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Ultimately, how you choose to process the information is up to you and we welcome all to our table - whether vegan activist or meat-loving chef - but that doesn't mean there isn't room for passionate dialogue, which we'd love to hear in the comments below.
Bruce Friedrich is a well-known animal rights activist and senior director for strategic initiatives at Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection organization with a mission "to end cruelty to farm animals and promote compassionate living." He was the former Vice President for Policy of PETA.
Five Things You May Not Know About Animals Raised For Food: Bruce Friedrich
What this means it that for most Americans, their primary interaction with animals is when they’re eating them. We’re a nation of animal lovers - 97 percent of us support laws to protect animals - and yet the place where we most interact with animals is when we’re paying for them to be badly treated on factory farms and killed in slaughterhouses."
2. The egg industry is even worse than the veal industry for animal welfare
In these torture chambers, hens are given no mental stimulation and are unable to spread even one wing, so that they go insane from lack of mental stimulation, and their muscles and bones atrophy. Tens of millions of these inquisitive and interesting animals are starved for two weeks to shock their bodies into another laying cycle. Their suffering is beyond our worst imaginings, as you can see in this undercover video. (Editors' Note: Viewer discretion is advised).
Although cage-free egg production is better, it’s far from idyllic, as we discuss in our “truth behind the labels” campaign. Most cage-free producers cram the hens into massive, fetid, warehouses and although the animals can go anywhere in the barn (a huge improvement over cages), they are not allowed outside, and still can do little that is natural to them.
Because males are useless to the egg industry, the male babies are still ground up while they’re completely conscious, and even cage-free hens usually have their beaks seared off with a hot blade."
3. Broiler chickens are given more drugs than any other farmed animal
And it’s not just the drugs that are fed to farmed animals you have to worry about: Meat from factory farms is also often contaminated with PCBs, flame retardants, and all kinds of other chemicals (including arsenic—yes, arsenic) that collect in the animals’ flesh. So avoiding meat isn’t just good for animals; it’s also good for your health."
4. There is no national legislation to protect 98.5 percent of farmed animals
This is a very big deal, because we eat more than 100 times as many chickens as pigs, and more than 200 times as many chickens as cattle - more than 98 of 100 land animals eaten in the United States are chickens. And yet anything goes with chickens, both on the farm and at slaughter - the way that all 9 billion of them are slaughtered would be illegal under the HMSA.
It’s worth taking a moment here to say that Americans are not happy about the way farmed animals are treated. More than two-thirds support strong legal protections for farmed animals, and when they’ve had a chance to vote, they have turned out overwhelmingly in support of animal protection.
The United Egg Producers has seen the writing on the wall, and they’re working on legislation with the Humane Society of the United States that will, when it’s passed (and we’ll be supporting it), represent the first federal law to protect animals on farms, the first federal law to protect chickens, and the first federal law to protect farmed animal welfare in more than 30 years.
At Farm Sanctuary, we would no more eat a chicken or her egg than we would eat a parrot or her egg (or a dog or her puppy), but we support positive change for animals, and encourage others to do likewise."
5. Farmed animals are interesting individuals, just like the dogs and cats who we know a bit better
Did you know that chickens have a capacity for foresight, and that pigs play video games better than dogs—and better, even, than some primates? It’s true. And anyone who spends time with farmed animals learns that just like dogs and cats, some are shy, and some won’t leave you alone.
For the same reason most Americans wouldn’t think of eating a dog or a cat, we at Farm Sanctuary wouldn’t think of eating any animal. They are, as the saying goes, our friends, not our food."
Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.