Animal welfare regulations have been around for many years. They're put in place with the goal to reduce the suffering of animals who are bred and killed for the products humans consume. Whether it's chickens having an extra cm of space in their cage or cows being stunned before having their throats slit. Animal welfare regulations are there for the benefit of animals... right?
No. Animal welfare regulations do not benefit animals. They benefit humans. Meat, dairy and egg companies have no interest in the welfare of animals. If they did, they wouldn't be exploiting them for profit. They do however, have an interest in marketing their products in the best way possible. In other words, putting out the myth that you can “humanely” exploit animals. “Happy meat” “happy eggs”. I'm sure you've seen these labelled products in your supermarket.
Even the SSPCA are fans of the humane myth. An organisation that people think of as protecting animals gives its stamp of approval to businesses that use them, abuse them and kill them: Scottish meat plants gain Scottish SPCA accreditation. In 2012 Rhinds of Elgin, part of Dunbia, were accredited by the SSPCA:
"Raymond Wight, General Manager at Dunbia, said: “Assurance and welfare are a top priority for our customers. The accreditation now enables their products to carry a clearly understood guarantee of world class welfare standards.” In other words, this stamp of approval will tell people it's ok to eat the flesh of these animals and any qualms they might have about that, which could otherwise have led them to think it was wrong, will be set aside.
"Raymond Wight, General Manager at Dunbia says, High welfare standards lead to happy, unstressed animals which in turn produce prime, healthy and tasty meats, giving our customers an unrivalled eating experience.” People want to buy the myth.
The meat, dairy and egg industries benefit from welfare regulations. Sick, damaged animals make for poorer quality products and cost them more on vet bills.
Standard practices in the meat and dairy industry are considered “higher welfare" approved. Chickens who are farmed have their beaks clipped to stop them pecking the other chickens (something they do due to stress and being in a confined area) Beak Trimming.
Pigs have their tails docked to stop other pigs chewing them (again something they do in a confined space). FAWC.
Cows have their horns removed, again to stop damage. When animals are in an unnatural, stressful environment, they act in ways they wouldn't ordinarily and cause harm to themselves and others around them. These mutilations of their bodies are done to stop harm, but not for the good of the animals, only for the true purpose of benefiting the human who breeds them and sends them to slaughter. NADIS.
This happens in Scotland. Don't kid yourself that these practices are not used here just because you see some animals in fields. Below is a photo I took of some cows I walk past when walking my dog. They'd not long been put in that field and looked quite young. Blood was dripping down from the gap where their horns should be.
Consumers want to have their chicken and eat it. They want to feel what they’re buying is an ethical choice, that their purchase is not causing harm to animals. How can you possibly argue that you care for the welfare of animals while eating their dead body or drinking the milk meant for their baby?
Even if animals were treated well, they had an incredibly happy life, all of their basic needs were met, would that make it morally justifiable that we use them and slaughter them? Of course not. If I said to you I was going to kill my dog because I wanted to eat his flesh would it be ok because he's lived the best life I can provide for him? Of course not and it's not morally justifiable to use any living being in that way.
So what's the only way to ensure that your purchase is not causing harm to animals? Go vegan. Plain and simple. Don't buy into welfare regulations, happy meat, happy eggs, happy milk. It's all a myth. If you're vegan, don't praise people for buying free range eggs or organic meat, encourage them to go vegan. Give them the link to our web site where they'll find all the info they need to get started. We have so many options. There is no valid excuse not to do it.