Graffiti artist Banksy released a powerful video that showcases one of the cruel aspects of factory farming. Watch his video, “Sirens of the Lambs,” here:
Banksy uses stuffed animals to highlight the horror of animals being trucked off to slaughter. You wouldn’t think that stuffed animals could make your heart break, but this video is definitely emotional.
Have you ever gotten stuck behind a truck hauling chickens or cows to slaughter? I’ve been behind chicken trucks many times, and it is a heartbreaking sight. They cram those poor, living birds into the back the way that you or I might shove clothing into an overstuffed suitcase when packing for a trip.
If you’re close enough, you can see the fear in those birds’s eyes. They can’t turn around – they can barely move at all – and they are terrified.
The Banksy video touches on the cruelty of animal agriculture, but it doesn’t begin on that truck ride.
Those animals crammed into trucks like Banksy depicts didn’t start out on an idyllic farm, eating grass and frolicking in the sun. The conditions on factory farms are just as bad as on that truck. They live in painfully close quarters surrounded by the smell of their own and their neighbor’s urine and feces.
Animal abuse is also rampant on these farms. Some of the abuse involves workers harming animals in ways that are illegal, and some is business as usual. Here are a couple of examples:
- Because birds living in such cramped conditions often peck each other, a common practice in animal agriculture is “debeaking.” Debeaking pretty much is what it says it is. Workers use a large, round cutter to chop off the ends of the birds’s beaks, so that they can’t peck each other.
- Pigs living in such confined conditions can get infections around their tails, which is why it’s common for workers to cut their tails off. Since they don’t consider these animals living beings, they don’t often bother with costly painkillers before procedures like these.
Practices like these are the reasons that lobbyists in agriculture-intensive states want to enact so-called “ag-gag laws.” These laws prohibit undercover investigators to record or photograph anything on a factory farm. When consumers get a glimpse of how their meat is really produced, they demand change. The solution? Don’t let them see.
Animal Antibiotics: The Most Dangerous Piece of the Puzzle
Even if the animal cruelty and lack of transparency on factory farms don’t concern you, there is one issue with meat production that is harming your health whether you eat meat or not: animal antibiotics.
Workers at these facilities give their animals what’s known as “subcutaneous” doses of antibiotics, which is not only bad for the animals but it’s bad for public health. Subcutaneous antibiotics are administered on a regular basis not to fight infection but to make the animals grow larger and to prevent infections from the horrific conditions that they live in.
Antibiotic abuse on farms is so rampant and so harmful to public health that environmental groups have even taken the FDA to court for allowing this dangerous practice to continue. Have you seen reports of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals? Animal agriculture is part of the problem. This constant use of antibiotics is breeding superbugs that don’t respond to antibiotics.