The Welfare of Poultry: A Fight for Justice

The Welfare of Poultry: A Fight for Justice

By: Dana Abbo, Priya Bhanot, Elizabeth Foster, and Ella Henn

Animal welfare is the well-being of animals that are kept and intended to be used for meat. As society becomes more wary of the food we eat as well as its origin, some startling news has been brought to the public’s attention. The process of making the meat products, particularly the poultry that we so often buy in our local grocery stores, is actually a quite gruesome and disturbing journey starting with the living accommodations of the animals even prior to slaughter. Companies begin to forget that though farm animals are raised for their slaughter, does not mean they do not deserve to have an appropriate life. They use inhumane methods of  keeping animals such as chickens or ducks, simply because it is the cheapest way of producing our meat products. These animals must endure a variety of hardships such as close confinement, force feeding, physical and emotional pain, drugs and hormones, as well as insufficient veterinary attention, if any at all. These inhumane acts of torture have developed into a global issue that can only be stopped by the combined effort of everyone.

Many farm owners are pounded by the economy to create cheaper means of raising and slaughtering their animals. Farmers and ranchers look for the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to get meat. Methods such as small enclosed spaces, poor food and no veterinary help are much cheaper than keeping the animals healthy. Many farm and ranch owners rely on these practices causing these animals to go through high amounts of suffering and mistreatment. There is also a high demand for chicken meat in the fast food industry. This causes ranches to take in thousands of poultry destined for the slaughter house. It takes a lot of effort to keep  these animals alive let alone comfortable. It is much easier for farmers to keep their birds in cramped cages, even though it is better for the birds to be able to move around and be outside. The farmers have trouble taking care of all of the animals because it is a lot work for them. These animals are subjected to abuse throughout their already shortened lives because of the farmers’ selfish needs.

Animal welfare is a growing global issue that is constantly being overlooked by large companies. The process of making the meat products, has evolved into a cheap, fast process that overlooks the needs of the animals. The animals sacrificed for our meat are treated horribly and live in terrible living accommodations such as close confinement, force feeding, physical and emotional pain, drugs and hormones, as well as insufficient veterinary attention. Not only does this cause an unimaginable amount of discomfort for the animals themselves, but the lack of animal welfare also affects what we eat. The hormones and drugs given to the animals stay even after death for us to consume through our meat products. Without a sanitary environment and no veterinary attention, animals are also subject to diseases. Since they are kept in such close confinement, diseases spread to all the animals and eventually into our meat. With so many hormones, drugs, and overall horrible treatment, our meat loses some of its nutritional value. Organic, free range chicken is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids which help decrease the risk of heart disease and cancer as well as encourage strong brain activity. Since poultry companies choose to use more affordable and more efficient methods, we are being deprived of healthy and needed nutrients. It is important to know where your food comes from and how it is made so you can make healthy and beneficial shopping decisions for your family as well as the animals.

Obviously, laws have been passed in attempt to solve this problem, however, businesses find ways around these regulations. As a result, laws like these don’t have much of an effect. Another step that has been taken in attempt to improve the life of the poultry is organizations such as the Humane Society who try to raise public awareness on this topic, as well as improving the living conditions of these animals. Groups like the Humane Society do have made a lasting impact and have influenced many improvements in the past. However, despite their efforts, the poultry welfare still remains as a growing issue. The most powerful way to make a change to this situation is the support of the public. Because of this, our group thought that the most effective way to solve this huge issue is to make an informational video explaining the topic in the hopes that people will realize the full unfairness and severity of this problem. We think that this solution will be the most effective, because though many people are aware of this problem, they may not understand the full intensity of this issue. We hope that this will motivate others to take action so that farmers have no choice but to change their practices. The resources necessary for this project would be fairly simple, just a computer to make a movie, and the communication to get the movie out to a lot of people. This was another positive aspect of this solution; it requires a very small amount of materials. Overall, the mistreatment of poultry before it is killed is a big problem that needs to be fixed, and we hope that we can do this by raising awareness through a movie.

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Citations:

Farm Sanctuary. “Foie Gras Production 10.” Flickr. Feb. 14 2007. Image. Web. 10 Jan. 2014

Humane Society. “An HSUS Report: The Welfare of Animals in the Meat, Egg, and Dairy Industries” http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/farm/welfare_overview.pdf

Wikipedia. “Animal Welfare.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_welfare#Farm_animals

Nicky Amos and Dr Rory Sullivan (Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare. “The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare.” 2012. http://www.bbfaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/BBFAW_Report_Low_Res.pdf

Humane Society. “An HSUS Report: The Welfare of Animals in the Meat, Egg, and Dairy Industries.” http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/farm/welfare_overview.pdf

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Showing 3 comments
  • Anika Adzich

    I like how thorough your essay is and I think that helped me understand what is going on. I was surprised how much of a problem this is. I think 1 more visually could be good.

  • Scarlett Akeley

    I found the inclusion of a picture was very effective, and also your use of illustrative adjectives. This post taught me about just how horrible these animals are treated, a fact that I was previously unaware of. I think that this post could be improved by adding some statistics and numbers, which I think could help the post feel more interesting, and I think that this topic is so astounding that people will want to know more detailed facts about it.

  • Meg Turnbull

    I thought that the picture added to all the terrible things mentioned because it really showed that yes, this is really happening. That had a big affect on me, and also this topic in general because I absolutely love animals. I was really surprised and angry at the mention of money instead of quality. To me, it just seems there is so much more logic behind healthy, nutrient food over cheap food. I think you should change where you said “obviously” because it doesn’t fit in this sad and professional article. Good job you guys!

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