Animals are sentient beings. They feel emotions, can suffer, and their lives matter to them.
People are animals, too, so it should come as no surprise that, like us, other animals can experience pleasure and joy, despair and fear, and a host of other emotions, too. And like us, animals want to eat, live and raise their young without being harmed. But the mass production of animals harms them in more ways than we often acknowledge.
There is, of course, the physical pain, of teeth and tails being clipped, horns burned off and ear tags puncturing flesh, but there is also the overwhelming suffering of life spent in a cage, or standing on broken bones, or having milk taken through infected teats. And all this is routine on British farms.
What of the emotional toll? The dairy cow who grieves for her young, as calf by calf they are taken from her so that their milk can be sold for human consumption. The hen who is not permitted to keep her eggs, let alone hatch out her chicks, and can only watch as they roll away. The ewe and her lamb bleating for one another, long after the young sheep has been sent away for fattening.
It is worth noting that of the top ten UK counties with the highest numbers of intensively raised farmed animals, two are right here in Northern Ireland--County Antrim and County Tyrone. The number of intensive farms have exploded across the UK but especially in Northern Ireland, with an increase of 68% in pig and poultry factory farms since 2011. Of course, animal agriculture is never humane, but life is even worse for intensively-raised animals.
Being vegan is being kind. And isn’t that the sort of world we want?