Photo: We Animals Media
1. Why do we care about the lives of farmed animals?
We have a moral responsibility to protect their welfare, to minimize their suffering. Science shows us that farmed animals are sentient – they have desires, feel emotions, perceive things, are aware.
For many consumers of animal products there may be a disconnection between what they eat and awareness of how the common treatment of such animals raised for food fails to respect and protect the animals from suffering.
Canadian animal ethicist, David Sztybel uses the term “animal illfare” for conventional animal treatments that supposedly must be done “humanely”.
2. What are the main concerns about factory farming in Canada that cause pain and suffering?
We can think of a factory farm (also referred to as intensive animal agriculture) as a place and a system where large numbers of animals are raised as non-living units of production in a way that takes a savage toll on their welfare.
How big of a toll? Being able to express natural behaviours is a key part of positive animal welfare – think about how the life of a farmed animal limits this ability. Think about what a farmed animal would likely hear, and smell, and taste, and feel when you read about their lives on factory farms, in transport, at auction, and at slaughter. Increasingly, scientific research is shedding more and more light on animals as social and emotional beings.
For each type of farmed animal listed in the Farmed Animal drop-down list, when you read about the welfare concerns arising from the forced conditions experienced throughout their lives, you might think about their likely physical, mental, and emotional experiences.
Then think about what should change for farmed animals to live a life free from suffering.