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Scientific evidence that farmed animals experience emotions, from pleasure to suffering, is already recognised by the European Union.
Yet factory farms continue to cage or tether millions of animals in barren conditions, treating them like machines on a production line.
High welfare farmers rear farm animals according to the ‘five freedoms’, a set of science-based farming principles set out by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council:
Factory farmed animals experience few, if any of these. Unremitting suffering is an ingredient of all factory farmed meat and dairy products.
Intensive egg production, Colombia
Three quarters of all egg-laying hens are confined in cramped cages, with 4-5 other hens in a cage.
A caged hen will never stretch her wings, never go outside, walk or peck the ground. She is prevented from laying eggs in a nest.
A third of her beak is removed to stop her pecking the other hens crammed in around her. Lack of exercise will make her bones brittle and liable to snap.
A factory farmed breeding sow is restrained for her whole life, caged in a stall so narrow she cannot turn round. She may also be tethered by a short chain.
She suffers from weak bones, wasted muscles, heart damage, cuts and abrasions and severe frustration. Poor air quality causes lung infections and other respiratory problems.
In many countries, pigs for fattening are kept indoors in overcrowded, filthy pens with concrete or slatted floors. There is often little natural light.
Prevented from expressing their natural behaviour, such as rooting around and exploring, the pigs often resort to biting each others’ tails.
Factory farms respond with tooth-clipping and tail-docking, mutilations which are usually carried out without anaesthetic and often lead to prolonged pain.
There are clear alternatives to factory farming. WSPA is working on the Model Farm Project in partnership with FAI, to offer a practical demonstration of cruelty free and cost-effective farming practices in parts of the world where industrial farming is growing most rapidly.
You can help WSPA end factory farming by choosing high welfare food.