LAST UPDATED: 7 February 2020
Did you know that 'farmed' animals — like pigs, hens and chickens — aren't shielded from cruelty by the same basic laws that protect the cats and dogs many of us share our homes, lives and hearts with?
When given the chance, pigs, chickens and hens will befriend us, just like dogs and cats do. They have the capacity to show affection, to experience joy — but most importantly, they can also suffer. And suffer they do, by the millions, in cruel factory farms where they're treated as food-producing 'machines' rather than living, feeling beings.
Most of us are taught to think that 'farmed' animals are all the same — however the reality is that every animal is a unique individual. With the high walls of factory farms hiding these animals from public view, the daily cruelties inflicted on them are kept secret.
This is one of the defining reasons why pigs and chickens in this country have been denied the protection of animal cruelty laws. Because they are unseen.
Hidden away in mammoth factory farms, the law-makers who have the ability to change their lives for the better cannot see them. The people who would make kinder choices cannot see them. These animals are 'invisible'. They are forgotten... YOU can help change that.
Watch our new TV ad giving a voice to the voiceless — then join us to help amplify their plea for freedom.
Help free them
Here at Animals Australia, we are on a quest to create a world where kindness, compassion and respect extend to all living beings.
If this sounds like the kind of world you want to live in — please join us to make it happen!
Creating a kinder world means ending factory farming
Take a moment to think about the farms you've seen — perhaps while driving past on a weekend break in the country. Did you see hens dust-bathing in a paddock? Stretching their wings in the sun, or building a safe nest for their eggs? Do you recall the last time you saw a pig snuffling in the grass or cooling off in the mud? Have you ever seen that?
The sad reality is, most of us haven't. The over consumption of animals has led to the industrialisation of animal 'production' in factory farms. Locked away in sheds and cages, their suffering is hidden inside of mammoth walled sheds where caring eyes can't see them. These are the 'invisible' animals of factory farming.
There is no nice way to say this: the world is currently a very cruel place for the animals who are farmed for food. The demand for more and ever-cheaper meat, milk and eggs has created an animal welfare disaster of catastrophic proportions. But knowledge is power so read on to see how you can help.
This is what factory farming means for hens
Trapped for their whole lives in battery cages so small they can't even spread their wings, these gentle hens are 'valued' only for the amount of eggs they can lay. Their bodies become so worn out from a complete lack of exercise, osteoporosis and the cycle of constant egg-laying, that they're sent to slaughter at barely a year and a half old.
Chooks, when given the chance to live natural lives — with space to walk, spread their wings, build a nest and dustbathe — can grow up to the ripe old age of 12 years or more.
This is what factory farming means for pigs
Pigs are incredibly doting mothers. When given the chance, they'll build a snug, warm nest for their piglets to ensure their comfort. But in factory farms, these sensitive mothers are caged in 'farrowing crates' barely larger than their bodies for weeks at a time. They hardly have enough room to stand up and can't even turn around, have no material to build a nest — instead, they are forced to give birth on concrete floors.
These devoted mums will then have to watch their piglets have their teeth and tails cut off, right through the bone. Male piglets can be castrated at the same time. Perhaps most shocking of all... All of these 'surgical procedures' are inflicted on these defenceless animals without pain relief.
This is what factory farming means for chickens
The modern breeds of chicken who are raised for their 'meat' are the result of an intensive selective breeding process designed to make them grow extremely fast. So fast, in fact, that chicks grow up so quickly they reach 'slaughter weight' when they're only 5-8 weeks old — still chirping like the babies they are.
This unnatural growing speed puts terrible pressure on their joints and hearts and, within weeks of hatching, many of these young chickens will be so weighed down by their own bodies that they're unable to lift themselves off the manure on the floor. As a result, some may suffer from breast blisters, hock burn and chronic dermatitis. Others develop crippling lameness so severe they can't even move to reach food or water, and will die of starvation or dehydration.
Over 25 million young chickens suffer and die in farm sheds every single year because their bodies simply can't cope — their deaths are 'written off' by the factory farming industry as a part of doing business.
This is how factory farming effects us and the environment
A recent ground-breaking report from Oxford University describes how avoiding meat and dairy is the 'single biggest way' to reduce your impact on Earth!
With a growing population, using the resources we have effectively is increasingly important. On average, it takes around 6 kg of plant protein to create just 1 kg of animal protein. If we instead used the crops feeding farmed animals to feed humans, we could feed an additional 4 billion people. Plant-based food also uses less water, and generates less greenhouse gases.
Making the change to a more sustainable plant-based food system will help not only people and the planet, it will spare billions of farmed animals from the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses, and help save our precious wildlife. (It's true, eating beef is bad for cows and koalas.)
Codes of Cruelty
When confronted with images of the immense suffering experienced by animals hidden away in factory farms, the natural response from compassionate people is: "How is this legal?"
Well, in collaboration with animal farming industries, governments created Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines (which might be more accurately called 'Codes of Cruelty') — that have 're-categorised' thinking, living beings as mere units of production.
These cruel codes make it legal for intelligent and sensitive animals to be severely confined in sheds and cages, denied access to fresh air and sunshine, and even permit parts of their bodies — like sensitive beaks, teeth and tails — to be cut off without pain relief.
Many of Australia's Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines were written nearly four decades ago — and incredibly, those covering pigs and poultry have only been reviewed once in the last 20 years. These standard are archaic and permit cruelty to animals that would never be acceptable to our modern society.
Lending our voices to the voiceless
Right now, long-awaited reviews into the welfare standards for pigs and poultry are underway. This presents a critical opportunity to lend our united voices to millions of animals suffering in Australian factory farms.
We need to remind decision-makers that the animals hidden away from their view have beating hearts — that they live, breathe, dream and feel. That animals equally deserve and desperately need new laws to protect them from cruel treatment.
We'll be taking action on behalf of the animals soon. If you're keen to help, then sign up here to stay in the loop for critical campaign updates:
You can change their lives
The good news is we don't have to wait decades for government and industry reviews to happen! We all have the power to take a stand against factory farming cruelty, starting today.
Factory farming only exists because so many animals are being eaten. Reducing or replacing animal products in our meals is not only the most profound way to reduce animal suffering, it's also best for the planet and for us as well.
Eating plant-based is easy, delicious and it's getting more popular, every single day.
Keen to find out more? You'll find all the information you need, plus a selection of delicious recipes, in our free veg starter kit! Order your copy here. Or if you're ready to get cooking right away, then you might like to browse our collection of 100+ scrumptious plant-based recipes at VegKit.com!