What about Free Range and Organic?
In the United States, the only thing the term "free range" means is that the animals have some access to the outdoors. As a result, free-range conditions typically amount to 20,000 birds crowded inside an enclosed shed containing a single exit leading to a small outdoor area, which only a tiny fraction of the birds can access at any given time, and which most of them will never realistically be able to make it to.
Therefore, "free range" animals typically still go through debeaking, dehorning, tail docking, castration, etc. And they are still crowded together, and they still go to the exact same slaughterhouse as non-free range animals.
And the only thing "organic" means is that the animals are not given hormones or antibiotics. Everything else is typically the same as the video. Also, there are many "free range" and "organic" companies that claim that they treat their animals extremely well, but then when undercover videos are taken, it is shown just how horrible the conditions really are. For example, the male chicks are still thrown into a grinder, even at the "cage-free" egg farms which claim to care about animals. For most people in the United States, trying to find meat, eggs, or dairy from a place that does not treat their animals this way would require more effort than going vegan. In any case, no animal wants to go to the slaughterhouse, no matter how well they are treated.
Why does the government continue to allow this?
In most states, standard practices in animal agriculture are exempt from animal anti-cruelty laws. For the past several decades, a number of animal welfare organizations have been trying to change the law on this matter. Recently, they have helped pass ballot initiatives in a few states requiring that the cages for the animals be made slightly larger. However, even with these laws in place, most of what is shown in the video is still legal and standard practice. The problem is that if more significant changes are demanded, the law is unlikely to pass, due to the fact that the industry will point out that this will significantly increase meat prices. Also, the few laws that already do exist are rarely enforced.
There is considerable debate among animal advocates about how to best approach this problem. Many organizations are trying to pass additional legislation, while some others are concerned that these laws aren't really accomplishing anything. But, we do know that getting the public to reduce its consumption of animal products will result in fewer animals having to suffer. The number of animals which the industry breeds is directly proportional to how much meat and other animal products the public buys. It does not profit any industry to produce more products than they can sell. Considering the number of animals the average American eats each year, every new vegan saves hundreds of animals from these conditions. The people in the video are only doing what we are paying them to do on our behalf.
Animal Rights FAQ
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