It’s common knowledge (or at least it should be) that most of the animals we’re eating in the states are pumped full of chemicals and live hellish existences in factories. However, because of “Ag-Gag” laws halting activists getting photos and videos of the insides of industrial farms, we’re not getting the informative transparency we need. Rolling Stone, though, has had enough of this and decided to run a huge exposé on inhumane treatment of factory animals, and the truth is worse than a normal human can imagine.
The massive piece in Rolling Stone, titled In the Belly of the Beast, is a collection of interviews with undercover activists working in factory farms and raw photo footage of these infernal places. If you go in the magazine’s website, you are instantly transported into a bloody underworld. There’s horrific first hand accounts accompanied by even more horrific visuals. The piece, advocating for better treatment of food animals and better transparency in the industry, is a must read, and makes a solid case for supporting causes like The Humane Society and Mercy for Animals.
According to Paul Solotaroff, the writer of the giant article, animals are not just fed crap and given terrible living conditions, workers at the factories also treat said animals like garbage, beating them and breaking their limbs. Activists giving Solotaroff their testimony say that some workers stab pigs with pens, mutilating cows, and hanging animals with chains. This nightmarish treatment continues because politicians attached to the wealthy companies enact laws to stop whistle-blowers, making it harder to get the information we need. Workers who mistreat animals on an order of magnitude that would make your spine shiver may get short jail sentences, but are then allowed to return to work; there is very little out there regarding laws for the humane treatment of animals.
The terror doesn’t stop at animal mistreatment at the hands of factory workers. Pigs may be forced to gobble up syringes and minced up sexual organs of their young; cows’ udders grow to uncomfortable sizes due to antibiotic overdoses; almost all the animals in these factories live out their days in piles upon piles of their own fecal matter. And somehow, Americans are fattening themselves without delay on products from these factories, even if they think they’re intelligent enough to stay away (organic can often mean that only a small portion of the animals feed was organic, while the rest could have been trash).
This is not only to do with powerful laws keeping activists out of the farms. I’d wager that even though Rolling Stone’s reach is ample, most people will still suck down factory produced meat. This kind of information is by no means new; activists have been circulating snapshots similar to those seen in the piece for a good number of years. The problem is how powerless the regular consumer feels in stopping the monolithic machine. This exposé will definitely keep meat producers on their toes, but it’s ultimately up to the consumer. Because you have a choice, my Internet friends, of what goes into your body. You can spend a little more and get small farm products, or continue to gorge on factory-produced slop that’s only cheap because of immeasurable cruelty. There is no longer an excuse; every culinary decision matters, and if everyone decides to fight these companies, they’ll lose. We just have to actually beat our own apathy and realize the power our decisions have collectively.