When we mention about farm, most of us have this image of a vast green pasture where farmers spend most of their time herding livestock but that idyllic picture is just a thing from the past. Since the 1930s in America, small farms started to wither away, made way to bigger and highly mechanized factory farms. It all traced back to McDonalds and the booming of fast food restaurants (Food, Inc 2008). Fast food restaurants had become successful because they could produce tasty food with cheaper cost. Their franchises eventually made them a multi-million-dollars industry. Big business required big suppliers. Small rural farms cannot meet the demand for supply and they quickly fade away. Farmers were being replaced by corporations in controlling of the food market.
The growth of industrial farming gives rise to all sorts of ethical issues and animal cruelty is always a major one. Chickens, pigs and cows are the top three livestock being controlled by the factory farms. Many aspects of raising livestock have changed over time. Everything happens within the factory farms revolve around the goal of maximizing production with efficiency. I think the term “raising” is longer accurate; it is more like “producing.” The incentives for profit and peak production have led many people to treat the livestock like inanimate objects. Despite major animal welfare movements in the last decade, livestock are still being exploited and subjected to cruel treatments in the factory farms.
I remember watching the movie Chicken Run when I was younger. The movie criticized the evil farmers who exploited chickens and treat them without any empathy. Any hens that were unable to produce eggs would have their head cut off. The birds eventually rebelled and escaped to a better place. That animation gave me a glimpse into the lives of exploited poultry, but it was nothing compared to the unethical treatment inside factory farms.
There are two categories for these birds. Chickens raised for eggs are called “Layers” and those raised for meat are called “Broilers.” A chicken’s fate has a lot to do with its gender. Male chicks have no economic use since they cannot lay eggs and not genetically bred for meat. They are basically waste products and must be removed. “They are crushed, gassed, or discarded in trash bags to suffocate, or simply piled one on top of another, to die from dehydration or asphyxiation” (Compassion Over Killing, 2011). According to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), more than 100 million of male chicks are killed every year.” (PETA 2011).
Layers practically spent their youth to maturity confined in cages no bigger than their bodies. The cages are densely packed next and on top of one another. Laying hens are frequently starved to maximize their eggs production. The goal is to maximize production with amount of effort. The way I see it: It is like life in prison for those hens. They cannot move and even flap their wings. Living in overcrowded...