For the Fathers.
cw: this article contains images of violence against other animals and descriptions of violence and sexual exploitation against other animals.
This is for the fathers. For the often forgotten individuals held captive within systems of exploitation, valued only for their productivity (or rather their re-productivity) and used in a constant cycle of breeding and production, creating generation after generation of offspring destined for the knife. For the fathers whose bodies are manipulated, sexually assaulted and tortured all in the name of human gains and profits.
Boar held at Wacol pig semen collection facility, QLD (image: Animal Liberation QLD 2019)
Pig semen for use in artificial insemination is collected via a “dummy sow” which the boars must be trained to use. Another boar’s semen, saliva or urine collected from a sow may be spread over the dummy, or an oestrus sow may be used to “excite” him. Once the boar has mounted the dummy, the person responsible for collection will grab the end of the boar’s penis, and allow the boar to thrust through their hand several times before grabbing the penis firmly in order to stimulate ejaculation. The process lasts for up to ten minutes; after the first ejaculation a second may be stimulated with “brief, firm, pulsating hand pressure applied” to the penis. This process may be repeated two to three times a week, between which times the boars are in individual pens isolated from others.
Electrical probe used for bull semen collection (image: Central Station, Australia)
The most common method for semen collection from bulls in Australia is electro-ejaculation; a restrained bull has a probe inserted into his anus, which emits an electrical current to stimulate the bull to the point of ejaculation, whereupon it is collected via a funnel. Prior to this, the bull’s testicles are measured and massaged to make sure he is viable for collection and breeding. Bulls may remain fertile until older age, however a drop in fertility will usually result in the bull being slaughtered. Artificial insemination in the cattle industry is big business, with collection centres across the country storing millions of dollars worth of semen for use by both the meat and dairy industries.
Parent birds used by the egg industry (image: Animal Liberation VIC, 2016)
Both layer hens and broiler chickens are the offspring of “parent birds,” fertile breeding hens and roosters who are kept confined to sheds en masse. Multiple roosters are housed per shed, leading to fights and the over-mating of the hens. The roosters are kept for as long as their reproductive capacity is commercially viable, whereupon they are killed. Their offspring will go on to hatch in incubators, half of whom will be male; in the eggs industry those male chicks will not live past 24 hours old, instead they are either gassed or macerated live.
This article only provides a brief overview of the exploitation and violence inflicted upon other animals in the name of industry. Other animals, including (but not exclusive to) turkeys, dogs, horses, have their bodies manipulated and sexually exploited due to the demands of human tastes, entertainment, companionship, and profits. Were we to place the act of semen harvesting in any other context than the breeding of other animals for human gain it would be deemed not only perverse but potentially criminal; yet members of these industries, including veterinarians charged with the duty of overseeing collection, are absolved of any wrongdoing by a society that is willing to turn a blind eye.
As we approach Father’s Day, please reconsider your support for the industries that enact these deprivations and abuses upon non-consenting bodies. Please consider the fathers, incarcerated and exploited for your Father’s Day breakfast; for the milk in your coffee, the eggs and the bacon on your plate. Fatherhood should not be celebrated at the expense of others.
This is for the fathers, who never will be fathers, who will only ever be as valuable as their re-productivity.