I am a former undercover investigator who worked in factory farms, and am currently Investigations Manager for a national animal protection organization

veterinarians unfortunately must deal often with death. It is one of the reasons that veterinarians have a very high suicide rate because many get compassion fatigue. Vets must perform humane euthanasia of pets who are sick or unwanted. Many vets with the government must perform euthanasia of animals in disease outbreaks. If the SPCA discovers that there is mistreatment of farm or companion animals, a vet may have to undertake the human euthanasia of those animals to end their suffering. If the meat industries suddenly ended, or if they were no longer bought, there would be millions of animals that would be euthanized, or left to starve like many horses currently are in the US. If there was no meat industry, and it could suddenly disappear, then awesome, I'd be ok with that! I'd probably keep a pet cow in my backyard because I love cows if that's ok.

But while there is animal agriculture and people want to eat meat, then I will work to help them have the healthiest life and the most stress-free and painless death. I have worked in dairies, and there are good parts and bad parts, and sometimes the real animal welfare issues are not as obvious as you might think. And sometimes you get too used to bad things and have to remind yourself of what levels of lameness/pain/stress is unacceptable and find ways to fix it. You have to sometimes remind yourself to treat the cows with respect, and be quiet, slow, calm and patient. Sometimes the most calming thing is to work in the milking parlour, cleaning, wiping, massaging teats and attaching milking units. The cows are calm and content and chewing their cud and I am dancing to a song on the radio at 2AM as I wait for them to finish (they let down their milk when I massage the teat, and then it takes about 5-10 minutes for them to finish). I never hit a cow unless my safety is being threatened (there was a bull at one point that made me nervous).

/r/IAmA Thread Parent