Animal welfare is affected by many different factors. As we all know most of the time it is human ignorance and animals not being provided with all the essential things that they need. It is important to understand what an animal needs before choosing to look after one. In the UK e use animals for different other than as just pets and there are different opinions on how they are treated and look after. So what is it we need to understand? Animals are used for commercial purposes including meat productions, dairy production, clothing production etc.
They are also used for working purposes including in the military, assistance, police, and transportation. Animals play a major role in human culture and are often seen like things like the media (adverts and in television programmes), sports and animals also mean different things to people from different religions. This article will talk abut a few different examples each different category and how they can impact on animal welfare and what we can do to try and improve it.
Commercial: As mentioned above, animals are used for many different things including meat, dairy, wool, leather and silk. Meat production: Why are animals used in meat production? Animals contain the majority of the essential amino acids that we must consume I order to remain healthy. Red meats like beef are also enriched with minerals like iron which is essential for producing haemoglobin which is a major part of red blood cell, which also carries oxygen around the body. Meat also contains a lot of protein which we need for repair, growth and maintenance of cells. Although we can live without eating meat it can be difficult to balance foods out for a correct diet. Choosing not to eat meat as a vegetarian or vegan may mean that your are more prone to developing deficiencies or taking vitamins tablets to keep your levels up. What happens during the meat production process? Although many, like myself, do not like to think about what animals go through living on meat production farms and in the slaughterhouse, it still happens everyday. Fortunately, there are some laws and regulations in place to prevent animal suffering. Here is a list of methods that the RSPCA has listed that are used to slaughter animals: Stunning: penetrating bolt, electrical stunning, gas. Sticking. POULTRY ONLY: They are also slaughtered using electric stunning and gassing but in a slightly different way. Penetrating bolt: What is it? This is where a metal bolt/rod is shot from a gun into he head of a large farm animal including cows, certain breeds of pig and also sheep. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method: Pros ConsIt is painless. They die instantly (no suffering). It is the most humane way of killing them according to most people. Electrical stunning: What is it? This method is also used on large animals where a big set of metal tongs pass an electrical pulse through the head to the brain which renders them unconscious. This does not kill them but allows them to be killed painlessly while asleep. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method: Pros Cons They can be killed painlessly while they are unconscious. They will fall under instantly meaning they will only feel minimal pain. They may wake up before they are slaughtered. They can still feel a little pain before hand. It is an unnecessary step and can cause suffering if it does not work properly. It can also be used o the heart instead which will kill them instantly. Gassing: What is it? This is more commonly used on pigs rather than other animals and they are subjected to a compound of gases until they stop breathing. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method: Pros Cons Animals may choke/suffocate to death if the correct gases are not used. (not protected from suffering ” animal welfare act). They are not subjected to pain from sticking or electric stuns. Sticking: What is it? Sticking is the second phase after they have been stunned by electrical stunning. This method is more barbaric than the last three whereby a live animal is hoisted up (shackled as it is commonly known) by the leg (back/hind) and the throat of the animal is slit. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method: Pros ConsNot many people will say that there are any positives of this method but they are slit in a specific place so that the correct blood vessels mean they bed out quickly rather than slowly. It is painful. Being held up by the leg is painful and causes unnecessary stress in the animals final moments. How is electrical stunning used on poultry? Poultry birds mainly include chickens, ducks, turkeys etc. These birds are hoisted up to a conveyer belt contraction by their legs. As they move along this belt their heads are dunked on top of water with an electrical current passing through it. The circuit reacts to the metal of the shackles on the legs which stuns the bird electrically. After this they are moved along further to an automatic neck cutter which slices through the necks blood vessels. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method: Pros Cons They are stunned before the necks are cut so they will not feel their necks being cut. Shackles cause them pain. Being hung upside down stresses the animals. They my wake up before hey re killed. How is gassing used on poultry? Poultry birds are moved to slaughter houses in wooden crates. They are put in a gas room still in these crates of gases. Here they are subjected to different gases until they pass away. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this method: Pros ConsMost of the birds are killed this way instead of stunning in the UK. They may suffocate to death if the incorrect gases are used. )this causes suffering as they cannot breathe). How could these methods be improved? Large animals: based on all the information provided by the RSPCA a it may be more beneficial for all large animals to be slaughtered using the bolt method. This method seems to be the most humane method as it kills them instantly and they will not know the stress or the fear that they would being stunned or shackled. Poultry: Although gassing is still a little inhumane, it is the best way to slaughter poultry birds and this is why the UK has now moved over to this method more so than the stunning. It is not painful like the electrical stunning and throat cutting. It prevents excessive animal suffering and although some may put up more of a fight they should go unconscious and stop breathing whilst they are under, thus going peacefully and unknowingly. 35 mins. Clothing: Animals that are killed for their meat can also be used for producing clothes. A few examples are leather (cows skin), wool (sheep), cashmere, and fur from other types of animals. What is cashmere? Cashmere is an extremely popular form of clothing that is commonly made in china that is made from goats fur. How does it affects he welfare of the animals? Acquiring cashmere from goats can cause emotional distress and there are two main methods of getting the coat. The main method used is shearing. First of all, it is known that the goats fur is what keeps them warm and protected from form harsh weathers. cashmere is the bottom coat of the goat called the undercoat and when it is removed it can cause the animals to be more open to illness and disease. What happens in shearing? Shearing is a method where electronic hand held cutters are used to shave off the coat. This particular method can cause huge amounts of stress due to shear force from humans trying to keep the animal down. Also, the sound of the shears can panic them as it is not a noise they are used to everyday. There can also be physical damage caused by the sheers. As the experience isn’t an everyday occurrence for them it is normal for them to want to get away form it but extra weight trying to hold them down in an awkward position can be quite intimidating and shocking . the sound is incredibly loud as well. Cuts can occur simply from the sheer brutality of the farmers. Although they may be trying to get it done as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of time that the goats is being put under stress, some may not care and will shave the goats quickly and irrationally because they cannot be bothered t do the job appropriately and do t as carefully as they can without prolonging how long the animal is there for. This lack of care can allow infection to get into the wounds and this does not meet the regulations in the animal welfare act 2006, to protect all animals from pain, injury suffering and disease. This does not meet this legislation because the lack of care will have caused an animal to become unwell. However, despite all the concerns for animal welfare, cashemere is a highly anticipated material of clothing which means cashmere farmers will have as teady source of income which may result in them looking after their animals better in the future. Leather: Leather comes from the skin of cows. The welfare concerns for this type of material is still reasonably bad but unlike cashmere goats they are not being raised purely for the skins. The skin of a cow is only souurced after a cow has been slaughtered for its meat. This is a lot better than raising two different sets of cow for different means and causing more pollution from excessive farming and animals losing their lives. Once an animal has been used for its meat the skin is taken and transported somewhere else where it will be treated and dyed for human use. The only concern regarding animal welfare is the way in which they were kept and slaughtered. This area of the article ahs already been explored, please see page () for the information. This is only a few examples of farms using animals for their clothing products but normal meat farms are unable to produce fur. Fur: A lot of different animals are used in producing fur. It has been predicted that thirty five animals die to make one item of fur clothing, e.g. coats or hoods. There are two different types of methods to obtain fur and these are: fur farming and capturing. Fur farming: fur farms are quite barbaric and every year it is guessed that 30 to 50 million animals are raised and unlawfully killed. This is not unlike puppy farming where the animals are continuously bred for their fur but instead of being sold they are killed. A lot of different animals furs are used including those from squirrels, chinchillas and foxes. How does fur farming affect animal welfare? Animals on these farms are kept in appalling conditions. They are seen in tiny cages meaning they can hardly move and have no access to clean food and water. they will also be living in their own excrement and these tiny cages often lead to abnormal behaviours like self mutilation, excessive vocallisstion, and biting the bars of the cage (trying to get out). Being housed in small cages sometimes means that there is an increased risk of spreading disease’s there have been many reports and eye witness accounts about how barbaric method used to kill the animals do not meet correct welfare regulations. Examples of these methods include: electrocution, gassing, poisoning (strychnine which paralyses the muscles causing painful cramps) and breaking of the necks. The barbaric truth of it is that animals in countries where animal welfare is not considered are skinned alive. What method is the most humane? Gassing may be one of the most humane ways as the animals should just feel like they are falling sleep before passing while they are under meaning they are completely un aware. On illegal fur farms painful gases may be used causing suffocation rather than peacefully passing. Euthanasia may be better and although it may be more expensive if animals were killed in a more humane way, more people may start to buy fur products therefore meaning they can pay for the euthanasia. Capturing: Animals are captured using traps and most of these traps are hidden in the ground. They will snap on the feet of an animal walking over with painful, sharp metal rods. They can often be left for days and if they survive dehydration, starvation and infection from the wounds caused by the trap, they will be transferred to a fur farm and put into a cage of possibly the poorest conditions before they are killed. wild animals naturally roam to find food, water and mates and while they may go few days without food, in the cage they are more than likely to never get any because there isn’t enough room. They will start to behave abnormally because they cannot exhibit natural behaviours like digging or hunting. Not having a suitable diet, suitable environment, not being able to exhibit natural behaviours and not being protected from pain injury suffering and disease does not met the animal welfare act regulations meaning that fur farms are one of the most immoral and barbaric businesses to go into. 30 minutes. Working 19.12 Working animals are used to help humans in different scenarios. There are different types of work that animals can go into including: assistance (guide dogs and hearing dogs), sniffer/detection dogs, police, military and transportation. We mainly use working animals for our own benefit as their intelligence and strength are far beyond our own and can help us with things we are unable to do. Labradors a used as guide dogs because they are highly intelligent and are good at remembering their training. They have lovable family temperament which means they are okay to be around people of all different ages. Detection dogs: Detection dogs are mainly used in airports when hey are used to sniff out any illegal substances lie drugs, alcohol and even foods that are not allowed to come into the country. They are now also being trained to detect people coming into countries illegally on ships and lorries. Some dogs may accidentally consume drugs which can make them seriously ill. We use detection dogs by taking them through bagging areas of airports and they are trained to either sit or bark when they think they have found something. As a reward, the dogs are given their favourite toy to play with. What welfare problems re there? Dogs may not be fed before they start duties to reduce the risk of them defecating or urinating on other peoples luggage. People my this as the dogs are being starved in order to get them to work but in actual fact it is way of stopping contamination. If dogs are being used to detect people, they may become frightened and attack the dog and potentially fatally harming it. The dogs are meant to be protected from pain and an incident like this may prevent them from working in the future and losing their lives. If dogs are being used to detect bombs in luggage, their lives, unbeknownst to them are in constant danger because if thy do encounter a bomb they could accidentally set it off or it could already be waiting to go off any second, which can instantly kill the dog. Dogs do not go for job interviews like people do and do not have a choice on what lie of work they go into, and based o their intelligence they are assigned a job without the dangers involved. How can they be improved? Although dogs are provided with a bullet proof vest, it cannot protect explosive detection dogs from a blast meaning that it may be beneficial to try and find a way of protecting them to minimise the risk of dogs dying in the field. With regards to feeding, all the dogs are loved and very well looked after by their handler and once the shift is over, all the dogs are fed and interacted with. 12 mins. Culture: Cultural activities using animals include: media, sport, leisure and religious beliefs. Animals used in sports have had a sketchy past with animals being used in a mixture of keisure and sport activities like dog fighting and fox hunting. Nowadays activities a=have now been banned and fox hunting comes under the hunting act which make sure anyone who is caused hunting foxes is punished udder the hunting act regulation. Sports that are around today include hhorse racing, dog racing etc.Racing dogs: Racing dogs are greyhounds. Grey hounds are actually bred specifically for racing and it is good that some of them go to loving homes than enter the life of a racing dog because what goes on behind the scene isn’t as good as it seems. Greyhounds instinctively love to run and businessmen play on this. They train them to run after a pretend rabbit on the track and also give them live rabbits to entice them to chase and eat them, making them wanting to chase the automatic one on the day of a race. Although this amy not seem so bad, the grey hounds are also treated pretty badly. Greyhounds are bought as puppies and each dog I tested and if one is being bullied by the others is unwilling to race or is even too slow, they will be killed. When they are killed, they are not euthanised as all dogs must be legally. Instrad they are killed using the penetrative bolt like they use of meat farm animals. Most of the time this is not done correctly either and rather than dying instantly they suffer before they pass. This is done because it is a cheaper alternative to euthanasia and it measn racers can keep making prfits from the dogs that are of use than keep paying put them down. Also, it ahs become apparent that 24 hours before a race the dogs are not fed. This does not meet the need for asuitable diet because all animals must be fed unless advised by a vet in regards to their health. Ti is meant to make them want to hase the target evem more to eat it. Finally, to peven them using up all their energy the day before, they are put into cages to prevent them moving as much so that when they are released on the racing track thyeuse all their pent up energy to try and win the race. How can this situation be altered to improved animal welfare? Rather han shooting dogs that are of less use, owners could try to sell them as pets. This means that they can make more money to buy better things for their dogs that do well to give them a better lifestyle and diet. They also wont have to buy the bolts they use to shoot them which saves more money. The methods they are using now are not as effective as some believe. Rather than keeping them in cages, they should keep the indoors and as greyhounds are quite affectionate dogs they will happily lay and sleep with their owner all night ” this being if they are not scared of them because of trauma they have experienced as a racing dog e.g. watching other dogs die or being beaten to toughen the up. Greyhounds should not be starved to get better results. All dogs racing should be fed as that will make it a fair race because they are running at their normal pace rather than being neglected to make them run after food. Being fed early the day before may be better than starving them all together. Greyhound racing however, is a majorly poplar leisure sport for humans. It creates an atmosphere where everybody is excited to see what the outcome is going to be and how the dog they have betted on is going to perform. The racing itself is a good sport to watch and im sure animal lovers love t see the dogs even before they are racing because all the dogs are beautiful but the atmosphere behind the scenes is not as luxurious as it is made out to be.