Why do animals in industrial farming have so few supporters?
People place others, including animals, in so called "moral circles" around themselves.
Animals in industrial farming are placed outside our
moral circle, while pets are placed inside it.
Furthermore, there are a number of circumstances that
are unfavorable for chickens and pigs.
If you step into the breach for animals in industrial
farming you need a lot of patience, and you have to
take into account that you'll be facing a lot of mockery,
because there's little enthusiasm for supporting these
animals in society. Why is that? From psychology,
we know the theory of cognitive dissonance reduction:
a person adapts his beliefs to his behavior. "Because
I eat animals, an animal's life must not be worth much"
instead of "I care about animals, should I be eating them"?
Contrary to cats and dogs, chickens and pigs are not natural
allies during the hunt. By breeding in non-aggressive
behavior these animals have been made more suitable as
docile prey animals, and they became easy to keep in close
proximity to farms. By stripping them of their natural
dignity even further (they do not raise their own offspring,
can't find a mate for themselves, procreation is arranged
elsewhere), the animals no longer radiate a sense of pride.
They look like junkies with their shabby appearance (docked
beaks and tails) and they eat mostly garbage. They have
turned into born losers, dependent and aggressive to each other due to stress, but at
the same time not rebelling. A chicken or pig does not
try to escape from its prison. It is as if they have given
up ambition to live.
The industrial farmers themselves have become dependent. Because they
have deeply indebted themselves, they are also displaying
junky-behavior: unfeelingly the money-grubber saddles
the prey animals with his addiction to the kick of the
In an insidious process with the following characteristics.
People and animals were driven apart by producers and their sectors.
Consumers consider it a luxury to have access to her meat cheaply and in great quantities.
These animals are endangered anonymous individuals
and not endangered species. Their large quantities (450
million in the Netherlands yearly) give people cause
for indifference, as
if an animal's life is worth
less if his species is abundant.
Chickens and pigs nowadays are living in large numbers
in stables behind
closed doors. They are no longer visible in their deplorable condition.
While man can take the 5th amendment in court, pigs and
chickens face the impossible requirement
of proving they have feelings before people
are ready to be considerate with regard
to their interests. People don't have to
prove anything to have basic rights; animals
are only assigned rights in clear cases
of infringement of their well being. Who
would take it if their rights were ignored
just because something would not infringe
on their well being? Besides, what in people we call feelings and intelligence
is called instinct in animals. But pets such as dogs
and cats are endowed with these characteristics. Such
arbitrariness used to be applied to slaves and women as a form of humiliation, to mask the injustice
of man's own mental disposition.
Even linguistically, they are made out to be stupid: "ignorant lamb, black sheep", "dumb as an ox", "dirty, lazy hog", "chicken"!
"Until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace" (Albert Schweitzer).
Removing economic pressure and temptation
If animals wants to go back to being respected, and
if we want cattle farmers to act accordingly, then the
economic pressure and temptations have to be taken off
the - proverbial - shoulders of animals and their masters.
Animals must be set free to behave as they (naturally)
want. One effective means is by stopping export.
Removing economic pressure means that cattle farmers
have to get out of debt. Not by producing
massive amounts, but by sharing the risk of an abolishment
of industrial farming with all the parties lending or
borrowing money. The consequences of a bankruptcy would
then be distributed equally among banks, livestock fodder
producers, the government and the farmers themselves.
The government can help retraining cattle farmers to
a more decent profession.
If you think these four parties are entitled to income
through industrial farming, read this list of invalid reasons.