Apparently, the issues of caged animals have gained an increasing interest due to the endless speculations over the animal rights and the violence directed towards certain species. The matter is that animals have always been exposed to discrimination as they are usually considered to be the sources of food that people use to their own advantages. For the most part, to violate animal rights in such context means to convert the species into the sources that human beings use. However, the purpose of current research paper is to explore the issues of raising animals for food and provide the sufficient amount of evidence that would clearly lay an emphasis on the fact that such violation of animal rights exerts a deleterious effect on the environment in general. Although breeding animals for food may address some economic problems, it seems to have an anti-utopian nature, which means that animals for ‘specific purposes’ ideally fail to protect the environment due to ethical, biological and social reasons. Therefore, it is reasonable to take into account the current position in factory farms in order to evaluate the problem.
The ethical dilemma consists in the fact that the authors who are in favor of the animal rights entirely object to eating meat, claiming that if it is possible to dispense with such food, people should not take advantage of it. As there is a sufficient amount of drawbacks concerning animal agriculture, environmental activists that protect animal rights, such as Peter Singer and Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, review the current living conditions of animals and refer to the problem of raising animals for specific purpose that manifests itself in human food. Peter Singer, who is an influential person in terms of animal rights resorts, highlights the issue of speciecism and discrimination. Interestingly, Jonathan Saffran Foer has dedicated the whole book to the issues that exist within the frames of animal farms and emphasized that such violation of animal rights exerts profound effects on the environment. DeRocco manages to describe the internal characteristics of factory farms, while Stathopoulos dwells upon the benefits of raising animals for the economic situation. In contrast, Michael Greger enlarges upon the medical implications for the health of a human being. The direct environmental impact of factory farming on the environment can be seen in Bryan Walsh’s article that outlines the contribution of factory farming to the global warming. Therefore, it would be useful to gain a number of insights from the particular problems which define the state of factory farms in the United States of America.
In order to consider the issues of raising animals for food and the potential implications for the environment, it is necessary to determine the environmental characteristics which are of exceeding importance when it comes to the analysis of any kind of influence. Therefore, the environment in current research paper is viewed through the prism of the surroundings that encircle the regular life of a human being. In this context, one should mention all the possible implications that appear as results of raising animals. The research mainly focuses on the medical problems that occur due to the influence of animal products considering the ethical and social norms.
It is widely accepted that animals are exposed to violation and discrimination. Nowadays the majority of people around the world, especially in the United States, favor the meaty and dairy products instead of healthy fruits and vegetables. The average citizen does not want to burden himself in terms of needless food preparations and prefers the convenience food, instant noodles or productions from the factory farms. In fact, factory farms are the intensive confinement systems that were created in order to sustain the demands of the society in meat and the dairy foodstuff. Such enterprises are places where animals are nurtured and afterwards killed to accomplish the needs of the population in flesh and milk. Besides, such facilities are regarded as the alternatives for small farms that tend to be profitless for the authorities. In addition, the largest farms are advantageous as they are capable of satisfying the society’s hungers for animal products. Nonetheless, the factories seem to have multiple drawbacks due to the animal violation (and the abuse of animal rights, respectively), crowded living conditions and incompliance with the sanitary demands. Therefore, maintaining factory farms is an ambiguous process as it encompasses not only the lucrative advantages but also the hideous defects.
Current living conditions at a prevailing number of farms are menacing for the animals. They are obliged to exist in an appalling situation. Firstly, being the principal element of the food production for the society’s needs, animals are kept in small and unsanitary buildings without fresh air and enough space (DeRocco 44). The warehouses are skimpy and they lack sufficient place for the animals to live in. As a result, the creatures become sick. What’s more, the products, originating from such animals, might appear harmful for human consumption. In other words, the meaty and dairy foodstuffs are contaminated and can provoke various dangerous illnesses. Secondly, it is more profitable for the government to maintain such farms as “the high attrition rate is overweighed by a massive production rate” (Stathopoulos 411). To put it another way, the massive output of the animal provision is more advantageous than care about their health or admissible living conditions. The more meat farms produce, the more money they earn. Thirdly, the relation to the creatures, cooped in the warehouses, is very bad. The animals are treated not like the living creatures with their special rights but as the sources of food and other valuable materials. They are starved, deformed as a consequence of the drug and anesthesia overuse and the overall situation of sustaining such creatures is horrific. Hence, the living conditions at the factory farms are considered to be both dangerous for animals and beneficial for the economy.
The animal products from the crowded factory farms and drossy warehouses are not only unacceptable but also they seem to be a serious threat to the environment and human civilization. With reference to Michael Greger, the dirty and polluted living conditions of the farming facilities are the basis for the breeding of numerous bacteria and the spread of the infection from one animal to another (103). Consequently, such factors contribute to the contamination of the entire animal stock and afterwards to the human consumers. Additionally, multiple substances are also regarded as the harmful factors that play a significant role in the aggravation of the animal living conditions and threatening the society. First of all, the nourishment of the creatures is important. Such meals as soy, corn and other additives interfere with the natural processes of digestion, resulting in the deformation of the bodies and the weakening of the entire immune system. Afterwards, diverse medicines assist in the impairment of the animal products. For instance, hormones, antibiotics and other adverse substances are capable of creating an antibiotic resistance and making the products a noxious menace for the people. Such extremely dangerous bacteria, as Salmonella, Enteriditis (Salmonella) or Staph (Stathopoulos 421) might become impervious to the medicaments and, as a result, cause severe consequences in the whole world. Moreover, not only animals, but also people feel the negative impacts of the animal violation at the factory farms. Meat and dairy from such facilities can cause such sicknesses as cancer, toxemia, obesity, ulcers and other maladies. Therefore, the products from the large warehouses and farms have a negative influence on both animal living and human society.
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Not surprisingly, animal rights are neglected. Huge cages, gestation crates and other confinement innovations are the vivid examples of the massive cruelty towards the creatures. In fact, there is no future for the animals except being killed and turned into the nourishment for humans. They are deprived of their natural right to raise the progeny, build nests or take part in the natural cycles. The only purpose of such creatures is slaughter. In addition, animals, living in the farms, experience permanent pains and physical sufferings. Their feelings and perceptions are neglected and the attitude towards them is rather pitiless. Being genetically altered and deprived of freedom, animals are the victims of the human consumption and the increasing hunger of the entire society. Thus, the rights of animals are despised and violated.
Such attitude to animals raises different questions that have ethical nature. It is widely acknowledged that the discrimination of animal rights brings into focus the fairness of such attitudes to some species. Peter Singer in his article dwells upon the notion of speciesism as a new form of discrimination. By means of comparison with the traditional forms of discrimination, Singer admits that imposing a threat towards certain species of animals is groundless and unsound, as well as criticizing black people from the perspective of white. The author of the article compares attitudes to different species with human racism and conforms to the restriction of animal rights violation. Thus, the main message of Singer’s article is to communicate the fact that all the animals have equal rights. The article’s purpose is to determine the status of every family stating that their rights are equal, that is why it is reasonable to protect every animal. Although Singer does not mention the ways of protection, his position is clear from the beginning to the end of the article.
In the context of the effects that factory farming exerts on the environment, it is necessary to highlight the problem of its contribution to global warming. Seemingly, researchers admit that “worldwide livestock farming generates 18% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions — by comparison, all the world’s cars, trains, planes and boats account for a combined 13% of greenhouse gas emissions” (Walsh n.p.). It can be explained by the high level of deforestation that is achieved due to the growing demand for space to raise animals. Thus, trees are cut owing to the people’s need in meat. According to Bryan Walsh, “the FAO estimates that some 70% of former forest cover has been converted for grazing” (n.p.). The author of the article “Meat: Making Global Warming Worse” brings into focus the observations of Pachauri, a Nobel Prize Winner in climate change. Undoubtedly, such direct impact on the environment is devastating, as in such context one may already speak of the threats to nature and people in particular, which increases the worries of the ecologists. Nevertheless, it is necessary to point out that animal agriculture also contributes to water pollution and water use.
Nowadays, it is widely acknowledged that animals should be protected from any violation that threats to affect their nature in a manner that results in negative consequences for their lives. Interestingly, Tom Regan, an advocate of animal rights, stands for the complete abolition of using animals for any purposes. The scholar’s main idea takes the stance of the assumption that “The fundamental wrong is the system that allows us to view animals as our resources” (Regan 13). Such point of view can be justified by the fact that animals have their own sensitive world susceptible to the environmental influences. In addition to the above-mentioned criteria, it is reasonable to highlight the social aspect of the matter. Obviously, the discrimination of animal rights can be compared to the discrimination of human beings. In this particular context, the harmony that should exist between the living beings is distorted.
Interestingly, one may observe that the violation of animal rights is viewed as an intrusion to the laws of nature. Apart from the societal and ethical remarks concerning animal rights, one should also mention the challenge of sustaining biodiversity. The changing nature of biodiversity can be explained by the assumption that people underestimate the rights of some animals for a living, regardless of domestic animals. Therefore, the notion of biodiversity gains a new meaning. Although such matter does not directly relate to the notion of biodiversity, there is an indirect impact that can be found in neglecting the rules of nature and deteriorating its state.
The conflicting view regarding the rights of the animals and their moral principles is held by Carl Cohen. The scholar defends the position of speciesism, claiming that the comparison between people and animals cannot be made due to the enormous differences that occur between the former and the latter. It is evident that the ecologist are not worried about the animal rights, they are concerned with the levels of consumption that increase a demand for meat, thus contributing to global warming. Therefore, the problem of animal rights acquires the status of irrelevance (Humane Society International, n.p.), while attention is mainly paid to the problem of excessive consumption which, in the opinion of environmentalists, is of greater importance.
However, it is reasonable to admit that animals deserve respect. Regan, in his later studies, attaches the highest importance to the attitudinal aspect. The author argues that “all our duties regarding animals are indirect duties to one another – to humanity” (Regan 1). Thus, Regan makes a conclusion that animals’ rights should not be violated.
Excessive consumption is believed to be an issue of tremendous significance because it contributes to the level of meat demand. Singer, enlarging upon the vegetarian philosophy, takes into account the meat industry: “[…] but the fact that I take the chicken from the freezer […] has something to do with the number of chickens the supermarket will order next week.” Although the author makes implications for vegetarianism, he does not see the solution that may reduce animal suffering. Radically oriented, Alice Walker dedicates her poem “Mother’s Day” to Mr. Novak, imagining that he becomes a chicken in his future life and develops the idea that the introduction to his life will be marked with ‘indiscernible pain.’ As she dwells upon the future of poor chickens that are fed inappropriately and designed to become meat, the author does not even assume that the reduction of excessive consumption may prevent factories from raising a huge amount of chickens. Such reduction may lessen animal suffering and the stress that occurs due to transporting, thus challenging the ethics of meat industry.
The functioning of the factory farms should be necessarily regulated. First of all, it is the task of authorities to prohibit the abuse and the mistreatments of the animals. The farms and other agricultural enterprises must act in accordance to the standards applied to the human society. As a result, the animal disrespect and the violation of their rights would be forbidden. Furthermore, the living conditions in the warehouses need to be fundamentally improved. In order to avoid the consequences of the animal abuse, the antibiotics and numerous medicaments should not be applied in the process of nurturing. Besides, the poisonous and unhealthy additives as soy or corn have to be excluded from the feeding routine. Such pets as cows, turkeys, goats, chicken, etc. naturally eat grass and other herbs, but not the chemical foodstuff. Consequently, the regulation of the factory farms’ activity is a critical element for the economic and social situation.
Nowadays, the violation of animal rights has reached the level of a great importance due to the reason that people have begun to raise animals for food, thus adding to their sufferings. Apart from animal sufferings, it is reasonable to admit that the daily work of the farm factories actually harm the environment in different ways. Undoubtedly, animal rights activists communicate such idea to the societies with the intention to diminish the devastating effects. Factory farms are considered to be the massive producers of meat and dairy. Simultaneously, such facilities threaten the stability and the overall state of the human civilization. Nowadays, the agricultural enterprises tend to neglect the animal living conditions. They apply various confinements to the existence of the creatures. Large cages and gestation crates, antibiotics and hormones, inappropriate nutrition, dirty, crowded lots and other factors play a decisive role in the aggravation of the situation. In addition, animals experience constant physical aches and mistreatments that have a negative impact on their lives. The direct environmental effect can be seen in animal agriculture’s contribution to global warming and water pollution. The factory farms should be regulated and their activity have to be taken under control. Therefore, despite being advantageous for the government, the farms encompass severe drawbacks and have to be maintained according to the better standards.
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