farm animal welfare

theguardian.com
Free range is a con. There’s no such thing as an ethical egg | Chas Newkey-Burden
Slapping ‘free range’ on a box of eggs simply hides the catalogue of routine horrors that are allowed under this reassuring banner
By Chas Newkey-Burden

“Free range sheds can contain up to nine birds per square metre – that’s like 14 adults living in a one-room flat.”

Yes, this article was written for a UK audience. Yes, the exact same thing is true in the United States. No, eggs you purchase in the store do not come from your neighbor’s two hens.

Hey uhh… I am all for animal welfare. Working with ethical taxidermy and zoological specimens, Animals are perhaps the most important thing to me.

I’ve heard some things in the animal welfare/vegan/animal rights communities that are concerning.

I’m talking things like

“fur farm animals are skinned alive”
“Race horses have their vocal cords cut so they don’t scream out in pain”
“Pigs are killed by being electrocuted through the anus” “slaughter house workers work there because they love killing and feeling blood on their hands”

And umm…. WHAT. I

I understand that things like bull fights and dirty mass slaughter houses are bad and need a serious change. But spreading strange and dramatic lies like that don’t help make your cause any more trustworthy.

There is no need to add extra shock factor. Especially to already shocking things. Please… this is coming from someone who is a huge advocate of animal welfare.

What they didn’t tell you

Animal rights activists think those of us who do not agree with them just need some education. And by that they mean we should watch propaganda videos and read literature produced by organisations who stand to make profits from donations received by people they suck in with their sad animal stories. It is a good marketing ploy, I mean, what heartless person wouldn’t want to help a poor, sick, abused animal in need?? But please don’t get sucked into their trap. I actually volunteer MOST of my time to helping animals in need and I grew up on a farm. My whole family is still in the agribusiness and I’m going to be a vet. I’m currently studying animal science at university and vet nursing at a vet clinic. I don’t need to watch your stupid video. Maybe you should go to a farm. Talk to a vet. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Actually teach yourself something. 

Don’t just watch a clip of some really sick pigs sitting in a pen and tell me not to eat bacon. What they didn’t tell you is that those pigs were just visited by a vet and are in that pen for quarantine reasons. 

Don’t watch a clip of some bald hens and tell me not to eat eggs. What they didn’t tell you is that the so-called activists broke into the barn, pulled out the hens feathers and then switched the cameras on.

Don’t watch or share these videos if you weren’t there to see what happened before and after filming. You know people make a lot of money out of editing films right? And no, I wasn’t referring to the entertainment industry. 

Also, when a farm is shut down because propaganda videos destroy a small, family business, those animals are not saved. They are killed. They are still sold onto another farm or to an abattoir. Shutting down farms does not save animals. If there is no money to be made from them, they still get killed. Don’t believe me? Just check the animal shelters in your area. Dogs and cats get killed by the tonne because there are too many of them. The supply outweighs the demand. If there aren’t enough people out there saving puppies and kittens, you can bet there will be even less people putting their hands up to save farm animals. Not that I believe people should adopt any animal just to save it from euthanasia, but I’m off topic. 

I found this on Facebook! A wonderfully worded response to a STUPID video!

Ok, here we go… I said I would post a response to this video, once I gathered my thoughts. It took me a little longer than I wanted it to, but I finally have a few minutes to myself, so here I go…
Before I start, I just want to day that I am not an expert, or professional, etc. I am someone that works in the dairy industry, loves animals, and has some dairy education and experience from a few different places.
I usually don’t speak up when it comes to things like this, but enough is enough. I just can’t let this one go.
Everything that I am about to type, is based on my own personal experiences - whether on a farm or in the classroom.
I am going to respond in order of things mentioned in the video, so it will be easier to follow along - for those that want to.
Warning: this is going to be long.
1) Yes, dairy farmers use artificial insemination. It is nearly painless to the animal, and gets rid of the dangers (to animal AND human) of having a bull around.
2) We do not do it “over and over”, if she is referring to the A.I. process. Straws of semen cost money. We want them to conceive on the first try. If she’s referring to getting them pregnant “over and over”, well most farms have a minimum of a 60 day “voluntary waiting period”, which is the length of time given to a cow, after she gives birth, until the time she is inseminated. A cow’s gestation period is 9 months.
Some heifers are 12 months old when they are bred - some aren’t. Generally, it doesn’t go by age, but rather, by body size. Each heifer is different. It is a judgement call for someone with experience.
If a heifer gets too big (old) and fat (which she will) it becomes less likely that she will “settle” (get pregnant), and if she does, she is likely to experience difficulties while calving. A fat dairy cow or heifer is NOT a good thing)
3) I love how she says that farmers “jack off a bunch of bulls”… Sheesh! Grow up, will ya?
High quality (tested) bulls are kept at very nice facilities (usually owned by companies that sell semen).
Sometimes, the bulls are taught to mount dummy (fake) animals (a large, padded structure) while a person holds a container to collect the semen, that is designed to feel like a cow’s vagina.
Yes, sometimes an electroejaculator probe is used instead. It isn’t at bad as it sounds. And no, it isn’t “basically a big cow dildo” - what is with this girl?!
It is inserted into the bill’s rectum and it gives off a series of small electrical pulses (not shocks) which stimulates the bull to ejaculate.
These bulls are worth a lot of money, and are treated very well. They’re fed a high quality diet - designed by nutritionists - and are kept in clean, well-ventilated facilities.
They literally eat, drink, poop, sleep, play and “donate” semen… Rough life, huh???
4)The industry does NOT call it a “rape rack”… If we do, it is to mock idiots, like the woman in the video. The animal is restrained in a headlock or a chute, to ensure the safety of the animal and the person doing the insemination.
By the way, the picture shown in the video, when she says “rape rack” is actually a “rotary parlor” - where cows get milked while slowly going around, like they’re on a carousel. Breeding does not take place there. Again, she is an idiot.
The “long tube” is actually called an Artificial Insemination gun. It is basically a long, skinny syringe. The semen straw is loaded in the end of it, then guided through the cervix and into the uterine body and/or uterine horns, where the semen is deposited.
5) Yes, while doing A.I., a person must insert their arm into the rectum. This is NOT to “loosen the area” (or whatever ridiculous thing she said)… It is simply to guide the tip of the A.I. gun in the right direction to pass through the cervix. There are many folds inside of a cow’s vaginal tract, and a series of cartilaginous rings in their cervix. It takes a lot of practice feeling around, and knowledge of the anatomy of a bovine reproductive tract to be successful at A.I. breeding.
6) “Got Beastiality?” … Really?! C'mon. Cows and heifers need to get pregnant in order to lactate and be valuable assets to the business. Doing A.I. is just another job on the farm. It is not “Beastiality”. Ugh.
7) Yes, calves are taken away shortly after birth. Usually, after the mother licks it off, because it stimulates the calf and dries it off. That is, IF the mother is willing. Some cows want absolutely nothing to do with the calf. Some cows do get upset when you take the calf away, but they are completely over it within minutes. In fact, some cows show more frustration over taking a calf away that didn’t even belong to them! It’s new, it smells funny, it moves and makes noise, and cows are naturally curious. I do want to point out, though, that I am ONLY talking about dairy cows - not beef. Beef cows have STRONG maternal instincts because they’ve been bred that way. Mothering abilities/maternal instincts are not focused on in the dairy industry, becuase it is simply not needed.
Calves are taken away for a number of reasons. Overall, it just isn’t practical to keep all of the calves with the cows. Unless they are outside, in a large area, the calves will get stepped on/laid on and killed by the cows… It is easier to care for/monitor calves, and treat sick calves, if they are seperated. That way, we know exactly how much milk (colostrum) each calf gets, and we are able to make sure it is high quality colostrum, because each cow’s first milk (“colostrum”) is tested.
Calves are born with no immune system, and they need a certain amount of high quality colostrum to receive an ideal amount of immunoglobulins through passive immunity (passed on to the calf, by its mother, through her colostrum, and absorbed in the calf’s gut) within a short period of time.
Remember, calves are the future of every dairy farm. We want them to grow up to be happy, healthy, high-producing cows. Why would we harm them in any way?
8) The way the calves are being handled in this video is NOT acceptable, and is not a fair representation of the dairy industry. Like anything else, there are always “bad guys”. Unfortunately, the bad ones are the ones that get the most publicity. Over time, the public starts to perceive the awful things they’ve seen as “normal”. It is not.
9) Ok, now we’re at the part where the cow is mooing. The woman in the video says she is searching for her baby. I suppose it is a possibility - However, I’d be willing to bet all of the money I have, on the fact that this cow is simply mooing. Cows do this. It is the noise they make. If you are 10 minutes late feeding them, and they hear a tractor start up, you’ll hear an entire cow choir start doing this.
If a cow is in heat (estrus), she will do this until she annoys the heck out of you.
If another cow is moved to a different pen, she will do this. If you move a cow’s friend (yes, they have friends) to another pen, they will both do this. There are MANY reasons for a cow to “moo”.
From my experience, the sound that a cow makes when she doesn’t want you to take her calf, is a completely different sound… Lower tone, more of a humming/grunting noise.
Again, totally different situation with beef cattle.
10) “If it’s a male, its throat is slit and sold for veal”. Wrong! Yes, some bull calves are raised and then sold for veal. If so, they are raised at veal raising facilities. The way they are raised is not the responsibility of the dairy farm. They way they are killed is not the responsibility of the person(s) raising the calves.
Many veal calves are killed humanely.
Many calves aren’t raised for veal, but instead, are sold at sale barns and end up at feedlots - where they are fed until they are fully grown, then slaughtered for beef.
11) Yes, dairy cattle only produce milk after calving. Yes, a good dairy cow will give birth to many calves in her lifetime. It is what they’ve been bred to do.
However, each cow is given a break, called a “dry period”. Approximately 2 months before she is due to have her calf, a cow is no long milked. She will be given a special diet that is adjusted by dairy nutritionists, to give the cow and unborn calf all of the nutrition they need to be healthy, without the cow getting too fat. She is no longer using energy to produce milk, so she can gain weight very quickly. “Dry cows” are often let outside to graze, and spend all day being lazy.
12) This woman claims that keeping a dairy cow lactating causes mastitis (inflammation/infection of the udder)… It does not “cause” mastitis. Infection from bacteria, viruses, injuries, etc. cause mastitis. However, usually only lactating cows (or cows that have lactated) get it, so…
I guess it’s kind of like saying you got into a car wreck becuase you were in a vehicle. Well, that may be true - you can’t be in a car wreck if you never get into one - but that also doesn’t mean that you WILL get into a wreck if you get into a vehicle, or that the act of BEING in a vehicle is the reason you got into a wreck.
13) “Sometimes filtered”… NO. It is a requirement to filter the milk at the farm. It is filtered before it even reaches the bulk tank. Did you know that farms that sell milk have to be inspected?
The quick picture that is shown of a disgusting filter is another unfair representation. “Somatic cells” are cells that the body (of every living animal) sheds - more so, when there is an infection present. All milk has somatic cells. It is natural. If cows didn’t have somatic cells, they’d have no way to fight off infection. Elevated levels of somatic cells usually indicate an infection, such as mastitis. It is not the same thing as pus in a pimple. She is simply trying to gross people out. If a cow has a high somatic cell count, or visable evidence of infection, or if she is treated with antibiotics to help get rid of an infection, her milk is not put into the bulk tank. It is either dumped or fed to calves. There are penalties for each bulk tank that has a somatic cell count over a certain amount, and premiums for each tank that is below a certain amount. Many people (including myself) drink raw (unpasteurized, unhomoginized) milk, straight from the bulk tank.
Do you think we would choose to drink pus??!
14)“Downer cows” - cows can go down for MANY reasons… Sickness, injury, slipping and falling, knocked down by another cow, etc. AGAIN, the video clips shown are not a fair representation of what goes on at most dairy farms.
The clip showing the cow’s back end being lifted by a skidsteer - Yes, sometimes we have to do that. A down cow is a dead cow. She needs to get to her feet. Sometimes, the only way to get her there is by using “hip lifts” - a tool that is tightened around the animal’s hip bones, so she can be lifted to her feet.
The clip does not show proper usage - she should be gently lifted until she can get her legs squarely underneath her body - NOT hung in the air.
All of the other hidden video clips that are shown just before and after that one are disgusting and shameful. Shame on those people for treating animals that way.
Whew… Ok, rant over. It felt good to get that out. If you made it this far, reading my rant, thank you.
Remember - things are not always as they seem, certain things are done for a reason, and if you want to know more, ask a farmer!
A good farmer will be happy to explain things to you, and show you around. Good farmers are proud of what they do.
A bad farmer will make excuses, because they have something to hide.

When people say shit like "omg this cow think it's a dog!" or "look at this video of pigs acting like a dog"

No.

They are acting like their own species. You are just pretending their behavior is special (and similar to that of your valued companion animal) because god forbid you realize that omg, the animals you fucking eat have personalities and enjoy their lives.

So I dunno. If you think those videos and stories are cute maybe you should stop eating/supporting the exploitation of the subjects of those videos.

9

This little piggy got massive: Meet Esther the 48 stone ‘micro-pig’! Ten times larger than predicted

  • Esther the Wonder Pig is an internet celebrity with 230,000 Facebook fans
  • Owners Derek and Steve, from Canada, were in 'denial’ about her real size
  • Eats exclusively vegan diet, munching £1,500 of grain and fruit a year

A couple who bought a micro-pig were stunned when their pint-sized family pet turned into a 670lb giant.

Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter from Ontario, Canada, adopted Esther thinking she would only grow to around 70lb, a respectable five stone.

But they were tricked and two-year-old Esther has not stopped growing.The two-year-old sow, who is toilet-trained, is now nearly ten times her expected size.

She eats £30 of vegan food each week, enjoying a diet of rolled oats, barley and corn as well as fresh fruit and vegetables like over ripe bananas and vegetable peelings.

She has become so big that the couple had to move into a farm to create enough room for her and their two dogs and a cat.

Steve, who works in the property industry, said: 'We lived in denial for a long-time. Friends would come over and say 'she’s getting bigger’ and Derek and I would say 'no she’s not’.

'But soon she was standing up to steal things off the kitchen counters, the couch became smaller, and of course there was the weight gain.

'We just adapted and loved her more. What else could we do? It wasn’t her fault and we would never give up a pet.' 

Steve said: 'Since we moved to the farm she has decided she needs to be close to us and now sleeps beside our bed with her mattress on the floor.

'She still on occasion climbs up on to our bed for a nap during the day.’

Esther has now found fame on Facebook as Esther the Wonder Pig and has more than 230,000 friends who follow updates on their her exploits. 

Derek and Steve post pictures and video of the pig and sell calendars, postcards and mugs featuring the pink porker. 

Followers can watch her snoozing in a nest of stolen blankets, monopolising the sofa - as well as the dog bed - or sprawling across the living room floor leaving little room for anyone else.

The pair have now created another Facebook page, Esther’s Kitchen, to feature the vegan food they prepare for their rambunctious pet, including spinach lasagne and chocolate chip granola bites. 

Speaking about Esther’s online popularity, Steve added: 'It is still surreal and absolutely mind-boggling.

'We started Esther’s page just as a way for immediate friends and family to stay in touch with us and Esther’s antics.

'But one of those friends shared Esther’s page on an animal-related website and the next thing we knew Esther’s page had 10,000 likes and it never stopped.

'Derek and I are Esther’s voice and some days it is really challenging to come up with new quips and I will sit there staring at a picture until something comes to me.

'Other days it’s as if I can read Esther’s thoughts and I swear she can convey them with her eyes and her smile.

'People’s reaction to meeting Esther still amazes us, it’s like they’re meeting a movie star or royalty.

'Even now people are amazed by her size and her awareness.

'It is as if she knows she is famous and that is her role, that she is changing the world’s view of her kind and their amazing abilities to think, feel and be loved.’

adoptpets: I have never seen such a happy pig. She is so photogenic! I just wish all pigs got to live the type of life that she lives.

God bless these people for not giving her up once she outgrew the size they were expecting, as happens all too often with these pet so-called “micro-pigs.” Having a pet/companion animal is a lifetime commitment; not to be given away just because the pet becomes an inconvenience.

Reportedly, Esther gave Derek & Steve the motivation to fulfill their wish of opening up a sanctuary, and since getting Esther they have also become vegan along with Esther.

idk how many of yall know this, but the official requirements in the united states for a livestock product (such as milk, eggs and meat) to be considered “free-range” are that the animals are allowed outside for at least 15 minutes a day.
yeah…a cow can spend the whole other 23 hours and 45 mins of its day in a concrete enclosure but if it’s allowed outside for a measly 15 minutes to do Cow Things, marketers have a reason to say “free range” on their packaging in order to coax concerned animal lovers into buying their product.
i dont know how many facilities actually let their animals out for only 15 minutes a day, but IMO if youre gonna say an animal product is “free range” it should actually BE free range - as in, an animal has the opprotunity to spend all of its waking hours outdoors if it so desires. but that’s just me. i just feel as if it’s a cynical, misleading marketing tactic.

WIDESPREAD DEAFNESS IN FARMED SALMON: HALF OF THEM HAVE HEARING LOSS DUE TO DEFORMED EAR BONES

The rapid growth of aquaculture raises questions about the welfare status of mass-produced species. Salmon have otoliths (ear bones) made from aragonite, a crystal form of calcium carbonate. These are the main hearing structures in the inner ear. However, individuals can possess a deformity in which the aragonite structure is replaced with another crystal form of calcium carbonate, vaterite.

Australian researchers studied this otolith defect in wild and farmed Atlantic salmon in Norway, as well as farmed fish from Australia, Scotland, Canada and Chile. Farmed fish were 10x more likely to have the otolith deformity than wild fish. Further, average levels of vaterite replacement have a major physiological effect on individuals: a 28–50% loss in hearing sensitivity.

The underlying causes of vaterite formation remain unknown, but the prevalence of hearing impairment in farmed fish has important implications for animal welfare, the survival of escapees and their effects on wild populations, and the efficacy of restocking programs based on captive-bred fish.

anonymous asked:

Just out of curiosity, why is fake fur bad? I have never heard of this before and I love me some education.

the oils and stuff the factories use to make faux fur and stuff are really bad for the environment bc like oil spills and just how bad factories are in general. on the other hand real fur is a sustainable resource! and people think that animals on fur farms are treated poorly when really they have some of the best care in the world tbh bc quality care = good profit. if the animals are taken care of poorly and sick and whatnot its gonna reflect on their coats which means no profit for the farm. thats just the basics but here’s a post that goes more in depth for you

vimeo

This clip from the movie Samsara makes a pretty clear case against factory-farmed meat, simply by showing how the animals are treated in life and death.

It’s graphic and upsetting, but it should be.

Chickens gathered by a combine and stuffed into tiny crates. Cows hooked up to rotating combination feeder/milkers. Lactating pigs held down in a supine position so litter after litter of piglets can feed on their swollen nipples. 

This is not how food should be.