One wonders why anyone would actually eat meat when you read stuff like this. It was taken from The Humane Farming Association website. I hope they don't mind.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service, each year about 10 percent, or 900 million, of the animals raised for food never reach the slaughterhouse. They die on the farm due to stress, injury, and disease. The on-farm death rate ranges from a low of 4 percent for cows and calves to 12 percent for turkeys, 14 percent for hogs, and 28 percent for some types of chickens.
Agribusiness corporations claim that animals in factory farms are “as well cared for as their own pet dog or cat.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The life of an animal in a factory farm is characterized by acute deprivation, stress, and disease. Industrialized agriculture has made the determination that it is more “cost effective” to accept some loss in inventory than to spend money on treating animals humanely.
Farm animals, by the millions, are forced to live in cages or crates just barely larger than their own bodies. While some species, like hogs and veal calves, may be caged alone without any social contact, others, like egg-laying hens and chickens, may be crowded so tightly together that they fall prey to stress-induced cannibalism. Unable to groom, stretch their legs, or even turn around, the victims of factory farms exist in a constant state of distress.
If a private citizen confined a dog or cat in a manner common in factory farms, or subjected an animal to surgical procedures without anesthesia, the individual could be charged with cruelty to animals. Farming is an area, however, that federal and state laws protecting animals barely touch. The powerful agribusiness and pharmaceutical lobbies have seen to it that farm animals are specifically excluded from welfare laws.
There are virtually no federal laws that protect farm animals from even the most harsh and brutal treatment as long as it takes place in the name of production and profit. The federal Animal Welfare Act, which regulates the treatment of animals for commercial purposes, does not apply to farm animals unless they are being used in research or for exhibition. Moreover, a majority of states have specifically exempted some aspect of the treatment of animals in agriculture from their cruelty laws.* It is left entirely to the preference of the individual company how many egg-laying hens are stuffed into each little wire cage, or whether an artificially inseminated sow must spend her entire pregnancy chained to the floor of a cement-bottomed cage.