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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have noticed over the years that there are a number of people who are under the impression that animals do not have to deal with much suffering in the "free range" or organic industries, so I did some research into this and confirmed that there is actually a lot of suffering that occurs in these industries and I then wrote a paper last winter to let people know about this. You can find this paper by clicking on the "Free(?) range" button on the Animal Rights Outreach website (which you can find at the top of a google search for "Animal Rights Outreach"). I think part of the reason why people think that animals don't suffer much in the "free range" or organic industries is that there are organizations that try to make it seem this way, which I think is a big problem since it's getting people to believe incorrect things.

Here are the main parts to the paper that I wrote about suffering that is involved in the "free range" and organic industries, which I hope will inspire some discussion about this issue:

"Animal suffering in the 'free range' and organic industries"

The amount of suffering in the standard food industry is enormous, with, in the US alone, about 10 billion land-based animals being confined and killed every year. But many people assume that there is little or no suffering involved in the Organic or "Free-Range" food industries. This is definitely far from the truth. Animals from these industries still get stuck in very crowded buildings for large portions of time and they also have to deal with extremely stressful and miserable transportation and slaughter. Even though there is tremendous suffering involved in the food industry, it is also worth considering the ethical problems with killing when little or no suffering is involved (like if someone manages to shoot a big bullet directly into the brain of a wild animal).

The labels "free-range" and "free-run" are pretty useless since "free-range" "farms"(*) or a "free-run" farms do not undergo any inspections by organizations that are independent from the farms, to make sure they are conforming with any kind of regulations.

Certified organic farms do get inspected to see that they stick with regulations but the regulations are usually very vague which allows for very cramped and miserable conditions for the animals confined in the organic industry. And even when there are precise regulations, these regulations often still allow for very crowded conditions, as we will see below. The same is also true for labels that are created by animal welfare organizations like the BC-SPCA (which uses the label "SPCA-certified"). To get an idea of how bad this situation is, lets take a look at a few large certification organizations which actually bother to write out their standards (or a summary of their standards) on their websites. Here are five such organizations: Certified Organic Association of BC (COABC), Standards Council of Canada, Quality Assurance International (QAI), Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) and the BC-SPCA. There are many more certification organizations that exist, but looking at these five big organizations should give us a fairly good idea at what certification organizations are like in general (you can verify this by simply checking out some other standards).

The websites for each one of the five certification organizations listed above are displayed at [go to the ARO website to see the link] (in case you want to see the standards yourself). Here are just a few of the problems with the standards set out by these organizations:

· Only COABC and the BC-SPCA give any numeric requirements in their standards for how much space various animals should receive. The other organizations use vague wording like saying that animals should be given enough room to "facilitate free movement in accordance with the needs of the animal". With these vague requirements, it is possible to keep animals in very crowded conditions since nobody is bothering to define "the needs of an animal" or similar vague terms.

· COABC and the BC-SPCA provide specific space requirements but these still allow for very cramped conditions. For instance, the COABC standards allow for 7 pound birds (about the size of a small cat) to be given 2.5 square feet per bird (0.36 square feet per pound) which is really not much space. And the BC-SPCA standards only require that chickens in the meat industry be given 1.6 square feet per bird. From the information on the BC-SPCA website, it looks like the BC-SPCA does not have any space requirements for cows or pigs but there are some pathetic space requirements for cows and pigs given by COABC (like having to give 25 square feet per animal to male pigs).

· Only OCIA and the BC-SPCA provide some concrete regulations regarding transportation and slaughter but the regulations dont address a lot of the problems in this area. The BC-SPCA only requires some reduced transportation times and OCIA has mostly vague or insignificant requirements except it does require that no electric prods be used during transport and that animals be slaughtered on the same day that they arrive (but this may not happen if regulation enforcers are not around).

· Animals confined according to organic standards or standards from animal welfare groups are commonly restricted to living inside crowded buildings during the evening, night and early mornings which results a lot of animal suffering.

(* Note: It may be better to use a more accurate term like "confinement center" instead of "farm")

At the end of the paper, there is a picture of an organic chicken "farm" with this caption next to the picture:

Organic farms are definitely not always beautiful places. This photo is a photo from an organic egg-industry farm certified by both COABC and PROCERT that is located in Langley, BC (near Vancouver). The chickens on this farm can go outside during a large portion of the day (about 8am to 5pm) through one of three small doors. The outside confinement area consists of a lot of flat barren land and some grass covered areas and a few food dispensing towers. This is definitely not a chicken paradise considering that chickens enjoy exploring areas to find food and like to use trees as natural shelters. According to an office worker for this farm, this farm confines 3000 animals in a metal-covered building that is about 40 by 185 feet. This means that the chickens have to live in very crowded conditions (only 2.5 square feet per bird) during a large portion of the day where they have to breathe the toxic fumes from their excrement.
 

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Damned if you do, damned if you don't, I tell ya! And by that I don't mean necessarily eating meat, as there are people here who consume dairy products from such farms, but in this day and age when we are faced with vegetables getting e-coli and making people sick due to the practices from animal farmers it's saddening to think that there really is no good place to buy our products from. The government really needs to get the inspections of these farms in place or more and more will happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Calhoun07, I know that there are people on Veggieboards who eat dairy products and eggs from organic farms, and I think a lot of these people don't realize how much animal suffering is involved farms like that so it's good that they are now getting to learn the truth. I hope that many of these people will decide to stop eating eggs and dairy products, or at least cut back a huge amount on how much dairy products and eggs they eat, to avoid supporting these industries that cause so much animal suffering. There are lots of resources available on the internet and in books to help people make the switch to a vegan diet and there are also lots of people on Veggieboards who are vegan and can help out other people in switching to a vegan diet.

There's lots of really tasty and filling vegan foods available, but you just need to take a little bit of time to discover these foods and take a little bit of time to learn about how to eat a healthy vegan diet, and then you can decide to stop eating eggs and dairy products which will take away your support from these industries that cause so much animal suffering. There are lots of internet sites that can help you out with this and here is one webpage that I created which has some links on it that can help people out in making the switch to a vegan diet: www.ARoutreach.org/dietchange.html .

Another thing I'd like to mention is that it would be absurdly expensive to buy milk and eggs if they did allow cows and chickens to live in really wonderful conditions and not get forced to live in crowded buildings at night and not get forced into crowded trucks to be transported to awful slaughterhouses. And it would be even more absurdly expensive if they allowed cows and chickens to live to an old age since cows and chickens are not able to produce as much milk or eggs as they get older. Currently cows used for milk are killed when they are about 5 years old since their milk production gets lower after this time even though they would naturally live until about 20 years old (this happens in the regular industry and the organic industry). And currently chickens used for eggs are killed when they are about 1 year old since their egg production gets lower after this time even though they would naturally live until about 15 years old (and this also happens in the regular industry as well as the organic industry). And of course, a large portion of male baby cows are killed in the dairy industry because cows are impregnated about once per year in order to keep their milk production high and there is no use in keeping most of the male babies alive since they are genetically different than the cows that are bred for making things like "steaks" (this killing of baby cows happens in the regular dairy industry and organic industries)

So, Calhoun07, I don't think you should be looking at getting the government to make regulation changes to deal with this problem, since I'm sure most people wouldn't want to spend $10 for a glass of milk of $5 for an egg (or some other absurd price which would be necessary so that cows and chickens could live in really good conditions until they die of old age). And also if cows and chickens are regarded as such useless things that it's ok to kill them and confine them just because we like the taste of their milk and eggs (even though there are lots of tasty plant foods available), then I don't think anyone who thinks this way (including people in the government or people who buy animal-based foods) is going to have any serious concern about cows or chickens which means they're not going to try to give them really good lives.

So the simple solution to this problem is for people to stop eating animal products (including milk products and eggs), which really is not that difficult of a thing to do and still allows people to eat really tasty and interesting vegan food.
 

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Sorry, but the whole "humanely raised" thing is a bunch of crap. They all end up at the same slaughterhouse, and they all suffer from the same objectification and indignities in the end. That's just Whole Foods' way of making yuppies spend more money on a "product" that simultaneously lets them pat themselves on the back and feel like they've done a good thing.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatless View Post

Sorry, but the whole "humanely raised" thing is a bunch of crap. They all end up at the same slaughterhouse, and they all suffer from the same objectification and indignities in the end. That's just Whole Foods' way of making yuppies spend more money on a "product" that simultaneously lets them pat themselves on the back and feel like they've done a good thing.
I was only using Whole Foods as an example of places that sell certified humanely raised meat products, it is an alternative to factory farm products, and as far as I know not every farm that uses this label is inhumane.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatless View Post

Sorry, but the whole "humanely raised" thing is a bunch of crap. They all end up at the same slaughterhouse, and they all suffer from the same objectification and indignities in the end. That's just Whole Foods' way of making yuppies spend more money on a "product" that simultaneously lets them pat themselves on the back and feel like they've done a good thing.
I was only using Whole Foods as an example of places that sell certified humanely raised meat products, it is an alternative to factory farm products, and as far as I know not every farm that uses this label is inhumane.
 

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Are the animals still killed at slaughterhouses in the end (generally the same ones as the factory farmed animals)? They sure are. Are they raised as "objects" from which money will be made? Yep. Not really what I'd call "humane."
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatless View Post

Are the animals still killed at slaughterhouses in the end (generally the same ones as the factory farmed animals)? They sure are. Are they raised as "objects" from which money will be made? Yep. Not really what I'd call "humane."
Of course they are all killed in slaughterhouses, who is disputing that?

To me I'd rather someone who is buying an animal product make the choice to buy it from a farm that implements more humane methods in killing the animal because these types of places do actually exist, there are big differences in how much animals suffer in this country, sure most are from factory farms, but not all. I'd prefer that all meat eaters insisted on buying humanely treated animal products, it's where you put your dollars that count IMO and what you choose to support or not support.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by meatless View Post

Are the animals still killed at slaughterhouses in the end (generally the same ones as the factory farmed animals)? They sure are. Are they raised as "objects" from which money will be made? Yep. Not really what I'd call "humane."
Keep in mind that there are quite a few folks out there who do not object in principle to the use of animals for food, but do object to the particular treatment of animals in factory farms.

The purpose of this thread (as I read it) is to expose those situations in which the public is being given a false picture of how the animals live...it's not to debate how much weight we should put on "humane treatment" in the larger picture of things.
 

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Originally Posted by Seusomon View Post

The purpose of this thread (as I read it) is to expose those situations in which the public is being given a false picture of how the animals live...it's not to debate how much weight we should put on "humane treatment" in the larger picture of things.
It seems to me the two go hand in hand. I can't completely separate how they die from how they are raised.

And whether or not someone objects to animals being killed for food or not, I think even those who DO think it's fine would probably find some level of horror in what happens in the slaughterhouse (as I mentioned, the "humanely raised" animals end up at the same place as the factory farmed animals, more times than not), no matter how "humanely" they may or may not have been raised.
 

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Good point. I think it's something to factor in to how misleading the claims of "free range"/"organic" promotion are.
 

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I think it is also important that there are farms that exist that place a great deal of importance on how they treat their animals while they are alive, and in the methods they use to ensure a more dignified end. Places like this do exist, and for those who do choose to eat meat I think it is important for them to know the difference and to seek those places out even if they are few and far between. Having said that I do agree that the terms "organic" and "free range" don't mean much in terms of how humanely these animal products carrying these labels are actually treated.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollywoodveg View Post

I think it is also important that there are farms that exist that place a great deal of importance on how they treat their animals while they are alive, and in the methods they use to ensure a more dignified end.
There's no dignity in being slaughtered for food.
 

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Originally Posted by epski View Post

There's no dignity in being slaughtered for food.
No, that is true, but some ways are more dignified than others. People will probably always eat meat whether we like it or not, I'd prefer that the people who choose to do so buy their animal products from farms that make more of an effort to ensure less suffering, these places do exist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm just about to take off for a trip and I wasn't actually planning to post anything on Veggieboards for a while, but I just feel like posting one last message before my trip to reply to hollywoodveg's comments about "humanely treated meat".

Quote:
Originally Posted by hollywooodveg View Post

It is possible to buy animal products that are certified humanely raised, I know Whole Foods for instance only sells humanely treated meat.
I think you are really missing my point hollywoodveg. The companies like Whole Foods or companies that sell organic animal products CLAIM that they sell "humane" products where animals get to live with very little suffering. But they are misleading people and they are not letting people know that the animals that they confine still go through huge amounts of suffering (even though it is less than the amount of suffering in the regular industry).

This suffering that they don't tell people about occurs when the animals are forced to live inside crowded buildings in the evening and night where they have very little room to move around (like having a building with thousands of chickens where the chickens only receive 2.5 square feet of space per chicken). In these crowded buildings, the animals have to breathe fumes from their own excrement and they are also forced to stay in this buildings for long periods (like many days or weeks) during cold weather periods.

These animals also suffer when they are transported because they use the same kinds of transportation systems where they force animals to go into extremely crowded trucks and deal with extreme cold in the winter and extreme heat in the summer and travel for many many hours (and some animals die or get injured during transport because of the awful transportation conditions). Also the animals in the organic industry or other "special" industries suffer in slaughterhouses because organic farms and farms certified by "humane" organizations (including farms accepted by Whole Foods) use the same slaughterhouses as the ones used by the regular industry.

In slaughterhouses, animals are forced along with electric prods, they are treated very roughly, and they are often killed without being properly stunned first (for instance, chickens are usually dunked in electricity flowing water but this often just immobilizes them but still allows them to feel pain when they have their throats slit, and pigs and cows often have bolts shot in their head with captive bolt guns to stun them but sometimes the people shooting the captive bolt gun miss the correct spot to hit which means the pigs or cows are not rendered unconscious (but if they're lucky they will get shot again instead of just getting their throats slit while they're conscious). Another big problem is that pigs and cows often can see other pigs and cows getting shot with the captive bolt gun which is a terrifying thing for them to see and they can smell blood and hear other animals screaming.

So, hollywoodveg, don't let yourself get misled into thinking that there is little suffering in these "special" industries like organic industries or by farms accepted by Whole Foods. There is less suffering compared to the regular industry, but there is still huge amounts of suffering in the organic industry and in farms that are certified by "humane" organizations.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumov View Post

So, hollywoodveg, don't let yourself get misled into thinking that there is little suffering in these "special" industries like organic industries or by farms accepted by Whole Foods. There is less suffering compared to the regular industry, but there is still huge amounts of suffering in the organic industry and in farms that are certified by "humane" organizations.
You're preaching to the choir Lumov. I am a vegetarian, I don't eat meat, but if people are going to consume animals, I truly prefer they find places to buy meat where animals have suffered less. Factory farms are evil, and while there are farms that might claim to humanely raise their meat and are not up to standards of animal rights activists, like myself, at least they are not factories, and we know how bad those places can be, because if a factory farm could put that label on their products they would in a hot minute, you can get a lot more money for that type of product. If people are going to eat meat I'll always make the extra effort to explain to them the difference of what they're buying and how to find more humanely raised animal products, it's a necessary evil. Meat eaters aren't going to be going away in the near future, and I think the more of them who put their money towards humanely treated animal products the more pressure it puts on farmers to acquire this label, even if it's not a perfect system, it's the lesser of the two evils.
 

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Hang on a minute. I don't think we can say that every brand which claims to keep animals in humane conditions during their lifetime is lying.

For example, the free range eggs at my supermarket are certified by the SPCA, who routinely inspect the farms that provide the eggs. I'm prepared to believe that these eggs are what they say they are because I don't think the SPCA would allow them to use their logo on the packs if they didn't actually inspect the farms.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollywoodveg View Post

it's the lesser of the two evils.
But it isn't just two options.

And in supporting this "lesser of two evils" are you not still supporting an evil?

There is a third option available to all.

Don't support dairy and egg industries of ANY kind. Who needs a "lesser of two evil" option, when there is a good option?

It's not like you HAVE to choose between the two, so you pick the best of your options. There are other alternatives, like not supporting death.

And most "free range" farms still kill the males. Little chicks get some freerange time in the dumpster before death, that sounds like fun.

But hey, gotta have fried eggs AMIRITE?
 
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