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Independence Day: A Quest for Animal Liberation

By Sylvie Abate for Artists & Activists for Animal Rights

As we gather to celebrate Independence Day, a time that honors freedom and the pursuit of happiness, it is essential to extend our reflections beyond human experiences. This occasion provides an opportunity to consider the plight of animals confined in factory farms, living lives devoid of liberty and natural behaviors. Just as we cherish our independence, we should also advocate for the liberation all human and non-human beings, recognizing their intrinsic value and right to a life free from suffering. Discrimination against non-human beings perpetuates systems where animals are subjected to confinement, exploitation, and suffering without regard for their intrinsic value. Animals are sentient beings capable of experiencing pain, fear, pleasure, and emotional bonds. Their capacity to suffer is akin to our own, necessitating ethical consideration and compassion. “The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but rather, Can they suffer?” 

 ― Jeremy Bentham



Understanding Their Plight


  1. Physical Confinement: Factory farm animals are often confined in filthy, overcrowded cramped spaces, cages, or pens, severely restricting their movement and natural behaviors. They are deprived of the space to roam, forage, or interact freely with others of their kind.

  2. Artificial Insemination: In factory farms, most female animals are subjected to repeated forced artificial insemination throughout their lives until their bodies can no longer endure the physical trauma.

  3. Maternal Deprivation: In factory farms, female animals are subjected to the profound distress of maternal deprivation. Shortly after giving birth, their babies are taken away, robbing them of the chance to nurture and bond with their offspring. This practice, driven by the demands of production and profitability, causes immense emotional suffering heard in the bellowing of female cows for their young. Natural maternal behaviors, such as protecting their young, are forcefully denied, leaving a void that can never be filled.

  4. Gestation and Farrowing Crates: Pregnant sows in factory farms are typically confined in gestation crates, which are so small that they prevent the sow from even turning around. Similarly, farrowing crates confine nursing sows and piglets, severely limiting their movements and natural maternal behaviors.

  5. Physical Mutilations: Animals in factory farms often endure painful physical mutilations such as branding, dehorning, ear notching, and castration, frequently performed without pain relief or anesthesia. These procedures are conducted solely for human convenience and profitability, disregarding the animals' pain and well-being.

  6. Lack of Natural Environments: Factory farm environments lack natural elements and stimuli essential for animals' physical and psychological health. Animals are deprived of basic necessities: access to sunlight, fresh air, and opportunities to engage in behaviors inherent to their species, such as grazing or rooting in soil.

Aligning Values with Action

This Independence Day, let us take meaningful steps to align our actions with our values of justice and compassion. You can have a profound impact on the lives of animals. By opting for plant-based foods, together, we can end factory-farming and support a more humane and sustainable food system. Plant-based diets offer a variety of delicious and nutritious options that promote health and well-being while aligning with ethical values that respect and protect animals.

Envisioning a Compassionate Future

Imagine a future where animal liberation is not just an aspiration but a reality – where all sentient beings are treated with dignity, respect, and compassion. By challenging systems of exploitation and embracing ethical alternatives, we can contribute to a world where every being, human and non-human alike, experiences true freedom and independence.

This Independence Day, let us honor the principles of freedom and justice by extending these principles to encompass the well-being of all who share our planet.


 

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