Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Every Farm Animal Deserves

Americans have a bill of rights, but what about the rights of farm animals, 10 billion killed annually in the United States? They live (if you can call it living, it's more like endure) in the shadows, forgotten by most of society who seems to comfort themselves with the notion that if they don't think about the suffering, it doesn't exist, or it's someone else's fault.

Whatever your dietary stripe, here are some basic rights I believe all farm animals should have (and hope you do too).

To never see the inside of a gestation stall, ever.

To not be cramped into a wire cage the size of a filing cabinet with five or six other chickens so we can buy 99 cent cartons of eggs. A chicken's labor should be worth more than 8.25 cents an egg.

For poultry, to be included in the federal Humane Slaughter Act.

To not be de-beaked, de-clawed, de-anything.

Never to be force fed, ever.

To have free range conditions be, indeed, free range.

To be treated with kindness and respect by the farmers raising them. The consumers eating them should not shift the blame to the producers for deplorable conditions if they are contributing to the demand.

They should not be viewed as just another dish on Thanksgiving (or any other time) without any thought to the life of the turkey that ended up on your plate.

All farm animals deserve these rights.

A moment of solitude on a fine summer day at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary for these animals, who are victims of a factory farming system which have found safe refuge here.

Veganism or vegetarianism may be not everyone's path in life, and I respect people's choices, but know that deplorable factory farming conditions exist because of society's demand to have a meat, milk and eggs so heavily in daily diets at the cheapest prices available. Eating veg as often as possible is the ideal. But at the very least, if everyone ate a little less meat and animal by-products, paid a little more, and wasted less food, the conditions of these animals would improve exponentially. They are living, breathing, sentient beings the same as our cats and dogs and deserve to be treated with common decency - and not viewed just a commodity - especially if they are going to give up their lives for a meal.

That is my declaration for farm animals.


Candles by Nature said...

Agreed. Although I'm not a vegetarian, I support the humane treatment of animals in all respects and would be more than willing to pay a bit more if it guaranteed that animals are being treated fairly. Unfortunately, there are many companies out there who also claim to raise free-range animals in organic settings, etc. when it's not entirely true. We all have to stay informed as consumers!

ConsciouslyFrugal said...

"The consumers eating them should not shift the blame to the producers for deplorable conditions if they are contributing to the demand."

Here, here! Although I've heard some say that the demand was a "cultivated" desire, I really don't give a crap. Everytime we lay our dollars down, we're voting. Be careful what you vote for.

Factory farms are abusive to all the animals involved (human workers included, even though we tend to vilify factory farm workers. They work in dangerous, horrid conditions) and are such massive polluters.

It's really not that difficult to cut down on consumption and buy direct from farms. I don't understand why factory "farming" still exists.

Cate said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

Thanks all for your comments of support.

I simply believe in our media age, consumers cannot pretend to not know this is going on. Many seem fine with pointing the finger at someone else (producer, government, corporation selling it). Ever heard the excuse, 'but the animal was already dead when I bought it.' I have.

The morality of eating animals is up to each individual to decide. But how the vast majority are raised is indefensible. Would most people collect their eggs in a filthy barn with 100,000 chickens? Chop beaks off of baby chicks? Tail docking anyone? No, let the underpaid worker do it. Hands up all who want a factory farm in their community polluting their rivers and air? Mine is down.

As Consciously Frugal does, I hope others "vote" for a better world when food shopping.

MaddyG said...

Awesome post, Catherine.
You seem to be able to look things in the eye when other people often turn their heads. This is a difficult subject to talk/write about. Thanks for being courageous!

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

Thanks so much Maddy. Since the animals cannot defend themselves, it's up to those who can to stand up for the injustices.

People get so squeamish talking about these issues. I've encountered many who are germaphobes about not using reusable plates or anyone coming into contact with their food, but if I ask about how their food is raised, they don't seem to want to acknowledge it (perhaps because a reality check would involve a significant change). Worse yet is when people start bringing in the Bible to justify it (have had it happen!) For me, it's not about eating animals or 'my way is the only way'– it's about the moral question of how they are raised, and what that says about our value system.

It's all about awareness and accountability. No one makes the best choices all the time (I don't), but we can strive toward better choices as much as possible.