The undercover footage contains brutal scenes of helpless, trapped animals being beaten, kicked, stabbed with pitchforks and having their tails broken by a vicious farm worker. The Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) wrote in a statement:
"The actions depicted in the video footage from Conklin Dairy Farm in Plain City, Ohio, reflect clear and disturbing acts of animal cruelty. The actions of the individuals in the video are heinous, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of Ohio's animal cruelty law."
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also weighed in:
"Those handling animals must do so properly. The AMVA and its members have worked hard to get good animal-care practices implemented on the ground and will continue to do so," says Dr. Gail Golab, director of AVMA's Animal Welfare Division. "AVMA policy clearly states that anyone who deals with animals has an obligation to stop — and prevent — all forms of cruelty to animals."
For all of us who love, respect and share our lives with animals, it is devastating to hear about another case of appalling animal abuse.
And to watch it actually happen as can be seen in the video linked above is more than many sensitive souls can tolerate. I couldn't watch more than a few seconds of this one myself.
Tragically, the horrors depicted in undercover videos like those released by Mercy for Animals at an Ohio factory farm are not uncommon. The videos of abuse and other forms of cruelty are a necessary evil, as they inform concerned citizens about what is endured by animals entrusted to our care.
Awareness is always the first step toward positive change, and much change is needed to improve the lives of factory farm animals like those brutalized in the Ohio farm footage.
Many Aspects of Factory Farming are Inherently Cruel
Factory farms are large manufacturing operations where the "machinery" is live animals and the commodity is the food they produce. These enterprises exist first to make money, and secondarily to raise food.
The nature of factory farms is similar in many ways to that of any large production facility -- without regard for the fact that animals are sentient beings. They feel, they sense, they perceive. They are nature's creations, living and breathing, and should not be viewed or treated as pieces of manufacturing equipment.
Factory farm animals -- typically chickens, cows, pigs and turkeys -- live short and often painful lives. They exist by the thousands in cramped indoor quarters and most never see the light of day between birth and death.
Certain types of animals are routinely disfigured (for example, fowl are debeaked) as a way to limit the damage they can inflict on one another as a response to living in extreme confinement.
Factory farm animals undergo forced, accelerated breeding which is physically debilitating and stressful.
Lighting in animal housing areas is manipulated to simulate longer or shorter days, resulting in unnatural growth patterns.
Even at the end of their short, sad lives factory farm animals are treated inhumanely. They are hauled off to be killed in large groups, and those too sick or injured to walk – including animals that die en route – are forced onto slaughter trucks, often with a bulldozer.
For more information, visit the ASPCA website and review their list of common inhumane farm factory practices.
Factory Farmed Food: Quantity over Quality
The food produced by factory farm methods, while certainly plentiful, is often of much lower quality than that produced by animals living in natural, healthy environments.
It's the practice of factory farms to feed livestock a constant supply of antibiotics to prevent the diseases that would otherwise run rampant as a result of unnatural, inappropriate living conditions.
Consumption of drug-contaminated food from factory farms is contributing to the growing problem in humans of immunity to antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant strains of dangerous bacteria.
Animals on factory farms are pumped full of hormones and their feed is typically species-inappropriate, pesticide-laden grain. They also stand confined, with limited or no mobility, in their own waste.
Not only is factory farming unhealthy for animals and people, it's also an environmental hazard. Thousands of livestock confined in one place results in a great deal more animal waste than the surrounding land can handle.
Factory farms are sources of air, land and water pollution. Residents living in close proximity to factory farm operations often have much higher than normal rates of illness and disease.
What You Can Do
- Vote with your wallet. As a consumer, you wield enormous influence by virtue of your buying power. Buy only foods with the Certified Humane Raised & Handled® label. This program is administered by Humane Farm Animal Care, a non-profit organization backed by dozens of animal welfare organizations and dedicated to insuring its producers raise animals humanely.
- Leverage the supermarkets and restaurants you frequent. Ask questions about where the food they sell or serve is coming from. Request they use humane sources. If you're uncomfortable doing this in person, start a letter writing campaign.
The more food outlets buying fresh, locally grown foods, the better. Let your demand for healthy, humanely raised food create supply.
- Plant your own vegetable garden. Not only will you have fresh veggies on hand, you'll also learn for yourself what's involved in growing healthy, natural food. The experience of nurturing a garden can be eye opening and give you a whole new respect for the process of raising food.
- Learn more about factory farms and alternative farming methods.
- Get involved. Many animal welfare organizations are always on the lookout for volunteers willing to lend their time and energy to advocacy causes, including:
- Farm Sanctuary
- Mercy for Animals
- Humane Society of the U.S.
- American Humane