I have lived on a farm for my whole life and I absolutely love it. I’m not going to sit and write about how much I do, though. Farmers are being way too restricted by laws that only help animals one way, but in the long run are super effective and keep the economy going.
To start off this paper, let’s start with pigs. Pigs are are a highly produced in the US. Domesticated pigs are much, much different than feral pigs. Two of the big differences in their lifestyles are confinement, or being in pens, and farrowing, or sows giving birth. Feral pigs run in large herds of up to 40 animals. When giving birth, feral sows will dig a burrow where the piglets will hide and the mother can take good care of them. Domesticated pigs do not have any opportunity like this in a pen with up to 300 animals on a cement floor. Domestics also never grew up in the wild, so they have no idea how to be a real mother without a farrowing crate that it was raised in. This is the big idea. If a pig knows nothing other than a farrowing crate, it is obviously the safest way to go. People complain that farrowing crates are inhumane, but they are the best thing for the piglets. Would you rather have 11 piglets or 1? The answer is obviously 11. The chances of all eleven are much higher when you put the animals into farrowing crates. They allow the mother to stand and lay down, but minimize other movements. They give a good area for the piglets to run around the mother for the couple weeks that they are there. They reduce the risk of death of piglets under the age of 3 weeks in tremendous ways. We need to keep those in business!
Next is cattle. Cattle are the most farmed animal in the US. The ASPCA, PETA, and other organizations are whining about these problems almost as much as farrowing crates. The problems in this industry are polling, branding, and castrating. Polling is taking out the horns. What’s wrong with this? The horn has nerve endings in it, so it is likely it will hurt the cow. The reason farmers poll cattle is so they don’t poke and scratch the other cattle. Open wounds would allow an easy entrance for bacteria and disease. Taking the horns out allows the owner to better protect from disease. Branding allows farmers to keep the right cattle in the right pens. If unknown cattle get into another pen, the other cattle already in that yard will fight it and ride it, which can lead to serious injury to that cow. The slight pain of branding leads to a lot less in the case of an accidental mix up. Castrating bulls can be done at any stage, but is most common in the younger stages of the calf. They do this for the meat production of the calf. Markets like the meat to be a certain amount lean and a certain amount fat, but it also has to be tender. Not castrating can cause testosterone to make the bulls larger and more muscled, not leaving as much fat, and it makes for really tough meat. This is the same in male pigs as well. This is a way to keep more meat on the market, so the prices are cheaper than they could be.
Many people claim farms have a lot of animal cruelty. This is not so. Is it cruel to keep an animal safe, well fed, and give it medicines to help it heal from disease or sickness? I didn’t think so. Is confinement a problem? It depends on how big the area is and what state the animal is in. What we should be most worried about is uneducated people telling the people who do know what they are doing that they are wrong. It is not right in any way, and we must fight it.
So overall, farmers are doing what they have for a long time and the animals are really not that abused. We need to get people to get off of our case about abusing animals, because we aren’t! Thank you.