2022 marks the 75th year of India’s independence. India celebrates her independence on the 15th of August each year since 1947. This day is not only recognized in India but the world over as the establishment of the largest democracy in the world – a testimony to the establishment of a free nation, a celebration of human freedom, and the victory of the Indian spirit.
As India steps into a phenomenal 75th year of Independence, it is time for us as Indians to re-question and rethink the meaning of the words “Independence” and “Freedom”. Let this day not be just contained to thinking that it is only humans that deserve Independence and that only the human spirit yearns to be free. Let this day not be just contained to thinking that atrocities are not still being committed in the country.
Indian animals are still bound to serve humans and are not given the independence they deserve. Animals too seek independence, and their spirits too yearn for freedom. Atrocities are committed against farmed animals even to this day in this supposedly free country.
Massive factory farms are designed to cage farm animals to meet our dairy and meat demands. These farms produce large volumes of products. Factory farming uses techniques to keep animals alive and productive in small cages and under extreme conditions. Such operations compromise on the food, water, and shelter given to the animals and artificially inject animals with hormones to produce large quantities of animal products for human consumption at cheap rates.
How does factory farming affect animals?
Factory farms subject animals to continuous confinement and cruel practices which are harmful to them. The animals on such farms are considered property and are treated like machines instead of the sentient, emotional beings they are.
- Animals are subjected to a lifetime of extreme confinement. The animals are tied and are not given enough space to move. They are forced to sit or stand in their own feces and urine, which can lead to disease and infection.
- Farm animals like hens and pigs are confined indoors in cages. Hens that produce eggs are confined to small wire cages with no space to move. The birds cannot even spread their wings properly. Female pigs or breeding sows are forced into gestation crates or cages as big as their bodies after they give birth.
- Mothers are brutally separated from their young ones and cannot nourish them. The male animals are left to die or are slaughtered as they are not productive and can be expensive to feed and sustain.
- Hens on factory farms undergo torture like debeaking. Chicks that are a few hours old are subjected to a debeaking machine. It cuts off the chick’s upper and lower beak to prevent birds from pecking each other. The birds get frustrated and stressed out in cages and peck at each other causing injury and death to other birds. However, mutilation like debeaking causes long-term pain in the birds.
- Factory farms inject the animals with hormones and genetically manipulate the animals so they grow big and produce more to increase profits.
- Once the animals can no longer serve the factory farm, they are transported to slaughterhouses in confined, ill-ventilated trucks. If the animals survive the transport, they are slaughtered in brutal ways.
- The throat of the cows is slit and their bodies are dismembered.
- Fish are slaughtered by a blow to the head or by leaving them outside water.
- Chickens’ throats are slit and they are thrown in bins where they languish in pain for several minutes before they die.
Such practices make one wonder about the meaning of rights and freedom to live. As humans, we pride ourselves on our sentience and consciousness while failing to acknowledge that the helpless animals feel and sense the world just like we do.
As we celebrate our independence, let us keep our animals in mind and pledge to give them the rights and compassion they deserve. We can do this by spreading awareness about animal rights and choosing a plant-based diet to put an end to factory farming atrocities.