Shocking accounts of how farm animals are treated in Ireland and how to raise people’s awareness in order to prevent it.
Food is a vital element of our daily lives and without it we cannot survive. Meat and dairy products help us grow, and give us strength and energy. When we do the grocery shopping, we see images of happy animals on the packaging. We’re deluded into believing that these animals had a good life before being removed for our consumption. What we don’t know is the truth about what these animals had to endure before they ended up on our tables. Farm animals all over the country are living in horrific conditions, in unimaginable cruelty, abandoned and left to die. Farm animals have rights. They have feelings too. They need our help.
Cruelty to Chickens
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In certain farms around the country, thousands of chickens are clustered together inside cages from birth until they are slaughtered. This is known as battery intensive farming. They don’t have any room to move around and never see the light of day. These chickens don’t get any exercise, they don’t even have any room to flap their wings or peck the ground.
According to the COMPASSION in world farming article “Facts About Irish Farm Animals – EGG LAYING HENS & EGG LABELLING,” confinement affects the chickens psychologically. “Because the hens cannot behave normally, some behaviors become altered. Instead of pecking at the ground, they peck at each other. Chicks may have part of their beak removed to stop them doing this.”
Cruelty to Pigs
Pigs live in appalling conditions in dark, dirty stalls. They don’t have any room to forage. The piglets are castrated without any anesthetic. It is inhumane. According to a COMPASSION in world farming July 2009, the article “Campaigning for better welfare standards for pigs,” the sow is kept in a small holding area just big enough to hold her body and she becomes stressed and frustrated. “In intensive farm systems, farrowing crates are commonly used. These are legal under EU legislation. Farrowing crates are individual “cages” that confine a single sow and her piglets. They are so restrictive that the sow can only stand up or lie down,” says COMPASSION in world farming.
Cruelty to Horses and Cattle
During the winter, because there is not enough grass, and hay is in short supply, many horses and ponies are cruelly abandoned and left to starve. According to many of their owners, their value has dropped and so they become careless when feeding them.
Some horses are packed together on hillsides and bogland with nothing to eat, exposed to all kinds of weather and freezing temperatures; out of sight, out of mind. According to Kilkenny People in a February 17, 2011, article “Farmer charged with animal cruelty ‘abandoned’ farm” a man was attempting to flee the state rather than face up to the criminal acts he had committed. “Garda Shane Elliffe told the court that O’Dwyer SNR was charged with four counts of animal cruelty and three counts of failing to dispose of seven dead cows and two rotting horses.”
Raising People’s Awareness
There is no excuse for treating animals this way. If you can’t afford to keep a horse then don’t buy one or at least give the horse to someone who can look after it properly, somebody who can give it the life it deserves. Chickens need space to roam around, stretch their legs, fly and take a dust bath and lay an egg whenever they feel like it not because they are forced to (‘free-range hens’). Pigs should be allowed freedom of movement, comfortable bedding, and an environment in which they can thrive. If there isn’t sufficient hay for cattle, then they should be given nuts and kept in a barn during freezing winter temperatures.
Not enough people know what’s happening to these animals and so the cruelty continues. In order to take action, we need to launch more awareness campaigns, lobby for increased legislation to protect the farm animals, and rescue as many chickens and horses as we can. We need to set up more animal welfare organizations, lobby for new legislation that will make farm inspections compulsory, and ban battery intensive farming completely.