Animal welfare

As pet parents we love animals. That is why we have our four-legged floofs in the first place. But because we love animals so much and are pet parents we face a big dilemma every day; feeding the animals we love with other animals we adore. In this section you can read about the animal welfare crisis we find ourselves in today due to the growing global meat demand. Beware, the information provided below won’t leave you feeling like a ray of sunshine after reading it.

frequently asked questions

what is the role of pets in meat production?

On average 20-30% of the world’s meat production is driven by the demand of meat for petfood. In the Netherlands alone that is equivalent to 360.000 animals a day (for pet food alone). Switching an average dog from a meat to a plant-based diet would save 8.030 animal lives in a dog’s entire life.  

how is pet food disrupting wildlife?

When buying meat-based pet food you should also consider the lost and displaced wildlife as a result of cutting rainforest areas to farm the livestock for the meat in our pet food. Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal, and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. At least 75% of this is driven by agriculture used to raise and feed livestock for dairy and meat. Therefore, 15% of deforestation is a direct result of demand for meat in pet food (based on the minimum 20% mentioned above). An average dog cuts about 2,2 hectometers of rainforest (about 2 football fields) in its entire life.  

why is factory farming unhealthy for farm animals?

Factory farming has various implications for animal welfare. Factory farming practices cause the developement of diseases such as viruses, bacteria, genetic mutations and parasites as a result of overpopulation, bad ventilation, low hygiene standards, and unethical breeding.

what diseases are common in factory farming?

In the Netherlands up to 10% of all chickens are infected with endoparasites causing chronic pain in several organs because of these conditions. Furthermore, about 5% of all chicks die from stomach fluid buildup. Many pigs suffer from infected longs caused by the air quality. Furthermore, cows are bred so vigorously to produce more meat that they contract disfiguration such as the phenomena “dikbil” (e.g. fat legs) which prevent them from standing up straight independently. Instead, their legs are changed together to prevent collapse.

These are just a fraction of the many examples amongst diseases in livestock farming. The living conditions these animals are exposed to unltimately contribute to the diseases bioaccumulation that end up in your pet’s food and result in horrific living conditions of all farm animals.

what physical pain is inflicted on farm animals?

Factory farming inflicts various forms of pain on their livestock. For example:

  • According to the Dutch government’s 28-hour law; it is permitted to keep animals in their transportation truck for up to 28 hours without food, water or a break.
  • Cutting off tails (packed with nerves) and filling the teeth of pigs, breaking chicken beaks, and perforating ears with tags all without anesthesia.
  • The barberic living conditions around livestock birthing cages. Breeding pigs are chained up in birthing cages on average 80 days a year giving, giving birth twice a year only to live 3 years in total (normal age is 15).
  • 90% of cows give birth through a c-section without anesthesia because the calves are bred to be bigger than natural.

These are just a handful of examples on how livestock animals suffer daily.

why is organic meat is not the solution?

Unfortunately, the organic farming barely increases animal living conditions. For example, where normal chickens are slaughtered at 6 weeks, organic chicken are slaughtered at 12 weeks. Furthermore, the normal size of a pig’s living quarters is 0.7m2 (a pig is 0.5m2) and depending on the organic quality standard this space increases to a maximum of 1.3m2. The natural living space of a wild pig would be 178.000 m2. Furthermore, organic farms still seperates newborns from their mothers direclty after birth causing severe emotional distress. On top of that organic farming practices prohibits the use of synthetic pesticides, hormones and antibiotics however it is widely knowd that there is a large scale underground blackmarket selling these chemicals to (organic) farmers.

Finally, whether the animal is organically farmed or not, the horrific transportation and slaughter of the livestock is the same. There is no special treatment for organic farmed animals in slaughter houses.

Aside from animal welfare, organic farming is much worse from a sustainability perspective as it emmits 6x more CO2 and uses 36x more land. On a whole organic farming would take so much space and resources that we could not feed the global population. (However, plant-based eating would!)

what is wrong with the transportation methods of livestock?

During transport to the slaughterhouse many animals break their bones and die before arrival due to harsh transportation, onboarding, and offboarding methods. These discarded animals are then used for pet food instead of human food.

Furthermore, it is permitted to keep animals in their transportation truck for up to 28 hours without food, water or a break according to the Dutch government’s 28-hour law.

what is worng with the slaughter methods of livestock?

On arrival at the slaughterhouse the animals are hung on hooks alive, then electrocuted to numb the animals before the actual slaughter and then shot, cut or electrocuted. All animals experience a tremendous amount of pain and stress throughout this process.

In 99.9% of slaughterhouses, according to the Nederland Voedselen Waren Authoriteiten (NVWA), reckless slaughtering is routinely carried out: animals are not adequately sedated and are still alive when they are sliced open and bleed to death.

why do the authorities not check these slaughter methods?

The NVWA frequently examines slaughterhouses, but it is a well-known issue that many inspectors ignore conditions and seldom impose sanctions.

The tougher supervisors are readily avoided by slaughterhouses since whistle blowers within the NVWA expose information about their arrival times so that sick and weak animals are transported and killed.

Furthermore, there are many reports by livestock-veterinarians and meat-quality-judges stateting that meat producers and slaughterhouses are inflicting a fear culture on veterianrians an quality judges to surpress them into approving faulty meat and livestock.

is livestock farming ethical?

Ever stopped to consider that we are feeding our animals with other animals? Most people would not treat their dog the way pigs are treated in the factory farms even though they experience the same pain, joy, fear and misery that our pets do. We gruesome at dog meat festivals in Yulin and the hunting of dolphins & whales in Japan but don’t blink an eye for the factory farmed chicken around the corner? Shouldn’t we equally value all life? Is it humane at all to kill an animal that does not want to die? Espcially, if it is not necesarry with all the plant-based options available.

We are of the opinion that there is no such thing as an animal-worthy life for farmed animals or that their is a difference between the value of a farm animal and that of a pet. The best way to guarantee animal-worthy and ethical coexistence with animals is to eat no animals at all.

ON!ST to the rescue!

Lucky for you this dilemma is an issue of the past with ON!ST. Instead we make pet food for animals not from!

ON!ST pet food