10 Things Everyone Should Know About Factory-Farmed Animals

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on March 27, 2014.

The relentless growth of factory farming has resulted in billions of animals being forced to live out their entire lives without exhibiting their natural behaviors, such as snuffling in the mud, flapping their wings or building a nest.

A closer look at the lives of factory-farmed animals reveals that we have turned sentient beings into mere products, and society accepts their mistreatment and abuse as the cost of production.

Here are 10 things everyone should know about factory-farmed animals:

1. 90 Percent of Broiler Chickens Have Walking Difficulties

Factory farms favor growth over animal welfare, and due to genetic manipulation, 90 percent of broiler chickens have trouble walking. Crowded and cramped conditions make leg problems worse, and it is widely known that birds with weak legs end up with severe dermatitis and hock burn from sitting on dirty litter.

2. Animals Suffer Skeletal Deformities from Unnatural Living Conditions

Concrete and slatted floors are commonplace in factory farms because they allow for easy removal of manure, but these unnatural surfaces cause the animals to suffer skeletal deformities of the legs and feet.

3. 65 Percent of Pigs Have Pneumonia Upon Slaughter

A study of 34,000 pigs on factory farms revealed that 65 percent of animals had pneumonia-like lesions in their lungs. Researchers believe that this can be attributed to ammonia and other gases released from pig manure within cramped and confined spaces.

4. At Any Given Time, 6 Million Hens Are Being Systematically Starved

If the average person decided to withhold food from their dog or cat for days, they would probably be charged with animal cruelty — yet the egg industry intentionally deprives hens of food for up to 14 days. Starving hens for profit is known as forced molting, and this is done in order to pump a few hundred more eggs out of their already exhausted bodies.

5. Cows Produce 120 Percent More Milk Than They Did 40 Years Ago

Thanks to genetic manipulation and a cocktail of drugs, cows now produce 120 percent more milk than they did 40 years ago. This excessive milk production leaves them spent after just four years, at which time, those that are not already downed are sent to slaughter — where they are turned into cheap meat.

6. Chickens Are Forced to Grow 4 Times Faster Than Nature Intended

Due to selective breeding, antibiotics, steroids and overfeeding, today’s factory-farmed chickens are being forced to put on weight four times faster than nature intended. Their body mass increases beyond the limits of their skeletons, causing a plethora of serious health issues.

7. 80 Percent of Antibiotics Produced Are Fed to Livestock

Antibiotics are used to help animals to survive the barbaric conditions in factory farms until slaughter, as well as make them grow faster. According to WHO, more antibiotics are now being fed to healthy animals rather than to sick human beings.

8. 1 Million Pigs Die in Transport Every Year

Due to the stress, cramped conditions, lack of water and poor health prior to traveling, more than 1 million pigs die each year while en route to the slaughterhouse.

9. Sick And Injured Animals Are Left Untreated

Numerous undercover investigations at factory farms have found animals with serious illnesses and injuries left untreated, as it is not deemed cost effective to provide veterinary care. Many of the injuries were caused by poor handling and care of the animals.

10. 99 Percent of Farmed Animals Live in Factory Farms

Today in the United States, 99 percent of all farmed animals spend their entire lives confined in factory farms. Many of them will never see natural daylight, move about freely or experience their natural behaviors.

Photo Credit: TheAnimalDay.org /Flickr