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6 Crimes Against Nature Perpetrated By the Food Industry

While many procedures on factory farms are cruel, breeding animals into mutants and violating mother/offspring bonds are truly crimes against nature.
 
 
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The horrors of factory farming are multifold.  Treating animals like heads of lettuce—"forget it's an animal" says one farming magazine—has created institutionalized ruthlessness toward animals, workers and the environment at the same time it harms humans who eat the products. Factory farming even damages the economy thanks to meat-related obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and greedy, short-sighted land-use policies. 

 

While many procedures on factory farms are cruel, some practices like breeding animals into mutant-like parodies of their original species and violating mother/offspring bonds are truly crimes against nature.

 

1. Greed-Driven Mutilations

 

It is possible to practice animal husbandry in a way that an animal only has "one bad day" (the day the animal is slaughtered), but thanks to factory farming, which packs animals together over their own waste, they endure a lot of additional suffering.

 

Chickens are "debeaked" during their second week of life "to prevent cannibalism and feed wastage," says an online guide for chicken growers—though the industry's abusive battery egg cages, not the animals, are responsible for the "cannibalism." Debeaking, partial or total removal of a bird's beak with a hot knife or laser while it is fully conscious, causes “intense pain, shock and bleeding,” says  veterinarian Nedim C. Buyukmihci,  emeritus professor of veterinary medicine at the University of California.

 

A similar fate awaits pigs who respond to unnatural conditions by biting each others' tails. The factory farm solution? Cut off their tails with a pliers and no painkiller—an institutionalized mutilation called tail docking.

 

Cows also have their tails docked for what factory farmers call "hygiene" and "milk quality" as well as their  horn buds burned off  with no painkillers. When video footage depicting both procedures at  Willet Dairy  in New York state aired on ABC's Nightline there were calls for laws against the cavalier cruelty. Nor are debeaking, tail docking and horn bud burning factory farming's only mutilations. Animals  also endure  dubbing, the removal of combs on birds, detoeing and declawing and mulesing—removal of a sheep's hindquarter skin.

 

If veterinarians practiced the same procedures on pets without painkillers, they would lose their licenses and face criminal charges.

 

2. Fast Growth Diseases

 

Thirty years ago pigs, chickens and cattle did not look the way they do today. Thanks to growth-producing chemicals and selected breeding, factory-farmed turkeys  can barely walk and can't fly at all or reproduce  because of their extreme meat-intensive physiology.

 

Chickens grow so intensely that if they were human they would weigh 500 pounds at age 10. The frenzied growth makes them prone to  "flipover disease"  in which the metabolic strain causes sudden death. Pigs given the growth drug ractopamine, illegal in many countries, are so muscle-bound they are practically non-ambulatory. “Simply, the pig will go down and not be able to get back up,”  said Gary Bowman , an Ohio State Extension veterinarian with the College of Veterinary Medicine. Visitors to factory pig facilities have to wear  biosecurity suits  because "the immobility, poisonous air and terror of confinement badly damage the pigs' immune systems," read an article in Rolling Stone.

 

Under the use of the Monsanto-created genetically altered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), the udders of dairy cattle become so engorged, the animals  can barely walk.  The painful infections (called mastitis) the animals develop along with their shortened life spans and weakened conditions when they arrive at slaughterhouses, often as downers, are the ultimate crime against nature. Many grocery chains have renounced rBGH but some operators still use it for the "cost savings."

 
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