This statement makes us think of Monty Python’s song ‘Every sperm is sacred’ with the implication that we should breed as many people as we possibly can because life is wonderful, and any life is better than not being born. This is problematic at best.
If we bred every animal to their maximum capacity to also maximise the number of animals being given a wonderful chance at life, we soon wouldn’t be able to move among the fur, feathers and fins, let alone find food, shelter and water for them all.
Besides, is life really better than not being born if your life consists of being forced to breed, being locked in a cage, or having your young taken from you? What if most of your life is spent standing on the lame legs or broken bones that are common in chickens, or suffering the debilitating and painful infections that are endemic in cows on dairy farms and lead to them being slaughtered young?
Is it better to die on the floor or a factory farm shed without ever having breathed fresh air or in the blades of a mincing machine because you were born a male chick and are of no commercial use?
We do not farm animals because we are doing them a favour. We farm them because they have something we want to eat: their young, their flesh or their secretions.
It is a wonderful thing to give an animal a happy life, and there are lots of people who offer a home to a rescued dog or a cat, and sometimes to sheep, pigs, cows and chickens. And they do this because they really are doing those animals a favour, and want to provide them with a safe and happy life.
If you haven’t met Esther the Wonder Pig yet, we recommend you do. This beautiful girl has been given the chance of a happy life, but her story is rare among farmed animals. Most endure lives of suffering, deprivation and loss. That’s not much of a favour to grant them, is it?