Animal Advocacy: Touring Ontario’s Factory Farms
Many vegetarians know about the abhorrent treatment of animals on factory farms. In fact, the treatment of farm animals is so bad that it is the reason many of us adopt vegetarian and vegan diets in the first place. Because we are so horrified by what we hear and read about factory farms, most of us would rather avoid them. Not Sam.
In order to learn about the treatment of farm animals firsthand, Sam has been visiting animal farms in Canada so that he can observe how they operate. This is difficult emotionally because Sam’s interest in animal advocacy arises out of empathy for all sentient beings, so it is challenging for him to witness animal suffering. Also, the trips are taxing physically because of how cold the farms are in the dead of winter – on many a night, he shivered to sleep in rooms with no heating.
Sam has visited 12 animal farms since he began investigating, half of which were factory farms; the rest were small farms. “These visits have strengthened my resolve to advocate for animals,” he says.
What was most surprising to him in all his trips? “The farmers are wonderful people who welcomed me into their homes and went out of their way to help me.” But then why are they cruel to animals? “For them, factory farming is simply a job like any other. They think of animals as production machines and compartmentalize, separating their work from their personal life.”
In addition to farms, Sam summoned the courage to visit a slaughter plant. Standing with their feet soaked in blood, the cows and sheep knew they were going to die and trembled with fear. Their desperate attempts to hide and escape were of no avail, as their throats were slit one after the other. Sam said, “Death is always violent because we take from them what they want most: their life. It is worse because workers are completely desensitized and careless in their handling of animals, referring to and treating living beings as ‘things.’”
Sam plans to continue his hands-on research on the treatment of farm animals. With his newfound knowledge, Sam will enlighten vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike about how animals are treated. His firsthand farm experience makes him a more convincing advocate for animals, and he is optimistic about a more humane future.