The category of livestock animals (of farm animals) is so defined because it indicates a category of animals raised for the production of foodstuffs (i.e., products for food) or other consumer goods for trade.
In Italy, there is also a law that accurately frames the definition of livestock animals, namely Legislative Decree No. 146 of March 26, 2001, which defines them as: “any animal, including fish, reptiles and amphibians, bred or kept for the production of foodstuffs, wool, skins, furs or for other agricultural purposes.”
Thus, the raising of farm animals in Italy is for both meat production and the production of other consumer goods, such as wool or fur.
Which are the livestock animals
There are many farm animals, and each one is chosen by the farmer with the goal of obtaining useful products for trade. This obviously includes meat, but also other animal-derived products.
For this reason, the category of livestock animals can go so far as to include bees, which are bred for the purpose of producing and selling honey.
The most common livestock animals include:
- Chickens and hens;
All these animals are in fact used to obtain meat, but not only. Cows, sheep and goats are also exploited to produce milk; chickens are exploited to sell eggs; goats and sheep make the wool trade possible.
Donkeys or mules, which in the past were often used for agricultural purposes to pull plows, are also considered livestock.
However, with the introduction of new technologies useful for agriculture, this practice is disappearing. Today, therefore, the breeding of these animals is mostly for the production of meat or, in the case of the donkey, milk.
Very profitable for breeders can also be the business of companion animals, such as purebred dogs or dwarf rabbits.
Animals in intensive livestock farms
Intensive livestock farms came into being with the aim of responding to a growing market demand for animal products. This led to the application of industrial methodology to livestock farming as well.
On intensive farms, in fact, animals are kept in supernumerary and cramped spaces that are insufficient for their mobility or to adequately meet species-specific or behavioral needs.
Lack of adequate space could cause muscle atrophy. Thus, this type of husbandry represents a source of psychological and physical suffering for the animals.
In addition, the conditions under which animals are kept in these farms promote the spread of epidemics that are detrimental to their health, epidemics to which breeders frequently respond with massive medication.
The psychological suffering in these environments is clearly visible: numerous are the animals’ desperate behaviors to escape this captivity, such as trying to gnaw or break the bars of their cages to escape.
A ruthless utilitarian logic is applied in intensive livestock farms, aimed solely at extracting maximum profit.
Just think of the cruel act of deboning. This practice consists of cutting off the beaks of chicks. The purpose of this action is to prevent the chicks from pecking each other once they grow up, a behavior they enact because of the enormous amount of stress they are subjected to on intensive farms.
Two types of mistreatments therefore occur in these spaces:
- Physical mistreatment: unnecessary injury and cruelty to animals;
- Ethological mistreatment: conditions contrary to the needs and normal species-specific behavior of the animal. Confined spaces and overcrowded conditions do not allow animals to express their natural behaviors.
To ensure compliance with the regulations defined by law, spot checks are carried out by veterinarians.
These checks are aimed at investigating the possibility of mistreatment. However, in most cases, only physical mistreatment can be checked, as ethological mistreatment is more complex to ascertain in a short time.
In fact, many of the guests that can be found within sanctuaries and spaces dedicated to animal protection are often from intensive breeding farms, subjected to physical and psychological mistreatment and trauma.
Sanctuaries take care of housing animals that have been victims of violence, offering them a better future, free from exploitation and the suffering experienced within factory farms.
The five freedoms of animals
The Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in 2009, defines animals as sentient beings. From this statement, recognized by the European Union, the need to protect the welfare of animals is evident.
To ensure that the best interests of animals are safeguarded, fundamental is respect for the five freedoms:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst: the animal has the right to receive the food and water necessary for its survival and to receive nutrition appropriate to its health condition and needs;
- Freedom from pain: avoid any form of unnecessary pain or injury to the animal and make immediate efforts to treat any illnesses the animal will present;
- Freedom from fear: ensuring the animal’s psychological well-being;
- Freedom from discomfort: ensuring that the animal has sufficient space at its disposal so as not to be in a stressful or uncomfortable condition;
- Freedom to manifest its behavioral repertoire: ensuring that the animal is in the necessary conditions to enact the normal behaviors proper to its species.
It is evident how, on intensive farms, respect for these freedoms is not guaranteed to the animals at all. That is why many activists mobilize every day to rescue innocent animals from intensive farms.
Our commitment to livestock animals
The welfare of the planet and all its inhabitants is an integral part of Veracura’s mission.
For this reason, we have dedicated one of our projects to safeguarding animals that are victims of violence and endangered.
With our “Animal Social Club” project, we want to create a network of sanctuaries that house animals from abused and endangered conditions, places in which to activate regenerative agriculture projects, supporting animal and plant biodiversity.
Animal Social Club represents a place where humans, animals and nature can truly live in harmony, free from violence.
Our philosophy focuses on the preservation of the entire planet and does not allow any form of exploitation or cruelty to animals.
In fact, the goal of the project is to create a place totally dedicated to animals, which does not exploit them in any way, but on the contrary represents a place of salvation and safety for them from violence and the risk of death or extinction.
In fact, all the animals hosted in the sanctuary will be rescued from situations of mistreatment, violence and exploitation, in order to guarantee them a different life, respecting all their freedoms and needs.
In this natural oasis, everything necessary will be arranged to create a safe and suitable environment for each animal, whose inhabitants will be able to live serenely, expressing their natural behavioral repertoire without any limitation, fear or constraint.
If you are curious to learn more, visit the website dedicated to the project and follow Animal Social Club on our social channels.