The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals works to ensure the humane treatment of animals. Our compassion reaches beyond the animals we live with in our homes, to animals who live in the wild, in a laboratory, or who are used for food.
The MSPCA believes that farm animals are creatures of intrinsic value, complexity and dignity. The MSPCA further believes that the billions of animals raised each year in the United States for food, clothing, and other products are entitled to live their lives free of unnecessary pain, suffering and stress, and to a humane death. To learn more about the MSPCA’s position on the humane treatment of farm animals, read our statement of belief. The MSPCA also operates Nevins Farm, an Animal Care and Adoption Center, located in Methuen Massachusetts, which provides refuge for all types of farm animals.
More About Factory Farming
Consumers are becoming more aware and increasingly concerned with how farm animals are treated. Industrial-type farm settings, commonly referred to as factory farms, have replaced traditional, more natural farm settings in order to produce the highest output at the lowest cost. While the MSPCA recognizes the need to find economic and efficient means of raising livestock, the Society condemns practices that cause needless pain, suffering, and stress to the animals involved. Many of these practices are associated with the intensive confinement systems that characterize U.S. factory farms in today’s society.
“Factory farms” are characterized by the use of crates and cages that either completely isolate individual animals from others of their species or crowd many animals together in order to save space and increase efficiency. Factory farms are also characterized by the manipulation of diet in ways that interfere with the animal’s good health, handling animals in stressful or injurious ways, surgeries performed without appropriate use of anesthesia, procedures performed on animals solely to prevent injuries resulting from confinement-induced stress, and selective-breeding practices which produce inhumane characteristics. The MSPCA believes that good animal husbandry should be based on humane stewardship.
Rather than treating individual animals when they get sick, factory farms routinely feed all their livestock antibiotics as a preventative measure. This practice keeps animals producing and growing under unhealthy, stressful conditions; however, it has also caused increased risk of antibiotic resistance. Humans that eat these animals with antibiotic-resistant bacteria can have serious medical complications. Read more about the FDA’s recent efforts to combat antibiotic overuse in farm animals.
The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, released a 2 1/2 year analysis-based report Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America that calls for major changes in the way factory farms produce milk, eggs and meat. Three of the Commission’s key recommendations are:
- Banning non-therapeutic use of antimicrobials in food animal production,
- Phasing out the most intensive and inhumane production practices (i.e., gestation crates and battery cages), and
- Replacing the broken farm waste system that we have today.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) “Eating our Future: The Environmental Impact of Industrial Animal Agriculture” report shows how factory farming not only causes the suffering of billions of animals, but is also a major contributor to climate change, scarcity of resources, and global problems such as poverty and disease. The report recommends a reduction in meat consumption and a move toward smaller-scale, sustainable, and humane food production methods.
Read about ways that you can help reduce farm animal suffering and how you can have a more humane diet.