Eating meat, milk and eggs day by day seems as normal nowadays as turning on the faucet to get water.
Supermarkets offer an overwhelming range of meat, sausages, milk, cheese butter, yogurt, fromage frais and eggs.
Everything is presented in an appetizing way, neatly packed and decorated with beautiful pictures that might make us believe that these products grow peacefully on trees just waiting for someone to pick them. It is self-evident for us to put them into the cart without thinking about their origin. Most people do not know that they come from real living beings and that they are produced under extremely unnatural and cruel circumstances.
Well, time and again, we come across TV reports that show the real side of animal husbandry but the initial shock slackens off quickly because it is very difficult to associate these pictures with the neatly packed turkey breasts or with the green pastures on cheese packages. Some people simply do not want to think about it and ignore what they have seen.
Why after all should we burden ourselves with that stuff? As long as these animals are fattened and tormented behind high walls, it is none of our concern.
Besides there are those would-be experts who appease our conscience declaring that this type of animal keeping is the exception rather than the rule.
And those who regard industrial livestock farming as a necessary evil to provide food for the world's population are on the wrong track (cf. Food consumption of animals)).
Before the time of industrial farming (i.e. until ca. 1950) it was necessary in most cases to eat meat for there was no global system of supplies and the amount of plants that were cultivated was not sufficient to cover the calorific requirement of humans.
On the other hand, in those days, animals were for the most part kept in appropriate stalls with enough space to move around in and they were mostly given food from existing natural resources like e.g. grass.
But in the course of the 20th century, industrial livestock farming was established, in which there is no room for the animals' well-being and which requires large masses of feed to be cultivated (cf. Food consumption of animals)).
According to different Associations of Vegetarians and other sources 98% of the total of animal products come from industrial livestock farming.
There is no common standard to tell when industrial livestock farming begins. On the whole, we can say that industrial livestock farming means any kind of animal husbandry which deprives animals of the larger part of their natural needs. Among these are the space to move around, the room they are kept in, the kind of feed and the size of the colony.
Despite horrible conditions animal products are advertised with idyllic pictures of green pastures and with impressive photos of the scenery – a widespread trick of the advertising industry to promote sales. A lot of consumer tests have shown that most customers refuse meat products with pictures showing the real conditions of the keeping.