Saturday, October 2, 2010

Factory farms: Monstrously immoral institutions

For those who have any doubts about how monstrously immoral factory farms really are, I invite you to read the Erik Marcus's brilliant analysis on the Vegan. com. Marcus was prompted to write this analysis by reports from a North Carolina factory farm that a failure in the ventilation unit resulted in the deaths of 60,000 chickens. He also notes a similar equipment failure that took the lives of 3,800 pigs last year. Marcus refers to these gargantuan charnel houses very appropriately as "Factory Farm Ghost Ships."

A highlight from Marcus's column:
At issue is the fact that, by their very design, factory farms are intended to run on autopilot. Between water pumps, feed conveyors, ventilation fans, and so forth, everything is in place to keep tens of thousands of animals alive unattended for weeks or even months at a time. There’s often consequently no financial reason to keep a single employee on the premises, for the sake of guarding against something going catastrophically wrong. It makes no financial sense, since it’s cheaper to simply purchase insurance that would cover the cost of dead animals, in the event of a catastrophic equipment failure.

I am sick to death - absolutely sick to death - of reading about another factory farm that caught on fire (there have been so many that have burned down this year, I've lost track); or another factory farm where equipment failure led to thousands of deaths; or stories of trucks hauling factory farm animals to their deaths that overturn on freeways and the animals - already overcrowded in the backs of these trucks - are crushed to death or released onto the highways and hit by oncoming motorists. At the end of September, a transportation truck carrying 729 pigs across Ontario crashed (allegedly due to the driver going too fast) and 334 pigs were killed in the accident, another 30 were later euthanized. (Source.)

This is the factory farm system in a nutshell. Pack 'em in, get them on the assembly line, move them through the murdering process line as fast as possible and get 'em out to market.

But suppose these kinds of accidents never happened. Suppose there were no equipment failures, no instances of animals getting scalded alive, no overpacked trucks turning over on the freeway, no animals being kicked and punched and beaten, no tragic tales of suffering and agony. Suppose every factory farm endeavored to treat their animals well, made sure each one was comfortable, and adhered to all of the proper laws and procedures involved in what some might dub "humane slaughter." Suppose all of these things were the case and the factory farm system were as ideal as it could be.

Even if there were an iota of humanity in this system, which there isn't, it would still be an immoral system - profoundly immoral - because its very foundation is the murder of sentient beings whom we - as humans - have no right to imprison, exploit and destroy. Let's not lose sight of the fact that tinkering and reforming the system is not going to work. Dismantling it completely is the only solution.


  1. So tired of it all. Fire after fire after fire.
    Anyway, on a good note: happy world farm animals day. We got a lot of press at our demo, and we'll be on the Winnipeg news tonight.

    We just keep putting the facts out there: automated warehouses of imprisoned animals is what Big Ag is telling us is "farming" and "care." Bullsh*t. Fewer and fewer people are believing them.

  2. Ahhhh.....if karma is actually an active principle in the universe and it applies to groups of animals......we humans are screwed. We are building up a record of crap behavior that is not to be believed, if some payback or consequence principle is in play.......look out. I would change species in a second, were that possible.

  3. Great to see a blog by a fellow Ontarian! :)

    Don't know if you saw the article about the 5000 chickens who died in PEI, but what struck me was the second-to-last paragraph where the manager talked about how there was an emotional impact after having raised the birds. I thought that was odd considering where they were being sent to.