The (Very Short) Life of Factory-Farmed Animals From The Guardian, UK National Daily Newspaper, January 20, 1995.
Natural lifespan: 20 years Factory-farmed lifespan: 5-6 years, by which
time most are exhausted from the baby and milk drain. Only 25 per cent get to
seven, when their milk would be at its richest. Natural diet: Grass and
natural herbs Farmed diet: Grass, silage, cemented grass, manure, recycled
cattle faeces, contaminated sheep offal. Natural habitat: Grassy fields.
Unnatural habitat: Out in summer, but concrete cubicles with slatted floors
in winter. Natural behavior: Grazing, sleeping, ruminating.
Confined behavior: Distressed at not being able to ruminate, they take to bar biting.
Suffer mastitis, and are lame. Unable to suckle young because already being
milked for humans.
MALE CALF (for VEAL)
Natural lifespan: 20 years. Factory-farmed lifespan: 3 to 16 weeks.
Natural diet: Grass and milk.
Farmed diet: Fed exclusively on milk to
induce anemia and produce sought after white meat. Deprived of essential iron
and fiber. Natural habitat: Grassy fields.
Unnatural habitat: At one
week, confined to crates too cramped to turn in. Sent abroad, often without food
and water, in lorries so tightly packed they can't lie down. Natural behavior: Feeding, sleeping, ruminating.
behavior: Try to move
but can't. Desperate for solids, they lick wooden crates and swallow their own
Natural lifespan: 12 years. Factory-farmed lifespan: Three months for
lambs. Natural diet: Grass and natural herbs.
Farmed diet: Same when out
in the open, pelleted foods when indoors. Natural habitat: High ground.
Unnatural habitat: We allow them their high ground because it's
cost-effective (the grass is poor) Natural behavior: Grazing. Confined behavior: Drugs used to squeeze in three lambings every two years. Sex hormones
used to synchronize births. Lambs should be born in spring, but now born out of
season and many freeze to death.
Natural lifespan: Seven years. Factory-farmed lifespan: One day for male
chicks of egg producing hens. They are crushed to death because we don't like
taste. Six weeks for broiler chickens. Natural diet: Mixed grains, grubs and
worms. Farmed diet: High-fat prepared foods, antibiotics and hormones to
quicken fattening process. Natural habitat: Semi-wild area where can peck
food. Unnatural habitat: Broilers live in sheds in perpetual twilight, in
space equivalent to stuffing a budgie in a jam jar. Natural behavior:
Pecking for food, freedom to move around, dust bathing. Confined behavior:
Broilers can't stretch wings, no room to make nest, can't peck for food.
Stressed, they peck each others feathers out and resort to cannibalism, so are
de-beaked to protect farmer's stock.
Natural lifespan: 15 years. Factory-farmed lifespan: 5-6 months
Natural diet: Omnivorous: tubers and roots using snouts
Pellets of processed foods. Natural habitat: Border of woodland. Pigs build
1-metre high nest to give birth. Unnatural habitat: Most pigs never see
trees, let alone grass. They give birth in a farrowing crate in which they can't
turn round and keep hitting the metal bars. Natural behavior: Rooting for
food, keen on cleanliness. Confined behaviour: Depressed, they become
unclean, frustrated at being unable to root for food and exercise they bite off
tails and resort to cannibalism.
Natural lifespan: We'd love to know.
Factory-farmed lifespan: 73 male,
78.5 female. Natural diet: Semi-wild hunter gatherer existing mainly off
roots and tubers and some meat. Farmed diet: Processed beef, anaemic veal,
drugged eggs to give artificially yellow yolk, chocolate, Coke. Natural
habitat: Border of woodland. Unnatural habitat: City centres, offices, M25
motorway. Natural behaviour: Warm, gregarious, loving, with a heart of gold
and a survival instinct. Confined behaviour: Aggressive ("road rage",
kicking photocopiers in office etc.) terse, vengeful, depressed, nihilistic,