Critical Thinking

Animals seeing the light of day. Many people

Animals are not ours to eat. Animals are not ours to wear. Animals are not ours to experiment on. Millions of animals endure nightmarish conditions just to satisfy our selfish and gluttonous needs. What right do we have to eat animals? Countless animals are slaughtered each year in the UK to satisfy our appetite for meat. 2.6 million cattle, 10 million pigs, 14.5 million sheep, 80 million fish and 950 million birds lay victim to this atrocious and barbaric industry every year. They experience cramped, dirty and appalling conditions, most likely never seeing the light of day. Many people don’t think twice before buying meat products and this is because we have become desensitised to the truth of where it comes from. Many people do not associate meat with the merciless killing of animals and this is the problem. The meat industry is responsible for the relentless, routine cruelty to pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, ducks, geese and other animals who suffer every minute of their short lives. Females are repeatedly and forcibly impregnated. Babies are torn away from their mothers, mutilated, kept in filthy and severely crowded conditions and fed a cocktail of drugs and chemicals sometimes causing their bodies to become oversized, leading to health problems. Then, when they’re only a few months old, they endure a stressful and terrifying trip to the abattoir, where many are killed while still conscious. Chickens raised for meat are farmed more intensively than any other type of animal. Newly hatched chicks are sent into huge, dusty, windowless sheds with 30,000 or more other birds. Chickens on these grim farms commonly suffer from severe health problems, including deformed legs because of excess weight gain and infectious diseases such as salmonella and heat stress along with heart failure caused by severe crowding.  Cows used for beef are kept on intensive factory farms and will spend their entire lives indoors, never grazing in the open air or having space to move around. They are fattened up on an unnatural cereal-based diet which causes them almost-constant digestive pain and can lead to metabolic diseases. For veal, male baby calves born to mothers in the dairy industry are shipped to the UK when they’re only a few days old. There, they are confined to dark crates. All alone with no room to move, the frightened animals are fed a diet that’s purposely low in iron so that they become anaemic, and their skin remains pale. By the time they’re sent to be killed, many of these calves are so weak that they can barely walk up the ramp to the abattoir. Treated as milk-producing machines, dairy cows may be given antibiotics and hormones to increase milk yield. Their calves are taken away from them when they are just 1 day old, causing grief to both mother and calf. The strain of continual pregnancy exhausts cows and often leaves them lame. When they are worn out and can no longer produce such high volumes of milk, they are sent to the abattoir and killed. There are about 32 million hens in the UK producing 24 million eggs each day. More than half of these are kept in severely crowded cages and typically have little more space than the size of an A4 piece of paper. Although chickens can live for more than 10 years, those used for egg laying live to only a fifth of this. When their egg production starts to drop, they are shipped off and killed. Because male chicks can’t lay eggs and haven’t been bred to produce excessive flesh for meat, they are regarded as useless and are thrown away. And they face a horrific death: they are either tossed into the rubbish and left to suffocate or thrown into a high-speed meat grinder – while they are still alive. What right do we have to wear animals?  Many people have never considered the impact that creating wool garments has on the animals who produce the fleece. The wool industry treats animals as nothing more than wool-producing machines. Hundreds of thousands of lambs die of exposure or starvation before they’re 8 weeks old – in the UK, as many as 15 per cent of lambs do not survive infancy. Leather comes from animals who were cruelly killed for their skins. Before being turned into belts and bags, many animals endure all the horrors of factory farming – including intensive confinement inside filthy cages or pens, castration without pain relief, chronic infections and disease caused by extreme crowding and a terrifying trip to the abattoir. More than 1 billion animals are killed worldwide for the leather trade every single year, from cows and calves to horses, lambs, goats and pigs. What right do we have to experiment on animals?  Across Europe, hundreds of animals, such as rats, mice, rabbits and guinea pigs, are used in toxicity tests for chemicals used in household products. In these tests, chemicals are applied to or injected into animals’ skin or forced down their throats via a tube to check for side effects such as vomiting, tremors, organ failure, paralysis and even death. Every year, millions of animals in the UK endure painful, frightening procedures at the hands of experimenters. Around 4 million animals are used in experiments in the UK annually – a 52 per cent increase since 2000. Mice and fish are the most experimented on animals in the UK, but other victims include hamsters, rabbits, cats, dogs, monkeys, chickens and horses. All of these animals feel pain and fear, and they suffer intensely when they are poisoned, cut open, blinded, electrocuted or infected with deadly diseases in barren, windowless prisons