Factory farming. We’ve all heard of it, but do we understand it?
In recent years, animal rights and climate activists have been fighting to bring unethical farming to our attention for decades. It is time to listen.
Factory farming refers to large numbers of livestock raised year round and put in highly controlled conditions. These animals, cows, pigs, chickens and others, are shoulder to shoulder in buildings that leave no room for any quality of life.
More than 80% of pigs are ill with pneumonia when farmers kill them for their meat. Farmers often debeak their chickens, a part of their body that has nerve endings similar to a hand on a human.
Cows are hooked to milking machines and subject to selective breeding, subjecting them to immense pain.
Farmers see these animals as food for profit and nothing more. The conditions in which they live are unsettling, unsanitary, and lack any sort of compassion. 99% of meat produced within the United States comes from factory farms.
No government agency regulates the definition of the word humane. Throughlaws that protect the privacy of these operations, it is hard to understand the damage that this country has done.
Many companies market the animal products we consume as family-owned or all-natural. At best, these are half truths, but I believe most of the meat that businesses market to us comes from a place of abuse, neglect and mistreatment.
These facts and revelations about factory farming and animal abuse can be overwhelming, and it is hard to find a place to start. Some easy first steps are to do your research and find more ethically-made food.
There is no right or wrong way to create change. If you are feeling any sort of fire in your belly, you are ahead of the curve.
At Georgia State, the PEACE Club is a great place to introduce animal and environmental advocacy, veganism and community into your life. The club holds weekly events, from protests to ‘how to be vegan’ meetings. There is space for all types of change.
They have vegan snacks for students to try at events and an interactive online cookbook for those interested in dipping their toes into more clean eating.
“We have members who are vegan, vegetarian, considering, or not considering. This [club] is an inclusive [environment] where we provide opportunities to learn more about the treatment of animals and how we can end their cruelty and exploitation through a vegan lifestyle,” Reagan Bates, the PEACE Club Vice President and activism advocate, said.
While a large portion of the club’s goal is to introduce veganism to students, they also aim to end cruelty and exploitation through education. This semester, they held a screening of ‘Eating Our Way to Extinction,’ a documentary that changed people’s view of food and the food industry.
Bates continues, “I realized this movement isn’t about me. I had a choice. I could stand by and watch everyone use animals for food and destroy our health, environment, climate, and the lives of billions of animals per year. Or, I could take action.”