Despite the common belief that drinking milk or eating eggs does not kill animals, commercially-raised dairy cows and egg-laying chickens, factory-farmed or free range, are slaughtered when their production rates decline. (1) The same factory farm methods that are used to produce most meats are also used to produce most milk and eggs. (2) These cows and chickens live their short lives caged, drugged, mutilated, and deprived of their most basic freedoms.
As with any mammal, cows produce milk only when pregnant and stop after their calves have been weaned. When a dairy cow delivers a female calf, the calf becomes a dairy cow herself, born to live in the same conditions as her mother. But when a dairy cow delivers a male calf, the calf is sold to a veal farm within days of birth, where he is tethered to a stall, deprived of food and exercise, and soon slaughtered for meat. (6) Since it is unprofitable to keep cows alive once their milk production declines, life is only a few years longer for dairy cows, and are usually slaughtered at 5 years of age. (7) Thus, a cow’s normal lifespan of 25 years is cut 20 years short just to cut costs and maximize production.
On U.S. farms, an average of 7 egg-laying hens spend their entire lives in a battery cage with a floor area the size of a vinyl record cover. (3) Living on wire floors that deform their feet, in
cages so tiny they cannot stretch their wings, and covered with excrement from cages above them, these chickens suffer lameness, bone disease, and obsessive pecking, which is curbed by searing the beaks off young chicks. (4) Although chickens can live up to fifteen years, they are usually slaughtered when their egg production rates decline after two years. Hatcheries have no use for male chicks, so they are killed by suffocation, decapitation, gassing or crushing. (5)
Today’s farms are not like the ones most of us learned about in school; they are mechanized factories where an animal’s welfare is of little concern compared to profit. Veganism emerges as the lifestyle most consistent with the philosophy that animals are not ours to use.
To see more pictures of factory farming, visit Farm Sanctuary’s FactoryFarming.com.
To see factory farming videos, visit our video page.