Are Farm Animals Not Considered Animals?

I recently took an Animal Welfare and Behavior course through the prestigious Edinburg University. We all know there is much more to be accomplished in order to improve the lives of farm and production animals. One thing that the Animal Welfare course highlighted was the need for more in-depth scientific studies evaluating the physical and emotional stress and responses that farm and production animals experience with relation to the living conditions. CowThe course revealed how simple changes and adjustments to housing and living conditions can dramatically reduce the physical, mental and emotional stress of production animals, and thereby improve their quality of life. In order to affect these changes though, it is critical that the scientific community get onboard so it can be presented to those in the agriculture business that, indeed, changes will result in more humane conditions for the animals in their charge.

Today I read a great article on the ASPCA blog, titled “Are Farm Animals Not Considered Animals?” by ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker. Give it a read. There are great links within the article too.  And you’ll see how important it is that farm and production animals finally be elevated to the status that they deserve: that of sentient beings who are owed consideration, respect, dignity and quality of life conditions.

Newborn lamb

Are Farm Animals Not Considered Animals? 

Guest blog by ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker

Yesterday, August 24, was the 48th anniversary of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), a groundbreaking law establishing minimum standards of treatment for animals… Well, some animals.

You see, while some animals used for research, as pets, or for exhibition, are considered worthy of minimal legal protection (and to be clear, the AWA protections leave lots of room for improvement), animals used for food, like farm animals, are explicitly left out. Other federal statutes, like the 28 Hour Law and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, cover livestock transportation and slaughter, but both exclude birds, and there are no federal laws at all governing the conditions in which farm animals are raised.

pigThe big question is: why?

Do the over 9 billion animals farmed in the United States each year require less protection? No. Should we allow them to endure extreme cruelty during their lives just because they’re destined for slaughter? Certainly not.

If anything, considering how many farm animals there are and the direct link between farm conditions and food safety, farm animals require more attention, and their conditions more scrutiny. As the products of agricultural corporations, farm animals are among the most exploited and abused animals in the world.

You don’t have to look very hard to find documented cases of cruelty against farm animals or on-going practices that fit the very definition of torture, such as battery cages for egg laying hens and gestation crates for sows. In late June of 2014, Compassion Over Killing released undercover video from a poultry farm in North Carolina that showed sick and injured chickens being dumped alive into pits of carcasses, where they suffocate or expire of hunger, thirst or exposure.

Instead of working to fix these abuses, the factory farming industry uses its influence to keep them secret by trying to pass “ag-gag” laws, which prevent video or photographic documentation of farm activities.

Ironically, this anniversary comes only a week before the start of National Chicken Month, an annual September promotional exercise by the National Chicken Council to promote chicken sales and to celebrate chicken consumption, which in effect also celebrates the cruel ways we treat those very chickens.

white chickenBut imagine, for a moment, a very different “National Chicken Month,” one in which we ensure chickens are not abused, exploited, or tortured. A month in which we highlight farmers who treat chickens more like the animals they are, not like the products they become.

Some states are acting on their own to institute farm animal protections, and we hope that trend spreads throughout the country and on the federal level. But even before that happens, there are things we all can do to help.

We urge concerned consumers to ask their supermarkets and the companies that supply them to think about raising chickens that can stand up and be chickens, not be pumped with unnecessary antibiotics and bred to be so absurdly huge that they fall over in their own waste. And we encourage people to sign our pledge, urging more humane industry practices.

Whether it happens on the federal, state, community, or personal level, action must be taken to safeguard the welfare of all animals, no matter what purpose they serve.

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Keep fighting the good fight! We have to be the voice for the animals. We need to be heard, loud and clear, that ALL animals deserve a dignified life. Ideally, switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet would have the most impact but it’s a bit unrealistic to think that everyone in the population will make the switch. But every little step helps move toward making major strides to improve the life of our farm and production animals. 

What are your thoughts on this issue?


Secret Military Animal-Killing Exposed!

This is disgusting and how this can be going on when there are viable non-animal alternatives is just unbelievable. And what is this doing to the minds of those military soldiers? Are they being traumatized? Are they being conditioned to like killing? What does this do to their compassion?? Here is a link to the post from this breaking story, and the actual copy from their site pasted below. If you are so moved, please help spread the word about this: people need to know what is going on. Showing outrage can affect change in policy, as you will read below. So please, take a minute to help open the eyes of those who aren’t aware of these horrible practices.

PETA exposes cruel use of live animals in trauma training


PETA’s expose on cruel military trauma training on animals and plea to take action to end it


Taken from PETA’s website:

Recently released photographs showing live pigs as they’re being shot illustrate why we need your support today for the campaign by PETA to end cruel military trauma training on animals. We’ve made tremendous progress already, but your support now is critical to helping us promote modern, superior non-animal methods of training and testing.Pigs and other animals suffering in these exercises need us to stop their miseryPlease donate now and help PETA continue to expose and stop animal abuse and exploitation. The never-before-seen photographs obtained by PETA and released on our website reveal the invasive and deadly trauma training exercises taking place at a secret facility in Denmark. The British military participates in these exercises, informally known in military circles as “Danish bacon.”Photographic evidence shows live pigs hanging upside down in a shooting range, tied by their legs to a wooden frame, their bodies marked with targets. They were about to be shot with rifles and pistols, intentionally leaving them with bloody wounds, broken bones, and severe organ damage. Dead and dying pigs were put on stretchers, and maimed and bleeding pigs who survived would then have invasive surgery performed on them to patch them back together.You may recall that like the drills undertaken by Denmark and the U.K., PETA has previously reported that the U.S. military stabs, shoots, dismembers, burns, and kills nearly 10,000 animals each year and that the Canadian military cuts up and poisons live pigs with toxic chemicals. This continues even though strikingly life-like human-patient simulators that breathe and bleed are available and all these countries have laws and regulations stating that non-animal methods should be used whenever possible. There may be no Geneva Convention to protect these animals, but as the heartbreaking photos reveal, these exercises are torture for the animals condemned to participate in them. Your generous gift today will be put to work immediately to strengthen PETA’s vital efforts to save pigs and other animals who desperately need our help.

As a direct result of horrific undercover video footage released by PETA that showed a Coast Guard medical training course during which participants and instructors whistled and laughed while using tree trimmers to cut the limbs off semiconscious goats, the Coast Guard recently enacted a new policy that reduces its use of live animals in these cruel and deadly medical training exercises by more than 50 percent. But we have to push forward to replace this crude training completely with modern and superior medical simulation methods. PETA convinced the Army to make a similar move last year and has successfully urged bases across the U.S. to end animal use in training drills. 

Not only are training exercises on animals cruel, they’re also leaving soldiers less prepared for the challenges that they’ll face on a modern battlefield. Multiple military and civilian studies have shown that medical-care providers who learn trauma treatment using simulators that accurately mimic human anatomy and physiology are better prepared to treat injured patients than those who are trained in deadly animal laboratories. A study coauthored by PETA and military medical experts found that more than 80 percent of all NATO nations no longer use any animals to train military personnel. In 2013, after discussions with PETA, Poland became the 23rd of 28 NATO nations to replace animal use for military training with cutting-edge simulation.

PETA and our affiliates are at the forefront of global efforts to stop cruel training exercises such as those being conducted in Denmark, the U.S., and elsewhere. As a result of international pressure from PETA and its affiliates, the few NATO nations still using animals for this training—the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Denmark, and Norway—have recently acknowledged that their military animal laboratories are under “significant scrutiny” and may have to be “completely eliminated.” They’ve launched an effort through NATO to identify which simulation tools they can use to make the switch.

Yet despite numerous civilian and military studies documenting how modern human-patient simulators better prepare soldiers to perform lifesaving procedures, the U.S. military continues to shoot, stab, and mutilate pigs and goats in cruel training exercises and the Canadian military is cutting up and poisoning pigs. We need your help to halt these terrible training drills. 

Will you support PETA’s efforts to expose and stop the cruelty inflicted on pigs and other animals by donating online right now?

Thank you for all that you do for animals.

Kind regards,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

P.S. Despite growing global acceptance of more effective, humane non-animal trauma training methods, the U.S., Canadian, and other militaries continue to send soldiers to participate in cruel exercises such as those that PETA recently helped expose. Please stand up for pigs and all animals who need our help today with your gift right now.