Contact Us: Farm Animal Protection
Thank you in advance for your concern for farm animals. We've provided answers to our most frequently asked questions, so please check below to see if we've responded to your query. If we haven't addressed your concern in these Frequently Asked Questions, please don't hesitate to complete the online e-mail submission form at the bottom of this page.
Q. What is The HSUS doing to help farm animals?
Because animals raised for meat, eggs, and milk represent more than 95% of the animals killed by humans in the United States, farm animal welfare is a major priority of The HSUS. Whether it be waging campaigns to persuade corporations to do better when it comes to farm animal welfare standards, acting as a scientific resource on farm animal welfare issues, working to pass farm animal protection legislation, or pursuing litigation to improve the lives of farm animals, The HSUS is a movement leader when it comes to farm animal advocacy.
Q. What are some of the biggest problems farm animals face?
The vast majority of the 10 billion land animals raised for human consumption in the United States are subjected to a number of abuses—many of which would be illegal if forced on dogs or cats. Many farm animals are intensively confined in crates, cages, or pens so small they can barely move, while others are overcrowded in filthy, barren sheds. Painful physical mutilations are commonly inflicted on farm animals without any anesthesia, and most farm animals are selectively bred for unnaturally high rates of production which dramatically decreases their well-being.
Q. Aren't there laws that protect farm animals from abuse?
From life on a factory farm to death at a slaughter plant, animals raised for meat, eggs, and milk suffer immensely. And, as shocking as it may be, much of the abuse these animals endure is often perfectly legal. There are no federal animal welfare laws regulating the treatment of the billions of "food animals" while they're on the farm. Further, while all 50 states have cruelty statutes, most explicitly exempt common farming practices, no matter how abusive.
Q. Don't animals have to be treated well to be productive?
Animal agribusiness representatives often claim that it's in their own interest to treat animals well, and a common defense of factory farming is that "only happy animals produce." While there are some instances where improving animal welfare would also improve the bottom line, unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Says poultry welfare expert Dr. Joy Mench: "It is now generally agreed that good productivity and health are not necessarily indicators of good welfare...Productivity...is often measured at the level of the unit (e.g. number of eggs or egg mass per hen-housed), and individual animals may be in a comparatively poor state of welfare even though productivity within the unit may be high."
Farm animal welfare expert Dr. Donald Broom asserts: "[E]fforts to achieve earlier and faster growth, greater production per individual, efficient feed conversion and partitioning, and increased prolificacy are the causes of some of the worst animal welfare problems."
And, agricultural ethicist Dr. Bernard Rollin states: "[I]n industrial agriculture, this link between productivity and well-being is severed. When productivity as an economic metric is applied to the whole operation, the welfare of the individual animal is ignored."
Q. What do "free-range," "grass-fed," and "cage-free" mean?
From egg cartons to meat packages to milk cartons, consumers are inundated with so many different claims. To help make sense out of the many labels and to identify the animal welfare relevance—if any—the claims may have, The HSUS has produced "A Brief Guide to Egg Carton Labels" and "A Brief Guide to Meat and Dairy Labels."
Q. What can I do to help farm animals?
Each one of us has the ability to help farm animals every time we sit down to eat. Whether it be avoiding the most abusive animal products, such as eggs from caged birds, reducing the amount of animal products we eat, or replacing our animal consumption with vegetarian foods, we each can use our consumer dollars to improve farm animals' lives. To help you on your way to more compassionate eating, read or order The HSUS Guide to Vegetarian Eating and review our Three Rs policy of refine, reduce, and replace to help farm animals.
Q. Where can I find vegetarian recipes?
The HSUS is pleased to share some of our favorite, delicious vegetarian recipes with you. Enjoy!