The heat wave affects us all
As you’re probably aware, the past few days have been ridiculously hot in many countries across the globe as a result of a heat wave. Those of you who work in cities know the struggle of being crammed onto trains, tubes and busses all too well in this heat. Here in London, even being sat at home doing absolutely nothing with two fans on hasn’t seemed to help- it really was that hot! We as humans however are lucky, we have the ability to find ways to reduce our body temperature: we can change our clothes, turn on the air conditioning or make ourselves an iced cold drink. The news is constantly telling us to stay in the shade, apply sun cream and to drink plenty of fluids. (And rightly so!) So I am satisfied that there seems to be enough focus on how to keep humans safe in this weather and therefore I am here to talk about how to keep non-human animals safe instead. This is because non-human animals are not as lucky as we are in this sense, for example: if a dog is left in a hot car in 30 degree weather (86°F) there is little they can do to get out.
Looking out for others
Therefore those of us with furry companions need to be extra careful that they have plenty of water and are not trapped in places without ventilation (such as hot cars, as I previously mentioned), especially for long periods of time. The RSPCA has even gone as far as to recommend applying sun cream ‘specially made for pets’ on our loyal loved ones or putting cubes of ice in their water. Sadly the RSPCA which is meant to stand for “The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” only seems to be concerned about the well-being of cats and dogs in this heat. Unfortunately, these are not the only animals affected by record breaking temperatures.
Whilst everyone has been on their daily commute to work, complaining about the dodgy air-conditioning in their cars and telling everyone how unbearable the heat is, animals have been piled onto slaughter trucks in their hundreds and commuted miles on hot roads in direct sunlight just to end up in your sandwiches. So to all of you who have been claiming that you were “sweating like a pig” (not that they can even sweat!) whilst going about your day, please take a moment to think of the actual pigs, who have been sweltering, with no room, crammed on top of one another in horrendous conditions in over 30 degree heat.
Despite the fact that discussing the cruelty behind transporting animals in such heat is important, we also need to talk about the conditions that they’re in before they are even loaded onto the slaughter trucks. For those of you who may not be aware, Friday images were released of Moy Park chicken farm in Newton on Trent where thousands of chickens died in the heat wave that affected most of the country. The images showed their bodies piled up in their hundreds in heaps outside the sheds that had imprisoned them for the past few weeks of their short lives. This farm is a “Red Tractor Approved” farm that supplies the major British supermarket chains Tesco, Sainsburys, Co-Op and Ocado. All of these beautiful, intelligent birds died because they had no room, a severe lack of food and water and because they were crammed into a hot shed with no ventilation in their thousands for weeks on end. I could not imagine a worse death- but whether it was the heat that killed them or the machines at the slaughter house they would have been transported to, these chickens would never have been able to live out their lives.
It doesn’t have to be this way
These gentle, sentient beings are only in these conditions because people are supporting the industries that keep them trapped there. Our society works on a supply and demand basis, and therefore, if we demand the dead bodies of animals to eat at our barbecues and to have their secretions in our tea and coffees then obviously the industries will supply it. If, however we decide to demand cruelty free, vegan alternatives then the industries will have to supply these instead and consequently, the abusive industries will slowly die out.
So, the next time you’re sat there in unbearable heat or you’re angry at someone for leaving their dog in a hot conservatory, please take a moment to think of the hundreds of animals that are in far worse conditions every single day. If you agree that the treatment these innocent beings have to endure is barbaric and wrong then please stop paying money to the people who abuse them for their own economic benefit. Choose to live a life without cruelty, choose to live vegan.