It’s Time to Ban Factory Farm Ghost Ships

By Erik Marcus

Sixty thousand chickens were found dead this week at a North Carolina factory farm, a result of a failed generator powering the facility’s ventilation system. This sort of tragedy is totally preventable, and, as we’ll see, the owners of this farm ought to be criminally prosecuted.

It’s also far from the first time an equipment failure has killed thousands of animals—a similar incident killed 3800 pigs less than a year ago. So let’s look the causes behind these tragedies, and what it would take to keep another incident like this from ever occurring.

One of the points I regularly make in my writing is that while factory farming is loaded with horrific cruelties, very little of it is a result of outright sadism. Instead, nearly all the pain and suffering that farmed animals endure is a result of efforts made by factory farms to cut costs to the bone. It turns out that many of these cost-cutting practices entail the infliction of great amounts of suffering.

We see the link between cost cutting and animal suffering in veal crates, battery cages, and gestation crates—which allow factory farms to pack the most possible animals into a single facility. We see it again in practices like tail docking, beak searing, and dehorning: these painful mutilations are performed to reduce injuries that occur when animals are overcrowded. And we see it yet again at slaughter: the horror stories that regularly emerge about birds and pigs being dropped into scald tanks or butchered alive have everything to do with packing plants that rush slaughter in an effort to minimize labor costs.

All of the above examples are well-known to anyone who has spent any time learning about factory farming. But, as with each of the above items, this week’s death of 60,000 chickens likewise has its roots in industry cost cutting.

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3 responses to “It’s Time to Ban Factory Farm Ghost Ships

  1. Well said Erik. Thanx for reminding us that we can never stop agitating for CAFO reform. My daily prayer before a Bl. Virgin Mary statue is that the CAFOs will be dismantled. Your posts and the work of animal right groups like Mercy for Animals, Farm Sanctuary and others hopefully will cause people to demand change. Just today on CARE 2 I saw two great posts – “Abolish Meat? A Worldwide Campaign” and “Harvard Study: High Protein Diets Can Kill.”
    Keep on telling like it is. Hopefully, the truth will sink in one day. Hopefully, we will have churches which teach compassion to animals. Hopefully, we will have more responsible legislators to change the way we raise our animals and grow our food. Big is not better.

  2. I’m an ex-confinment employee, and I guarantee you no one will work in these places for minimum wage, they always pay more. It’s smelly and hard physical work, and not many local people willing to do it.

    I also do dehorn and casterate my cattle, for MY safety’s sake. There are humane ways to have it done.

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