November 20th, 2009
THROUGHOUT the month of November there are numerous White Ribbon Day
functions being held around Australia. I would like to propose that we
introduce another ribbon day, Red Ribbon Day.
Whereas White Ribbon Day is aimed at stopping violence to women, Red Ribbon Day would be aimed at stopping violence to animals.
Now, when I say animals, I'm referring mainly to farmed animals because these are the animals abused in the greatest numbers.
Every year more than 55 billion cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, and other
sentient land animals have their blood violently shed in the world's
slaughterhouses, hence the significance of the colour red.
What are your thoughts on this story?
Slaughterhouse workers attest that many animals on the assembly line are still conscious and blinking while the cutters are dismembering them. ``They die,'' one worker affirmed, ``piece by piece''.
Likewise, many chickens and pigs enter the scalding tanks fully conscious.
Now, even before these hapless animals reach the slaughterhouse the majority will have been subjected to a lifetime of violence.
Chickens will have had their beaks agonisingly burned off with lasers or red hot blades. Pigs will have had their tails and testicles cut off with knives. Sheep will have had a large section of skin sliced from their buttocks with shears and cows will have been agonisingly dehorned or branded.
The severe and inhumane way farm animals are confined also causes immense psychological and physical pain. Most are reared in large windowless, sheds euphemistically referred to as intensive ``farms''.
Believe me, these places bear no similarity whatsoever to the farms in our childhood story books. In these new age farms, sows are confined in body-hugging metal and concrete pens in which they can't even turn around or take more than one step forward. All they can do is chew on the metal bars in front of them and many go insane with grief.
Chickens are crowded into sheds that may hold 30,000 birds. As they grow, their floor space increasingly shrinks until they can barely move and the ammonia laden air burns their eyes and lungs.
Because they are deliberately bred to gain weight at an abnormally fast rate, many birds are crippled and in chronic pain by the time they reached slaughter weight.
Battery hens are locked inside cages in which they can't even stretch their wings and most live with broken bones due to calcium depletion caused by constant egg laying.
On White Ribbon Day we remember those women who were the innocent and defenceless victims of abuse. These farmed animals, too, are the innocent and defenceless victims of abuse _ so let's bring on Red Ribbon Day and help usher in a more humane world.
_ Jenny Moxham is an animal rights activist.