INDUSTRIAL FARMING THRIVING IN THE UK, UNLIKE THE POOR ANIMALS LIVING INSIDE THEM
If we saw a person on the street hitting, hurting or killing a dog or a neighbour penning a dog in a sterile cage in the back of the garden to live in it’s own filth, with no comfort, no love and no stimulation, we’d try and stop it, wouldn’t we? We’d say something? We’d at least call the police?
Now, what if it was a pig? Is it not fair to say that if you witnessed a person abusing a pig in the same way, we would have the same visceral feeling of disgust and respond accordingly, wouldn’t you? Surely most of us would.
Now, what if that pig abuse was happening behind a wall, does this somehow make it more moral?
Megafarms in the UK
Unbeknownst to most consumers, the UK has nearly 800 livestock mega-farms. The Guardian recently reported that 12 of these mega-farms are CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feed Operations), a grossly inhumane method of mass-producing chicken, pigs and cattle, brought to us by the United States but now employed by many countries worldwide.
For anyone that doesn’t know the horrific life an animal leads in these crowded, dirty hellholes, do a quick Google. Here’s what the Michigan State University College of Law published on AnimalLaw.info
CAFOs raise animal welfare, environmental degradation, and human health concerns. In terms of animal welfare, one of the greatest concerns is the close confinement and crowdedness of the animals. These conditions create boredom and stress in the animals, as well as physical and mental illnesses. In terms of environmental degradation and human health concerns, the number one problem is animal manure, which is produced in such massive quantities that the soil cannot absorb the waste, thus leaving it to run off fields and pollute the surrounding soil and water, including human drinking water. Additionally, methane emissions from CAFOs both contribute to greenhouse gases and create adverse physical and mental health impacts in humans. CAFOs also increase the prevalence of antibiotic resistant diseases, due to the antibiotics regularly given to the animals.
The sewage run-off from these CAFO’s poison rivers which in turn poison the seas creating “dead zones”. This is where nitrogen-rich wase fuels algae and phytoplankton blooms which in turn take all the oxygen from the water, preventing anything else from living. This has resulted in not only colossal fish kills but the destruction of marine habitat. The largest “dead zone” so far reported is near the mouth of the Mississipi River in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the size of New Jersey. And where does all this stuff go eventually? It dies, sinks to the bottom and decomposes there, resulting in the destruction of our deep oceans, something we are only now learning about.
Add in the no stun meat sector…
On top of these horrible farm practices, you also need to become aware of the charming, highly profitable but grossly inhumane killing-without-stun industries which have popped up to service the halal and kosher sectors. This involves cutting the animal’s throat with a blade without stunning them first “as this is how it was done 2000 years ago”, something every single Veterinary Council on the planet is pleading for us to stop.
Did you know that, as well as tens of thousands of cows, as of 2013 1 in 3 sheep in Ireland are killed without stun for the Halal/Kosher sector? Worse still, you will never know if the meat you are consuming was killed this way. While this meat will be labelled as unstunned for these sectors, non muslim/jewish are not afforded the same care likely as, let’s face it, it might put us off it a bit. So they don’t tell consumers in non-halal/kosher Irish supermarkets that the meat they have just bought has been killed barbarically, contrary to the requirements of our own Vet Council. It’s very, very likely you have been supporting this sector without your knowing. If you’re not happy about this, sign the petition asking the Irish government (who changed our welfare laws in the 90’s to permit this to go on) to bring in legislation requiring all non-stunned meat to be labelled as such.
What can we do?
We must start asking where our meat comes from and MAKE BETTER CHOICES. We must become CONSCIOUS CONSUMERS. I feel this is all the more relevant for us raw dog food feeders. You need to start asking where your meat comes from. Does your supplier care or do they buy from the cheapest supplier they can find as you can guess who they are. Do they buy from the un-stunned sector.
What do I do? I buy as-ethical-as-possible products such as Paleo Ridge from the UK. They have a great range of organic and outside meats and it’s no more expensive that the instensive farm produced stuff, so why wouldn’t you?! Gloriously, the more business we give companies like this the more we promote that sector. If organic farmers make more from their “leftovers” they can better compete with their products for the human market, bringing prices down and encouraging more people to shop for it.
I’m from Ireland, so I buy PR as well as wild Irish meats like wild duck, pheasant and sardine from petparlour.ie. Failing that I will buy Irish meat over UK meat as Ireland, despite allowing non-stun in, still has some of the highest welfare laws in Europe and is yet to bring in these mega farms but, as history proves, I’m sure this is only a matter of time.