There are a variety of methods used to catch fish in the commercial fish industry. Each one usually causes the fish to suffocate or bleed to death while being pulled up. If they are alive when pulled on board, the fish are slaughtered or put on ice and die a slow, painful death. Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of marine animals are killed and injured by commercialized fishing practices every year. Dolphins, whales, sharks, sea turtles, and seals often become “bycatch,” the unintended victims of huge fishing nets. Overfishing also disrupts the food chain, leading many marine animals on the road to extinction.


Entertainment

Source: Aitor Garmendia/We Animals Media
Inglorious death. In the horse yard of the bullring in Azpeitia, a bull is hung by his hind leg to bleed out before being butchered at the local meat works. Spain

Using animals as a form of entertainment is widespread and takes on many forms: bulls stabbed multiple times with 8-inch blades, dogs trained to fight each other to the death, elephants stabbed with bullhooks so that they will perform unnatural tricks, orcas taken from the wild and kept in tiny tanks – the list of ways we exploit animals as a form of “entertainment” goes on. Not only do these poor animals suffer repeated physical abuse, but also often suffer from zoochosis, which may cause animals to harm themselves and others as a result of being in captivity. Despite the heartbreaking degree of cruelty and abuse, many humans still view these abusive activities as “fun” and “enjoyable.”


Culture & Tradition

Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals Media
Animal sacrifices are still made to Kali, the goddess of time, power, creation and destruction, at this Nepalese temple. Nepal.

While ritual sacrifices and similar ceremonies may seem like they belong to a different time period, they still are a part of many cultures and religions today. For example, at the Gadhimi Festival in Nepalthousands of buffaloes, goats, and chickens are sacrificed to the goddess Gadhimai, and before the Jewish high holidays, a small portion of people participate in Kapparot, which includes swinging or circling a live chicken around someone’s head and then slaughtering it. Animals are also murdered en-masse for traditions such as Thanksgiving, which, for many Americans, revolves around eating a turkey; Grindadrap, an annual whale and dolphin hunt in the Faroe Islands); and the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. Sadly, culture and tradition are common excuses that people use to justify harming animals all around the world.


 Fashion

toad purses
Source: Britta Jaschinski/We Animals Media
Frog Purse – This year’s accessory. Confiscated purses made from cane toads. USA

Farming animals for their skin and fur is similar to animal agriculture practices as the animals are kept in tiny, unsanitary cages, where they suffer from illness and injuries. Animals that are sheared, like lambs and alpacas, may have their tails or other parts of their bodies cut off without anesthesiaroughly handled; and subject to other forms of abuse that cause severe injuries as well as emotional distress. Other animals, like minkscrocodilescows, and rabbits, are brutally killed by being gassed, skinned alive, or electrocuted, to name a few examples.


What Can You Do

Images Courtesy of We Animals Media

You can view more images like these ones and read more about the multitude of ways that we exploit animals in HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene. The book features a foreword by Joaquin Phoenix and also focuses on other aspects in our society that involve animal exploitation, such as catastrophes, wildlife markets, research, and more.

Even though it’s easier to only recognize animal abuse in practices that belong to other cultures, other countries, or even just other people, displacing blame onto others is merely a way to absolve ourselves of responsibility. It’s important that we continue to evaluate the ways that our actions impact human and non-human animals. We all have a responsibility to help those who are suffering and do what we can to change the systems that allowed that suffering to take place. Educate your friends and family members about what goes on in various exploitative industries. Email your government officials and encourage others to do the same. Change starts with ourselves, but there’s no reason that it has to stop there.





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Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

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as we sit and contemplate a world forever altered
perhaps by man and by fate
do we hear other voices in the room
or are they drowned out by our
own gloom.
do we feel the heartbeats
of all on earth so dear
ALL the beings
who ALL belong here.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



They haven’t had water for five days.

December 14, 2020
by

When referring to unacceptable animal cruelty, please remember that pigs, cows, chickens, and mink do not enjoy the social status of other animals, such as dogs and cats, and their abuses are accepted under a moniker of “welfare” and “humane”, both terms compromised by humans to categorize animals whose own bodies are controlled, violated, mutilated sans pain relief, separated from family, and violently, terrifyingly killed.

In the United States, all ten billion land animals exploited for food each year are specifically exempt from the Animal Welfare Act, and nine billion poultry are additionally denied any (oxymoronic) coverage under the Humane Slaughter Act, a meaningless regulation that requires animals be violently killed.

To die prematurely, exploitatively, fearfully, unwillingly is ABUSE, those nice human-created labels and laws are not meant to protect animals, they are meant to protect humans from moral discomfort causing the needless and violent death of trillions of animals killed globally each year.

For the “small, local, organic farm” preachers, the animals don’t care where you live, and providing food for an animal before you kill him or her doesn’t mitigate your contribution to their loss of body autonomy and forced and fearful death in an industrial slaughterhouse. And the global demand for animal “products” require they be confined in predominantly extremely intensive conditions, forced to endure diseases, pain, abnormal genetic variations, squalor, bodily violations and intrusions, and violent death.

Protecting animals, considering their welfare and well-being, and practicing humane approaches all PRECLUDE exploiting/killing them. Anything you do to a pig would be an illegal violation if done against cats, dogs, and humans. That you can pretend otherwise does not nullify the animal’s hellish experience so you can enjoy a five-minute tasty snack: no meal should require suffering.

Furthermore, Ag-Gag laws are pretentious violations of constitutional rights, no person or entity should be granted the lawful ability to hide illegal activity, including cruelty and gross negligence, from the public to whom they “market” animals and from whom they derive profit. To all who champion such egregiously abusive laws, I ask, “What are you hiding?” To match your claims of “welfare” and “humane” (which have been consistently proven false), where is the transparency? The public has a right to and an interest in your business; that you profit from social ignorance and intentional suffering as inflicted on vulnerable, defenseless animals, and then take herculean steps including more time, money, and resources to conceal abuse rather than fight abuse is a disgustingly greedy, inhuman, utterly shameless, and appalling market strategy. SL



Source CTV News

For seven weeks, a man, who asked to be identified only as Elijah, worked at a farming facility in Putnam, Ont., 30 km east of London.

His job as a hog farm technician at the Arnold Barn, which is managed by Paragon Farms, included tasks like feeding, moving and vaccinating pigs. W5 has agreed to protect Elijah’s true identity.

However, Elijah had another motive for working at the barn. Using a hidden camera, he recorded hours of video footage at the facility.

“It’s not necessarily the safest job that I could be working, but I did it because I see that these animals are suffering,” he told W5’s Sandie Rinaldo.

Animal Justice, a Canadian animal law advocacy organization, hired Elijah to go undercover, and shared some of the video he recorded with W5.

The footage documents what Elijah claims are instances of animal abuse and neglect, including disturbing images of farm workers forcefully slapping and hitting pigs with plastic boards, and jabbing them with pens.

Other filmed incidents include workers discussing how pregnant sows had been deprived of drinking water for several days, workers castrating male piglets without the use of painkillers and filthy conditions in the barn.

W5 offered to show the video to the general manager of Paragon Farms, with an opportunity to comment afterward. A lawyer acting for Paragon sent W5 a written statement indicating, in part, that “Paragon Farms immediately inspected the barn in question” and “welcomed an inspection by … the Animal Welfare Services branch (of the provincial government) within hours of being notified of the allegations. No material concerns were identified.”

The statement added that a veterinarian “with expert certification” inspected the animals and “has not identified incidents of abuse or neglect.”

THE END OF UNDERCOVER WHISTLEBLOWERS?

Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, believes that because there is no proactive provincial monitoring or inspection of farm facilities, neglect and abuse of livestock remains hidden and free of scrutiny. Only a complaint can trigger an investigation of a farm by provincial authorities.

“We urgently need more transparency in the food system because the meat industry keeps animals behind closed doors without any government oversight or inspection,” Labchuk said.

“There’s no way for Canadians to learn the truth unless a brave whistleblower goes in there and films this footage and exposes it to the public.”

Hidden camera video filmed by animal rights groups and shared with journalists have helped raise public awareness of conditions and animal mistreatment in farms and slaughterhouses.


Arnold Barn
Would you allow your cats and dogs to be confined in such manner for weeks on end? Of course not, it would be shockingly cruel AND illegal. So why are you condemning these innocent creatures to such horrific fates?
Source CTV News

But undercover filming by employee activists at livestock facilities may soon become outlawed in Ontario.

This past June, the Ontario government partially proclaimed the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, known initially as Bill 156.

Promoted by Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ernie Hardeman as a way to improve the protection of farms, farmers and their livestock from trespassers and biosecurity risks, the act may soon make it illegal for undercover activists like Elijah to work and film at farm facilities under “false pretenses.”

A similar law, initially known as Bill 27, was passed in Alberta late last year and Manitoba is looking to follow suit.

Critics call them “ag-gag” or agricultural gag laws. Modelled on U.S. laws that have been introduced in 29 U.S. states since 1990, only six states still have these laws on the books. The rest have been defeated or deemed unconstitutional.

Professor Samuel Trosow, who teaches law at Western University in London, believes these types of laws are problematic.

“The way that Bill 156 has been written, same thing for the Alberta law, does violate Section 2(b) of the Constitution that guarantees everyone freedom of expression,” Trosow told W5’s Sandie Rinaldo in an interview.

“I don’t think this is about protecting farmers in their homes. I think this is about protecting large corporate producers and their factory farms from the public scrutiny that results when people come in and take films.”

While a section of Ontario’s Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act currently prevents people from interfering with animal transport vehicles, the provision regarding false pretenses, which may prevent employee whistleblowers from filming inside farm facilities, has yet to be proclaimed.

Labchuk intends to challenge the law if and when that happens.

“If you ask ordinary Canadians what they think, they’re appalled when they hear that the government’s trying to shut down transparency on farms and hide from them where their food comes from.”





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Download Your FREE Dairy-Free PDF HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



as humans consider themselves to be superior,
their actions show only that they are
inferior!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Factory: The industrial exploitation of pigs

December 7, 2020
by

Please remember that the methods of pig exploitation demonstrated here are status quo globally, and Spain exports millions of tons of “pig meat” to other countries yearly: the only humane method of pig consumption is rejecting it completely, they all suffer. And for those who champion treating animals well as being important, then NOT killing them is more so. SL

Source Tras los muros (Glass Walls) , World Animals Voice

By: Aitor Garmendia
Veterinary Advisor: Alfonso Senovilla
Translator: Liz Tyson

With a population of over 30 million individuals,1 the Spanish pig farming industry has established itself as the largest producer of live pigs within the European Union and, in 2020, is expected to exceed Germany, which had ranked first until now, in the number of animals sent to slaughter for the first time. In 2019, the largest pig processing slaughterhouse in Europe commenced operation in Binéfar, in the Huesca province of Spain. It is estimated that this plant alone will lead to the death of 160,000 pigs per week. Under the relentless pursuit of production, animals endure systemic suffering and institutional neglect.

Between 2019 and 2020, supported by a team of individuals who have chosen to remain anonymous, I carried out an investigation into 32 pig farms, located in Castilla y Leon, Aragon, and Castilla-La-Mancha. In these places, I discovered and documented the consequences of the structural violence that takes place within industrial animal agriculture.

The lack of veterinary oversight, the failure to meet basic legal welfare standards, and the abuses described in this report are not isolated incidents, but an inherent part of the industrial explotation and production of animals.

Power, propaganda and the right to information

The images obtained from within the farms and slaughterhouses, thanks to undercover investigations, hidden cameras, or infiltration into the industries’ workforce reveal to the public an image which is very different from that which the meat industry chooses to show in its publicity campaigns. These images, which leave no doubt about the true practices of the industry, have managed to amplify a societal debate that meat producing corporations now cannot avoid.

Nevertheless, thanks to investment in costly propaganda efforts and its influence on both powerful public entities and the media, the industrial animal agriculture industry has sought to control the narrative, thus influencing public opinion and impeding our ability to exercise our right to information.

This power and influence has been made clear in a series of recent events:

In 2016, the industry was involved in a plot which sought to counter the negative narrative presented in a report which demonstrated the link between the consumption of meat and risk of cancer.2

In February of 2018, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and the Environment, Isabel Garcia Tejerina, came out in defense of the meat production sector following a report which documented pigs with deformities and cannibalism in a farm supplying pigs to the meat products brand El Pozo.3, 4 Days later, in an attempt to confront the social turmoil caused by the images, the industry placed advertorials, which were designed to look like objective articles, in various mainstream media outlets. In March of the same year, the Superior Justice Tribunal of Castilla-La-Mancha condemned the local government and the meat production supplier, Incarlopsa – the main meat supplier to supermarket chain, Mercadona – for covering up failures to meet animal welfare standards in the company’s pig slaughterhouse.5

More recently, in July 2020, the «Let’s Talk About Pork from Europe» campaign was launched. According to the campaign’s press pack, it was designed to challenge the supposed false claims which have been leveled at the pig farming sector.6 The campaign, financed to the tune of more than 6 million euros ($7 million USD, £5.4 million GBP) by the European Union, will last for three years and is being coordinated by four powerful industry lobby groups: Organización Interprofesional Agroalimentaria del Porcino de Capa Blanca, l’Interprofession nationale porcino, Aligrupo y Grupalto.7

In 2019, the Department of Agriculture, Farming, Fisheries and Food of the Generalitat of Catalunya threatened fines of up to €100,000 euros ($117,000 USD, £90,200 GBP) for anyone who gained unauthorized access to farms. The announcement of these measures arose from pressure from the industry following mass occupations of farms by animal rights activist.8, 9 The Generalitat accused the protesters of breaking animal welfare laws and defended the measures as a means to guarantee compliance with the law. However, in the absence of protests, the apparent concern for compliance with animal welfare laws does not appear to be of interest to the same authorities. In 2013, of 22,616 farms located in Catalunya, only 1,825 were inspected.10 Furthermore the images obtained by the occupations of the farms revealed non-compliance with the law on the part of the farms that would otherwise not have come to light. The only thing that the measures implemented achieve is to guarantee the impunity of the animal agriculture industry. In place of increasing control and improving transparency, the authorities instead chose to protect the industry and punish those who spoke out against its abuses of animals.

In the United States, the industry has operated for years under the same principles:

The powerful meat lobbies have succeeded in introducing «gagging» (known colloquially as «Ag Gag») laws which prohibit undercover filming inside of farms.11, 12 These laws, which were explicitly designed to protect the large meat production corporations,13, 14, 15 have also now been implemented in other countries, including Canada and Australia.16, 17, 18, 19 Civil rights organizations, those which defend freedom of the press, human rights and consumer rights, farm workers unions, ecological organizations, and animal rights advocates have warned that these laws compromise freedom of expression, the right to information, animal welfare, workers’ rights, and food security and safety.20

The Spanish pork industry in figures

In recent years, the growth of exports of both pork and its derivatives has resulted in the Spanish pork industry becoming the largest in the European Union.21 In addition, with a turnover of more than €15,000 million euro ($17,500 million USD, £13,500 million GBP),22 the industry is the largest producer in the Spanish farming sector, representing 14% of the final agricultural product and 39% of livestock production.23

The population of pigs in Spain is the largest in the whole European Union1 and the third largest globally.24 The figure, which at the beginning of 2020 was 31,828,141,25 was obtained by calculating the number of live pigs in existence at a given time of year rather than, as official statistics report, the number of pigs slaughtered each year. The Spanish pork industry produces the most pigs in its farms in all the European Union.

Spain is second only to Germany when it comes to animals sent to slaughter (52,982,310 in 2019) and in the tons of meat produced (4,641,160 in 2019).26 This apparent anomaly between production and slaughter is due to the fact that Germany imports more animals for slaughter from other EU countries (information received from the General Directorate of Agricultural Productions and Markets in May 2020).

Furthermore, these figures do not include animals who are killed on the farms themselves for economic or other reasons, or those who do not survive the conditions on the farms. In the farrowing phase alone, casualties can exceed 20% of litters.27

This means that millions of pigs die each year before reaching the slaughterhouse.

Other data that helps to explain the development of the sector and to predict the direction in which it is headed relates to the evolution of the number of farms. Despite the fact that the number has decreased significantly (from 218,110 in 1999 to 87,540 in 2020),25, 28 farms have increased their capacity and now send 15 million more pigs to slaughter than they did two decades ago. According to the latest report from the Spanish Pig Reference Data Bank (BDPorc), the number of sows present in the farms included in its database has multiplied by four.27 This increase in production comes from factors such as technological innovation, genetic selection and farms with much higher capacity, which are now capable of housing a greater number of animals.

Inside the factory farm

More than 95% of the pork consumed in Spain comes from intensive farming systems.29 The farms can be closed cycle and contain all phases of production (gestation, maternity and fattening) in one or more geographically close locations or may be dedicated to covering only one of the phases. In the latter situation, the pigs destined for fattening are later transported by trucks to the fattening farm.

All farms operate under similar standards and are governed by the same regulations. Regardless of their size or their phased structure, the quality of life of the pigs is compromised in all of them, whether they are huge mega-farms or small family-run facilities. In their sheds, pigs exploited for meat production are housed on concrete floors in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, and females selected for their reproductive capacity spend part of their lives trapped in iron cages, known as «gestation crates» and «farrowing crates». Confinement prevents the natural behavior of pigs. The inability to meet their innate needs and carry out their natural behaviors severely compromises their welfare. The frustration of their interests and needs can also lead to numerous physical health problems.30

Unlike other species, pigs lack sweat glands and their ability to dissipate heat is very limited. If they have the right conditions, they look for cool places, streams and puddles to take mud baths or rest. However, on intensive breeding farms the temperatures can be very high —something common in hot months of the year— and given the impossibility of accessing a place to cool off, they have no choice but to wallow in their own excrement.31

Even the air inside the pig sheds is unhealthy. The accumulation of dust combined with the humidity and vapors produced by the feces and urine of the animals generates a harmful atmosphere which can affect the health of both the pigs themselves and farm workers.30, 32, 33

Many pigs succumb to the horrendous living conditions and die on the farm. Their bodies are often not removed by farm workers and they can end up being eaten by other pigs, or by cats and rodents. During this investigation we found animals in states of severe suffering —trembling and convulsing, seriously injured or with respiratory problems—. Corpses were found in varying states of decomposition or having been partially consumed in the farrowing, transitional and fattening areas. Some had been there for days or even weeks.

The industry invests millions of euros in propaganda —some using public funds— in order to project an image of its work which bears little to no resemblance to reality. The confinement systems of the factory farm impede the physical and psychological well-being of the animals, seriously affect their health and compromise their quality of life. In addition, animal welfare inspections are scarce and the pig protection regulations that exist are not always complied with, nor are they fit for purpose.

The phases of exploitation

The farms are made up of different areas that meet the productive needs of each phase. In order to maximize efficiency, many of them have high levels of sophistication and monitoring, mainly in the most critical phases of the process, that is, during labor and forced weaning. The extent to which technological resources are available varies from one farm to another.

During the course of this investigation, we were able to document each phase of the exploitation process; however, it has not been possible to obtain images of some specific handling and management practices. In addition to the farms which we have accessed, I sought permission from others to document the practices such as castration, tail docking, teeth cutting and insemination. In every instance, the request was denied.

While there are differences between one farm and another, the images presented below, as well as the description of each phase, are representative of industry-wide standard practice in pig farming.

The investigation has been carried out without permission and in exercise of the right of access to information. The farms have been selected at random and the irregularities discovered correspond only to these farms, not to others. However, as long as the industry continues to prevent critical press access to its facilities and slaughterhouses, and given that the images and information obtained as part of this work demonstrate serious instances of suffering and neglect, it seems prudent to adopt a precautionary principle and assume that these standards are representative; leaving it for the industry itself to lift the veil of secrecy and prove otherwise if this is not the case.

Gestation area

The process of industrial pig farming begins in the gestation rooms, where sows are inseminated and kept in individual crates for intermittent periods of several weeks. These sheds contain no bedding material where the sows can rest comfortably. Instead, the flooring is hard concrete, with openings to allow feces and urine to be flushed out. These openings are not always effective, and excrement accumulates at the rear of the crates. In two of the gestation rooms to which we have accessed the slurry had overflowed and formed puddles under the crates.

The law does not limit the amount of time that sows can be kept in these crates, and only mandates specific periods when they must be group housed. This period includes «from four weeks after mating to the seven days before the expected date of farrowing».34 Outside of this period, it is completely legal to keep sows —naturally social animals— in individual cages.

The first time a sow is inseminated, she will be around eight months old and the procedure will be carried out in the crate. If she falls pregnant, she will spend the next four weeks in that crate, as per the legal allowances mentioned above. If it is discovered, following an ultrasound, that she is not pregnant, she will be kept in the crate and inseminated again until the procedure is effective. Those sows deemed no longer productive can also be housed in the crates while they await transfer to the slaughterhouse.

One week before she is due to give birth, the sow is transferred to the farrowing crate, where she may remain for up to five more weeks. Just days after her piglets are weaned, she will be inseminated again. This cycle is repeated throughout the sow’s productive life, until she is deemed no longer of use and sent to slaughter.

Gestation area, pig farm.

Measuring approximately two meters (6.5’) long and seventy centimeters (2’) wide, individual cages severely restrict the animals’ movements and impede their natural behavior. They cannot turn around or interact with other sows and their bodies can exceed the width of the cages. Various studies carried out during the gestation period confirm a whole series of health problems associated with confinement in cages. When lying down, the body of the sow is pressed against the bars and their limbs, extended towards the adjacent cages due to lack of space, can become crushed. This spatial restriction has been identified as a cause of injuries and wounds that cause pain and suffering.35

Likewise, the sharp edges of the crate’s slatted floors injure their feet, and sows that are starved of food can suffer snout damage when trying to access the feeder in adjoining cages.35 Exercise deprivation negatively impacts cardiovascular health,36 muscle mass, and bone density37. Different stereotypies —obsessive, repetitive movements which are indicators of mental distress— have also been observed in many of them: biting bars, chewing despite their mouths being empty, pushing against the trough, head bobbing, repeatedly putting their snout in the gutter or rolling their tongue.30, 38, 39, 40, 41

Another factor affecting the health of the sows is poor hygiene. During the weeks they are confined, the feces accumulated in the cage can come into contact with the vulva. This has been identified as one of the main causes of urinary tract infections.30, 42 Rodents and flies are also a potential source of disease transmission.43 In most of the gestation sheds we have visited there were populations of rodents, flies, and cockroaches.

Group accommodation is not without its problems either. The natural tendency of sows to establish hierarchies is a behavior that occurs regardless of whether the animals are kept in confined systems or not. When they are in groups —mainly when new sows are introduced to the group— agression increases, often leading to younger animals being injured. In environments where food is scarce or limited, competition for food can also lead to fights. 44, 45, 46, 47, 48 The prevalence of lameness and hoof injuries is more frequent when sows are kept in groups.49, 50

According to data obtained through the PigCHAMP data management program, during 2007 the mortality rate of breeding sows in Spanish farms was 9.9%. In the report where these results are analyzed, associated causes of mortality —all of which have been evidenced before in scientific literature— include: high prolificacy, abdominal torsion and other abdominal conditions, heart failure, cystitis, problems related to the limbs and feet, pneumonia, ulcers, endometriosis and uterine prolapse. The report indicates that percentage of deaths increases and tends to double during the hot season.51

Artificial insemination utensils scattered on the floor at the entrance to the gestation shed. Castilla-La Mancha, 2019.

Maternity area

One week before giving birth, the sows are taken to the farrowing area, where the most delicate phase of production takes place. Due to this, the technical oversight and control is higher here than in other areas of the farm and the rooms are equipped with devices for more extensive control of temperature, humidity, and ventilation. In addition, each sow has a file that records the estimated date of farrowing (and subsequently the actual date), the number of piglets in gestation, and their current status.

The enclosures in the farrowing areas are modular and are comprised of a farrowing crate for each sow and an area for the piglets, from where they access their mother’s udder. The floor is hard, made of metal or plastic, and has a grate system for the evacuation of excrement. Piglets require an ambient temperature higher than that of the sows and each enclosure has a heat lamp or underfloor heating to prevent hypothermia and thus achieve higher production levels. In some farms these lamps were broken and we found piglets shivering with cold.

The sows are kept in these cages until the end of their allowed lactation period, which ranges from 21 to 28 days. The farrowing crates are similar in size to the gestation crates and, likewise, restrict a large part of the animal’s movement, negatively affecting their health and preventing natural behavior.

The cage system is designed to avoid crushing of piglets by sows, a frequent cause of death. However, although the studies that exist show contradictory results, some confirm that the mortality rate in this type of cage and in «free-range» farming systems can be similar.52, 53, 54, 55 In any case, the concern shown by the industry on this matter is not to mitigate or prevent the suffering of piglets, but to maintain and increase production levels. When all other criteria are equal, a larger litter is more beneficial to the industry than a smaller one.

Piglet mortality during the lactation phase is high. The BDporc system places it at 19% (2019)27 and the Red Nacional de Granjas Típicas (RENGRATI) between 9% and 15% (2018).56 Recent advances in pig reproduction have led to the creation —via targeted selection programs to enhance prolificacy— of genetic lines of sows that produce higher numbers of piglets. Consequently, the health and life of the animals has been further compromised, and their mortality rate increased.57, 58, 59 One of the most common problems derived from large litters is unequal weight distribution of the piglets.60 Size difference presents particular problems for the smaller animals and gives them a lesser chance of survival. For example, they generally demonstrate lesser ability to thermoregulate, they find it difficult to compete for their mother’s milk, and they demonstrate poor physical coordination. These issues increase the probability that the smaller piglets will die from hypothermia, starvation or crushing. Furthermore, the prolonged labors associated with larger litters also increases the risk of intrauterine hypoxia (where the fetus is deprived of oxygen in the womb).60

Numerous studies have concluded that the intentional manipulation of genetic lines to create sows who produce large litters clearly has a negative impact on the health and welfare of the animals themselves. Despite this, the practice remains legal and within the parameters of regulatory frameworks for animal welfare.

The following section outlines some of the procedures which take place during the farrowing phase which compromise the physical and psychological wellbeing of the animals involved. These are standard procedures, used in a systemic manner across the entire pig farming industry, perfected and approved by veterinary entities and compatible with current animal welfare laws.

Forced weaning

Weaning is one of the most critical life stages of the pigs. After being forcibly separated from their mothers, piglets are exposed to multiple stressors, the consequences of which can be lethal. They suffer an unexpected change of environment, a new feeding regime, and they share space with other animals with whom they must compete for food.61

An experiment carried out with a group of pigs revealed that, under conditions free from human intervention, domestic sows suckle their young for up to three months.62 In confinement systems, piglets are weaned abruptly, when they are separated from their mother and transferred to the transition area just 21 to 28 days after birth. It is performed prematurely, during a period where the mother would naturally be continuing to feed her young, and when there is still a strong bond between mother and piglets. In the time immediately after separation, the piglets make loud vocalizations. These responses are most common in those who have been weaned too early and may indicate distress over separation from their mother.63

Mutilation of the genitals, the tail, and the teeth

The European Union directive that establishes the minimum standards for the protection of pigs recognizes that castration, as well as tail docking, and partial cutting of the teeth are practices that are «harmful to the welfare of pigs, especially when executed by incompetent or inexperienced people».32

Despite the fact that the legislation itself identifies the aforementioned procedures as a cause of suffering, it not only permits them, but also allows them to be carried out without anesthesia in the first seven days of a piglet’s life.

Castration is carried out for two primary purposes: (i) to avoid the sex odor of the meat —which occurs in pigs when they reach maturity and which some consumers find unpleasant— and (ii) to reduce aggressiveness in the pig pens. Intact pigs —the term used to describe uncastrated males— are more efficient in terms of feed conversion but the most important European markets do not accept meat from these animals.64 According to a survey carried out by the European Federation of Veterinarians (FVE) and the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission (DG SANTE), 15% of male pigs in Spain were subject to surgical castration in 2015, with 61% of male pigs across the whole European Union being subjected to the same. Respectively, it was carried out without anesthesia in 91% and 95% of the cases.65 Castration has also been associated with higher mortality rates.66

Caudophagia is an anomalous behavior of pigs biting one another and is known to occur when the appropriate environmental conditions are not provided for, such as within the systems of confinement adopted by industrial farms.67 One of the most widespread measures to deal with this behavior is tail docking. The procedure consists of the amputation of part of the tail and, according to various studies, causes acute pain and stress.68 Legislation prohibits it from being performed routinely, however, an audit by the European Commission carried out in Spain during 2017 found that an estimated 98.5% of pigs had been subjected to the procedure regardless. The report also concluded that the authorities have not adopted effective measures to prevent it.69

Another mutilation that piglets are subjected to shortly after birth is the cutting of their canine teeth; a measure that seeks to avoid biting injuries between piglets and damage to the mother’s udder. It is usually carried out with a pair of pliers, which are used to cut the tips of the teeth, or with an electric file to file them down.70 Files are used more rarely as this method is more expensive. As with tail docking, it is a procedure which can cause acute pain71 and its routine application is prohibited by law.

Branding and identification

The law requires that pigs be identified with a tag or tattoo as a means of tracing them to the farm of origin.72 Tags are made up of two pieces which are joined together in a painful procedure73 which pierces the ear. The tattoo is made by punching holes in the skin with an inked awl, which is pressed into the skin using pliers.

The physical and psychological well-being of the piglets is compromised as a direct result of these procedures. Furthermore, piglets may be born on the accumulated feces of their mothers, while the crates prevent natural physical bonding between the piglets and their mothers. Large numbers of piglets die from hunger, thirst, disease, or crushing.

When piglets die, they are not always removed immediately. During our time documenting the farrowing areas, we saw corpses of pigs lying in corridors, accumulated in a corner, in plastic buckets, on wheelbarrows, and even inside the enclosures themselves, along with their living siblings. Some bodies showed signs of having been there for days or having been partially eaten, probably by cats or rodents.

In one of the farms we discovered a water leak. The affected sow had not been moved to a dry room and remained in these wet conditions overnight. In another, cats shared the enclosure with sows and piglets. On the ground we found bones, the remains of dismembered pigs and we also witnessed a cat eating a dead piglet.

Transition area

After weaning, the piglets are moved to the transition area or loaded onto trucks to be transported to the slaughterhouse. They may otherwise be transferred to another farm where their fattening process is completed.

When they enter the transition area, they weigh between 6 and 8 kg (13 and 17.5 lb) and remain there for around 40 days.56 Later they are transferred to the fattening area weighing in at around 20 kg (44 lb). These figures correspond to average values and may vary depending on the production strategy, the end destination of the animals, or the genetic line in each farm.

The rooms in the transition area are organized one behind the other, along one or more corridors and are equipped with devices for temperature control and ventilation. The ground on which pigs sleep, rest, defecate and urinate is made of hard metal or plastic grating. The enclosures have feed hoppers that supply the feed automatically and push buttons from which the water is obtained.

When piglets from different litters are mixed fights for establishing hierarchies within the group take place. Aggressions cause injuries and affect the welfare of the pigs. Castilla-La Mancha, 2020.

The diet they receive during this phase is administered through a feeding program aimed at developing the pig’s full growth potential. This seeks to obtain the maximum performance level and the highest possible weight at the point of entry into the fattening process. It is a particularly delicate stage for production, because the negative impact caused by the abrupt change in diet —which would occur gradually outside of the exploitative situation of the farm— and the environment where the piglets grow74 can drastically influence the profitability of the business.75

One of the most stressful parts of the process is the mixing of pigs from different litters in the same enclosure. The establishment of a new social hierarchy —something which would have been firmly in place in the natal litter—76 is decided via aggressive interactions which compromise the welfare of the animals.77, 78 In addition, the lack of space and overcrowded conditions contributes to increased instances of aggression.79, 80, 81 Regulations demand that pigs weighing 20 kg (44 lb) must have a minimum surface area of 0.2 m2 (2.1 sq. ft.) each.2 This corresponds to a surface area less than four sheets of paper.

All these factors affect the health of pigs, their immune system and predispose them to new diseases.82 The bacteria Streptococcus suis and Haemophilus parasuis are among the most frequent causes of disease in weaned piglets.83, 84 These pathogens enter the farm through asymptomatic carriers. Once stabilized in the population, transmission occurs vertically, from mother to child, and later horizontally, between pigs outside the farrowing area.85, 86, 87, 88 Infections caused by both bacteria usually remain in their bodies without manifesting. However, the conditions that occur in intensive production systems help the development of different conditions and lesions.89, 90, 91, 92 The clinical signs associated with both infections are, among others, nervous disorders (meningitis), depression, anorexia, skin lesions, tremors, despondency, seizures, leg shaking, poor coordination, pneumonia, abscesses, or dyspnea. They can also lead to the death of the affected animal.93, 94

We found pigs that showed the symptoms outlined above (see multimedia report): leg shaking, seizures, tremors, emaciation, skin lesions and apparent weakness. In one of the enclosures, where the word meningitis had been written in chalk on the wall, a group of pigs exhibited several of these signs at the same time. In another enclosure, we found decomposed bodies that appear to have been eaten by other pigs.

In 2018, in Spain alone, more than one and a half million pigs died during this phase.28 As production increases, it is likely that this figure will increase.

Fattening area

The last stage of the exploitation on the farm takes place in the fattening area, where the pigs remain for around 140 days until their final transfer to the slaughterhouse. They are usually housed in large sheds, whose interior is divided into rooms occupied by more than a dozen individuals. Ventilation is controlled by opening windows, unlike in the maternity or transition areas where it is regulated by more sophisticated devices. Temperature is an environmental factor that, when not controlled, will affect the well-being and health of pigs. The increase on temperature during the hot season can cause heat stress and even lead to death. The floor of the enclosures is made of hard concrete with a partially grated area under which the slurry accumulates. The only natural light the pigs receive is that which enters through the windows, which are usually dirty and semi-opaque.

Respiratory conditions

Inside the sheds, the pigs are exposed to a combination of gases and particles that, in high concentrations and for a prolonged period, result in damage to their respiratory system. Gases such as methane and ammonia —produced by the slurry accumulated in a pit under the floor of the enclosures—, different infectious agents, as well as dust from feed and dry fecal matter, have been associated with various lung conditions, such as pneumonia and pleurisy, as well as with higher mortality. 95, 96, 97, 98 JPorcine Respiratory Disease Complex (PRDC)99, 100 is a multifactorial disease caused by the aforementioned pathogens, other environmental elements, and differences in management practices and production systems. Due to its incidence in production and its subsequent economic impact on the industry, it is considered to be one of the major concerns for pig health today.101, 102

A study carried out in 39 Spanish fattening farms revealed that 71% of pigs suffered some type of lung disease.103 Another study that analyzed the ailments of more than 2 million pigs showed a similar figure: only 32 % of the pigs arrived at the slaughterhouse with healthy lungs.104

Caudophagia and cannibalism

The most widely accepted hypothesis about the origin of tail biting among pigs (caudofagia) is that it is an abnormal form of exploratory behavior.105 Pigs spend a large part of their daily activity budget exploring their environment using their snouts; mainly to collect, carry and manipulate food.106 This behavior is also used as a way of obtaining novel information from the environment or simply to satisfy their curiosity.107 If they are deprived of the appropriate environmental conditions and their natural behavior is restricted, this exploratory behavior is redirected towards other stimuli, such as the tail of other pigs.

Caudophagia happens gradually. Initially, the animal tolerates the bite until injuries break the skin and cause bleeding. As the bites become more severe, the pig stops resisting the persistent biting and the resulting injuries can cause infections in the skin, vertebrae, and muscles.108 Various studies carried out in the EU indicate that the prevalence of tail injuries are in an average range that varies between 3% and 10%. However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) warns that these studies have been carried out exclusively in slaughterhouses and that the prevalence on farms is likely to be even higher.109 In the most acute stages, tail-biting can lead to cannibalism. The blood attracts other pigs who then chase the injured animal in groups and devour their hind parts, which can result in the pig’s death.108, 110 Ears, flanks and limbs have also been documented as being cannibalized in farms.111, 112

Tail injuries —some of them serious— have been observed in the vast majority of fattening sheds. In one of the farms we were able to verify the presence of cannibalism during two separate visits. In addition to the remains of bones and rotten bodies, we documented a group of pigs devouring a corpse in an apparent state of decomposition.

Rectal prolapse

Rectal prolapse consists of parts of the rectum being forced out through the anus due to increased abdominal pressure and a weakening of the sphincter and anal tissues. It is a painful and relatively common condition113 that can manifest at all ages, but its presence is more frequent in pigs between 6 and 20 weeks of age. Various factors that can influence its development have been pinpointed, such as infections, low temperatures, the density of animals per enclosure, genetics, or nutritional deficiencies. If the pig that suffers from this condition is not isolated, they may end up being cannibalized by the rest of the group.114, 115 A study carried out in a farm in Murcia found a prevalence of rectal prolapse of 4% and 8% in each house. Only half of the pigs recovered from this condition.116

Abnormal swellings: abscesses and hernias

Two of the most striking physical abnormalities that can affect the health of pigs are hernias and abscesses. These appear as lumps, mainly in the abdominal area, under the groin, or under the neck. Hernias occurs when a part of the intestine pushes out of the abdominal cavity but, unlike prolapse, remains under the skin. An abscess consists of a pus-filled cavity that contains dead cellular material and many bacteria. It originates with the entry of these microorganisms into the body through lesions on the skin or orifices. We found pigs with these swellings on all farms with a fattening area. Some were large and apparently serious, with open wounds caused by rubbing on the ground and coming into contact with excrement. The vast majority of affected animals had been isolated; however they did not appear to receive veterinary care.

Eye infections

Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin, delicate membrane that lines the eyeball and eyelids. Permanent exposure to microorganisms, poor ventilation, the presence of high concentrations of toxic gases, and excess dust have been described as potential causes.117, 118 Many pigs were suffering from eye conditions, some serious, in enclosures with infrastructural deficiencies and poor hygiene.

Euthanasia methods: killing at the farm

As already indicated, many pigs do not survive the extreme exploitation that is meted out to them. Others have injuries or illnesses that, for the purposes of profitability, it is not deemed financially viable to treat. They can also suffer from conditions that are considered a risk to other animals and production or to public health. If these circumstances occur, the pigs must be killed on the farm itself under the protocols required by law, which, as will be seen later, does not always happen.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) has recently published a guide detailing the procedures to be applied when killing pigs and under what circumstances. It should be noted that in this guide the term euthanasia119 is used to refer to the killing of animals who could regain their health but who do not receive adequate veterinary treatment due to the lack of profitability associated with providing that care.

The killing procedures allowed by law are the following: captive bolt pistol and subsequent severing of the spinal cord or cutting of the throat; forceful blow to the head by means of a heavy object —examples are cited: hammer, truncheon or metal pipe— for pigs weighing less than 5kg; free projectile weapon, such as pistol, shotgun, rifle, or revolver; electric shock for pigs weighing more than 5kg; asphyxia by inhalation of gas in containers; or lethal injection. Except for the latter, which must be carried out by veterinary personnel, all procedures can be carried out by farm operators.

Veterinary neglect and lack of institutional control

According to the latest figures provided by the Government, the number of animal welfare inspections carried out during 2017 was 11,195 out of a total of 364,430 livestock farms. Non-compliances were found in 19.38% of them.120 If these percentages are assumed to be representative of the total number of farms, the number of farms that did not comply with the regulations and were not inspected can be extrapolated to higher than 59,000. The quality of inspections that are carried out is insufficient, their duration is very limited, and they lack the ability to detect all irregularities.

In order to confirm whether the breaches observed during the investigation were isolated events or routine procedures, we entered some of the farms more than once. During the first visit to a fattening shed, we documented the presence of dead animals in different enclosures. Months later, during the second visit, the bodies were still in the same position. On both occasions we witnessed cannibalism, corpses in a state of decomposition, and remains of bones.

Another event that reveals the absence of institutional control and the impunity that livestock farms enjoy occurred months before starting this work, while I was conducting an investigation into slaughterhouses with Linas Korta. Taking advantage of the opportunity, we visited several farms that we saw from the road with the intention of documenting the handling of the animals. At the entrance to one of them was the corpse container, where the bodies of the animals that have died are thrown awaiting their collection and subsequent disposal. As we usually do in these cases, we lifted the cover. At the bottom, among the corpses and excrement, lay a trembling piglet, who was barely weeks old, clearly in a state of agony. He died hours later at the veterinary clinic we took him to.

It isn’t possible to know the specific number of pigs that suffer from these or other horrors, but the circumstances described give an idea of the institutional helplessness they are forced to endure.

Animal welfare – reality or propaganda?

There is a widespread and mistaken perception that animal welfare measures, if correctly applied, significantly prevent animal suffering. Consequently, when images of abuses perpetrated against animals come to light, the demand is that the administration must do better at implementing the law and meeting out punishment. This is because there is little understanding of what legal protections mean in practice. It is also convenient for consumers to trust that the laws are protecting animals as it helps to reduce their feelings of complicity.

Animal welfare laws, as currently written and structured, lack the power to protect animals. Indeed, they were neither conceived for this purpose nor does the production framework in which they are applied, as has been seen, permit for animals to be meaningfully protected. Since its inception, the purpose of the law has been to limit specific practices, but it was not designed to prevent or question the suffering inherent in the planned and systematic exploitation of animals. Therefore, it is not surprising that the European Union directive which establishes the minimum standards for the protection of pigs, allows forced weaning, genital mutilation and the confinement of sows in cages where they cannot even turn around;30 or that the guide for the euthanasia of animals in pig farms drawn up by MAPA allows for a sick piglet to be killed by hitting them with a metal pipe instead of providing them any kind of treatment. In fact, the guide recognizes that it is only «sometimes» that attempts are made to prevent death. Furthermore, in parallel to the evolution of these regulations, laboratories continue to develop genetic lines of animals with higher growth rates or prolificacy to the detriment of their welfare.121

None of the facts found during the investigation are foreign to the industry or public administrations, which act in collusion and understand the emerging social concern about the treatment that animals receive on farms and slaughterhouses. They know that certain trade-offs are unavoidable. Therefore they implement some changes, such as quality or ethical standards labelling, that is then used to pretend some kind of welfare or freedom for the animals, which in reality never has and never will exist.

According to the Eurobarometer on the Attitudes of Europeans Towards Animal Welfare, 94% of citizens consider that it is important to protect the welfare of farm animals and 64% state that they would like more information about the conditions in those found by animals exploited on farms.122 This work has been carried out in the exercise of the right of access to information in order to present evidence to inform the public debate against the shielding of the livestock industry and the lack of institutional transparency.

I will end with these words, taken from a livestock magazine published in the 1970s, which accurately describes the historical function assigned to animals destined to serve us as food: «Forget the pig is an animal. Treat him just like a machine in a factory».123


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  18. Canadian Association of Journalists. (2020). CAJ: Ontario journalists, whistleblowers impacted by Bill 156.Newswire.ca.
  19. Gartner, S.,& Barabash, E. (2020). The Future with Bill 156 and C-205.Gartner and associates -animal law
  20. Humane Society of the United States. (2014) Statement of opposition to proposed «Ag-Gag» laws from broad spectrum of interest groups.
  21. Agri-Food Data Portal. (2017–2020). Pigmeat Trade Data [Data file]. European Commission.
  22. Interporc. (2019). La consolidación del sector porcino como motor de la agroalimentación española. [The consolidation of the pig sector as the engine of Spanish agri-food]. Interporc.com.
  23. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación. (s. f.) Sectores ganaderos: Porcino. [Farming Sectors: Pork] Mapa.gob.es. Retrieved Oct 2020.
  24. Subdirección General de Productos Ganaderos., & Dirección general de Producciones y Mercados Agrarios (2020) El sector de la carne de cerdo en cifras. Principales indicadores económicos 2019. [The pork meat sector in figures]. Ministry of Agriculture, Fish and Food.
  25. Subdirección General de Productos Ganaderos., & Dirección general de Producciones y Mercados Agrarios (2020). Informe SITRAN (Sistema Integral de Trazabilidad Animal). [SITRAN Report (Comprehensive Animal Traceability System)]. [Database]. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación.
  26. European Union. (2010-2019). Slaughtering in slaughterhouses – annual data. [Data file]. Eurostat.
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  28. National Institute of Statistics. (2002). Resultados del Censo Agrario de 1999 [Comunicado de prensa]. Results of the 1999 Agrarian Census [Press release].
  29. Martinez-Aviles, M., Iglesias I., Bosch, J., Jurado, C., Vicente, J., Sanchez-Vizcaino, JM. & de la Torre, A. (2018) Proteger al sector porcino extensivo en España.  [Protect the extensive pig sector in Spain]. Euroganadería. Agrifood Sector Communication.
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  31. Garcia, I et al (2010) Guía de las mejores técnicas del sector porcino.  [Guide to the best techniques in the pig sector].
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pigs are pigs but man is the swine

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



The biggest scam that you’ve never even heard of (how one industry lied to the world).

November 30, 2020
by
Please watch, a couple brief graphic displays of infant abuse based on consumers’ dairy consumption and industry’s dairy corruption. Please remember that 587,000 calves were killed in 2019 in the US alone so the human species beyond infancy could drink the milk naturally intended for a different species’ infants, who are killed instead. USDA

Source Surge Activism

We’re told that milk is important for a strong healthy body, and if you stop consuming dairy most people will turn around and say, “wait, how are you going to get your calcium?” But everything we’ve been led to believe about dairy is a product of marketing, advertising, and government collusion. This is how the dairy industry lied to the world.

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(Please note that “non-dairy” is different from “dairy free” labels and can indicate a small amount of milk byproducts in foods.)


Free Vegan shopping list HERE

Free Dairy-Free PDF:





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Download Your FREE Dairy-Free PDF HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



cows are not food
nor are they libation choices
we who are humane
we shout
we are their voices!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Stop Sunshine Coast Council from destroying beloved Sarge

November 24, 2020
by
Source GoFundMe

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Source Change, Facebook


We are in a fight to save our beautiful family dog Sarge from being killed by Sunshine Coast Regional Council in Queensland.

Sarge has been a part of my family for 8 years, and it’s been nothing but pure love since I picked him up at 8 weeks old. Sarge had a very normal life interacting with all kinds of dogs at off-leash beaches and off-leash parks where he had no issues. He has lived happily with babies, children, a rabbit, cats, guinea pigs, and other dogs. He went to puppy pre-school and passed everything and was always well-behaved.

Unfortunately, in 2016 at age 6, Sarge was declared a dangerous dog following an incident where a small dog was killed. There were no visible injuries to the small dog; we were all incredibly devastated as we knew this is not what Sarge had intended to happen, he was just trying to help his pack member who he thought was in trouble. This declaration was imposed by Noosa Council with no objection from me as his owner. There were no further incidents or problems when we lived in the Noosa council area.


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Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Download Your FREE Dairy-Free PDF HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend:

PETA HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



Please in the spirit of holiday giving We all want sarge to keep on

Living.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



United States: Tell the Small Business Administration Not to Fund Bigger Factory Farms – please comment

November 23, 2020
by
Related: Why a cheeseburger can cost less than fruit, Earthling Ed

Source Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)


Go to the Federal Register website and click on the green button – “Submit a Formal Comment”

Type in your comment, using the below as a starting point


Sample Comment

I urge the Small Business Administration not to finalize this rule and to instead redirect federal funding away from corporate animal agribusiness. The proliferation of corporate-controlled concentrated animal feeding operations that cruelly confine billions of animals is polluting our air and water, threatening public health, and putting rural communities at risk. The Small Business Administration should be supporting small business—not propping up corporate animal agribusiness.


Finish filling out the form and press “Submit Comment”


Background

The animal agriculture industry attempts to paint itself as a collection of small family farms, but nothing could be further from the truth. Large — often multinational — corporations have overtaken animal agriculture in the United States. There is nothing small about this cruel and destructive industry, yet the Small Business Administration (SBA) is proposing a rule that will allow it to give small business loans to even larger factory farms.

Unfortunately, the SBA has a history of enabling the animal agriculture industry’s exploitation of funds. In 2018, the SBA Office of the Inspector General released a report concluding that the SBA guaranteed approximately $1.8 billion in loans to factory farms that did not actually qualify as small businesses. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has urged the SBA not to fund the corporate animal agriculture industry and is currently suing over the federal government’s decision to exempt federal funding for factory farms from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The SBA was created in 1953 “to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.” Funding the corporate owners of the animal agriculture industry with loans intended to help small businesses betrays the SBA’s mission. This industry is neither small nor competitive—it is controlled by a handful of large, highly consolidated corporations that are destroying actual small business and siphoning wealth from rural communities.

Factory farms intensively confine thousands, and even millions, of animals until they grow large enough to be trucked to slaughter. Not only do they hurt animals, factory farms threaten public health by spreading antibiotic resistant bacteria and zoonotic diseases and pollute the air and water. These environmental effects are especially harmful in marginalized communities, where factory farms are disproportionately sited.

The SBA should not be using public money to further entrench this industry at the expense of animals, the environment, and rural communities. We need your help in asking the SBA to reconsider its proposal to expand federal funding of factory farms.



Follow the steps below to submit a comment to the SBA by December 1st and urge them to reject this reckless rule.

Go to the Federal Register website and click on the green button – “Submit a Formal Comment”

Type in your comment, using the below as a starting point


Sample Comment

I urge the Small Business Administration not to finalize this rule and to instead redirect federal funding away from corporate animal agribusiness. The proliferation of corporate-controlled concentrated animal feeding operations that cruelly confine billions of animals is polluting our air and water, threatening public health, and putting rural communities at risk. The Small Business Administration should be supporting small business—not propping up corporate animal agribusiness.


Finish filling out the form and press “Submit Comment”




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shut these torturers all down
we do not want
any factory farms around!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

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Bipolar, bisexual and vegan. Blogging for myself. Currently stable...ish. A blog that critics are describing as "all over the place" and "lousy with errors".

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