Scientific evidence proves that farm animals experience emotions, ranging from pleasure to suffering.
Yet, factory farms continue to cage or tether millions of animals in barren conditions, treating them like machines on a production line.
High welfare farmers raise farm animals according to the following ‘Five Freedoms’, a set of science-based farming principles set out by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council:
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst;
2. Freedom from discomfort;
3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease;
4. Freedom to express normal behavior;
5. Freedom from fear and distress.
Factory farm animals experience few, if any of these. Persistent suffering is a common ingredient in all factory farmed meat and dairy products.
Three quarters of all egg-laying hens are confined in cramped cages with 4-5 other hens per cage.
A caged hen will never have the opportunity to stretch her wings, go outside, walk or peck the ground. She is prevented from laying her eggs in a nest.
A third of her sensitive beak is removed without painkillers to stop her from pecking the other hens crammed around her. Lack of exercise will make her bones brittle and liable to snap, causing excruciating pain.
A factory farm sow is restrained for her whole life, caged in a stall so narrow she cannot even turn around. She may even be tethered by a short chain.
She suffers from weak bones, wasted muscles, heart damage,, cuts, abrasions and severe frustration from her extreme confinement. Poor air quality causes lung infections and other respiratory problems.
In many countries, pigs are kept indoors in overcrowded, filthy pens with concrete or slatted floors. There is often little or no natural light.
Prevented from expressing their natural behaviors, such as rooting around and exploring, these pigs often express their frustration by biting each others’ tails.
Factory farms respond with tooth-clipping and tail-docking, mutilations which are usually carried out without a or painkillers, and often lead to prolonged pain and suffering.
There are clear alternatives to factory farming. WSPA is working on the Model Farm Project, in partnership with Food Animal Initiative (FAI), to offer a practical demonstration of cruelty-free and cost-effective farming practices.
You can help WSPA end factory farming by choosing high welfare food.