Normalised Violence

When we hold our Roadshow events, the most common thing I hear from the public is that they ‘only buy organic’ or ‘I only eat Free Range’, or ‘we buy grass-fed so we know they’ve had a good life’, or ‘we don’t eat much meat’, or ‘we buy local so we know where it comes from’. Well, unfortunately, all of these systems still use normalised violence in one way or another.

Whether organic, free range, grass fed or local, these animals are handled, at best roughly and at worst violently. They are dragged, shoved, beaten, kicked, prodded and, when they are considered of no more use or the ideal weight, they are violently killed. Every single system of animal agriculture involves exploitation, fear and imprisonment of some form. This is normalised violence.

Both males and females suffer but it’s the females that are abused continuously. Dairy cows are bred and given hormones to increase their milk yield to such unnatural proportions that they are in pain if not milked.  They are artificially inseminated  to keep them  constantly pregnant  then their babies are taken, at just hours old causing deep distress to both.

Many dairy cows suffer from mastitis which results in excruciating pain when milked and is caused by what we do to them. Sows are imprisoned in ‘farrowing crates’ for when they have their young. Egg laying hens are given hormones to cause them to lay more than one egg a day which can result in their ovaries exploding.

Farmed animals are impregnated on our terms, they are imprisoned, their young are kidnapped, and every single one of their lives is cut short with a terrifying and violent death. Normalised violence from birth to death, no matter in what system they are farmed.

Egg laying hens are gassed, their male chicks are ground up alive; chickens reared for meat are slaughtered at 56 days old; male dairy calves are either killed or sent to veal farms, often abroad; piglets are taken from their mothers and slaughtered.  Cattle, sheep, pigs, turkeys, ducks, geese all are crammed onto lorries for a terrifying journey and then slaughtered, en mass, all because humans want to eat them or their offspring or their bodily secretions.

Who the hell do we think we are?

There is no humane way to kill a healthy animal who wants to live, and all these animals want to live. The typical lifespan of a cow, if left to live freely, is 18-22 years. Beef cows are typically killed between 18 months and 3 years old. Dairy cows are killed before they are 4 years old, not to mention the male calves who are killed at a few days old: 3,000 killed in the UK every week! Pigs would live for 10-15 years if we didn’t slaughter them at 4-6 months old! Chickens can live up to 10 years old but in the egg industry the hens are gassed at 18 months old, when their egg production decreases to one a day(!) and their male chicks are ground up at 1 day old: over 40 million killed in the UK each year. Chickens raised for meat are killed at 56 days old!

There is no justification for consuming animal products. It doesn’t matter what farming system is used, they are still ‘farmed’!

We need institutional change to a culture of normalised non-violence but first we have to have individual change. When the Indian people were trying  to destabilise the British government, Gandhi told them to change their clothes. He told them to only wear clothes made by Indians in India and within a short time, the British government toppled. If enough of us adopt a plant based lifestyle, change will happen on an institutional level.

So, whilst we are all still stuck at home, why not do some research, watch some documentaries like Cowspiracy and Forks over Knives, and educate your household while you have a captive audience.

Who knows, if we stop killing animals we may just stop killing ourselves.