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Khurana

Suraj Khurana
Writing 39C
Professor McClure
29 August 2015
Resolving Farm Animal Welfare Problems
Introduction
Farms are delineated as peaceful shelters for farm animals in which they are nurtured and
cared for; however, the reality of modern farm production is harshly different from this
perception. A study conducted by Gaverick Matheny, philosopher and believer of nonhuman
animals as sentient beings, shows that farm animals epitomize 98% of animals both raised and
killed in the United States, emphasizing that most farm animals are robbed of their freedom
(Matheny 325). For example, a horrific Ohio farm brutality anecdote in September 24, 2010
helps uphold Paul McCartneys quote, If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a
vegetarian. Billy Gregg, worker at Conklin Dairy Farm, was charged one thousand dollars and
condemned eight months in jail for malevolently abusing cows and calves (Jepson 125). The
investigation by Mercy For Animals, an organization devoted to preventing farm animal cruelty,
reported Gregg and his co-workers violently punching, stabbing, slamming, kicking young
calves in the face with pitchforks and crowbars, demonstrating the absolutely severe brutality
upon these animals (Jepson 126). Resorting to an argument against animal consciousness in
favor to support these actions stands invalid because scientific research has proven and
accentuated the basis for assessing suffering in animals. Marian Dawkins, professor of animal
behavior at the University of Oxford, proves that through physical health, physiological signs,
and behavior, animals display emotions, consciousness, and suffering (Dawkins 36). Many

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Americans today have adopted Richard Ryders, a British animal rights advocate, term
speciesism which describes the prejudice against other species, but points out that all species
are biologically similar through evolution. The unpleasant emotional states displayed by farm
animals are rendered from inhumane treatment by factory farms, shaping the core of problems
(Dawkins 28). On the other hand, state and federal laws provide no protection to farm animals
especially poultry, which are consumed the most. While animal suffering raises an ethical issue,
consumers are inadvertently endorsing this cruelty due to lack of insight in farming procedures.
The use of Ag-Gag laws makes it illegal to take pictures and videos without the owners
permission; therefore, the government is successfully concealing farm animal cruelty to the
public. Abolishing this law can further improve the lives of farm animals, yet consumers must
first be exposed to the inhumane methods. Dawkins quotes that we have a continuum of moral
responsibility, inferring that if one eats meat they have a responsibility to know what they are
eating. Despite the numerous problems in our factory farms today, there are many ways to
approach and solve them. In order to improve farm animal welfare, the government must
implement the Food Safety and Inspection Services proposal to generate poultry reforms,
increase consumer meat expenses, and abolish Ag-gag laws.
Leading Problems in Todays Factory Farms
Despite the protection placed on transporting farm animals, the Twenty-Eight Hour
Law attests to enhance animal abuse rather than end it. In 1873, The Twenty-Eight Hour Law
was established in order to protect livestock during transportation by unloading them every
twenty-eight hours; whereas, the Human Methods of Slaughter Act required that livestock to be
humanely handled and slaughtered (Mench 301). Because the USDA disregarded trucks, which
transport 95% of animals, The Twenty-Eight Hour Law inadvertently bequeaths insufficient

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protection to farm animals in trucks, killing one million pigs every year on their way to the
slaughterhouse (Mench 300). Various investigations conducted by Mercy for Animals
documented farms animals to be intensely confined, mutilated, abused, genetically manipulated,
and denied veterinary care, labeling factory farming as the number one cause for animal cruelty
(Jepson 127). In fact, Mathenys study shows the four common problems in which the US is
harming animal welfare: caging of hens, over breeding of birds, crating of pregnant sows, and
tethering of crating of calves raised for veal (Matheny 330). For example, hens are given less
than half a square foot of area per hen, they are unable to stretch which contributes to their bone
weakness and fractures (Matheny 331). Around 85% of farm animals are suffering from
osteoporosis by the time they are overworked and physically worn out (Matheny 332). Like hens,
calves are chained by neck and placed in stalls in which they cannot turn around during their
eighteen-week lives (Matheny 332).

Figure 1 describes the various types of abuse inflicted upon poultry


(FSIS 9).

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The chart above acquired from the United States Department of Agriculture Food and
Inspection Services petition to issue regulations under Poultry Products Inspection Act
delineates the percentage and number of poultry violated during Good Commercial Practices
(FSIS 9). From January 2011 to June 2012, the cruel exploitations stated above totaled a number
of 421 poultry, or a 100.1% of poultry, in Federal poultry plants, resulting in a 100% lack of
protection amongst farm birds (FSIS 10). In these instances, animals are brutally murdered
because factory farms have no economic incentive to care for sick, injured, unproductive
animals, arguing that it is cheaper to let these animals die than care for them (Matheny 330).
Needless to say, the callous disregard for an animals life questions not only our ethical
standpoint as humans, but also our moral responsibility towards a helpless species.
The second problem among factory farms is that despite laws protecting animals during
the slaughter procedure, many farm animals are observed to be conscious during the slaughtering
procedure. The HMSA requires that all animals are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow
or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, yet an article
written by Jeff Welty, researcher of animal law, proves that suffering, stress, pain, and fear during
the slaughter process is remarkably high (Welty 175). Recently, Farm Sanctuary demanded that
the USDA improve rules so that chickens as well as other farm animals are not boiled alive
during the slaughter process (Hardin 24). The Washington Post says that an investigation into the
agriculture department record shows nearly a million chickens are boiled alive every year in
slaughterhouses because of the failure to kill them before they are dropped into the boiling water
(Hardin 24). Reasonably, chickens are every bit the individual that dogs and cats are, so it is no
more acceptable to abuse a chicken than it would be to abuse a cat or dog. Welty shares stories
on slaughter plants in which animals remain conscious after being stunned, poisoned, and

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massacred during the slaughter procedure; yet these plants were are not suspended or faced with
substantial charges (Welty 177). Through the ineffective application of this law, the government
has failed to protect farm animals from brutality placed upon them. Whether the slaughter
process is deliberate or unintentional mishandling, the fact that the animals are still conscious
during the slaughter procedure is unethically heinous and should be approached with maximum
consequences. With no federal judicial modification in the last thirty years, it is imperative to
magnify and improve laws protecting animals.
Solutions To Farm Animal Welfare
Although veganism is the ultimate solution to stop factory cruelty and save farm animals
from slaughtering, Martin Balluch, a philosopher and prominent animal activist, explains that our
generation is far from accepting this solution due to consumer obliviousness towards factory
farming (Balluch 165). Balluchs quotes, I dont think the number of vegans is increasing at all
even though awareness about animal issues is clearly on the rise suggests that change in
awareness does not necessarily relate to change in behavior (Balluch 166). The next best
approach is to target global and individual solutions to help end farm animal abuse.
By abolishing Ag-gag laws, consumers can help improve farm animal welfare by
converting inhumane methods into less profitable practices. In order to eliminate Ag-gag laws,
Jessica Pitts, author of Ag-Gag" Legislation and Public Choice Theory, examines the harm
behind The Federal Ag-Gag Law. The Federal Ag-Gag Law, also known as The Animal
Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), prohibits the use of photography and video use without the
owners permission (Pitts 98). By making the very act of documentation a violation, the AETA
has successfully designed to intentionally censor animal abuse from the public, keeping
organizations from disclosing these unconstitutional methods (Pitts 99). Alienating outsiders to

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the inhumane farming methods have blinded consumers into supporting farm animal abuse; in
fact, consumers unintentionally tend to incite farm animal abuse. By masking the inhumane
treatment on farms, the AETA has not only robbed Americans of their freedom of speech by not
giving them an opinion in animal welfare, but have duped consumers into purchasing more meat.
For example, by preferring pale colored meat, consumers are unaware that to produce pale meat,
calves are immobilized and restricted any movement and freedom (Matheny 332). However,
implementing cameras in factory farms would expose the mistreatment of farm animals;
therefore, causing a lack of consumer demand on meat products and ending farm animal abuse.
History has consistently proven that consumers are extremely interested in the production of
their food, and have, in the past, renounced companies for disobeying safety requirements and
for ethical reasoning (Pitts 109). For example, in 2008, a viral video showed MowMar workers
abusing farm animals, which were then packaged as products and sent off to consumers (Pitts
110). When this video was exposed to both the food retailers and consumers, the meat market
suffered a heavy profitable percussion in which the produced meat was sent back and consumers
resentfully condemned factory animal treatment. .
Secondly, the increase in consumer rates will compensate for production rates, improving
welfare and health assessments amongst farm animals. Providing complete freedom for millions
of farm animals would significantly increase production costs; however, a survey conducted in
2004 by Zogby poll suggests that respondents are willing to pay more for labeled products and
minimal animal welfare reforms (Antonides 45). Mathenys research shows that if production
costs increases to five percent, consumers are willing to pay the 2.4 percent increase in retail
price; in fact, a couple more dollars can, as Matheny states, relieve the single most severe
systematic example of mans inhumanity to another sentient animal (Matheny 346). In other

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words, farm welfare production costs can be effectively compensated by increased prices to
consumers, providing farm animals with freedom and positive emotions (Matheny 344).
Consumers want to know what they are paying for (Matheny 345); therefore, implementing
incremental regulations increasing the price on meat would allow farm animals freedom and selfexpression, while diminishing boredom and increasing pleasure (Antonides 47). For example, if
the government implements this solution, the first improvement as Jim Mason, an author and
attorney focusing on animal welfare, discusses should be emphasizing on group housing systems
(Mason 111). In fact, Masons research shows that consumers are willing to pay sixty percent
more for cage-free systems (Mason 112). This system will eradicate all confined cages, and
replace them with furnished cages that will allow animals to move freely indoors and outdoors
(Mason 112).
Lastly, with poultry categorized as the most abused and consumed meat (FSIS 22), it is
crucial to protect poultry in both state and federal laws. As its mission to protect farm animals
from cruelty, Farm Sanctuary, an organization founded in 1986, has proposed a solution that will
regulate practices stemming contaminated poultry products. The USDA has recognized that the
callous treatment of poultry leads to debasement, yet it has not endorsed any guidelines to limit
that defilement, and companies have in fact accelerated their processing lines (Washington Post).
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, North Americas first animal
welfare organization, states that the U.S. lacks federal and state laws protecting farm animals
raised on farms; however, poultry, constructing up to 95% of land animals killed for food, are not
included in the only two federal laws protecting animals during slaughter and transport (FSIS
22). According to Farm Sanctuary, poultry accounts as the most abused of all farm animals,
which is why the Food Safety and Inspection Services proposal to begin endorse regulations to

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address poultry handling, listed under the Poultry Products Inspections Act (PPIA), should be
promulgated by the USDA (FSIS 3). By updating the Good Commercial Practices in
regulation, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) should adopt good commercial
practices for poultry handling and outlaw methods that lead to adulteration (FSIS 18). By
promulgating human poultry regulations under the PPIA, the FSISs plan should implement
sanitary practices, and prohibit inhumane practices such as the following: kicking, hitting,
mutilating, or torturing poultry, breaking the legs or other bones, etc., which according to the
FSIS must explicitly be labeled as prohibitions the practices acknowledged in the directive to
cause cruelty and adulteration (FSIS 21).
Effectiveness of Social Media
From spreading knowledge to raising awareness, Social Medias elevated platform has
proven to be the most efficient and fastest method in producing change. Intertwining social
media campaigns with the solution to abolish Ag-gag laws and increase meat expenses would
help shine light on the farm animal abuse. For example, in 2012, CNN once aired disturbing
slaughterhouse footage showing farm animal abuse; a process displaying the gruesome treatment
of farm animals while exposing consumers to swine flu (CNN). Paul Shapiro, a guest on CNN,
condemned the factorys response to these undercover investigations. The factories should have
prevented and addressed the situation, but they responded by preventing the American people
from finding out about the abuse (CNN). This video reached millions of viewers who responded
with disgusted and advocating comments, which eventually resulted in a decrease of meat
consumption (CNN). One person commented, Its time for all animal rights advocates and
activists to band together and put a stop to the belief that any atrocity is okay as long as someone
profits from it (CNN). The fact that one video on CNN contributed to a significant positive

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change shows that social media is an effective method against farm animal abuse. Through its
many-to-many communicating method, introduced by Erik Qualman, social media proves to
be the quickest platform to produce significant change (Qualman 2). The importance of social
media has become less about shaping a single message to be consumed by individuals and more
of an approach of producing an environment of convening supportive groups. The fact that
credible organizations such as PETA, Mercy for Animals, and Farm Sanctuary have successfully
used social media as a global platform to appeal to millions of people, there are no boundaries on
the positive affects social media can affect the lives of animals. By generating and creating
supporting groups through social media, we can efficiently spread knowledge and raise
awareness on Ag-gag laws and farm production rates.
Conclusion
From the day farm animals are born, they are predetermined to suppression and bondage
filled with abuse; however, there are countless solutions to improve farm animal welfare. Sadly,
factory farming has turned emotional, conscious, and living animals into nothing but production
units. Our growing consumer demand for meat and eggs has packed farm animals into smaller
confinements, giving them no freedom to move or express themselves. The sad truth to this
process is that these animals have no say because Americans are either apathetic or unaware to
the cruelty endured by factory farming. In fact, many of us are so burdened by our personal
needs and goals that we do not contribute any time to be the animals voice. Many people must
question themselves whether it is ethical to abuse and kill animals portraying consciousness and
the ability to suffer for the cost of reducing the cost of meat, eggs, and milk. Although we are not
doing the abuse, we are still endorsing it; if there is no meat market there will be no farm animal
cruelty. We cannot depend on the government to end factory farming; in fact, we do not need the

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government to end factory farming. We can do it ourselves! Social media has provided everyone
with the platform to voice his or her opinion, and America needs to be exposed to factory
farming. Raising awareness, spreading the word, and exposing the methods, treatments, and
cruelty on farm animal abuse will bring us one step closer to saving these helpless animals.

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Work Cited
Antonides, A. "Improving farm animal welfare." (2012). Web. 20 Aug. 2015
Balluch, Martin. "How Austria achieved a historic breakthrough for animals." In Defense of
Animals: The Second Wave (2006): 157-166.
"CNN Anderson Cooper MEAT INDUSTRY LIES Ag Gaga Film Factory Farm Animals Felony
PETA HSUS Swine Flu." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2015.
Dawkins, Marian Step. "The scientific basis for assessing suffering in animals." Peter Singer
(comp.), In Defense of Animals. The Second Wave. Oxford, Blackwell (2006): 26-39.
Hardin, Gill. "Chapter Reports." The German Quarterly 32.1 (1959): 57-63. Web.
FSIS. "Http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/e138fe1a-d380-42b2-88b7f24a11ed7d7f/Petition-AWI-PPIA-121713.pdf?MOD=AJPERES." (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Jepson, Jill. "A Linguistic Analysis Of Discourse On The Killing Of Nonhuman
Animals." Society & Animals 16.2 (2008): 127-148. Academic Search Complete. Web.
Matheny, Gaverick, and Cheryl Leahy. "Farm-Animal Welfare, Legislation, And Trade." Law &
Contemporary Problems 70.1 (2007): 326-358. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11
Aug. 2015.
Mason, Jim, and Mary Finelli. "Brave new farm." In defense of animals: The second wave
(2006): 104-122.
Mench, Joy A. "Farm Animal Welfare In The U.S.A.: Farming Practices, Research, Education,
Regulation, And Assurance Programs." Applied Animal Behaviour Science 113.4 (2008):
298-312. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.
Qualman, Erik. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business.
John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

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Welty, Jeff. "Humane Slaughter Laws." Law & Contemporary Problems 70.1 (2007): 175206. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.

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