Why Are Farm Animals Running for Their Lives in New York City?

Why Are Farm Animals Running for Their Lives in New York City?

Animal abuse at storefront slaughterhouses would shock even the most hardened New Yorker

NEW YORK CITY – January 31, 2012 – New York City is a town teeming with farm animals. But, they are typically hidden from view. Once in a while, however, one of the thousands of cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and other farm animals who are annually transported into the city to be sold and slaughtered at the city’s hundreds of “live markets” makes a brave escape and the ensuing chase makes front-page news. Earlier this month, Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, rescued Elliott, a baby goat found wandering aimlessly along 149th Avenue in Brooklyn in such shockingly horrible condition that rescuers were amazed he had found the strength to make his bid for freedom. After rescuing more than 400 farm animals in similar condition from New York City streets over the last decade, the organization believes New Yorkers would demand an investigation into these squalid facilities if they knew the truth concealed behind their walls.

“This boy has been through hell”
Elliott, who is about the size of a medium-sized dog, was covered in dirt and lice, and rescuers could feel every bone is his body. He was so weak he could barely hold up his head, which had been inexplicably painted with blue spray paint. One of his eyes was so covered in pus that he was unable to see. Upon arriving at Farm Sanctuary’s New York Shelter in Watkins Glen, National Shelter Director Susie Coston assessed his condition and immediately sent him to Cornell University Hospital for Animals, where he was put on oxygen, IV fluids, and antibiotics. Veterinarians determined he had severe pneumonia, possible urinary blockage, and was blind in one eye. “This boy has been through hell,” says Coston.

The nightmare under our noses
Addressing the overarching problem of New York City’s live markets, Coston says, “New Yorkers are a compassionate group of people, and if they knew how terrible the conditions are inside these places for both the animals and the people who work there, they would be outraged. No one likes to think about animals being cruelly confined in filthy, stressful conditions for days on end and then having their throats slit while they are still conscious, but that is exactly what is happening right under our noses inside these storefront slaughterhouses. Live markets can only continue to operate by hiding this torture from public view. We encourage the media and local officials to lift the curtain on these horror houses once and for all, and put an end to the torture and mistreatment of farm animals in New York City.”

A growing problem
A 2006 online report noted more than 100 live animal markets in New York City – double the number of the 1990s. Given that growth rate, Farm Sanctuary is concerned that even more facilities exist today, and believes these markets and the city should be held accountable for conditions and animal abuse activities that are taking place there.

Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, promotes legislative, policy, and individual lifestyle changes to help farm animals. Farm Sanctuary’s shelters in New York and California provide lifelong care for nearly 1,000 rescued farm animals. For more information, please visit farmsanctuary.org.