The animal and human toll of livestock raising - 15 Jan 2010  
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According to the specified standards of organically raised livestock, animals are meant to live a happy, healthy life with a swift and humane death. However, the British animal welfare organization Animal Aid released video footage in December 2009 revealing cruel behavior toward the livestock in an organic meat abattoir in Devon and leading to worker suspension.


Now, legal action may ensue, as more recently released details reported by Danny Penman in the UK-based The Daily Mail state that the slaughterhouse workers routinely violated rules set by the British organic certifying group, Soil Association, as well as the nations animal welfare regulations. For instance, repeated kicking and beating of the animals was common.


In addition, workers ignored laws intended to spare suffering for the animals as they stunned the pigs and sheep with electric tongs or bolt guns but then left them to regain consciousness before slitting their throats. Thus, many were seen frantically writhing upon being stabbed and bled. This brutal treatment and suffering caused by abattoir conditions, along with the confinement and crowding of thousands of pigs in thesordid, foul conditions of factory farms, has spawned a different kind of suffering in the form of the swine flu pandemic.


While actual death tolls are many times higher than reported, according to global statistics, the animal-borne virus has claimed 21,734 lives. In specific countries, Thailands swine flu death toll has risen to 196 and Egypts to 201. Romania saw 7 new deaths within 2 days for a total of 92, and 18 more people perished in India as fatalities have now reached 1,098.


Our prayers for the swine flu victims and their families as we sorrow for the abuse of countless animals. We appreciate Animal Aid, journalist Danny Penman and The Daily Mail for their efforts to help raise awareness of the origin of meat products. May we all avoid the interrelated suffering of humans and animals by turning to the life-protecting organic vegan fare.