The cruel confinement of farm animals not only affects the animal but has long reaching consequences. Situations for factory farmed chickens, cattle and hogs are examples of cruel confinement. Used in these conditions are battery cages, gestation crates and veal crates. Not only are these animals cruelly confined but their diets are controlled to produce the finished product. They are kept in huge warehouses for years to endure both physical and psychological stress. The United States falls far behind other developed countries in laws governing the humane treatment of farm animals. They cannot walk pastures or barn yards. bask in the sun and eat foods that they were meant to eat. Intensive factory farming is prevalent throughout the country. There are steps to be taken to stop the cruel confinement of farm animals and ensure their well-being and natural raising. Americans can take the examples of the many countries that have passed legislation to prevent this situation.
One condition is known as battery cages where four hens are packed into sixteen inch wide cages that are stacked in tiers and rows in huge warehouses. They cannot stretch their wings or legs and rub against the wire cages losing feathers and bruising themselves. Laying hens are debeaked a procedure that cuts through bone and soft tissue to remove part of the beak to prevent pecking. These hens lay more than 250 eggs per year per hen severely taxing their bodies and resulting in loss of calcium and thus broken bones. After a year hens are either slaughtered or force molted where they are kept in a dark area and starved for eighteen days to encourage another laying cycle. Battery cages have been outlawed in Europe but not in the United States.
Gestation Crates are a device where breeding sows live out their lives in continuous pregnancy producing more than twenty piglets per year. The common practice in the United States is to confine the animal in two-feet wide crates causing rubbing sores and forced to stand on grated flooring to allow for urine and feces. These sows suffer physical and psychological disorders like obesity, crippled legs and neurotic behavior.
Veal Crates are found in the dairy industry. Cows must be pregnant and give birth to produce milk. More than half of the cows born are female and are used to replace older cows. The male calves are raised for either beef or veal. Within moments of their birth, male calves are taken from their mothers, loaded onto trucks and sold in auction. Annually, hundreds of thousands of these young calves are placed in crates two feet wide to begin their lives as white veal. They are chained by the neck to restrict all movement to produce tender meat because muscles cannot develop. The chronic stress and the injections and ingestion of medications produce meat that can be filled with illegal drugs leaving residue that can be a threat to human health. This procedure has also been outlawed in Europe but is prevalent in the United States.
The State of Wisconsin has laws in place to prevent cruelty to farm animals. Milwaukee area residents can help stop this form of cruelty by restricting purchases of products produced from factory farms and buy products from local humane farms.