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Suraj Khurana
Writing 39C
Professor McClure
20 August 2015
Resolving Farm Animal Welfare Problems
In our minds, farms are delineated as peaceful shelters for farm animals, where they are nurtured
and cared for. The reality of modern farm production is harshly differing from this perception.
Farm animal welfare has been a widespread yet trifling issue, appealing to various extensive
organizations but not receiving the attention it deserves. A research conducted by Gaverick
Matheny, philosopher and believer of nonhuman as sentient beings, shows that farm animals
epitomize 98% of animals both raised and killed in the United States (Matheny 325). A horrific
Ohio farm brutality anecdote in September 24, 2010 helps uphold Paul McCartneys quote, If
slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian. Billy Gregg, worker at
Conklin Dairy Farm, was charged one thousand dollars and condemned eight months in jail for
malevolently abusing cows and calves (Jepson 125). The investigation by Mercy For Animals, an
organization devoted to preventing farm animal cruelty, reported Gregg and his co-workers
violently punching, stabbing, slamming, kicking young calves in the face with pitchforks and
crowbars, demonstrating the absolute sever brutality upon these animals (Jepson 126). The
stories, conditions, and methods in which they are mistreated cannot be adequately explained or
exhibited by pictures or reports.
Improving farm animal welfare has a long way to go; however, the influences of scientific
research have provided dubious questions with succinct answers, helping animal welfare one

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step closer to its goal (Antonides 45). Along with answers, scientific research has also
accentuated the basis for assessing suffering in animals. Marian Dawkins, Professor of animal
behavior at the University of Oxford, proves that through physical health, physiological signs,
and behavior, animals display emotions, consciousness, and suffering (Dawkins 36). The
unpleasant emotional states displayed by farm animals are rendered from inhumane treatment by
factory farms, shaping the core of problems (Dawkins 28). The debate on farm animal welfare
joins people with various backgrounds and interests; however, in order to come to a consensus
for working solutions, they must all learn to respect each others opinions. Farm animals suffer
from numerous problems; however, the lack of protection and unethical slaughtering procedures
are amongst the focal problems. Despite the numerous problems in our factory farms today, there
are even more solutions to them. There are many laws, solutions, and developments necessary in
order to prevent factory cruelty; however, the Food Safety and Inspection Services proposal to
generate poultry reforms, increase welfare improvements, and campaign on social media should
be our initial approach to fight factory farm abuse.
Leading Problems in Todays Factory Farms
Because of the lack of laws defending farm animals, the failure to protect farm animals
from brutality have placed them in an extremely vulnerable position. Over the past forty years,
the following laws have been the only laws pertaining to farm animals: Twenty-Eight Hour Law
and the Human Methods of Slaughter Act (Mench 300). In 1873, The Twenty-Eight Hour Law
was established in order to protect livestock during transportation by unloading them every
twenty-eight hours; whereas, the Human Methods of Slaughter Act required that livestock to be
humanely handled and slaughtered (Mench 301). Because the USDA disregarded trucks, which
transport 95% of animals, The Twenty-Eight Hour Law inadvertently bequeaths insufficient

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protection to farm animals in trucks, killing one million pigs every year on their way to the
slaughterhouse (Mench 300). Various investigations conducted by Mercy for Animals
documented farms animals to be intensely confined, mutilated, abused, genetically manipulated,
and denied veterinary care, labeling factory farming as the number one cause for animal cruelty
(Jepson 127). In fact, Mathenys study shows the four common ways the US is harming animal
welfare: caging of hens, overbreeding of birds, crating of pregnant sows, and tethering of
crating of calves raised for veal (Matheny 330). Statistics show that 95% of hens are housed in
conventional cages with little or no room to move (Mench 299). Given less than half a square
foot of area per hen, they are unable to stretch which contributes to their bone weakness and
fractures (Matheny 331). Around 85% of farm animals are suffering from osteoporosis by the
time they are overworked and physically worn out (Matheny 332). Like hens, calves are chained
by neck and placed in stalls in which they cannot turn around during their eighteen-week lives
(Matheny 332).
The chart below acquired from the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Inspection
Services petition to issue regulations under Poultry Products Inspection Act delineates the
percentage and number of poultry violated during Good Commercial Practices (FSIS 9). From
January 2011 to June 2012, the cruel exploitations stated below totaled number of 421 poultry, or
a 100.1% of poultry, in Federal poultry plants, resulting in a 100% lack of protection amongst
farm birds (FSIS 10). In these instances, animals are brutally murdered because factory farms
have no economic incentive to care for sick, injured, unproductive animals, arguing that it is
cheaper to let these animals die than care for them (Matheny 330). Richard Ryder, a British
animal rights advocate, describes the word speciesism to describe the prejudice against other
species. This video points out that all species are biologically similar through evolution.

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However, this statement is irrelevant because like humans, animals also can suffer. Needless to
say, the callous disregard for an animals life questions not only our ethical standpoint as
humans, but also our moral responsibility towards a helpless species.

The second major problem exemplifying farm animal welfare is the potential
consciousness of farm animals during the slaughter procedure. The HMSA requires that all
animals are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or
other means that is rapid and effective, yet an article written by Jeff Welty, researcher of animal
law, proves that suffering, stress, pain, and fear during the slaughter process is remarkably high
(Welty 175). Recently, Farm Sanctuary demanded that the USDA improve rules so that chickens
as well as other farm animals are not boiled alive during the slaughter process (Hardin 24). The
Washington Post says that an investigation into the agriculture department record shows nearly a
million chickens are boiled alive every year in slaughterhouses because of the failure to kill them
before they are dropped into the boiling water (Hardin 24). Reasonably, chickens are every bit
the individual that dogs and cats are, so it is no more acceptable to abuse a chicken than it would
be to abuse a cat or dog. Mercy for Animals conducted an investigation at a North Carolina

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slaughter plant, only to fine inhumane slaughter procedures (FSIS 16). They found conscious
turkeys broken wings and legsA worker violently punching live, shackled turkeys for fun
Employees forcefully shoving their hands into the vaginal cavities of live chickensWorkers
ripping the heads off live turkeysConscious turkeys having their throats slit (FSIS 16). On the
other hand, Welty shares unintentional stories on slaughter plants in which animals remain
conscious after being stunned, poisoned, and massacred during the slaughter procedure; yet these
plants were are not suspended or faced with substantial charges (Welty 177). Whether the
slaughter process is deliberate or unintentional mishandling, the fact that the animals are still
conscious during the slaughter procedure is unethically heinous and should be approached with
maximum consequences. With no federal judicial modification in the last thirty years, it is
imperative to magnify and improve the HMSA by rectifying its constraints. Peter Singer, an
Australian moral philosopher, and Richard Dawkins, an English ethologist and evolutionary
biologist, state that when humans accept the fact that they also evolved from animals and share
the capacity to suffer with animals, humans will understand that we do not differ from them.
Dawkins quotes that we have a continuum of moral responsibility, inferring that if one eats
meat they have a responsibility to know what they are eating.
Solutions To Farm Animal Welfare
Although veganism is the ultimate solution to stop factory cruelty and save farm animals
from slaughtering, Martin Balluch, a philosopher and prominent animal activist, explains that our
generation is far from accepting this solution due to our obliviousness towards factory farming
(Balluch 165). Balluchs quotes, I dont think the number of vegans is increasing at all even
though awareness about animal issues is clearly on the rise proves that change in awareness
does not necessarily relate to change in behavior (Balluch 166). However, if new reforms and

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laws are slowly implemented into our society, the change in awareness will be steadily accepted
as a social construction by everyone (Balluch 166).
As its mission to protect farm animals from cruelty, Farm Sanctuary, an organization
founded in 1986, has proposed a petition in order to regulate practices stemming in contaminated
poultry products (FSIS 1). The USDA has recognized that the callous treatment of poultry leads
to debasement, yet it has not endorsed any guidelines to limit that defilement, and has in fact
confirmed a proposal allowing companies to accelerate their processing lines (Washington Post).
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, North Americas first animal
welfare organization, states that the U.S. lacks federal and state laws protecting farm animals
raised on farms; however, poultry, constructing up to 95% of land animals killed for food, are not
included in the only two federal laws protecting animals during slaughter and transport (FSIS
22). Because the FSIS is responsible with ensuring that adulteration in poultry is diminished, the
agency must meet its constitutional duties under the PPIA to limit the inhumane handling of
poultry (FSIS 24). According to Farm Sanctuary, poultry accounts as the most abused of all farm
animals, which is why the Food Safety and Inspection Services proposal to begin endorse
regulations to address poultry handling, listed under the Poultry Products Inspections Act (PPIA),
should be promulgated by the USDA (FSIS 3). By updating the Good Commercial Practices in
regulation, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) should adopt good commercial
practices for poultry handling and outlaw methods that lead to adulteration (FSIS 18). By
promulgating human poultry regulations under the PPIA, the FSISs plan should implement
sanitary practices, and prohibit inhumane practices such as the following: kicking, hitting,
mutilating, or torturing poultry, breaking the legs or other bones, etc., which according to the

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FSIS must explicitly be labeled as prohibitions the practices acknowledged in the directive to
cause cruelty and adulteration (FSIS 21).
Increasing welfare improvements among farm animals not only increases production
rates and health, but also provides these animals with the freedom they deserve (Antonides 44).
There are various methods in which we can start improving the lives of farm animals; yet,
providing complete freedom for millions of farm animals would significantly increase
production costs (Antonides 45). Despite Antonides argument limiting freedom and space for
farm animals, a survey conducted in 2004 by Zogby poll suggests that respondents are willing to
pay more for labeled products and minimal animal welfare reforms (Matheny 347). Mathenys
research shows that if production costs increases to five percent, consumers are willing to pay the
2.4 percent increase in retail price; in fact, a couple more dollars can, as Matheny states, relieve
the single most severe systematic example of mans inhumanity to another sentient animal
(Matheny 346). Farm welfare production costs can be effectively compensated by increased
prices to consumers, providing farm animals with freedom and positive emotions (Matheny 344).
Consumers are oblivious to farming methods; in fact, they are unknowingly support various
methods. For example, by preferring pale colored meat, consumers are unaware that to produce
pale meat, calves are immobilized and restricted any movement and freedom (Matheny 332).
Consumers want to know what they are paying for (Matheny 345); therefore, implementing
incremental regulations allowing farm animals freedom and self-expression can expand
production rates and health, while diminishing boredom and increasing pleasure (Antonides 47).
In Brave New Farm, Jim Mason, an author and attorney focusing on animal welfare, discusses
factory-farming alternatives emphasizing on group housing systems (Mason 111). This system
will eradicate all confined cages, and replace them with furnished cages that will allow animals

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to move freely indoors and outdoors (Mason 112). Masons research shows that consumers are
willing to pay sixty percent more for cage-free systems (Mason 112)
America is far behind European countries in animal protection, but that is no surprise given all
the cruelty imposed upon these farm animals (Antonides 44).
The use of social media has helped spread knowledge, raise awareness, and encourage
Americans to take a stand for farm animals. On his TED Talk about social media effectiveness,
Clay Shirky, an American writer on the social effects of technology, quotes, we are increasingly
in a landscape where media is global, social, ubiquitous, and cheap, meaning that social media
has developed into a worldwide resource in which the formal audience can be both the producer
and the consumer. For example, NBC once aired disturbing slaughterhouse footage, and raised
awareness amongst millions of Americans by exposing the gruesome treatment conducted on
farm animals (Dawn 199). In his book Socialnomics, Erik Qualman introduces a many-tomany communicating method known as the world of mouth (Qualman 2). This allows people
to read something their contacts said on social media instead of reading on online news sites;
whereas, word of mouth is communicating information person to person (Qualman 3).
Through the use of world of mouth and word of mouth, my group, People Against Farm
Animal Cruelty (PAFAC), was able to raise awareness on farm animal abuse while garnering
beneficial feedback from supporters. By mimicking social media strategies used by various
organizations, PAFAC was able to use pathos, logos, and ethos on our social media campaign to
raise awareness and spread knowledge about farm cruelty. The importance of social media has
become less about shaping a single message to be consumed by individuals and more of an
approach of producing an environment of convening supportive groups. Because social media is
a worldwide resource used by millions around the world, credible organizations such as PETA,

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Mercy for Animals, and Farm Sanctuary have successfully used social media as a global
platform to appeal to millions of people. By generating and creating supporting groups through
social media, these organizations have convinced millions of individuals to act against farm
From the day farm animals are born, they are predetermined to suppression and bondage
filled with abuse; however, there are countless solutions to improve farm animal welfare. Sadly,
factory farming has turned emotional, conscious, and living animals into nothing but production
units. Our growing consumer demand for meat and eggs has packed farm animals into smaller
confinements, giving them no freedom to move or express themselves. The sad truth to this
process is that these animals have no say because Americans are either apathetic or unaware to
the cruelty endured by factory farming. In fact, many of us are so burdened by our personal
needs and goals that we do not contribute any time to be the animals voice. Many people must
question themselves whether it is ethical to abuse and kill animals portraying consciousness and
the ability to suffer for the cost of reducing the cost of meat, eggs, and milk. Although we are not
doing the abuse, we are still endorsing it; if there is no meat market there will be no farm animal
cruelty. We cannot depend on the government to end factory farming; in fact, we do not need the
government to end factory farming. We can do it ourselves! Social media has provided everyone
with the platform to voice his or her opinion, and America needs to be exposed to factory
farming. Raising awareness, spreading the word, and exposing the methods, treatments, and
cruelty to Americans will bring us one step closer to save these helpless animals.

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Work Cited
Antonides, A. "Improving farm animal welfare." (2012). Web. 20 Aug. 2015
Balluch, Martin. "How Austria achieved a historic breakthrough for animals." In Defense of
Animals: The Second Wave (2006): 157-166.
"CNN Anderson Cooper MEAT INDUSTRY LIES Ag Gaga Film Factory Farm Animals Felony
PETA HSUS Swine Flu." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 28 Aug. 2015.
Dawkins, Marian Step. "The scientific basis for assessing suffering in animals." Peter Singer
(comp.), In Defense of Animals. The Second Wave. Oxford, Blackwell (2006): 26-39.
Hardin, Gill. "Chapter Reports." The German Quarterly 32.1 (1959): 57-63. Web.
FSIS. "Http://" (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Jepson, Jill. "A Linguistic Analysis Of Discourse On The Killing Of Nonhuman
Animals." Society & Animals 16.2 (2008): 127-148. Academic Search Complete. Web.
Matheny, Gaverick, and Cheryl Leahy. "Farm-Animal Welfare, Legislation, And Trade." Law &
Contemporary Problems 70.1 (2007): 326-358. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11
Aug. 2015.
Mason, Jim, and Mary Finelli. "Brave new farm." In defense of animals: The second wave
(2006): 104-122.
Mench, Joy A. "Farm Animal Welfare In The U.S.A.: Farming Practices, Research, Education,
Regulation, And Assurance Programs." Applied Animal Behaviour Science 113.4 (2008):
298-312. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.
Qualman, Erik. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business.
John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

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Welty, Jeff. "Humane Slaughter Laws." Law & Contemporary Problems 70.1 (2007): 175206. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Aug. 2015.