Dairy cows

How laws are failing farmed animals.

Many people are shocked to learn that animal protection laws permit the cruel treatment of animals raised and killed for food.

A dairy cow looking towards the camera

70 billion animals, every year

Every year, globally, some 70 billion animals are born into human created and controlled systems that deny them any quality of life and that ultimately subject them to painful and distressing deaths. These systems treat animals as units of production rather than the living, feeling beings that they are. They are valued only for the meat or products that their bodies can produce.

For most of us, when it comes to animals, our compassion doesn’t discriminate. But the laws that exist to protect them, do.

A Pig mother looking down to piglets from a sow stall in a factory farm

Unjust practices

Because farmed animals are born into the category of ‘food’ or ‘fibre’ they are denied the same legal protections as those born into the category of ‘friend’, like dogs and cats. An act that would be a prosecutable cruelty offence if committed on a dog is legally accepted as ‘standard practice’ if committed on a cow, pig or fish. Animal industries received these exemptions from animal cruelty laws purely for commercial reasons and despite the fact that all animals share the capacity to suffer.

Through public education, industry and government lobbying, Animals Australia has worked for four decades to correct this cruel double standard. Yet even the most reasonable position – that animals should be provided with quality of life and protection from cruel treatment – is resisted by industries and governments.

Battery cages in overcrowded conditions
A sheep looking out of the truck while being sent for live export
A sheep looking out of the truck while being sent for live export

Abandoned to harm

The unwillingness of governments to regulate reform has left animals abandoned to harm, and farmers and workers reliant on production-driven systems built on animal suffering. And this inevitably impacts the well-being of all.

It is time for us to question whether these systems serve us; the humans employed in them; our planet; and importantly, whether they reflect the relationship we want to have with our fellow beings.

Animals Australia’s campaigns shine a light on the suffering of animals in farming systems and empower consumers to make conscious, kinder choices. The demand for ever-cheaper meat, milk and eggs has led to systems of farming that deny animals their most basic needs and desires.

Practices that are anything but normal have become the norm.

Two cows standing close togther

A kinder future

We can’t change the past, but we can shape a kinder future. By making conscious, kind food choices, we all have the power to transform our food system, and along with it, the lives of animals.

These systems only exist 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 healthier – for us, and the world around us.