Get rid of the cages!
Following a recent post, which in part highlighted a senseless act of cruelty against a defenseless animal, comes some good news for a change. But first: just imagine for a moment that you are confined to a small cage, with no room to simply turn around or stretch out your limbs. Any natural movement of your body is totally restricted. Day in day out you are in this cage. Artificial lights glare down on you relentlessly. Up to nine other tormented individuals probably occupy the cage with you. You get no exercise and you’re in this cage for up to 12 months, in a gloomy shed that holds maybe 100,000 other individuals living in the same conditions. You become increasingly stressed, anxious and depressed. And you’re in pain.
Are you a prisoner of war? Nope, you’re a battery hen. Probably debeaked cruelly with a hot machine when you were a day or so old and now forced to live out your life in miserable, cramped conditions. Or you might be a pig or calf or sow.
A couple of months back, I told you about a book I’d finished reading: Why Animals Matter by Erin Williams and Margo Demello. One of the co-authors, Erin Williams, contacted me and is keeping ThinkingShift up to date with latest developments in animal welfare. Erin works for the Humane Society in the US and has just alerted me to a Pew Commission Report on Industrial Farm Animal Production. You can read the Humane Society’s story about this report on their website. But in a nutshell, the report says:
- factory farms pose unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and animal welfare (anyone thinking bird flu?)
- a phase-out of inhumane practices such as battery cages is recommended
- the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act has qualified for the November ballot in California after 800,000 Californians signed petitions (go California!)
- the ballot initiative prescribes that cages and crates on factory farms get the boot so that the most basic right – the right to simply stretch and move about – is granted to animals
The Pew Commission report follows a two-year investigation and site visits to facilities across America and industry leaders, animal experts, scientists and so on were consulted. And it seems that Colorado, Florida, Arizona and Oregon are following California’s lead by gathering signatures to ban gestation crates and legislate against animal abuse.
So a good news story! If you’d like to inform yourself about how calves and pigs live out their sorry lives in inhumane conditions, then read this story from the Humane Society. Hint: don’t read while eating as you’ll probably throw up.
Let’s stop worrying about whether we have the latest designer handbag or whether we are paid enough to do our jobs so we can afford THE BRANDS and the McMansion- let’s spend a moment thinking about the sorry lives of some of our planet’s species. After all, it is us who inflict such pain and suffering on these poor creatures.
Thx to Erin and the Humane Society of the United States for the story.