Many of us have never spent time in the company of farm animals. Of course, some may have met their acquaintance at a nearby farm or backyard chicken coop in urban areas, yet most people (at least in the U.S.) probably haven’t truly seen farm animals up close and personal except during a long ago trip to a petting zoo.

Obviously, our lack of contact with farm animals stems directly from the fact that the U.S. is no longer a primarily agrarian society as most of the population lives and works in cities or suburban areas.

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However, this type of living structure often creates a disconnection between the metropolitan and rural worlds since we no longer realize where the resources that fuel our daily lives come from.

The disconnect becomes particularly problematic when farm animals are thrown into the equation since billions of these animals suffer from the moment they’re born until their death at a young age in factory farms, which emphasize production and efficiency resulting in cruel and unsanitary conditions for its captive residents.

Since we often do not see these animals and are therefore unable to fully comprehend their suffering, it is difficult to develop an affinity with them, which is what we desperately need to do if we want to diminish their suffering or stop it altogether.

Thankfully, there are options out there that can help us get to know farm animals for who they really are – sentient, intelligent creatures who feel pain and joy just like us.

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One opportunity is to visit a farm sanctuary where you can directly interact with animals who were once at or on their way to factory farms.

Another way is to examine their portraits, like the following 14 below taken by photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur at Farm Sanctuary, Wishing Well Sanctuary, and Edgar’s Mission, in the U.S, Canada, and Australia respectively.

These photographs, which are a part of McArthur’s ongoing We Animals project, show farm animals living out their lives in freedom, giving us an intimate look at how their personalities shine through if only we’d allow more of them the life they, and all animals, deserve.

So go ahead take a look at the portraits below – each animal so stunning that they beg us to leave them be, to not eat them.

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14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

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14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

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14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

14 Stunning Portraits of Farm Animals Literally Begging Us Not to Eat Them

Loved these photos? Be sure to check out McArthur’s photo book, “We Animals,” available now on Amazon!

Lead image source: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals