Animal Cruelty in Meat Production


Emily Worpek, Feature Editor

More than 97% of the trillions of animals tortured and killed every year are for meat consumption. In 2012, the average American consumed 71.2 pounds of red meat (beef, veal, pork, and lamb) and 54.1 pounds of poultry (chicken and turkey), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most people understand that these animals raised for meat are not usually treated well. Animals are fed hormones and kept in small enclosures- but the abuse they endure is much more than that.

Chicken: Delicious right? Chicken is a common food in America. It’s healthy, and great with a nice tangy barbeque sauce, but what is the life of these animals like before they’re made into 20 for $20 nuggets?

According to LCA (Last Chance for Animals), chickens are kept in small dark enclosures, never seeing a day of sunlight, which can make them more aggressive. This situation causes the tortured chickens to fight one another. To prevent this from happening factory farmers came up with the genius idea to cut off their beaks and feet so they can’t fight each other…without anesthetics. Problem solved. Although sometimes the “debeaking” process causes the animals the inability to eat and therefore starve and die. But the “lucky” ones that live get to breathe in ammonia the rest of their pathetic lives until they’re thrown into a grinding machine into the healthy protein you love so much.

Cows: About 250 cows are killed every hour at a beef slaughterhouse. That’s a lot of burgers. With the amount of hormones and chemicals pumped into the animals before they are killed, it’s a surprise their meat is even edible. Hopefully you can survive your next Big Mac.

The beginning of the cows’ lives consist of them being branded by a hot iron which causes third degree burns. Then they have their horns ripped or burned off without anesthetic, much like the chickens debeaking. Within the first months of the cows lives in states like Montana or Nebraska these innocent calves either freeze to death in the winter, or die of heatstroke in the summer, but their death is meaningless compared to the vast amount of cattle they raise. If the cow miraculously survives the torture, they are then shipped off to the auctions where they are shoved together in pens and most arrive crippled or dead. The surviving cattle are fed inhumane antibiotics and hormones in attempt to fatten them up and make them plump enough for the slaughterhouse. They live this painful life until they are sent to the slaughterhouse on another dangerous journey that this time undoubtedly ends in their inevitable death.

If you’re an avid carnivore, do not fret about the way you eat. It’s possible to eat meat without supporting these disgusting corperperations. “Grass-fed” or “free-range” beef and meat can be found at almost any grocery store, and is a great way to keep meat in your diet without actually supporting animal abuse in meat production. Grass fed and free range means the animals raised for meat aren’t injected with hormones or antibiotics but are fed grass or other natural foods, free range suggests that the animals are given acres of land to freely move around. These animals live healthy and happy lives, but are still raised to kill. So, if you are unable to give up meat, just don’t eat meat from tortured and chemically induced animals.