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Thursday, April 6, 2017

From the Cage to the Plate

By Ella Bricker, EarthScope Intern, (Tam High)

April 4, 2017

All around the world, everyday, meat from animals is being consumed by citizens. Over 70% of the world’s population eats meat on a daily basis. But how does this meat go from a chicken to a food on our plate? Many people toss this question aside or simply don't care, but Gene Baur, from Farm Sanctuary, is on a mission to educate the public about the treatment animals get in factory farming. 

While eating bacon in the morning or a big, juicy steak at dinner, you may not realize how that particular animal got to your plate. The reality is, animals all over the country are being cruelly treated in slaughterhouses, tortured and forced to live the majority of their lives in small, confined living spaces. Gene Baur and his organization have witnessed these cruel spaces first hand. He says, “We have found living animals literally thrown into trash cans or thrown on piles of dead animals… the cruelty these animals face is inhumane”. 

Many times, because of the sex or size of the being, animals will be slaughtered almost immediately after birth. According to the Farm Sanctuary website, over 260 million male chicks are slaughtered each year just because they cannot produce eggs. Because of the horrid treatment these animals get, these creatures are both physically and mentally harmed by the experience. Being kept in small containers leads to gashes and wounds on the skin. In addition, young animals are usually separated from their parents which causes them to be traumatized and many farm animals are starved or deprived of food as punishment which causes many health problems. Pigs, cows, chickens, and other animals used for meat are often slaughtered in very inhumane, torturous ways, such as being gassed, ground up alive, and other methods that are cruel.

Gene Baur and Farm Sanctuary have been working for the past 25 years to find a solution to the animal cruelty happening in animal farming. Gene says that the biggest solution is to create more awareness of the issue to the public in the hopes that many people will stop buying products from animals being treated in terrible ways. One of Farm Sanctuary’s biggest tasks is to educate citizens about the food they eat and where it comes from. 

Many people are oblivious to the facts about factory farming. Gene says, “the industry has now created a whole marketing approach, trying to make consumers feel better about what they’re buying, when the animals are still very much overcrowded, and are not treated very well.” This is true in many cases, such as cage-free eggs. Consumers shopping in grocery stores generally think that cage-free eggs means that the chickens lived a healthy, happy life in freedom, but in most cases, this only means they have a small porch area to share with other animals. 

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