The welfare and well-being of farm animals has always been a concern of mine. When I explain to meat-raising farmers that they owe their animals kindness, a clean and social physical environment, and a safe way of being transported and then killed in the slaughterhouse, they look at me as though I'm nuts. But doesn't it make perfectly good common sense for a farmer to treat the animals he exploits for his and his family's livelihood and for his and other persons' food with as much kindness, happiness, and safe treatment as one can? When I talk to farmers, they shift uncomfortably and explain that the cost is too high to treat a steer or pig destined for the slaughter in such a way as to ensure its health, safety, and contentment. But I tell them that the cost to not be humane is much higher. I try to explain that providing the animals with decent and kind living conditions can only serve to enhance the farmer's own sense of what real value is: the profit line or the ethical treatment of animals plus a decent profit. I try to make my discussion real and avoid the extreme argument of suggesting he switch over to raising vegetables or get into another business other than animal husbandry. Extreme tactics only serve to alienate. I can help the animals better if I ask in moderation and according to reason.
So, I ask Farmer Everyman, "If raising and slaughtering animals provides you and your wife and kids with a nice life, don't you think you owe these animals, many of whom are slaughtered at six months of age, as nice and as natural a life as you can provide? That's a reasonable plan, don't you think? " My ideas is do-able, right? Allow animals time to socialize with each other outside every day. Let them play. Allow them to sleep and enjoy the sun on their backs outside in a barnyard kept reasonably clean. Allow them to lead the most natural, happy animal life possible until their doomsday. And when that day comes, don't load them into double decker, tractor trailers for days' shipping. Transport them in uncrowded trucks out of nasty weather. And kill them in the most humane way--in such a way that they don't realize they have premonition of their imminent death. Isn't it only right that you do this for the animals you raise and who provide you with a decent living?"
Please view the following video on the emotional lives of farm animals. It's a wonderful, telling documentary--not depressing--but very enlightening. After seeing this video, you just might want to curl up and cuddle a cow or a pig, instead of your dog or cat.