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The broiler chicken industry produces 6 billion chickens a year for slaughter. This industry is ruled by only 60 companies which have created an oligopoly. Broiler chickens are selectively bred and genetically altered to produce bigger thighs and breasts, the parts in most demand. This breeding creates birds so heavy that their bones cannot support their weight, making it difficult for them to stand. The birds are bred to grow at an astonishing rate, reaching their market weight of 3 1/2 pounds in seven weeks. Broilers are raised in overcrowded broiler houses instead of cages to prevent the occurrence of bruised flesh which would make their meat undesirable. Their beaks and toes are cut off and the broiler houses are usually unlit to prevent fighting among the birds.
There are about 250 million hens in U.S. egg factories that supply 95% of the eggs in this country. In these facilities the birds are held in battery cages that are very small with slanted wire floors which cause severe discomfort and foot deformation. Between five and eight birds are crammed in cages only 14 square inches in size. Since the birds have no room to act naturally, they become very aggressive and attack the other birds in their cage; to help combat this behavior, the birds have their beaks seared off at a young age. The chicks are sorted at birth and newborn males are separated and suffocated in trash bags. The layer hens are subjected to constant light to encourage greater egg production. At the end of their laying cycle they are either slaughtered or forced to molt by water and food deprivation, which shocks them into another layer cycle. Many birds become depleted of minerals because of this excessive egg production and either die from fatigue or can no longer produce eggs and are sent to the slaughterhouse.
It is estimated that 90% of all pigs raised for food are confined at some point in their lives. Pigs are highly social, affectionate and intelligent creatures, and suffer both physically and emotionally when they are confined in narrow cages where they cannot even turn around. Many pigs become crazy with boredom and develop vices like mouthing, and nervous ticks; others are driven to fighting and cannibalism because of their frustration. Pigs are born and raised inside buildings that have automated water, feed and waste removal. They don't see daylight until they are shipped for slaughter. Dust, dirt and toxic gases from the pigs' waste create an unsanitary environment that encourages the onset of a number of diseases and illnesses, including pneumonia, cholera, dysentery and trichinosis.
The veal industry is notorious for the cruel confinement of calves. Calves are kept in small crates which prevent movement inhibit muscle growth so their flesh will be tender. They are also fed a diet deficient of iron to keep their flesh pale and appealing to the consumer. Veal calves spend each day confined alone with no companionship and are deprived of light for a large portion of their four-month lives.
Dairy cows are bred today for high milk production. For cows who are injected with Bovine Growth Hormone, their already high rate of milk production is doubled. Half of the cows in the national dairy herd are raised in intensive confinement, where they suffer emotionally from being socially deprived and being prohibited from natural behavior. Dairy cows produce milk for about 10 months after giving birth so they are impregnated continuously to keep up the milk flow. Female calves are kept to replenish the herd and male calves are usually sent to veal crates where they live a miserable existence until their slaughter. When cows become unable to produce adequate amounts of milk they are sent to slaughter so money can be made from their flesh. The cows are kept in a holding facility where they are fed, watered and have their waste removed mechanically and are allowed out only twice a day to be milked by machines.
Chemicals and Factory Farms
Animals raised in confinement create an ideal setting for bacteria and disease to spread rapidly. Antibiotics were developed around the time of World War II and were soon adapted into the farming system. In the U.S., almost 50% of all antibiotics are administered to farm animals. These drugs form a toxic residue in animal tissue. It is much of this same tissue that is sold to consumers as food products. Each year, we see an increase in the number of salmonella poisoning cases from contaminated eggs, meat and milk. These strains of salmonella are difficult to treat because they are antibiotic resistant. Antibiotics are not the only chemicals administered to factory farm animals; many animals are fed growth-promoting hormones, appetite stimulants and pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides and aflatoxins that collect in the animals' tissues and milk.
Source: "Facts: Factory Farming." In Defense of Animals. IDA. Web. .
We, the undersigned, call on the government of Canada to take a stand and eliminate the operation, by multi national corporations, of all factory farms within our borders.
Nothing less will end the barbarism and torture sustained by billions of animals every year, and the growing environmental and health risks to Canadians. Farm animals deserve to have the 'five freedoms', a set of science-based farming principles set out by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council:
1. Freedom from hunger or thirst
2. Freedom from discomfort
3. Freedom from pain, injury, or disease
4. Freedom to express normal behavior
5. Freedom from fear and distress.
There are millions of Canadians that would agree that Factory Farming is completely wrong in all prospects. Bringing back organic and traditional farming would be beneficial to not only the health and protection of the animals, but also to us, the consumers of the products.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and please consider taking action against this violence.