The green pastures and idyllic barnyard scenes of years past are now distant memories. On today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by their thousands into filthy windowless sheds, wire cages, gestation crates and other systems of confinement. These animals will never raise their families, root in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural to them. They won’t even feel the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air until the day they are loaded onto trucks bound for slaughter.
In the UK alone, approximately 1,000 million animals are slaughtered for food each year. This figure doesn’t include fish, who are killed in such vast numbers that they are counted in tonnes. Most farmed animals are slaughtered at just a few weeks or months old. All these animals will have died a violent death at the slaughterhouse. Intensive, industrialised, factory – they’re all terms that describe modern farming methods. Intensive because as many animals as possible are crammed together in the smallest possible space. Industrialised because feeding, watering and manure clearing are often performed automatically. Factory because the philosophy of mass production is what lies behind it all. Modern intensive farming exists to produce meat, eggs and dairy products as quickly and cheaply as possible. The industry and governments refer to these houses of torture as Concentrated Animal Farm Operations.
To keep production costs down the animals are given the bare minimum they need to survive. Diseases are rife in these conditions and many ailing animals do not receive necessary veterinary attention.