We are a nation of animal lovers — we share our homes with 90 million cats and 75 million dogs — so, it’s fair to say our pets are like family members.
We talk to them, travel with them, give them treats and greet them when we come home. When it’s time to say goodbye, we grieve.
And then there are those tear-jerking commercials for the ASPCA — you know the ones — the song “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan is playing in the background while photos of hurt, neglected and sad cats and dogs flash across the screen.
Brutal yes, but for a very good cause — those commercials raise over $100 million a year for the ASPCA and are the organization’s most successful fundraising effort.
It’s clear we will do just about anything for our pets, but for factory-farmed animals, it’s a much bleaker picture. These animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests or do anything important to them.
Thinking factory-farmed animals are just a commodity and, in some way, are different than cats and dogs allows us to rationalize their inhumane treatment.
And yet, research shows factory-farmed animals are just as intelligent as the family pet. For instance, cows are intelligent animals that interact in socially complex ways, develop friendships and can even hold a grudge against another cow that has treated them badly.
Young hens are extremely affectionate and caring mothers that are able to recognize humans. Contrary to what the television commercial tells you, chickens omnivores, (not vegetarians) that like to eat, frogs, bugs, snakes and even mice.
Pigs are very clean and extraordinarily intelligent; they’re curious, insightful animals who are widely accepted as being smarter than dogs and 3-year-old children!
Sheep are expressive social animals with a good memory for facial recognition. Scientists at the University of Cambridge found sheep have advanced learning capabilities with brain power equal to monkeys and, in some tests, even humans.
It’s easy to think this is all nonsense, because once you acknowledge how amazing these animals are, it becomes harder to justify the way we allow them to be treated. To be clear, I am not saying you should stop eating meat or poultry, all I’m saying is the deplorable conditions in which these factory-farmed animals live must change and it’s up to us to change it.
You can do your part by supporting local farms that raise and sell grass-fed, pastured poultry, meat, eggs and dairy products.
These farms adhere to sustainable farming methods and their animals are raised in their natural environments. These animals are lovingly raised on chemical free pasture and are never given antibiotics, hormones or animal by products in their feed.
From cows, to pigs, chickens and sheep these animals are much smarter than we’ve ever given them credit for and it’s time to change the situation we’ve put them in.
Isn’t it time to change our thinking?
Questions or comments? Email Mary Schoepe at firstname.lastname@example.org