Let's face it; there's been a lot of misinformation spread about how animals are treated as they're being reared for human consumption. What's classified as a "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation" by the US EPA is often maligned by animal welfare groups as being inhumane and unethical, as animals are said to be badly mistreated during their short lives. Yet while some operations may not be up to par, the majority of people engaged in animal rearing do so with the best interests of the animal at heart - and for good reason.
Contrary to what appears to be the assertion by animal welfare groups, most farmers and ranchers who rear animals for human consumption are decent and caring people. It's simply not in their nature to treat animals poorly, whether they're domestic pets or animals ultimately destined for slaughter. There may be some individuals who don't follow this school of thought, but they are for sure in the minority. People engaged in this industry for the long haul are fully invested in the welfare of the animals within their charge, no matter their ultimate destination.
But there's a bigger point to make here, as well. Put quite simply, animals that are healthy and content with their way of life represent a good business investment for the rancher or the farmer. The more they are cared for, the more they are likely to grow and remain healthy and thus represent a more valuable commodity at the end of their lives.
Animals raised in a caring farm environment are never short of food, water, proper shelter, safety, comfort and adequate veterinary care. They live a life that's free from hunger, thirst, malnutrition or any ongoing discomfort. They are treated to relieve any disease or injury and never suffer from pain for any period of time. They are allowed to exist in a natural environment and to live a normal life, behaving accordingly. These animals absolutely do not live in an environment of fear, or constant distress.
It's important to remember that there are stringent laws set down by federal and state governments that protect how farm animals are handled and cared for. Yet these laws represent a baseline as far as the most caring farmers and ranchers are concerned. They commit to going over and above what lawmakers demand, quite rightly.
"The top farmers and ranchers understand the animals in their charge and know what contributes to their comfort." - @poultryservices - Click to Tweet
The top farmers and ranchers understand the animals in their charge and know what contributes to their comfort. All animals are different and certain species require certain approaches. They may have different temperaments and react according to how their human carers interact with them.
With chickens, farmers fully understand they tend to be rather timid and when young, prefer to avoid wide-open spaces. Therefore to maximize their comfort the houses are sectioned off, essentially made to expand as the birds grow. This ensures that they have little to fear from the unknown, or from predators that may appear in the night. Farmers and ranchers also understand that chickens like to interact and will form natural groups. They are therefore provided with areas to behave according to their most natural instincts.
Chickens are kept in carefully controlled environments, where the climate is always conducive to their comfort and productivity through the various growth stages of their lives. They are never subjected to harsh weather environments and the threat of predators and risk of disease is minimized as much has possible with a farm's biosecurity protocols. The bedding provided for them is kept as dry as possible and the right amount of fresh air, light and humidity is maintained to ensure they're comfortable. Furthermore, wash down and clean out practices are regularly performed to provide the animals with the cleanest environment possible.
Most poultry farms today have automatic feeding and watering systems which are carefully configured to supply the birds with just the right amount of food, water and ideal overall nutrition, without the need for competition. Even the drinkers are cleaned regularly - the system is flushed to ensure fresh water is provided, the height is adjusted routinely so the animals can easily reach and the pressure is constantly being modified so when they take a drink they get a volume of water conductive to what they can easily drink in a gulp. These and many other systems are continuously monitored and adjusted as necessary while the birds grow and their feeding requirements change.
When animals are raised for ultimate consumption by humans there will always come a day when it's necessary for them to enter the last stage of the food chain. Some welfare groups would have you believe that this is an inhumane process, but in truth it's very carefully designed and managed to cause the least possible amount of distress. The animal suffers far less distress than they would if they existed in the wild, where they would be far more likely to endure an unpleasant death caused by lingering illness, disease or animal predation.