Of farms and animal cruelty

The story of tortured farmed animals is a darker reality than one would expect

Freestyle

November 2, 2018

/ By / Kolkata

Farm animals in India have a bleak existence

Farm animals in India have a bleak existence

Each year, India produces millions of metric tonnes of meat and yet, this comes at the cost of humanity as we put animals through unspeakable torture.

Just because farmed animals are bred to be exploited does not mean that they are any less intelligent or devoid of emotion. They are just as capable of perceiving pain and feeling afraid as much as domestic animals. The cats and the dogs we value so much as companions and pets are considered to be interesting and empathetic creatures capable of self-preservation, rational thought and intelligence and yet billions of farmed animals are tortured in the name of food every year. They have little legal protection from cruelty that would be illegal if it were inflicted on pets. They are neglected, mutilated, genetically manipulated, put on drug regimens that cause chronic pain and crippling deformities, transported through all weather extremes and killed in gruesome and violent ways.

The quandary of chickens

Hundreds of thousands of chickens and egg-laying hens live in vast warehouses. Packing so many chickens together into filthy, extremely crowded conditions causes farms to be rife with diseases, including bird flu. To increase profits, farmers drug and genetically manipulate chickens; as a result, many birds suffer from painful, crippling bone disorders and spinal defects. Seven or eight egg-laying hens are confined to one cage. Their wings atrophy from disuse, and their legs and feet grow twisted and deformed from standing on the slanted bottoms of their wire cages. When kept in such large numbers, chickens vent their stress and frustration by pecking at one another. To reduce the violence, chickens in factory farms have their beaks cut off.

Panicking pigs

Pork is popular in India with there being regions where it is eaten almost every day. Pigs are killed in backyard farms. Before slaughter, the pigs are deprived of water and food, which makes them easier to catch because it weakens them and makes them desperate for water. When the thirsty pigs come for a drink, they are caught, tied up and then carried upside down on a wooden rod. They are killed by having an iron rod rammed into their hearts or down the throats. It often takes many thrusts into the chest–the slaughterers often miss the heart and instead break ribs or puncture other organs–before the terrified pig finally loses consciousness.

For slaughter's sake

For slaughter’s sake

For milk and meat

Many cows and buffaloes on dairy farms have been genetically manipulated to have huge udders so that they will produce much more milk than they would naturally. To further boost production, farmers inject the animals with synthetic growth hormones, which increases their risk of developing mastitis, a painful infection of the udder. Some farmers in India illegally inject cows with oxytocin, a powerful prescription narcotic that causes cows to produce more milk. In villages, farmers often practice “phukan”, in which a stick is rammed into a cow’s uterus and twisted, causing her intense pain and sometimes internal ulcerations that can become badly infected.

Fishy fears

Marine animals are subjected to unspeakable cruelty when they are caught on hooks or with nets, kept in live-animal markets or raised on fish farms. According to government figures, about six million metric tonnes of fish is consumed in India each year while four million metric tonnes is exported. Fishers use huge boats and nets to catch tonnes of sea animals all at once. Fishing lines and nets make no distinction between target species and animals who are not targeted–they scoop up all animals in their paths. The unwanted animals, called “by-catch”, are thrown back into the ocean after the nets are pulled up and sorted. On some fishing boats, up to 90 pc of the animals caught in the nets are by-catch.

A responsibility to prevent the unnecessary torture

Akash Dutta, a member of PETA India while talking to Media India Group said, “Most developed countries around the world have laws for humane treatment of farmed animals. They also ensure that they are enforced. Australia and Japan are great examples of this. And yet, here we are–a country of supposed animal lovers and we do nothing about it.”

PETA and other similar organisations are trying to spread awareness via social media, advertisement campaigns and educational articles on various publications. The organisation believes that education and awareness is the only way forward when it comes to lowering this kind of cruelty. Stricter laws are also an alternative yet implementing and watching over the implementations could prove to be steep.

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