There were two main sources of information available to us concerning the subject of farming animals for food, in the completion of this coursework. The first being a presentation by a Ms Donavan a representative of animal aid rights group and the second taken by Mr Riley; head of the rural studies unit within Hylands school.
Animal Aid is the UK’s largest animal rights group and one of the longest established in the world, having been founded in 1977.They campaign peacefully against all forms of animal abuse and promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle. They investigate and expose animal cruelty, and their undercover investigations and other evidence are often used by the media, bringing these issues to public attention.
Animal Aid has a national network of offering free talks on a wide range of topics including animal rights, vegetarianism, animal experiments, factory farming and blood sports; factory farming being the main focal point of the talk.
The Animal aid presentation disused some of the issues relevant today’s society which in my opinion inherited a very biased view and at times a slightly negative persona. It is clear the group and its members are very passionate about the subject however it did seem at times that there was an alternate motive. The speakers Ms Donavon constantly referred to turning vegan/vegetarian and at the end of the speech offered leaflets on the best means of doing so. Its understandable, as stated in these extra leaflets information sheets, that the best way to eliminate these cases of animal mistreatment is to stop eating meat altogether but the way in which they tried to encourage this was not executed as well as it could have been. It came across as though they were trying to convert and recruit people to become or join their youth campaigners group.
We were shown a short video displaying the some of the general public’s opinions on intensive farming etc as well as some of the efforts made by Animal aid campaigners. Some of the content was their for shock value though the video was made as appealing as it could possibly be to our age group.
There were a few reasons against farming animals for food which I didn’t think were all that plausible like the effect the industry has on the environment, it probably does but not farming them for food could have an even greater effect plus there are much worse harms to the environment as a whole. The presentation strongly relied on the health benefits of not eating meat the consequences of excessive consumption and poor lifestyle used as a deterrent. The groups main concern is the animal’s treatment and went on to talk about diseases some of the animals are subject to another legitimate reason against. The presentation ended with a QnA, I would say the speaker came across a little dismissive to those who had question in favour of farming animals.
Animal aid did have a harder task as the majority of people are meat eaters and tend to avoid the disadvantages of doing so including where it come from.
Mr Riley’s talk was in a much shorter time frame and understandably had little reference to any downsides all facts backed up the idea. He focused on how many people eat meat as a staple part of their diet then went on to say how important it can be for the economy because of the jobs involved etc and how it can boost a counties GDP which are both relevant at this moment in time. Another important note being how pastoral farming or organic couldn’t support the population/isn’t substantial enough if the production of meat stopped.
We were given question sheets to fill in during the presentation one of the questions being for instance the lifespan of a calf as a farmed animal. There were other points made in the presentation like how it can stop overpopulation in the wild as well as how the majority of the animals live a decent life before slaughter. All points made I believe to be fair enough but the presentation could also be portrayed as bias.
I myself, without sounding boastful, donate to the Hillside animal sanctuary, a charity where many of the animals have been saved from slaughter. In order to help or support animal aids purpose I could consider becoming vegetarian but I think buying freedom foods or free range foods is a start. Generally to my knowledge British meat standards are better than international countries Although it is easy to look to someone else to sort the problem I think in order for things to change for the better we need to look to the European Government to improve those cases where the animals standards are not paramount as they seem to be dragging their heels.
My personal opinion has n changed much however as a result of the two presentation, research on the animal aid and NFU websites and the topic being in the media recently I am more informed.