The Invisible And The Innocent 10,153,000,000 Victims Of The U.S. Food Industry

This story was shared by Robert Grillo, the founder of Free From Harm. Grillo started the nonprofit group to make people aware that their choice of food matters. “Food choice is the most powerful tool we have for creating a healthier and more humane world for people, animals and the environment, says Grillo.” The activist strongly believes in social justice for animals, especially farm animals that are seen as “commodities” rather than living beings. The vast number of animals slaughtered in the U.S. each year for food is mindboggling, but the millions that are allowed to linger until they die is beyond any sense of humanity.

FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) has released its report on animals killed for food in the US in 2010 based largely on the USDA’s own data. Of all the findings, perhaps the most mind numbing statistic is this: Of the 10,153,000,000 land animals systematically killed across the country, 875,000,000 of these animals died lingering deaths from disease, injury, starvation, suffocation, maceration, or other atrocities of animal farming and transport. Assuming that all of these practices were perfectly legal, we have an industry that exploits and abuses animals with impunity and a flagrant disregard for their most basic needs as sentient beings.

There is perhaps no greater example of speciesism in practice than this. A look at how the legal system in the US handles cases of criminal animal abuse proves that this speciesism against farm animals is not only accepted as the norm, but a legally protected principle over its actual victims. If these animals were cats, dogs or horses, their perpetrators could be criminally prosecuted on felony charges, but farmers and corporations are not held accountable for their abuses against farm animals, animals that are essentially equal in their level of sentience. And yet 91% of the 10,153,000,000 farm animals killed in 2010 are chickens with absolutely no legal protections whatsoever. This is, in no way, a rational or consistent application of animal protection law.

There is no moral or rational justification for causing suffering to 875,000,000 animals or even one of them. We do so not because we need to, not because animal products are essential to our health. We do so for no other reason than because we derive pleasure from eating them. If we follow this faulty logic, it would also be justifiable to maim a dog because we were angry at that dog. Following this logic opens the floodgates to legally sanction all forms of violence against humans and non-human animals that we are witnessing today.

The answer is not more welfare reform that will regulate the exploitation of animals while continuing to falsely objectify them as commodities (rather than acknowledge them for what they really are). The answer is not more “humane” ways of killing more animals through gassing, electrocution, poisons and other horrendous methods. The answer is not to seek false refuge in “higher welfare” products that (even if they were deemed acceptable) could never be mass produced to support the US population. Let’s stop deluding ourselves. We need to redirect our energies and focus on building a movement that educates people on why this kind of exploitation is wrong, fundamentally and rationally, because we are not dealing with widgets here. We are dealing with sentient beings who have interests of their own and who have at least one right, the right NOT to be exploited by an industry that has no legitimate moral claim for exploiting them in the first place-no more than an individual who abuses a dog or cat.

Related Stories:

Abuse At Butterball Turkey Factory Farm

Update: FDA Restricts Some Antibiotics In Livestock

Green Living: 20 Billion Farm Animals Killed in 2010 and 2011

Photo: Free From Harm.  Doris was rescued from a factory farm and now lives with Free From Harm founder, Robert Grillo


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago


Laura Saxon
.5 years ago

That's terrible! Someone really needs to help these poor animals.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

No, Yogesh, the only ones "thick" upstairs in most of our opinions are the extremists who can't understand that we each are entitled to our own, personal choices and judge others for theirs if different from their own. Most of us who are NOT vegan could care less what vegans eat or don't eat. We get annoyed at their constant judgement and criticism, often insults (such as yours) and when they go so far as to say their companion pets are being fed a vegan diet as well, that is flat out troublesome to those of us who care about our pets, those of us who want them to be healthy even if it means feeding THEM what Mother Nature intended vs. what our personal choices have become for ourselves.

YIKES, yet ANOTHER LONG AGO and died a natural death discussion about veganism being dragged out AGAIN. Vegans must be getting more and more desperate to keep their "mantra" alive and going around in Care2. This is yet another article far older than a year since the last comment was made.

Yogesh K.
Yogesh Khandke6 years ago

*I mean does meat eating make one a little thick upstairs.

Yogesh K.
Yogesh Khandke6 years ago

Does meat eating contribute the lack of cognizance displayed? Meat eating is unnecessary, meat is environmentally unsuitable. Meat eating is morally unjustifiable. The stone age human perhaps needed to kill to survive, the 21st century human doesn't need these animal concentration camps.

Jane Rafferty
Jane R6 years ago

Animals need help but people can't seem to stop fighting long enough to do anything except push their own agenda. It's the animal that matters -- NOT your personal beliefs!

Maria D'Oporto
Past Member 6 years ago

This topic is becomming scary, stop atacking each other, our best interest is the well being of animals, if you are a meat eater or a vegan is irrelevant in here, we all should be focussed in animals needs and stop the suffering of them, so try to be gentle to each other and think animals need us to modify our choices, reduce the amount of meat to eat, or to choose only meat that becomes from caring sources or stop eating meat, all that is your personal choice, just think what ever you choose will, at the end, affect what happens with animals.

Pego Rice
Pego R7 years ago

Hi Eddie

I hope your roomie is doing OK? I seem to have gone into the critter rescue business since we last spoke. I have a recuperating cat attacked bird and a dumped out stray dog that have expanded the menagerie on my end.

Did you ever look into that book I mentioned by Simon Fairlie? "Meat"

I still think it is one of the best summations of all the avenues in the public eye right now to feed the world and what their real cost on the ground is and will be.

Eddie C.
Past Member 7 years ago

Wow, I just saw the words "Thank you Diane, Pego and Marilyn for your thoughtful, eloquent words regarding animal suffering in the food industry" and I thought hell had frozen over. I cant believe this thread is still active!