Most people agree that animals – no matter the type – are innocent and deserve protection from harm. Despite this commonly shared mindset, there are still millions of animals raised and slaughtered annually in the most awful ways imaginable. Many companies in the meat, egg, and dairy industries do this to make the most product with as little money as possible and to keep up with the extremely high demand for animal products in the United States.
If consumers aren’t careful about which companies they purchase from, not only will animals suffer, but there is a very high likelihood that they are exposing themselves to harmful antibiotics that are helping the development of incurable superbugs. Since corporate farms are so cramped, disease spreads quickly and easily through the animals. This has led to the animals being injected with antibiotics multiple times during their lives. Although this has been a successful practice since the 1940s, the federal Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance stated that “The extensive use of antimicrobial drugs has resulted in drug resistance that threatens to reverse the medical advances of the last seventy years.” In other words, the more antibiotics used, the faster bacteria will become immune to it. Approximately eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used in various meat and poultry industries which means corporate farms are the leading causes to the development of superbugs.
As stated by Idaho legislature, “‘Cruelty’ shall mean… To maliciously kill, maim, wound, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance, drink or shelter, cruelly beat, mutilate or cruelly kill an animal… To negligently confine an animal in unsanitary conditions or to house an animal in inadequate facilities…” These laws apply to cats, dogs, and other household pets so why is it not illegal for chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, fish and other farmed animals to be treated with cruelty? Over ten billion land animals are killed in slaughterhouses in America after going through tortures similar to what was described by the Idaho legislature. This doesn’t include the eighteen billion marine creatures that are kept in filthy, disease-ridden environments before being killed for food (Farm Sanctuary).
There are companies that don’t condone harming animals or focus on profit and efficiency over animal welfare. Not all hens are crammed into wire cages. Not all cows and pigs are loaded with growth hormones and mutilated without pain relief or forced to live in a space slightly larger than their own body. Most people do not believe that animals should be mistreated for our plates, but are unaware that they can do anything about it. If consumers knew which companies treat their animals humanely and support those companies even though the meat may cost more, it would inevitably lead to a change in the industry. Just one person seeking out ethical companies saves thirty-one animal lives every year (Farm Sanctuary).
Fortunately, this is a problem that can be solved simply by changing the buying habits of the public. If people demand that their food is treated humanely and raised in a healthy environment, the producers will respond and raise healthier animals. Most of the people in the industry are not sadists who delight in torturing living creatures. They simply believe that they do not have a choice because they have to provide the most product for the lowest price. Consumers have the power to change the industry by simply changing their habits.