Thanks to the horse meat scandal tons of processed meat products are being removed from supermarket cabinets. The waste is huge. But the meat industry usually strives to avoid waste. Any part of an animal that can possibly be used for human consumption is made fit to eat, right down to the stripping of bones.
Fighting bulls are selected for their aggressive spirit. Like racehorses bred for the track they are highly prized and their welfare is paramount. Beef cattle, on the other hand, are bred and reared purely for meat. Only a very small proportion are kept for breeding - nearly all bull calves are castrated.
Factory farming is all about maximising profit to produce cheap food - hence the breeding of animals that have become grotesque parodies of their natural selves: malformed mutants, pushed to the limits. This is farming on a vastly cruel scale, the profit motive overwhelming any meaningful consideration of animal welfare.
Humans are the only species that drinks milk from another animal or that drink milk throughout adulthood. Supermarkets are abundant with milk products - like cheese, yoghurts, cream. Yet the health benefits are questionable: saturated fats; hormones; overly rich in protein; and implicated as a cause of testicular, breast and prostate cancer and heart disease.
Just mention the word vegan or vegetarian and the insults fly. Vegetabilists, plant nazis, salad munchers, eco-warriors, hippy dippy morons, bunny huggers. hese from the meatarians - is that an insult or a proudly worn moniker? Carnivores versus Vegans. Light the blue touchpaper. You could start a riot! Why such outrage?
Traditional farms are arranged to suit the animals. Now animals are selectively bred to suit intensive production. They must grow large as quickly as possible and be as productive as possible. Sows have litters of up to 15 piglets even though they have only 12 teats. Hens lay up to 300 eggs a year - 30 is a natural number.
In the countryside the fields burgeon with pasture and crops. But where are the animals? See the industrial-sized buildings in this agricultural landscape? The lack of life on the outside belies the fact that inside are living beings, crammed together in vast numbers, fed and watered by automation. For them - unlike the fields outside - there is nothing natural.
As a species we have so much to answer for in the way we treat animals, but the largest single cause of animal suffering must be the way we factory farm, transport and slaughter billions of animals around the globe - year after year. I find it hard to understand how anyone can countenance keeping hens in cages or pregnant sows in narrow stalls, unable to turn round. Thankfully more and more people are rejecting the products from animals kept in these grossly unjust ways. The free range market is growing fast.