Unfortunately, not all farm animals can live their life naturally or humanely. In our modern world, many of them live in horrible conditions, especially on commercial meat and dairy farms. Not only do animals suffer a lot, but it also affects our environment.
According to PetPedia, here are some statistics on industrial agriculture:
- Globally, farmers raise around 70 billion farm animals for consumption.
- In the United States, 99% of farm animals live on factory farms.
- Most of the antibiotics in the world are used in the feed of farm animals.
- Today’s chicken contains 220% more fat than it did in the 1950s.
- Dairy cows on factory farms have a lifespan of only 5 years. The production facilities then slaughter them for meat.
- 94% of Americans say they believe animals raised for food should not suffer.
- According to the EPA, industrial agriculture causes more water waste than any other source in the US.
- About 260 million acres of forest were harvested in the US to produce fields for farm animals.
- In the US, an estimated 40% of agricultural emissions come from factory farms.
- Farm animals that live on factory farms grow at a rate three times faster than normal.
- Dairy cows spend most of their lives pregnant, as farmers need a constant supply of milk. They only rest a few months between pregnancies.
- In 2007, dairy cows produced 20,000 pounds of milk.
- Worldwide, scientists estimate that two-thirds of animals raised for food come from factory farms.
- 35,000 miles of river in 22 US states have been contaminated by waste from cattle, poultry and pig farming.
- 90% of the Amazon rainforest harvested in the last 50 years was used for commercial livestock production.
- Farm animals consume 70% of fresh water globally.
- Cow farming produces the most methane.
The impact of industrial agriculture
Due to the horrible consequences of intensive farming on animals and the planet, many people have chosen to go vegan. Not only did Mackenzie Sullivan and Billy Graydus choose a vegan lifestyle; they opened their own vegan sanctuary! This is his story.
“Ellie Mae Farm Sanctuary is a vegan farm animal sanctuary. We are dedicated to rescuing, caring for and providing a home for abandoned, abused and neglected farm animals. “
How the couple started rescuing farm animals
Mackenzie says she met Ellie Mae (whom she named the shrine after her) when she was 4 months old. He had to choose a farm animal to train for an animal science course event at the University of Connecticut. After being with her for a few months, he became very close to Ellie Mae.
“After the course ended, it was auctioned off and a local farmer bought it,” Mackenzie said. “I was able to visit her for the next three years. Soon after, she became pregnant, and when I found out that Ellie Mae was pregnant, I knew I had to do something to save her and her future child. “
From her website: “When Ellie was almost two years old, she was artificially inseminated and on September 16, 2018 she gave birth to a girl we call Zee. Once Zee was born, I couldn’t rest until I knew those two girls were safe. I was finally able to convince the farmer to let me have them. So we bought a trailer and moved the two girls to our first property in May 2019.
During this time I visited as many shrines as I could and did an internship at a shrine in New York. I continued to learn more about the injustices farm animals endured every day and became increasingly passionate about saving as many of these beautiful animals as possible. With my amazing partner, Billy, we started the sanctuary and decided to call it Ellie Mae Farm Sanctuary, in honor of the girl who changed my world forever. “
Mackenzie says the animals give her a sense of purpose and keep her motivated to continue rescuing farm animals. Because many of these animals are abused on factory farms, she wants to save as many as she can. She believes All animals deserve safety and equal treatment.t.
Cows can bond with humans just like dogs.
“We work hard every day so that animals can live the life they deserve, the life they want to live.”
Currently, they have three cows living at the sanctuary: Ellie Mae, her calf Zee, and another adult cow named Blackberry. They also adopted and rescued an 8 year old lab mix named Nala! As animal lovers, they will invite as many furry friends as possible to their farm. Now that they’ve had the cows for a while, Mackenzie and Billy have reached out to everyone.
“You learn to communicate with them and how different each animal is from the next,” says Mackenzie. “What I like the most is knowing that they finally start to trust you and that you can give them so much love, and that they will give you love in return too.”
Mackenzie says they will continue to advocate for them and share their stories to spread awareness of a vegan lifestyle. They want to encourage others to make better decisions to reduce the suffering of all beings, as well as the planet.
Final thoughts: a vegan lifestyle has a positive impact on farm animals and the planet
Humanity uses much of the Earth’s land for agriculture, it makes sense to go vegan to reduce our environmental impact. While this lifestyle may not be right for everyone, even eating less meat can make a big difference. If you choose to eat meat, try to buy from sustainably sourced farms. For eggs and dairy, make sure the box or carton says “humanely raised.”
We can all make kinder decisions every day for animals, our health, and the planet. Regardless of the foods you eat, choose as many ethically sourced options as you can. And, if you have the time and resources, you might consider opening a sanctuary like Billy and Mackenzie did! There are many farm animals that desperately need a new home.