Story last updated at 4/29/2009 - 10:44 am
Editor's note: This is the last of a series of essays written last fall by Floyd Dryden eighth grade students in Samantha Davis' class.
The following students served on the editorial board: Ryan Hicks, Kevin Walkenford, Carly Gunnerson, Mizani Rawhani, Gabi Fenumiai, Isaac Christiansen, John Jolly, Kassandra Burke, Ariah Clarke, Dylan Johnson, Michaela Schlecter, Marie Petersen, Joseph Ferlato, Aaron Abella, John Nichols, and Abbey Wilwert.
Do you think all farm animals need a space to turn around fully, lie down comfortably, and fully extend their limbs? Not all farm animals have that space. Many are abused as well. Farm animals should still be in cages or stables, but make the cages bigger and stop farm animal cruelty.
The animals do not have enough space. Chickens and turkeys are crammed together in very tiny cages. In factory farming four to seven birds are in these cages. The chickens cannot stretch their legs and spread their wings. These chickens have to live in filthy factories with no more space than a sheet of paper.
Cows also have small living spaces. Ten percent of cows have to stay in their stables their entire lives. Cows have tiny dark spaces that they have to live in. Calves used as veal have small wooden crates that they cannot turn around in, stretch, or lay down comfortably. Pregnant pigs on the other hand are put into tiny metal pins just two feet wide. The pigs also cannot turn around or lie down the way they want. Not only do the farm animals have limited space, but also it is unhealthy for the animals to be abused and to be kept in those small cages.
It is very unhealthy for the animals to live this way. Pigs get foot injuries from standing so much in their cages; they also suffer from sores on their shoulders and on their knees. Some farmers strike their animals with crowbars, and the pigs and other farm animals get bruises from the hits. Cows suffer from an infection called mastitis, a bacterial infection of the udders from being milked too much. At the factory farms cows produce 10 times more milk than naturally. Their bodies are put into stress because of this. Veal calves also suffer from sores because of their small cages and because of being in an uncomfortable area.
There are animals on the farm that are too weak to even stand or walk; these animals are called downed animals. In factory farming some farmers beat, drag, or push the downed animals with bulldozers just to move them to the slaughterhouses. Chickens and hens constantly rub against their cages resulting in severe feather loss, bruises, and abrasions. They both suffer from a fatty liver syndrome from producing too many eggs. Not only is it unhealthy for the animals to be abused, but also they are unhappy living this way.
The animals are unhappy in the small spaces. In New York State, three cows were rescued from starvation and were caught wondering around. They were originally neglected at a factory farm and some how ran away. They lived happier when they were rescued being fed correctly and, having lots of space. With chickens and hens, when they are crammed into those cages, they cannot fulfill their normal behavior patterns or their social needs, which affects the animals. The chickens and other animals on the farm get frustrated and it causes them loss of sleep, aggression problems, injuries, stress, and pecking conflicts. Cows and pigs get bored in their stables. In factory farms the animals are unhappy in their abusive little homes.
Not all farms abuse their animals and not all farms do factory farming. Some farmers treat their animals with care and some farms free range. Free range farming is where the farm animals have a certain amount of land to roam and eat the grass. It is best for all farms to free range. But for economic reasons not all farm animals can be free range.
Not all animals can sleep and eat in a great home. It is more expensive to free range than factory farming. A lot of the farmers do not have enough space and money. It is proven that the chickens cannot produce enough eggs compared to when they are in their cages. Doing free range would also mean less food. Even though it is very best for the animals to live in free range it cannot happen that way, but there are other solutions.
For economical reasons, I think animals need to be in reasonable size cages and to stop the abuse in farms. Farm animals live in small, abusive, unhappy homes, and it is very wrong to see them live this way. I understand that they are just for food but they deserve to at least live a good life. So next time you are at the grocery store think about how the animal lived before buying the product. Also, when you are eating, think about how the animal lived before you take a bite.