It is no secret that animals grow up living in inhumane conditions before dying. And most people agree that animals should be raised cruelty and abuse free. But the truth is that most modern industrialized farm animals in America confine animals in cages, pens or on floors of a warehouse (EcoWatch). In Michael Pollan's “An Animal Place” Pollan provides a different perspective on how animals should be treated. Modern farm factories treat animals as machines incapable of feeling (Pollan). The best solution to helping animals lies in honoring their rights while preparing them to be consumed as meat. I do agree with these sentiments. Humans have no right to be cruel to animals; in the least, people should strive to treat them even with some ounce of dignity. Treating animals with dignity entails changing our attitudes towards.
There is the need to change our attitude towards animals. In his article, Pollan compares the life of pigs to that of dogs; the dogs often receive Christmas gifts, and pigs, which are equally intelligent as dogs, end up on our tables as Christmas ham (Pollan). Through this example, he questions how we perceive different animals and how we treat them. He makes us think about the animals that have different destinies and whether we should treat them differently or equally. The efficiency of these sentiments is to make us question if how we perceive animals is different due to the purpose these animals serve or only because we always see and interact some of them. Perhaps by changing our perceptions to view these animals equally will enable us to treat them with more respect.
Human beings should strive to reduce animal suffering. Pollan says that some people condemn some animals to long-term suffering, and questions if this is acceptable or not. This approach is built by putting examples together and contrasting them. By utilizing such a method, Pollan demonstrates how different the life of an animal can turn out to be and this depends on conditions, situations and human attitude. An animal's life can change for the better depending on the condition in which it lives (i.e. less suffering). According to Pollan, human beings should try to lessen the suffering animals go through. For instance, he says, “As humans, we go through suffering and in such cases, we try to lessen this suffering; this is what we should do for animals as well”. Obviously, he makes us empathize with these creatures so that we can accord them more respect.
Animals are mistreated inside modern farm factories, they don't get to enjoy life or grow up as how nature demanded. All these animals know is pain and suffering, from the day they are born to the instant they die. When was the last time you picked up meat or dairy product and asked yourself “where and how is this getting here?” If I had to guess, I'd say maybe once or twice in all your grocery trips. This is something that everyone should be thinking, we care so much about other domestic animals that we forget about farm animals. Animals in farm never know any better than the suffering they are given. Pollan points out a few examples; “Boiler chickens get beaks snipped off with a hot knife to keep them from cannibalizing each other under stress of confinement” (An Animal's Place). Most people don't know that this is an actual fact and it is very important to educate as much as we can about the topic. Because of the cruel ways animals are raised, a huge number of consumers want to know where their food is coming from and are willing to pay more for animal products that are “humane” (Factory Farming vs. Alternative Farming). Because of the number of thoughts put into animal slaughtering more businesses are creating methods for ethical farming. Pollan introduces Polyface farm. A farm in which chickens live like chickens; cows live like cows and pigs live like pigs.
Pollan presents an alternative to factory farming through Polyface farm. “The farm of many faces” as the official site states. A farm located in Virginia ran by Joel Salatin (second generation). This farm is known for using ethical methods with the goal of “emotionally, economically and environmentally enhancing agriculture” (Wikipedia). Salatin developed and practices his own methods of ethical farming. These methods include direct marketing of produce and meats to consumers, grass-fed beef, pastured poultry and the “rotation method” which converts his farm into an ecological system (Wikipedia). Polyfarm works as an online store or up to a four-hour drive distance drop off. Polyface has its doors open to the public, anyone is welcome to walk in and enjoy the environment of six different food animals; cattle, pigs, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, and sheep. It fills me with joy to know that day by day we can find more farms like Polyface that care about animal's instincts, these farm animals don't live in frustration, they get to exercise, stretch their limbs and wings, turn around and go by their natural instincts.
Now that I'm aware that these “animal-friendly” farms exist, I can't even imagine the living conditions in other bigger industrialized farms. “People who work there have to “suspend their beliefs” and the rest of us have to “avert our eyes” (Pollan, page 8), and this is a reality we all are living in, we rather be blinded by what we want to believe and not pay too much attention to the harsh reality, it's easier to grab the product and walk out not even giving a single thought about it. Animal production in these industries is the definition of the word “inhumane”. Chickens spend 8 weeks living in cages too small to even stretch their wings, as do egg-laying hens, “whose natural instincts so thwarted that they often rub their bodies against a wire mesh until they are featherless and bleeding” and 10% die in this process while the rest is forced molted (food withheld for days to produce more eggs). Or the pigs who are weaned from mothers at 10 days and are fed with hormones and antibiotics for fast growth (Pollan).
“Ninety-four percent of Americans agree that animals raised for food deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty” (EcoWatch). Through the industrialization of our modern farming system, we raise and slaughter millions and millions of animals per day. We can't deny that this is efficient due to the amount of meat and dairy product an average American consumes daily, but there is no denying that this is inhumane in all aspects. Animals defecate where they eat and sleep, this causes and spreads diseases. Because of this, animals are given antibiotics that put at risk human health by creating a resistance to antibiotics. This isn't something we want to consume with our daily meals. Polyface feeds its cows with nourished grass, chickens have a diet of grubs and grass that makes tasty eggs. These are the types of products we want to purchase and consume, not an antibiotic based fed animal.
I totally agree with Pollan's sentiments that it is much better to treat animals with more respect and strive to lessen their suffering. We should protect those who don't have a voice. This is not going to stop me from consuming meat and dairy products but it is going to make me consider where my food comes from, just as that ninety four percent of Americans who rather spend more money on “animal-friendly” farm factories (EcoWatch). I believe that in the future we would be seeing more farm like Polyface, who work with ethics and let animals enjoy a happy life.
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