THE MEAT INDUSTRY
Animals killed for their meat begin suffering the day they are born. Animal Equality works to end this cruelty.
ANIMALS KILLED FOR MEAT
Cows, pigs, chickens, fish and other animals raised for food have little legal protection from cruelty. Although they are individuals who are capable of thinking and feeling, and who want to enjoy their lives, they linger in misery on factory farms all around the world.
Cows and bulls raised for meat are socially complex animals who develop friendships and experience pain, fear and anxiety when beaten or separated from their herd. Painful mutilations are common in the industry. Farmers remove the horns from young calves and castrate the males. All of this cruelty occurs before they even reach the slaughterhouse.
Did you know that pigs are considered to be smarter than dogs? Yet factory farms confine them in cramped warehouses where they will never see the sunlight or breath fresh air.
Perhaps those who suffer the most are the females. They are forcibly impregnated throughout their lives and give birth inside a tiny metal crate, so small they can’t even turn around and are unable to nurture their piglets. They suffer both physically and mentally.
Chickens are the most abused land animals on the planet. More chickens are raised and killed for food than all pigs, cows and lambs combined.
Chickens spend their entire lives in filthy sheds with tens of thousands of other birds. They are bred to grow so large so quickly that their legs and organs cannot keep up, making heart attacks, organ failure, and crippling leg deformities common.
Those who survive this miserable existence will typically be slaughtered at just 42 days old.
Like other farmed animals, lambs are subjected to cruel mutilations and are horrifically slaughtered. Lambs are usually “tail docked” just a few weeks after birth. Farmers claim this is to reduce the buildup of faecal matter around the animals’ backsides. But this cruel and painful mutilation is performed without anaesthetics and often leads to infection, chronic pain and rectal prolapse.
Sheep living out on the hills or in remote fields might seem idyllic, but these animals are subjected to all weather extremes and many freeze to death every winter or die of dehydration during unusually hot spells.
Rabbits are the second most farmed land animal in Europe, with more than 300 million killed in the EU every year. More than 90% of them are raised in tiny, barren battery cages – conditions so cramped and sparse they would be illegal for chickens.
During slaughter, rabbits are often struck in the face with blunt objects in an attempt to knock them unconscious. However, this method is not successful for many of the rabbits, who struggle and squirm as workers snap their back legs — breaking their bones in order to more easily hang the rabbits upside down — then slice open their throats.
Left photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / Animal Equality
Right photo: Animal Equality
Around 14 million turkeys are slaughtered in the UK each year – with the vast majority killed for Christmas – typically at just 4-6 months of age. Most are reared inside crowded, filthy barns with up to 25,000 other birds.
Selective breeding to produce larger birds with more breast meat has meant that today’s breeds of turkey are now very ‘top-heavy’. This leads to painful leg and heart problems and prevents them from mating naturally. As a result, most breeding is carried out using artificial insemination. All of this cruelty, despite turkeys being sensitive and intelligent animals who form strong family bonds and even enjoy the company of human companions.
In Korea and China, dogs are considered farmed animals just like cows, pigs, chickens and other farmed animals are here in Britain. Many are taken from the streets, while others are farmed in deplorable conditions.
Often, dogs are crammed into tiny wire cages so small they can’t move. Others are kept in barren pens full of dogs with varying temperaments. In conditions such as these, dogs are afforded zero legal protections and suffer from extreme cruelty and abuse at the hands of workers.
THE GLOBAL NUMBERS
of medically important antibiotics are also given to farmed animals, fostering antibiotic resistance
land animals are spared every year by adopting a plant-based diet
animals are killed for food every hour
of meat comes from cruel factory farms
of pigs tested from US factory farms had pneumonia
BEYOND THE CRUELTY
The meat industry also has devastating effects on our planet and takes a toll on our health.
MEAT AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water and causes severe environmental damage.
According to a report by Worldwatch Institute, 51 per cent of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. This is more than the pollution from all cars, trucks, trains, and planes combined. According to the United Nations, the world needs to shift away from a diet of animal products in order to combat the worst effects of climate change.
Factory farms also use an enormous amount of water. It’s used to grow crops for animals to eat, clean filthy factory farms, and give animals water to drink. The industry also pollutes waterways with slurry run-off.
A risk to your health
Consuming animal products puts you at an increased risk of several serious health conditions.
The World Health Organisation recently declared processed meat a carcinogen that increases your risk of colon or rectum cancer by 18 per cent.
Animal products contain saturated fats which contribute to some of Britain’s top killers: heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and various types of cancer. Decades of scientific studies have linked saturated fat to cardiovascular disease – one of our country’s main causes of death.
In large part because of the increased health risks, people who consume meat don’t live as long as vegetarians and vegans. According to a study at Loma Linda University, of over 76,000 people, vegetarians were 12 per cent less likely to have died during a six-year follow up period than those who consumed meat.
Photo: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com
Factory farms are secretive places. They work hard to conceal from the public the reality that farmed animals face. That is why Animal Equality works so hard to expose the cruelty inside and put an end to it.
OUR GLOBAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Through investigations and the support of people like you, Animal Equality has won numerous successes for farmed animals around the world.
PIG FARM WORKERS CONVICTED OF ANIMAL CRUELTY
Two men pleaded guilty to animal cruelty offences which took place while they were employed at Fir Tree Farm in Lincolnshire. The convictions result from an investigation by Animal Equality, which captured footage of repeated and deliberate violent abuse of pigs by the farm workers.
London restaurants drop foie gras from their menus
Joined by actor and activist Peter Egan, Animal Equality campaigners demonstrated outside of the Tate Modern, in central London, demanding that it removes foie gras from its Christmas menu. Following this pressure, Tate agreed to remove the barbaric product. Within a couple of weeks, Skylon restaurant at the Royal Festival Hall, The Wallace Collection’s brasserie, Bluebird Chelsea and Crowne Plaza hotels followed suit and dropped foie gras from all of their menus as a direct result of our campaign.
Harling Farm conviction
Thanks to an undercover investigation by Animal Equality, two workers at Harling pig farm were convicted of animal cruelty and sent to prison. Millions of people saw the press coverage of this abuse and many vowed to change their diet.
Gloria is rescued
After opening the lid of a huge rubbish bin in Knapp Farm, Devon, Animal Equality investigators find Gloria. This weak, young bird was shivering with cold but was very much alive, sitting on top of a pile of rotting corpses. She was taken to safety and, incredibly, survived the ordeal!
El Escobar sentence
In Spain, after a shocking investigation by Animal Equality, we helped secure the most severe penalty ever administered for cruelty to farmed animals.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
Volunteer With Animal Equality
Animal Equality’s dedicated network of volunteers works around the UK, helping us share the stories of animals in need! Participate in demonstrations, hand out leaflets, organise iAnimal screenings – your support for Animal Equality helps create a kinder world for animals.
Helping farmed animals is now easier than it has ever been. Today, a trip to the supermarket reveals there are more cruelty-free plant-based options than ever before. Cutting back or cutting out your consumption of meat will significantly reduce animals’ suffering, help the planet, and improve your health.
Photo: Magdanatka / Shutterstock.com