As humanity continues on its path of technological advancement, is often the most simple things that are thrown into question. The matter of where we get the food we eat is a fascinating subject and one that this essay explores in detail. This sample essay from Ultius explores the idea of animal cruelty as a function of modern food systems.
Factory farming and the animal’s right to life
Animals have been on this earth just as long, if not longer than humans. One of the essentials to maintaining life has always been the processing of food and nourishment into energy. As humans have evolved and advanced towards industrialization and mass production capabilities, only a small portion of the population is used to mass-produce food to feed our growing population through factory animal farming.
In an effort to maintain profitability, the simple processes of gathering food for sustenance has grown into an industry that abuses other fellow defenseless beings and carriers of life on this planet for the benefit of our society. This paper explores the human-animal conflict and factors leading to the virtual enslavement of animals practiced today as well as the implications of our actions in the coming decades.
Animals as living creatures
Since the dawn of time, the only goal for living species on this planet has been to survive. This is evident in just about every class of species such as plants, fish, reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals. Regardless of the class, each species eats, drinks, and reproduces in order to survive. The basic foundation of this continuous cycle of life is deoxyribonucleic acid, better known as DNA. This is a hereditary material found in almost all living organisms.
The NA code, made up of four bases; adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine, pair up with each other with sugar and phosphate to form nucleotides. These nucleotides form the double helix structure commonly associated with DNA and genetics. These strands of DNA can replicate as cells divide and replicate during the growth of the body (NLM). This process is the common ground relating humans to all other living organisms on this planet. To value the life and needs of some living beings, such as humans, over the lives of other living beings, such as animals, is an injustice. What makes humans superior to animals?
Animal cruelty and the human-animal conflict
The greatest difference between humans and animals is the level of cognitive ability each possesses. Humans are far superior in their process of rationalization and conscious awareness of their surroundings. No other species has reached this level of cognitive strength throughout the course of history as clearly evident in our world today. Some argue that humans are the only ones capable of rationalization and thinking, but this claim is strongly unwarranted.
If a person steps on a cat’s tail, the cat shrieks and runs away to protect itself. If a senses danger, it will run away. That is because the process of rationalization, which is essentially a cost-benefit analysis, results in the decision of the deer to run. Staying in the area will result in the loss of the deer’s life and pain endured as the predator takes it down, whereas running away will result in the further survival of the species. As it is clearly evident, other animals besides humans are capable of the process of rationalization.
Therefore, simply because animals do not communicate through language and place value into frivolous items such as paper money is not sufficient in valuing the life of a human over the life of an animal. Just as it is claimed that all men are created equal and slavery has clearly been classified as a wrong, the worldwide abuse of animals to satisfy the gross consumption habits of humans is also wrong. Slavery and the Manifest Destiny doctrine was used as a form of free labor because labor was needed to promote further growth and sustenance of a population.
Comparing factory farming to animal slavery
However, our society was able to produce the same volume and quality without the use of such a nasty institution. Similarly, industrialized animal farming is used to provide our society with enough food and nourishment to sustain itself, but there are other methods of accomplishing this objective in a more ethical manner.
There are many different sources for food and nourishment. The national government sponsored food pyramid classifies the various food groups as the following: the bread and carbohydrates group, the vegetable group, the fruit group, the milk and dairy products group and the fats and sweets group (USDA). There are many different natural food sources one can acquire proper nutrition from. Some of the best sources of food are nuts, rice and pasta, and various fruits and vegetables picked from plants.
As it can be seen, the mass production and slaughtering of animals only satisfies one of the food groups. But make no mistake, the consumption of meat and protein is essential in the development and sustenance of the human body. Without a significant source of protein, the body cannot develop muscle and power necessary for the healthy maintenance of the body. If the body is weak, health problems can develop rapidly and the person is quite vulnerable from to all sorts of danger. Realizing the importance of food and sustenance, our species shifted from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural societies.
Human meat consumption and the connection to factory farming
Agricultural societies emerged during a period known as the Agricultural Revolution between 10,000 and 5,000 BC. As opposed to utilizing what was naturally available, humans for the first time could control the amount of food available to their societies. With this newfound method of sustenance, societies discontinued constant traveling and instead began to settle next to their farm. In addition to growing fields of crops, settlers also began collecting animals and facilitating their reproduction. Thus, the concept of farming was born.
With a form of control over the production of their essential foods, other settlers could begin focusing their efforts on the production of other products such as tools and services. This is the beginning of modern society functioning with specific divisions in labor amongst its members to promote the overall growth and sustenance of the group as a whole. This would be standard for societies for centuries to come until the industrial revolution.