Animal Rights Research Paper
Michael Pollan - “Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to do it this way.” (447) Like Pollan, I agree that factory farming is inhumane and that animals deserve respect. Also similar to Pollan I think that people should be fighting for animal welfare instead of animal rights. Pollan though, never makes a strong argument for or against animal rights, which is where I would like to build on his statements, and support animal rights, to a point. For example, Peter Singer is too extreme for my liking, as he would like for us to stop eating meat altogether, but he does make some good points in support of animal rights that I do agree with. I believe that no matter what the end result of an animal’s life is, whether they be killed for food or die of natural causes, they do have a right to a decent life.
A factory farm is a large, industrial operation that raises large numbers of animals for food. Over 99% of farm animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, which focus on profit and efficiency at the expense of the animals welfare. Factory farms also endanger human health by waste runoff. Factory farms pollute the water, land and air in neighboring communities, endangering both human health and life. At the same time, these businesses consume massive quantities of resources including water and fossil fuels. Since factory farming has become very popular in todays culture the market for traditional farming products are diminishing. Factory farms are able to offer greater amount of food in cheaper price with low cost, traditional farmers are out competed as they can never have business like factory farms. They have to afford relatively higher operation cost due to their smaller scale of business that their products are more expensive. This resulting in traditional farmers cannot sustain their business or even earn a living.
Why do animals deserve to live a good life? According to Steven McMullen, animals are supposed to live in a certain way that God intended. If we abuse animals to lower the price of their meats in the market, then it would be against God’s intentions. McMullen, though a vegetarian, understands that in this world, people are going to eat meat and states, “Even animals owned, and killed for food and sacrifice, were treated in a way that recognized that their lives brought glory to God.” (McMullen, Perspectives Journal). A problem with McMullen’s theory is that not everyone believes in God, but we do not have to in order to understand that animals can be treated morally wrong.
Another reason animals deserve to live a good life is because they, like humans, can feel pain and suffer. Peter Singer, an atheist, bases his argument that animals should have rights off of the fact that they can suffer. It is obvious that animals can suffer and feel pain, to ignore this in order to produce an expensive, supposedly tastier veal, or any food from animals, would be immoral. Unless a person is completely heartless he will feel bad if he sees an animal living a terrible life. This feeling of guilt or sadness to an animal should justify that they have a right to a decent life. When it comes to factory farming, I think Michael Pollan gives a very strong statement when he talks about what we would think if we were able to see what is going on inside the factory walls. If guilt comes over a person for seeing this, then we can make the assumption that it is morally wrong to do so. In today’s factory farms, animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and confined to wire cages, gestation crates, barren dirt lots, and other cruel confinement systems. These animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests, or do anything that is natural and important to them. Most won’t even feel the sun on their backs or breathe fresh air. When