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Humane Animal Harvesting (Part Two)

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You don’t have to stop eating meat to be a part of the solution!


In part one, we navigated more of the philosophy surrounding agriculture production and how it’s more about how the animal is raised and slaughtered, as an alternative to forgoing meat altogether, when taking environmental action.


At Wagner Ag, we support every facet of the farming community — from tractors to irrigation systems. Learn more about humane harvesting in today’s post.

Humane Animal Harvesting


Unfortunately, we’ve evolved into a space in the farming industry where there is a distinction between humane harvesting and the cruel, inhumane practices that are found in factory farming.


What is humane harvesting?


A humane harvest takes the animal into account and consciously works towards a slaughter that decreases the amount of suffering the animal experiences.


Why is this a concern?


The early 19th century is where factory farming really began to evolve. Animals were being shipped by train to slaughterhouses in large cities where there were more people and the demand for meat was higher.


Have you ever noticed a meat packing plant near a train station or railroad line? This is no coincidence. Large, centralized meat-packing plants were built near railroad stations to make it easier for them to be delivered to the slaughterhouses.


These facilities grew relatively quickly and were not regulated by the government, so this meant the owners and employees had free reign over how to do whatever needed to be done to improve their ROI.


This resulted in cruel slaughtering practices and unsafe food being produced.


1906 brought the work by Upton Sinclair in a book called The Jungle which exposed the conditions the immigrants were working in along with the much darker side of the meat-packing industry.  


To tackle this, the government got involved and President Roosevelt passed a set of laws in The Meat Inspection Act of 1906. This ushered the inspection of the animals before and after slaughter.

Still, there was much to be desired and many of these laws felel to deaf ears for nearly 50 years. In 1958, Congress passed the Humane Methods Livestock Slaughter Act, that provided a clear guideline to the expectations that slaughterhouses neede to follow, or face shutdown.


The main takeaway from this was that the animals had to be stunned before they were slaughtered so they could not feel pain. The stun gun essentially blasts air, rendering them unconscious right before slaughter.


Taking it one step further, there are farming operations that go out and onto the land and shoot and harvest the animals on-site.


Humane Practices Today


Since 1958 there have been additional regulations imparted in the industry as research came out. Temple Grandin paved the way and is responsible for much of the research and practices that elicit a more humane slaughter such as:


  • Reducing noise in the facility as much as possible
  • Moving the animals with flags instead of electric prods
  • Keeping a well-lit entrance
  • Asking workers to not whistle or shout at the animals


Still today, there are many reports of cruel practices in factory farming facilities.


Humane Hope


Many farms are turning to a type of agriculture called regenerative farming, implementing humane harvesting amongst other practices. Taking humane harvesting to an elevated level, the animals are able to roam free, eat what they were always intended to, and receive a dignified death — apart from the slaughterhouse.


There is no need to stress the animal out, for corralling, or hectic spaces where the animals are jammed-packed into one area. Yes, this method takes longer and it’s more expensive, but it’s a way to stay connected to the animals that feed us.  


For more information on our farm equipment, reach out to us today!