Let me start off by stating, I am not an animal rights activist. However, I do believe animals should be treated well and cared for appropriately but it is not my calling to actively work towards better animal rights. I believe if more people bought food from the small farms that love, care and cherish their animals, better animal rights would come naturally. We would not need to protest, take action and change laws to enforce animal rights. But, if we continue to buy food from factory farms which are the foods available at the grocery store, we will need to fight continuously for animal rights and will have little to no avail.
I have minimal experience with factory farming. The only experience I have is when my husband and I visited a dairy farm with hundreds if not thousands of cattle. That day the factory hosted an event that opened it’s doors to the public. There were all sorts of large machinery (costing $100,000 and up), people eating breakfast, marketing signs with explanation of the factories procedures and of course cattle. Seeing those sad cows was my first and last visit to a factory farm.
It’s a little funny because the advertisement did not mention it was a factory farm and neither did any of the informative marketing information they provided the day of the event. But, it was easy to figure out, once we saw the lines of cattle crammed into their pins and their eating areas. If we didn’t drive two hours and sleep at a hotel for this event we would have turned back around. Part of us were curious. We have seen factory farm images but never in real life. We wanted to see if it was as bad as it looked. To our surprise, it wasn’t. It wasn’t complete grotesque or dead cows anywhere but they did also prepare for this event.
As explained by the factory, the cattle was created by gene selectivity, artificially inseminated, then induced to labor. Once the calf was born it was separated from its mother within an hour. The sad look in the calves reminded us of a lost child. The factory then proceeds to increase dairy production by feeding the cattle GMO, fortified and synthetic foods for their whole lives. As the factory explained, cows gets sick just like humans so they will be given antibiotics just like humans.
We talked to a small farmer that very same day, just 30 minutes away at the Farmers Market. She raised her much smaller herd of cattle on opened grassland. They mated, birthed and nursed at their will own their will. I asked her”How often do you give them antibiotics?”. She replied, “Never.” In shock, I asked, “What do you do when they get sick?” He response was, “They don’t get sick. Since, they live a healthy cows life, they have never been sick enough that we have had to intervene.”
Could this be true? Well, yes. When humans, eat right, move often, and keep their stress levels low they tend to build and harvest a strong immunity. Since, we live in close quarters with one another, we might still get sick but we will fight it off easier. That’s the same things with animals.
Fortunately, I have only seen a dairy farm in person. From what I have read and learned from old factory farmers, chicken factory farms are just as awful. They have chickens smashed together in small cages. A laid egg goes on a conveyor belt, to machines that wash, laser and sort. Then the eggs are put into storage until they eventually make it to the grocery store shelves.
There are often dead chickens laying around in a chicken factory because once one gets sick, many get sick from being in such close proximity to one another. Most of the chickens never see the light of day. Most of the chickens are so crammed together that they cannot even spread their wings. Factory farms give all farms a bad reputation. Not all farms treat their animals like a product. Most small farms treat their animals with kindness and love.
So, I encourage you to find a small local farm near you and visit it. See how they raise their chickens, talk to the farmer about their work and sample an egg. The taste difference might surprise you. Your purchase will increase demand. Increase demand, will encourage more farmers to farm small and provide better care for the animals. More small farmers means better food for all. So, again, I encourage you to find a small local farm and be the change in your community that we desperately need for the health of our kids as well as the care for the animals.