“This Is Horrific Abuse”: Rooney Mara Joins Shocking Investigation of Factory Farming

Relating her first-hand experiences in an investigation with Animal Equality, actor Rooney Mara exposes the reality of factory farming. "It's so much more awful than you can even imagine."

Investigation Food Investigations

Animal Equality, a global farmed animal advocacy organization, has released a new investigation into the painful existence of animals in factory farming conditions.

The investigation was joined by the actor and animal rights activist Rooney Mara. Called “With My Own Eyes,” the video depicting the investigation encourages viewers to examine the harsh reality for billions of animals and the many reasons the global community must break its dependence on animal products.


“Nothing prepares you for looking into the eyes of a mother pig whose life is to be impregnated and left in a cage until she’s slaughtered,” said Mara. “I kept thinking about my sister who just had a baby, and how beautiful that instant desire to nurture and protect your child is. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to be literally trapped and crushing your own babies and not be able to do anything about it.”

In addition to witnessing the tragedies of mothers either being unable to nurse their young, or even accidentally crushing them, the investigators also discover dozens of weak and dying piglets receiving no veterinary attention and pigs with severe untreated hernias. Unfortunately, these conditions are merely regular features of a factory farming business.


Mother pig in a cage
Mother pig in a cage. Photo: Animal Equality


Piglets on a farm
Piglets getting crushed by each other, or sometimes even their own mother due to lack of space. Photo: Animal Equality


“I kept thinking about my sister who just had a baby, and how beautiful that instant desire to nurture and protect your child is. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to be literally trapped and crushing your own babies and not be able to do anything about it.”


Mother pig or sow on a farm
Mother pigs in farrowing crates suffer inhumane conditions. Photo: Animal Equality


Pigs on a farm
Even when not in a crate, pigs have little room to move, and no hay or soil, which is required for their natural instinctual behavior. Photo: Animal Equality.


Rooney Mara
Actor Rooney Mara investigating pig factory farm. Photo: Animal Equality.


The investigation is powerful both for its depth and breadth: in addition to a pig farm, Animal Equality and Mara also investigate a chicken farm. “Pigs are like an easier entry point because they are more similar to us, and more similar to the pets that we love,” Mara recounts her experience. “But then the chicken farm — I’ve never experienced anything like that.”

With over 50,000 chickens crammed into massive brightly lit halls, the video shows animals experiencing extreme distress. Broiler chickens are one of the cruelest productions of animal agriculture: they are bred to grow so abnormally large, so quickly, that their legs and organs cannot function, causing heart attacks, organ failure, and painful leg deformities.

“They’ve been bred to grow so quickly and so much that they can’t even bear the weight of their own bodies,” explains Sharon Núñez, President of Animal Equality, as the group slowly makes their way through the hall, encountering dead and dying birds on the way.


Actor Rooney Mara
Air on chicken farms can be hazardous. Photo: Animal Equality.


Sharon Nunez and Rooney Mara
Sharon Núñez and Mara inspect a sick bird. Photo: Animal Equality


Chickens from a factory farm
Many chickens die slowly and painfully, and are discarded. Photo: Animal Equality.


Actress Rooney Mara
Chickens are kept in their thousands in large industrial halls. Photo: Animal Equality

While Mara was shocked by her experiences on these factory farms, she also emphasized that the gravity of the situation is worsened by a lack of awareness and denial.

“I think a lot of people — even after they do see things like that — have some level of denial because it is so painful to imagine that that’s really how the world works, and that’s really something we’ve been party to.”

But even if someone isn’t moved by the animal suffering, Mara says there are other good reasons to stop paying for the products of animal agriculture. “If you can’t find the empathy for the animals just for the cruelty and pain and suffering that is their lives, look at your health,” Mara says. “Do it for your health, do it for the planet. There are so many different reasons to not keep animals in this way.”

Accompanying Rooney Mara, Sharon Núñez, President of Animal Equality, added, “Animal Equality’s undercover investigators face great personal risk to expose what the meat industry doesn’t want you to see, and what the public has every right to know. We are deeply grateful to Rooney for bravely looking into the eyes of these animals, and joining us in our promise to them to share their cries with anyone who will listen. Her courage is truly inspiring.”

If you want to help end the suffering of animals on factory farms, please consider sharing this article to increase awareness of the ongoing situation. For offering direct support, consider becoming a monthly donor to Animal Equality.


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