Today marks the 30th annual World Day for Farmed Animals (WDFA). On this day, organizations and individuals rally to raise awareness of the conditions farmed animals face each day. Out of the estimated 65 billion food animals killed annually worldwide, the vast majority of them are raised on large factory farms.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that animals are routinely mistreated in the food industry. Before starting our journey to self-sufficiency and really learning about where our food comes from, I had no idea what went on in large scale commercial farms. When we got our first flock of chickens, they sparked an interest in me to research the food industry and I was appalled by what I learned.
If you don't know what goes on in factory farms each day, watch this short video. Be warned - it is graphic and extremely hard to watch. You may have to look away from the screen a few times and may shed a few tears, but it's nothing compared to what these animals have to go through.
I eventually became a vegetarian after wrestling with these issues. For me, that was the best solution. But I'm not naive - I do realize not everyone will stop eating meat after watching this video. Becoming a vegetarian was the right solution for me, but I don't want to force it on anyone else. I feel like it's a very emotional and cultural choice and I never want to come across as a crazy fanatic, but this issue is something very important to me.
My hope is that if you are affected by this video, you will research to find a place to buy your food where you can meet the farmers and know that the animals at least had a shot at happy lives. A wonderful resource is Local Harvest. You can search for farmers in your area that sell products from their own farms.
I know this post is a bit of a departure, but animal welfare is a big passion of mine and I feel like I have to share what I've discovered with others. If you want to know more of my story or have any other questions about this post, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I'd be more than happy to talk to you.
Since I can't do a post without a photo, I'll leave you with this shot of our happy boys free ranging this foggy morning (and also one of my favorite quotes).
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated." - Mahatma Gandhi