I just learned about World Day for Farmed Animals, coming up on October 2nd (Gandhi’s birth date). It has been around since 1983 and is meant to memorialize the billions of animals abused and killed for food each year.
Like many, I always considered farm animals only as a source of food. But, after recently watching the documentary Speciesism, I realized that farm animals are much like our family pets, deserving of love and respect.
I’ve learned that farm animals get neither on today’s factory farms. Male baby chicks are ground up alive or suffocated in garbage bags. Hens are crowded in small wire cages that tear out their feathers. Breeding pigs spend their lives pregnant in metal cages. Calves are snatched from their mothers upon birth, so we can drink their milk.
The cruelty of factory farming drove me to replace animal products in my diet with plant-based meat and dairy items. I have since learned that my cruelty-free diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.
Proponents argue a ban would protect the environment by reducing farms’ reliance on soya-based animal feed that has been linked to widespread deforestation. Animal rights groups have also championed the proposal, pushing for more humane conditions in the facilities where animals are held.
“You can keep 27,000 chickens in one barn, and their room to move is about the size of an A4 sheet of paper,” said Silvano Lieger, managing director of Sentience Politics, an animal rights group that proposed the ban in 2018. “Pigs are kept in barns, too, up to 1,500 per farm, with 10 pigs sharing the space of an average parking spot. It is not possible to treat animals in a dignified way in those conditions.”
However, opponents have argued the ban would negatively affect the domestic production of meat and would fail to prevent the cheap importation of intensively farmed animals. Others have argued Swiss law already enforces strict welfare laws.
About 80% of Swiss meat is produced domestically, according to ProViande, the Swiss interbranch organization for the meat industry. However, some industry workers say the rate of importation would increase drastically if the ban is implemented.
Animal rights group seeks release of 185 pictures related to the autopsies of animals that died during experiments for Elon Musk’s Neuralink
An animal-rights group says UC Davis has 371 photos showing Neuralink’s experiments on monkeys.
The organization sued the university and filed a complaint with the USDA in February.
An animal-rights group that is suing the University of California, Davis over experiments conducted for Neuralink says the university has 371 photos related to experiments on monkeys that were performed for Elon Musk’s biotech company.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said UC Davis has 185 pictures related to the autopsies of animals that died during Neuralink experiments and another 186 photos of the experiments that were performed on the monkeys, which included cutting holes into the monkeys’ skulls to implant electrodes into their brains.
The group said they learned of the photos through a legal document from UC Davis dated September 7, 2022. Between 2017 and 2020, Neuralink paid the university $1.4 million to use UC Davis’ facilities and animals for testing, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said.
“UC Davis thinks the public is too stupid to know what they’re looking at,” Ryan Merkley, director of research advocacy with the Physicians Committee, said in a press release. “But it’s clear the university is simply trying to hide from taxpayers the fact that it partnered with Elon Musk to conduct experiments in which animals suffered and died.”
A spokesperson from Neuralink did not respond to a request for comment and a UC Davis spokesperson referred Insider to a previous statement. In February, the institution said “research protocols were thoroughly reviewed and approved by the campus’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee” during the institutions work with Neuralink.
“Animal research is strictly regulated and UC Davis follows all applicable laws and regulations including those of the US Department of Agriculture,” the statement said.
UC Davis issued the statement after the animal-rights group sued the university for not releasing photos and videos of the experiments it has performed for Neuralink from 2017 to 2020. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine also filed a complaint with the US Department of Agriculture, alleging the institution had violated the federal Animal Welfare Act.
Insider’s Isobel Asher Hamilton previously reported that the group said it had obtained records showing the monkeys experienced “extreme suffering as a result of inadequate animal care and the highly invasive experimental head implants during the experiments.”
At the time, Neuralink responded to the accusations, denying several of the injuries that the animal rights group reported and saying the company is “absolutely committed to working with animals in the most humane and ethical way possible.” The company said it has since transitioned to using its own in-house facilities.
Ultimately, Neuralink is working to develop a computer brain interface system that would be able to read and write brain activity. In the past, Musk has claimed the AI brain chips would one day be able to do anything from cure paralysis to give people telepathic powers, referring to the device as “a Fitbit in your skull.”
Last year, the billionaire said the company plans to transition from implanting the chips in monkeys to humans by the end of the year, but the device has yet to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to begin human trials.