As humans we can imagine what is wrong about withholding freedom from other people.
When a child is born, birth is the first step on the way to freedom.
His upbringing will hopefully prepare him to function freely as an adult later in life.
Freedom is a means and an end to a meaningful life.
But every individual has to determine for himself what is meaningful.
Animals in factory farming are born to be eaten when
they are barely mature, or to produce food for a certain period of time.
In cases where animals are kept to be eaten, the time
they are kept will be as short as possible. A longer
life is economically not feasible. The most familiar
and most widespread examples are meat pigs and chicks.
These animals are given the least opportunity to behave
naturally, and are only fed in a way that they will
grow as quickly as possible. Their short lives consist
of boredom because they are waiting mainly in the dark
to keep them calm (low energy). Eating and sleeping
are almost their only activities. At the moment of slaughter,
they are unprepared to anything unusual and so it is a stressful event.
More so if they are transported over long distances to the slaughterhouse.
In the first stage of their lives they feel too little and in the
final stages they feel too much. Is this wrong: having
an animal grow up disabled, so to speak, for meat consumption?
Is condemning them to boredom reprehensible towards
the animals and harmful to their well-being? Is it a
form of abuse when you do not optimize their welfare?
Is an animal's life meaningful when it only lives to
be eaten and not for itself?
Is there an answer that can convince a person who is indifferent to the rights of an animal?
When we see other people suffer, we can try to place
ourselves in that other person's shoes and try to imagine
how this would feel. Most of us will then try to help
this other person and to relieve their suffering.
Man has only recently invented the situation of withholding
every sort of freedom from animals even before they
are eaten. Before that time, the animals could at least
enjoy their freedom before they were eaten.
We can now help animals in factory farming by freeing
ourselves: by not eating meat from factory farming
and by making it impossible to make money on the exploitation
and exportation of animals. This alone does not make life more meaningful,
but at least there is less pointlessness and suffering.