Imagine never growing old. An appealing thought? Well, there’s one group of individuals for whom this is a reality – but this is nothing like the fictional Shangri-La. These individuals never grow old because, their lives are cruelly snuffed out long before they reach old age. I’m referring, of course to farmed animals.
The youngest victims – hatched by the egg industry – are the millions of “useless” male chicks who are dropped live into mincing machines on day one of their lives. The next youngest are “bobby” calves – viewed by the dairy industry as nothing but “waste products” – who are barely one week old when trucked to the slaughterhouse. “Broiler” chickens, at just six weeks of age, still have their baby blue eyes when they meet their gruesome death, and pigs and lambs are six-month-old “children” when killed.
“Beef” cattle are slaughtered at around three years of age and “spent” dairy cows are killed at about five years of age. In human terms, few farmed animals ever live beyond the age of 30. It’s somewhat ironic that we regard the abuse of a human child as a very serious crime, yet we have absolutely no qualms about abusing the children of other species.