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Go Vegan for Animals

In a country where cows are supposed to be sacred and safe, they’re among the most abused animals in India. In order to meet the human demand for dairy, cows and buffaloes are forced into a dreadful cycle of artificial insemination, childbirth, and lactation until their bodies can’t produce any more milk.

Forced Impregnation

Cows—like all other mammals—produce milk only when they’re nurturing their young. Therefore, to meet the human demand for milk, cows and buffaloes are forcefully inseminated every year. Typically, a cow is both lactating and pregnant for seven months every year and within three months of giving birth, they’re made pregnant again. Artificial insemination (AI) involves collecting sperm from males, processing and storing it, and artificially introducing it into the female reproductive tract for the purpose of conception. AI guns are almost never sterilized, and the procedure is performed by untrained handlers who often shove their bare, soapy hands into animals’ uteri. This causes cows immense pain and exposes them to potential infections and diseases.
Photo by Mercy For Animals

The use of oxytocin and milk machines

To increase their milk production, cows are given large doses of oxytocin, a banned schedule H drug, which causes severe labor pains. A survey conducted in Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh found that 82% of cattle breeders were using oxytocin. It is also becoming a common practice to use milk machines for milking the animals. These machines are rarely sterilized and the unhygienic conditions in the dairies lead to a painful inflammation of the udder, called mastitis. Cows and buffaloes are given antibiotics and painkillers to counter this, which end up in the milk and can cause antibiotic resistance in humans.
Photo by Mercy For Animals

Confinement

Most cows and buffaloes are confined to tiny rooms that have no sunlight or ventilation. A recent investigative report found that keeping the animals tethered in these makeshift shelters at all times is a common practice at 79% of dairies. The tethers are very short to accommodate as many animals in the small shelters as possible and cause extreme physical discomfort. 60% of dairies also restrain the animals by tying up their hind legs. Cows and buffaloes are often tethered on hard floors which cause bruises and injuries, and they lay in their own feces for days.
Photo by Anipixels.org

Male Calves—the forgotten victims

Male calves are useless to the milk industry since they can’t produce milk. They rarely receive proper healthcare and are usually sold to butchers or skinned for their leather. Often, they’re simply abandoned at roadsides and left to die. An undercover investigator writes: “Male calves are tied up with ropes so short that they cannot lift their heads; in a desperate attempt to reach their mothers, the calves often strangulate themselves to death. Some have their feet tied so they cannot try to go over to their mothers for milk and their mouths are tied shut with ropes so they cannot cry out when they are hungry. These babies are then left to die a slow, agonizing death in a corner.”
Photo by Anipixels.org

Beef and Milk—two sides of the same coin

After a life of confinement and abuse, another horror awaits these animals—the journey to the slaughterhouse. “Spent” cows and buffaloes who can no longer produce milk are sent away to slaughter. Since cow slaughter is illegal in some states, these animals are transported by trucks or made to walk for days on end to other states without food, water, or rest. Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, followed one of the caravans of cattle stumbling towards Kerala. “It’s a hideous journey,” she says, “To keep them moving, drivers beat the animal across their hip bones, where there is no fat to cushion the blows. The cows are not allowed to rest or drink. Many cows sink to their knees. Drivers beat them and twist their battered tails to force them to rise. If that doesn’t work they torment the cows into moving by rubbing hot chili peppers and tobacco into their eyes.” Instead of receiving the required quick cut with a sharp knife, workers often hack at their throats with dull blades or hit them with hammers in full view of other animals. The natural lifespan of these animals is 25 years, but they’re rarely allowed to live beyond 10 years.

What about small farms and villages?

We’re used to images of cows and buffaloes living happily in villages and loved by dairy farmers. While small household farms may offer more freedom than intensive dairy farms, investigators have found that the conditions are not much better. In a shocking undercover investigation of small-scale dairies, it was found that male calves are killed and their heads are stuffed with straw to create a khalbachha—a dummy calf—which is placed near the mother to ensure that her milk production does not decline due to the anxiety of not seeing her babies. Illegal practices to increase milk production like phookan (shoving a stick into the animal’s uterus and twisting it) and doom dev (blowing air into the animal’s private parts) are prevalent on small dairy farms. Chickens are friendly and smart, just like dogs. Scientists have found that chickens begin to communicate with their chicks long before they’ve hatched. Sadly, chickens are also among the most abused animals.
Photo by Anipixels.org

Genetic Manipulation

To maximize profits, hens raised on modern-day factory farms are bred to grow so large that by the time they’re one month old, their legs cannot support their weight. Many chickens become lame and slowly die from not being able to reach food or water. from not being able to reach food or water.

Discarding Chicks

Shortly after birth, the workers separate male chicks from the females by handling them roughly by their genitals. Since male chicks cannot lay eggs, they’re discarded in gruesome ways. Some of the common practices include crushing them in industrial grinders, suffocating them in plastic bags, drowning, burning, and dumping them into fish farms. 5 to 10% of chicks, male and female, are rejected due to organ deformities or weakness and meet the same fate.
Photo by Animal Equality

Debeaking

When chickens are confined in such large numbers, they vent their stress and frustration by pecking at one another. To reduce losses, the workers use hot blades to cut off chicks’ beaks just hours after the birds hatch. The procedure is so painful that many chicks die of shock, or die of starvation and dehydration when they’re unable to eat or drink.

Intensive Confinement

In egg farms, birds are confined in wire enclosures called “battery cages” that are arranged in rows, one upon the other. The egg industry forces 4 to 8 hens into a cage—the size of two A4 size sheets of paper—where they cannot turn around or spread their wings for two years. This also results in the hens lying in their own waste, which is almost never cleaned. Their claws grow gnarled and can twist around the wire floors of the cages, causing painful injuries.
Photo by Julie O’Neill

Live animal markets

If not raised on factory farms, the birds may be kept in live animals markets where they’re crammed in filthy, rusting cages without access to food or water. Many of them are severely sick and do not get any veterinary care. They’re also slaughtered in full view of other animals. Although it might be easier to relate to mammals, there’s also scientific evidence that fish feel pain. When they’re pulled out of the deeper parts of the ocean, their eyes pop out, their bladders burst, and they slowly suffocate to death. “In summary, most recent interpretations of the results of many studies lead to believe that fish have the structures necessary and the capacity to experience fear and pain and can thus suffer”. – Scientific Panel for Animal Health and Welfare, commissioned by the European Food Safety Authority, June 2004.
Research has shown that fish recognize individuals, are social, and even look out for each other. In order to maximize profits, it’s becoming common practice to breed fish in filthy, polluted tanks where they have no space to swim.

Transport

Every week, millions of animals are transported to slaughterhouses to meet gruesome ends. After a life of confinement and abuse, the journey to slaughter is equally harrowing—they’re crammed into trucks or made to walk for days without rest, food, or water. They’re routinely beaten up and many of them die on the way. To keep the exhausted animals from sinking to the ground, the drivers twist their tails and rub chilies and tobacco into their eyes. Chickens don’t fare better when it comes to transport and slaughter. Workers grab the birds roughly and cram them onto trucks where they’re exposed to blazing heat, wind, and rain for hours. After unloading them, they’re tied by their feet and hung upside down on hooks. Many of them break their wings and legs due to the rough handling.
Photo by Julie O’Neill

Slaughterhouses

It’s hard to comprehend how horrible slaughterhouses are—both for animals and humans—without visiting one. It’s illegal to kill animals in full view of other animals, but this is a common practice in all slaughterhouses and meat shops. The slaughterhouse workers hack at their throats with dull blades, cut off their limbs, and even skin them while they’re still conscious. Investigators found that the terrified animals were given electric shocks with live wires to force them towards the slaughter hall. In some slaughterhouses, the animals have their heads beaten to a pulp with a dozen hammer blows instead of the standard knife to the throat.

Slaughterhouse workers

This brutal system also treats slaughterhouse workers more as objects to be discarded than as human beings. Slaughterhouses in India employ several thousand workers who are forced to work in unhygienic conditions and are denied basic rights such as sick leave and weekly time off. The workers are often made to work over 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of them don’t receive protective gear and can be seen working with their bare hands and in sandals or barefoot. Many illegal meat shops also employ children under the age of 14. Slaughterhouse workers perform a job—killing innocent animals—that few meat-eaters are willing to do. A steady flow of investigations shows that terrible working conditions take a toll on the workers who will sometimes act out cruelly toward the animals. It’s a vicious cycle of abuse.

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