Sadly though there are far more victims within the animal world today than there ever were at the dawn of our kind. Among other animals, we have already driven the dodo, the quagga, the Tasmanian tiger, the Irish deer, the Caspian tiger and the great auk to extinction. Our lifestyles are continually killing unique species of animal that we didn’t even know existed.
We keep mink in tiny, wire mesh cages, knowing that in their frustration they self-mutilate themselves, biting their skin, tails, feet or quite simply frantically circle endlessly. Snakes and lizards are skinned alive because of the belief that live flaying makes leather more supple. The global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals a year. About 285 million hens are raised for eggs in the US. The wire mesh cages rub off the feathers; chafes their skin and cause their feet to become deformed. Approximately 9 billion chickens are raised and killed for meat each year.
A typical slaughterhouse kills about 1,000 pigs an hour and because of improper stunning, many are still alive when they reach the scalding water. In extremely crowded conditions, piglets are prone to stress-related behavior such as cannibalism and tail biting. Farmers often chop off their tails and use pliers to break off their teeth without giving them painkillers. Foie gras is made from the grotesquely enlarged livers of duck and geese who have been cruelly forced-fed. During Canada’s annual commercial seal slaughter, as many as 300,000 seals are shot or bludgeoned.
Need I say more? We owe the animal world a great debt. We need to eat and I am not a vegetarian. I eat meat, but then I am not writing here to turn you into vegetarians. My aim isn’t to change you. I am merely being informative, just asking you to think about the sacrifices these animals make in order for you to live.
When I eat meat I cannot help but think of the animal it came from and I cannot help but feel thankful for its sacrifice. We are at the top of the food chain and the vast percentage of us eat meat with our vegetables. I just wish these animals could be treated with a little respect during life and that their deaths could be a little less systematic and cold.
I understand that we must eat and even if I find the ways in which so many animals live to be quite disturbing, there is indeed worse things happening to the animals of this planet. Each year approximately 10,000 bulls die in bullfights. More than 15 million warm-blooded animals are used in research each year. To test cosmetics, cleaners and other products, hundreds of thousands of animals are poisoned, blinded and killed every year. 18 red foxes are killed to make one fox-fur coat, 55 minks to make a mink coat.
The third part of this post will come in just two days