Why do we see videos of animals being tortured and having such horrible lives crammed in pens and never seeing the light of day or real earth? We’ve seen cows being tortured as well as pigs and chickens.
It does seem that the big ad industry can be heartless. And of course as our population grows due to immigration, we need more and more pork, poultry and beef. So we have to quickly produce and harvest these poor creatures and use antibiotics to make them grow bigger, faster.
You do know abou that, right. The hormones and anti-biotics that are making infections hard to treat.
Can you tell me what you know about this, please.
Thanks so much for your question, especially because it’s such a pertinent and relevant topic right now.
Animal Abuse and Animal Husbandry
Let’s start out by stating the obvious: yes, animal abuse happens. Those that engage in animal abuse should be prosecuted and the animals should be removed from their care immediately. No one is defending animal abuse, especially farmers.
But animal abuse is just not a widespread problem and it is unfair to accuse all farmers, or even the vast majority, of such actions.
I assure you, most farmers are just as disgusted with animal abuse videos as anyone else. For those that dedicate their lives caring for and tending to these creatures, they could not imagine hurting them. That being said, the videos that you see of alleged abuse need to be closely scrutinized, because they are usually purposefully created to fill the agenda of animal rights activist organizations. Many times those abuse videos can be staged to make things look amiss, when in reality nothing was wrong. In the case of actual abuse, such videos should be immediately turned over to the proper authorities, not released on social media to demonize all farmers.
I would also mention that sometimes practices might seem cruel to someone not familiar with animal agriculture, such as keeping animals indoors. However, many times this is necessary to protect the animals. For example, many people lament the use of gestation stalls, but farmers know that they have a purpose and that’s to keep sows and their little piglets safe. Or, the fact that there are actually more than a few good reasons to raise turkeys indoors. If you have concerns about how animals are raised, or have questions, the best bet is to ask farmers why they make the decisions they’ve made and not just assume it was to hurt the animals.
Use of Hormones and Antibiotics
I’m not sure what immigration or food demands has to do with the use of antibiotics or hormones in our meat, but I’ll address your concerns generally.
Yes, it is true that animal agriculture employs the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are usually used to treat sick animals, treat the herd to prevent animals from getting sick, or in some cases, to promote growth. (You can read more about that here.) The real concern here is about antibiotic resistance building up from the frequent use of antibiotics. (You can read more about that here.) Of course, this is something that should concern all of us, and we should all consider ways we can reduce this resistance from occurring, including asking doctors to reduce the amount of antibiotics prescribed to treat common colds.
Farmers care about preventing antibiotic resistance and work to find ways to reduce their use. Just like everyone else, we rely on these life-saving medications and want them to work for our families if and when the time comes. Of course, we should recognize that there is a difference between using antibiotics for treating sick animals and using them for the enhancement of the livestock. The former is an important part of animal welfare.
The FDA is also taking steps to reduce the use of antibiotics in animal production, both by phasing out their use in production practices (such as for promoting growth) and making the use for preventing or treating disease under the oversight of a licensed veterinarian. To implement these changes, the FDA is working with the industry and asking the manufacturers of these antibiotics implement them. You can read more about the FDA’s efforts here.
It’s also worth mentioning that hormones are not allowed for use in pork or poultry. As for hormone use in meat and dairy, it isn’t something you should be concerned about. The use of growth hormones has not been linked to any adverse side effects in humans. In fact, there are naturally-occurring hormones found in all animal and plant-based foods, even without the additional use of growth hormones.
Unfortunately, the tone of your question makes it pretty obvious that you’re not a huge fan of animal agriculture. That disappoints me, because I’m afraid that choice is based on misconceptions about animal agriculture and the farmers so employed. While it is entirely your choice to consume animal products or avoid them, or even to only purchase a certain label, I don’t think it’s fair to characterize all animal farmers in such a negative light.
Instead of jumping to conclusions about how “heartless” these people are, I suggest you actually talk to them and get to know them. I suggest starting with Ask the Farmers, where you can ask questions, “meet” some real life farmers, and follow their social media accounts. I think you may be surprised to learn that farmers aren’t the bad guys.