Essay, Research Paper: Animal Suffering


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When you go out to eat and look at your thick and juicy T-bone steak what
do you think about? When you look at that gorgeous mink coat in the department
store what is going through your mind? When you here that cigarette smoke causes
cancer in lab animals what is the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are
that in each of these cases you were not thinking about how the cow suffered
while it was being fattened up, ho painful the trap was that caught those mink,
or the conditions those lab animals hat to endure to develop that cancer. Most
people do not think about these things. However, in this paper, you will be
enlightened on the pain and suffering of animals in three different industries
and you will also hear from the other side of this issue. First, one of the
biggest culprits of animal suffering is the animal food industry. This is an
industry in which people have a tendency to block out or ignore the animal
mistreatment; this is done by disassociating oneself with the direct harm and
ignoring the indirect harm (Harnack 133). A good start under this example in the
case of pigs. Normally, pigs are intelligent animals capable of showing
affection. They have very good senses of smell, which is why pigs have been used
as hunting animals (Coats 31). This normal behavior is disrupted however in the
food industry. Pigs are taken to slaughter at about twenty-four weeks of age
when they are approximately 220 pounds (Coats 32). Pigs are usually mass-caged
into groups that consist of other pigs of the same sex and age. This can cause
excessive aggressiveness in the animals due to the stifling of the natural
social orders, which are accomplished though mixing (Coats 33). Due to
inactivity in cages, pigs become “bored” and do things such as gnaw on the
bars of the cage or on the body parts of other pigs. Factory owners attempt to
remedy this by doing things such as cutting off a piglet’s tail shortly after
being born (Coats 33). There is also gender specific cruelty. To reduce
aggressiveness, male pigs are castrated. Most of the time, this is done without
anesthetic. This is a practice seen in other divisions of the farm industry as
well (Coats 33). “A factory breeding sow [pig] averages two and a half litters
a year and ten litters in a life time. With ten or eleven piglets per litter,
she brings 100-110 piglets into the systems during the first four to five years
of her life” (Coats 34). The pig factory owners try to get the greatest amount
of piglets in the least amount of time. They do this by trying to find the
optimum amount of time to leave a piglet with his mother. The later a piglet is
weaned away from his mother, the better chance it will live, however this is
time that the mother is not pregnant (Coats 34). Pigs confined in cages in
factories have a high rate of disease and physical problems that range from
respiratory diseases to lame and broken legs (Coats 45). Next, we have cows.
Cows have the “opportunity” to go into three different division of the
farming industry: dairy cow, veal calf, or beef cow (Coats 7). Firstly,
concerning milk cows, the only time that a female cow produces milk is after she
has had a calf, and she only produces for as long as the calf suckles (Coats
50). To keep the cows producing milk, they must be impregnated about once a year
and give birth (Coats 56). While a calf is still getting milk from its mother,
it drinks small quantities about twenty times a day. The cow replenishes itself
as needed. In the dairy farm, a cow is “sucked dry” approximately two to
three times per day. This forces a cow to be over loaded and weighed down with
milk (Coats 50-51). When an exceptional cow is found, she is put aside for
breeding. She is given drugs to induce the production of more eggs. These eggs
are fertilized with the sperm of “super-bulls” and the embryos are implanted
into different cows. This can cause problems if the calf implanted is larger
than the mother can bear (Coats 56-57). Secondly, under cows, we have the veal
calf. The main resource for veal calves is the calves of dairy cows (Coats 61).
According to David Coats, “The concept is simple yet very cruel; from birth,
calves are kept in solitary confinement in small wooden crates, deprived of
mobility” (62). The diet of a veal calf consists of little iron and fiber but
contains a high concentration of growth stimulant, starch fats, sugars, etc.
This is the only food given; no water is allowed. This diet makes the flesh of
the calf very pale which is optimum (Coats 64). Veal calves are killed about
four months into their life. If the calves were kept longer, they would die due
to their deprived diet and psychological problems (Coats 62). Lastly, we have
the beef cow. The beef industry is about a thirty billion dollar a year industry
in the U.S. (Coats 69). “In 1986, the average American consumed 78 pounds of
beef, accounting for 7% of supermarket sales” (Coats 69). Beef cattle, unlike
other farm animals are not packed into cages, because they produce nothing until
they are taken to slaughter (Coats 71). Beef cattle are “out on the range”
at the start of their lives. At about the last 100 days of life the cattle are
taken into feedlots where they are crowded together and have no room to move
(Coats 71-72). “It used to take three years for a calf to become an adult of
sellable weight—now, with new finishing techniques, calves are pushed from
birth through to slaughter in just ten to eleven month”(Coats 72). When cattle
are put into feedlots, they are separated into same age and sex. This causes
problems similar to pigs when put in the same position. They are denied the
development of their natural social order (Coats 73). Castration is a common
occurrence in beef cattle. One reason is that it is said that uncastrated meat
has a different and undesirable taste. Another reason for cattle castration is
to make them more passive (Coats 75). “In surgical castration, the scrotum is
cut open and the testes are cut off or just pulled off. Common complications are
hemorrhage, infection, tetanus and maggot infestation” (Coats 75). To
nonsurgically castrate cattle, a tight rubber band like device is put around the
top of the testes. As the blood is restricted, the testes eventually go numb,
decay, and fall off, but before they go numb, the cattle go through a great deal
of pain (Coats 75). Another quality control is dehorning. Cattle are dehorned
using chemicals which burn out the root to prevent poking out of eyes and harm
to handlers when the cattle are close together (Coats 77). Finally, in regards
to the farming industry we will deal with chickens. There are two types of farm
chickens: broilers and layers. Broilers are those raised for eating (Coats
81-82). Between Europe and America, over 7.3 billion chickens are slaughtered
each year (Coats 810. When laying chickens are hatched, they are separated into
male and female by professional chicken sexers. The males are thrown out because
they are not useful in laying and are unsuitable for eating (Coats 84). About
the same number of male chickens are hatched as female. This means that millions
of chicks are pointlessly “left by the way side” (Coats 84). Both broilers
and layers are forced to endure a debeaking process. This is done by placing the
upper portion of the beak against a hot metal blade at about 1500°F for
approximately two seconds (Coats 85). “Debeaking is the cutting off of either
the entire tip of the beak or the top half of the beak, the upper mandible”
(Coats 85). Some believe that the beak is like a nail and can be cut with no
pain. The beak contains highly sensitive tissue within it (Coats 85). The
industry says that chickens are debeaked to protect the chickens from
themselves. In the confined and stressful crates and cages, the chickens have a
tendency to become cannibalistic (Coats 86). When it comes to broiler hens, the
object, again, is to produce the most and biggest in the least amount of time
for the least amount of money (Coats 87). By the time the chickens are ready for
slaughter, they have about a one half square foot of room with which to barely
move (Coats 87). The social structure needed in pigs and cows is more important
to chickens. The “pecking order” is an essential part of their life. This is
disrupted by constant shifting of chickens and cramped condition (Coats 87). The
next topic to discuss is animal experimentation. About 25-35 million animals are
involved in research testing and teaching each year in the U.S. (Fox 58).
Animals are used to test the safety of products such as drugs, carcinogens,
cosmetics, etc. (Fox 60-61). Because there are 40 to 60 thousand chemicals in
common use, it is pointless to test their combinations on animals because there
are so many possible combinations. The animal tests become mere propaganda to
dispel consumer worries (Fox 61). Often times when animals are used as test
subjects, the laboratory condition needed for testing such as in the case of
diseases. Psychological disruption, which might occur, can affect the outcome of
experiments (Fox 62). In conclusion to animal testing, an ethical consideration
in justifying this practice is as follows: “If the pain and suffering to the
animal would be greater than the amount of pain and suffering that a human might
fell under the same experimental conditions, then the experiment should not be
permitted” (Fox 64). Lastly, we have wildlife practices and the fur industry.
Furs are made from pain. Wild animals are trapped in traps with steel teeth.
These animals can feel this pain (Rohr 178). The leghold trap, the most common,
has been banned in 65 countries due to cruelness, yet in America it is legal
(Rohr 181). People who try to refute cruelty to animals site that the Bible says
we should eat meat. This is a fallacy. In Genesis 1:29-30 of the King James
Bible, it says: And God said, behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed,
which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the
fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast
of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon
the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat; and it
was so. Only after sin is introduced, which is later, do we see eating of
animals. Scientists often say that to save a human, animals are expendable, and
this is true, but in putting mascara on a rabbit’s eye, there is no help.
Lastly, some say that animals can be treated anyway desired because they make no
moral judgements and have a lack of ability to do so (Harnack 29). It is
therefore the responsibility of humans to uphold the moral obligation of taking
care of animals. In summation, this paper has given evidence of pain and
suffering of animals involved in different industries. From these examples, it
is clear that it is wrong of anyone to intentionally inflict pain and suffering
on animals for the sake of human enjoyment. Works Cited Coats C. David. Old
MacDonald’s Factory Farm: The Myth of the Traditional Farm and the Shocking
Truth about Animal Suffering in Today’s Agribusiness. New York: Continuum,
1989. Harnack, Andrew, ed. Animal Rights: Opposing Viewpoints. Sand Diego:
Greenhaven, 1996. Fox, W. Michael. Inhumane Society: The American Way of
Exploiting Animals. New York: St Martin’s, 1990. King James Bible. Nashville:
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1970. Rohr, Janelle, ed. Animal Rights: Opposing
Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1989.


C. David. Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm: The Myth of the Traditional Farm and
the Shocking Truth about Animal Suffering in Today’s Agribusiness. New York:
Continuum, 1989. Harnack, Andrew, ed. Animal Rights: Opposing Viewpoints. Sand
Diego: Greenhaven, 1996. Fox, W. Michael. Inhumane Society: The American Way of
Exploiting Animals. New York: St Martin’s, 1990. King James Bible. Nashville:
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1970. Rohr, Janelle, ed. Animal
Rights: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven, 1989.
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