Factory Farms

 | June 6, 2009 6:00 AM

In the blog article, Compassionate Dominion and the Factory Farm Industry, Pastor Greg Boyd lists many of the unspeakable horrors of today’s factory farming which provides the meat for you, me and our children.  Matthew Scully however focuses on the pork factory farms.  Maybe he does this because pork factory farms are newer and modeled after the poultry industry’s farms.  Or maybe he did it because pigs are probably the smartest livestock.  Pigs have a keen sense of smell, are very clean contrary to popular belief, and are smarter than dogs which hold a much higher position in our society as witnessed by the outrage leveled at Michael Vick for his cruel dog fighting business.

Matthew Scully toured a pork factory farm and wrote down his observations in verbose detail.  Here is what he saw in the Gestation Barn.

Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy“Baby” is lying there covered in feces and dried blood, yanking maniacally on chains that have torn her mouth raw, as foraging animals will do when caged and denied straw or other roughage to chew…

To lie on their sides, a powerful inclination during months of confinement in twenty-two inches of space, they try to put their legs through the bars into a neighboring crate.  Fragile from the pigs’ abnormally large weight, and from rarely standing or walking, and then only on concrete, their legs get crushed and broken…

NPD 40-602 appears to have a tumor as well, I tell Gay.

“That’s just a pus pocket…”

How are they treated?

“Kopertox,” says Gay…  A topical fluid that forms a hard coating over the wound, but made of copper naphthenate and dangerous if licked by another pig or absorbed into the flesh and ingested by a human, Kopertox carries the warning: “Do not use on animals which are used for food production…”

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , p. 267.

It doesn’t get better in the Farrowing Barn.

… the sows must remain in confinement before, while, and after they give birth, barred even from caring for the piglets emerging from their bruised bodies…

the piglets are deposited from the womb, slipping out one by one onto concrete and with great labor crawling back to suckle from their immobilized mothers, who can hardly trun to see them.  This is for their own good because, if the mothers could move about, they would only crush their young.

… piglets seven to ten days before weaning, compared with the thirteen to seventeen weeks that nature had planned… the little ones will be swept away.  Up one chute, down another, pouring into the Nursery Barn for an orientation of vaccinations, ear notching, teeth cutting, tail docking, and, for the males, castration… without the use of a local anesthetic.  On a shelf in the Nursery there is only a bottle of good ol’ Kopertox.

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , pp. 276-277.

What is interesting is that when you get to the slaughter house the ones who seem to pay the greatest price are the workers!

The electrocutors, stabbers, and carvers who work on the floor wear earplugs to muffle the screaming.  What it’s like for them we may gather from the 100 percent turnover rate every year…  “You hear people say, ‘They don’t kill pigs in the plant, they kill people.’”

At 16,000 kills per eight-hour shift …, 2,000 per hour, and 33 every minute, all of this done by transient, unskilled laborers, there are mistakes.

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , p. 282.

Factory farms are modern and efficient but because they maximize throughput there is a high cost.

“Because if you’re killing 16,000 hogs a shift, those guys aren’t going to stun all them hogs all the time.  Some hogs come out kicking and raising hell…  Running across the table or floor isn’t a good sign neither.”

”You get a stubborn hog that doesn’t want to go, employees can get to beating that hog all they want to.  They use a shackle, a pie, anything they can get their hands on.”

Often, we learn, they still can’t be killed because they’re still moving and flailing.  So they are dropped alive into the scalding tank…

… Ramon Moreno, whose job is to cut off the hooves of strung-up cattle passing by at 309 at hour.  When they reach him, they are supposed to be stunned and killed already, but often they’re not, as Mr. Moreno tells it.  “They blink.  They make noises.  The head moves, the eyes are open and still looking around.  They die piece by piece.”

Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy , pp. 283-284.

All of this for cheap, lean, uniform, consistent meat.

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