Farming is not cruel

Imagine being chased by a gigantic lion and eaten alive! Your heart is pounding a hundred to the minute and you are unable to run or to even scream for help.

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In contrast, a Springbok the size of a large dog is also being chased by a huge lion. Does it freeze in utter fear, as you did? No. It sprints away, even faster than the lion can run. The question is: (obviously adrenalin may kick in), is that buck petrified or not, or is it perhaps simply nature keeping the numbers right, with that old saying: ”Survival of the fittest”.

This brings me to whether farm animals really do show discomfort in being confined to a small area, such as battery cages for laying hens, dry sow crates for pregnant sows, farrowing crates for sows with tiny piglets, and crocodile pens. Let’s look at the scientific evidence or physiology of, firstly, a human during pregnancy, being confined to a small area. The size of a farrowing crate for pregnant sows is about 75cm for the duration of the pregnancy, and one can be absolutely sure that a pregnant lady would not last even one hour, if that!

I farmed with pigs, using farrowing and dry sow crates, and I can categorically state that a happier sow, in those crates, you will not find. Firstly, water is available at all times (by means of a nozzle they learn to press on). Food is given more than once a day; the rest of the time, they get up when they need to, or lie down and sleep and never do they attempt to get out of those crates!

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In contrast, in open pens with multiple numbers, there is a ‘pecking order’, the smaller ones are bullied and kept away from food and water. In addition, bad hooves develop on concrete. And there are also the deep holes that they dig with their snouts in gravel pens, some due to boredom. The same applies to laying hens in batteries, (I also farmed with laying hens), and again I can, without any fear of arguments to the contrary, say that one should listen to a shed with a few thousand hens, in battery cages, and to the chorus of hens showing absolutely no evidence of being stressed.

Again we must consult with the experts in animal or human fertility. They will agree that any stress to a female will result in the reproduction system suffering. And this is certainly not the case with laying hens in batteries, as they produce an unbelievable number of eggs, which they certainly would not do if the confinement was detrimental or stressful. Do those crocodiles fight to get out of their confined space or are they happier in a large open pen?

Perhaps I have opened a can of worms here, but I myself did have hens in batteries, pigs in crates, and also raised calves in pens for the production of veal, and never did any show any form of discomfort or stress.