Can’t we pull back the curtain on the real anti-animal welfare agenda?

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Here we go again – to a ramped-up degree. Those who want to protect puppy mill operations and factory farming are out to pass a Constitutional amendment in Missouri to shut down new measures to protect animals from abuse and neglect.

But the folks backing the amendment are couching it as a movement to defending farming.

No – No – No. We are not within any universe where farming is going to be shut down. Sure – “Dawn of the Planets of the Apes” is going to a popular movie. But is anyone going to walk out of the theater and rush to their elected officials to ask for laws against apes taking over cities?

We can go outer space or we have a reasonable debate about animal welfare. What animal-welfare advocates are asking for is reasonable protections for animals. Those who abuse animals as they are being raised for sale or farming should be shut down.

What is so hard to understand about this? And why can’t some on the other side just be honest? It seems the real goal – from protecting puppy mill operations to criminalizing the acts of recording cruel acts on factory farms with Ag-Gag laws – is to protect the abusers.

It hasn’t been about protecting the traditions of farming and dog breeding. It’s more about hiding the abuses that go on behind the scenes.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Unfounded claim of the day: Farm cruelty is rare

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I just read an editorial on the StarPhoenix website, under the headline: “Animal welfare poses economic consequences.”

The focus is on recent news out of Canada concerning cruelty on factory farms and the animal-welfare movement to improve conditions for the animals.

While the piece is somewhat balanced at times, the writer tosses out this unfounded tidbit:

But make no mistake; farmers are true stewards of the land, and displays of such cruel behaviour toward any farm animal is rare.

Just a few paragraphs above this statement, the writer noted Cargill was moving away from gestation crates. Gestation crates are cruel and not at all rare. So on this single aspect of factory farming alone, how can it be that cruelty is rare?

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

I found another editorial featuring wacky mentality, on the topic of animal welfare

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This one is off-the-charts wacky – out of Australia. An editorial posted on the 9News website explains a so-called industry think tank claims fighting for measures to protect animals from cruelty is making life worse for animals.

The Australian Farm Institute, obviously a pro-factory farming group, spins the heck out of this one and so does the writer. The example of the sow crate is used – in claiming that if these crates are not used, it puts piglets at risk. The argument doesn’t hold water, as the piglets would only be in danger if the farmers forced them to live in close quarters.

Before the advent of factory farms, pigs lived in the farm yard and the piglets were fine. Then writer claims cage-free systems for egg producers would lead to bird flu outbreaks, as the chickens would be infected by wild ducks and water birds.

Again, before factory farms came along, chickens did just fine, thank you. The writer actually claims in a free-range system, it would be impossible to stop the chickens from mingling with water birds. Actually, if you take their smart phones away, they can’t text the water birds to come over.

The Wacky Meter just spiked way over to the red zone.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Confusing story out of Arizona, concerning proposed animal-cruelty laws

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I’m not quite sure what to make of an article posted March 11 on the Arizona Daily Sun website – under the headline: “Lawmakers create cruelty exceptions for farm animals.”

The story starts out as reporting the state legislature had created special exceptions in regard to acts of animal cruelty, for farmers and ranchers. (Translated – “factory farms.”)

So apparently two provisions were removed, so that factory farms could be protected. But then we read that one of the provisions removed would have stripped the power from police departments to investigate acts of cruelty on the farms. The power would have completely fallen under the Department of Agriculture.

If that provision had remained, police would not have been able to investigate the abuse of the horses, goats and sheep in back yards. But then the article suggests new language was added to allow police to investigate and alert the Department of Agriculture.

But the we read where:

Also gone is a mandate that anyone with a video, photograph or other evidence of cruelty must turn that over to the Department of Agriculture within five days or risk jail time and a fine.

It seems to me allowing police to investigate animal cruelty on farms and removing ag-gag regulations would be opposed by factory farms and would not be considered as exceptions for factory farms.

The one aspect reported from the new bill that does go easy on farmers is one that set a penalty of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine if the act of abuse is inflected on a farm animal. The article notes:

Existing laws make many forms of abuse of any animal, farm or domestic, a felony with potentially two years in state prison and a $150,000 fine.

But then the articles notes the measure might not gain passage unless the concerns of farmers and ranchers are addressed, as if they are not yet getting any special treatment in the bill.

So is it that the farmers and ranchers want complete immunity from charges if they are found to be abusing animals and do they not even like the lesser charges included in the bill, even though the story seems to indicated they are getting exceptions?

Wow. We need some clarification here.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

King Amendment to Farm Bill is another attempt by King to protect abusers

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Iowa Congressman Steve King is well known for his efforts to protect those who abuse animals. He could very well be the No. 1 anti-animal and pro-cruelty elected representative in the nation.

Of late, King has been ramping up his efforts to protect animal abusers. His latest move is the King Amendment. If this horrible piece of legislation becomes law, it could wipe off the books a number of state laws that protect animals. We don’t have enough in the way of protections for animals and King wants to gut what few protections they have.

In this case, King doesn’t want regulations on factory farms, where they’ll need to actually house their animals in any sort of humane way. If a state wants to ban battery cages for hens or gestation crates for pigs or to ban the act of force feeding ducks – King wants to overturn these bans, as part of what he laughably calls the Protect Interstate Commerce Act.

For King and his supporters, treating animals humanely is just too much trouble for factory farms. And recall that King doesn’t want dog-fighting operations to be troubled by more laws that mean more jail time.

How any Republican or Democrat could defend voting for this man is beyond all reason.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

We have a nominee for the Most Wildly Untrue Statement of the Year

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I run across so many of these, so I’m sure I would loose track over time, but let’s call statements like the following, the nominees for the Most Wildly Untrue Statements of the Year.

The National Post out of Canada reports Rick Bergman, the vice chair of the Canadian Pork Council, believes “using gestation crates are simply the most humane and efficient way to breed a sow.” It’s not a direct quote, but this is what the National Post says Bergman believes.

Why? – Factory farming insiders use excuses such as the weather is bad outside or the sows don’t get along or piglets are at risk without the gestation crates.

Do they realize pigs have been around for a long, long time – surviving without gestation crates? Do they realize wild pigs breed like crazy without any help from gestation crates? Do they realize farms existed before factory farming reared its ugly head?

But more to the point, gestation crates are extremely inhumane. Saying the Earth is at the center of the solar system, with the Sun revolving around us won’t make it true. Saying the Cleveland Browns have won six Super Bowls in a row won’t make it true.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Factory farming industry wants to hide acts of cruelty and block any protections for the animals

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Ag-gag laws: The trend is spreading – in an attempt to cover up the cruel practices within the factory-farming industry. I found one editorial on the Global Grind website from a writer who seems to incorrectly believe these laws will protect animals. Thankfully, a number of comments below the piece might educate her.

These “ag-gag” laws are clearly designed to hind acts of animal cruelty. This industry does not want its practices shown to the public – and to date, inspections by government agencies have apparently been conducted with blindfolds.

We must have stronger regulations and until then, the only way the public and the animals can be protected is through hidden-camera video. The industry knows this.

ABC News reported March 15 on six more states looking to close the curtain on animal suffering.

Indiana state Sen. Travis Holdman was quoted in the article. He wants to protect the industry, but his comment is telling.

“We don’t need a vigilante group out there with cameras and video cameras taking pictures of things that we just don’t like.”

So is he going to make sure these acts of cruelty that “we just don’t like” are exposed and offenders punished? Probably not. So his comment rings hollow. The six states where elected officials want to hide and protect acts of animal cruelty are – Nebraska, Indiana, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and California.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Ag-gag laws called ‘sinister’

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I like wording. Editors of the Journal of Animal Ethics are using the phrase ‘sinister’ to describe Ag-gag laws. These new laws that have cropped up in at least a couple of states criminalize undercover video and audio recordings of abuse on factory farms. The actual goal of the laws are not to really to protect the privacy of the landowners. The goal is to hide abuse from the eyes of the public.

Sinister is right. These factory farms want to hide their practices. And without a means to uncover cruelty, the cruelty will go on.

A received the following press release concerning this topic:

“” “”

U.S. AG-GAG LAWS “SINISTER” SAY LEADING ACADEMICS

Leading academics have branded United States “Ag-gag” laws, now in force in Iowa and Utah and awaiting consideration in other U.S. states, that make it a criminal offence to photograph or make a sound or video recording of an animal facility without the owner’s permission, as “sinister”.

The editors of the Journal of Animal Ethics (JAE) recently published by the University of Illinois Press Professors Andrew Linzey and Priscilla N. Cohn note that the objections to these laws seem to have been “insufficiently regarded in the preceding debates in these states, so perhaps they need to be spelled out”.  They list five reasons for concern:

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Pack Topics: Factory farming; dog fighting legislation; light sentencing

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Dog Fighting Bill: The ASPCA is cheering the latest federal legislative efforts to strengthen animal fighting laws.

Should the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act become the law of the land, attending an organized animal fight would be a federal offense, as would be the act of bringing a minor to an animal fight.

Let’s all hope this bill is signed into law – very soon.

Another light sentence for dog fighting: A man arrested for dog fighting in New Jersey has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge (fourth-degree animal cruelty) and was sentenced to just three years probation – with the emphasis on the word ‘just.’

An article posted Friday on NJ.com notes – “” Investigators found treadmills rigged for dogs, spiked collars, dogfighting videos and batteries used to shock dogs … “” And get this; despite all of that evidence, he will not go to jail – and only during the probation period will he be barred from possessing animals.

When will mandatory, extended prison sentences and lifetime bans on possessing animals become the only option for judges, in cases of horrible acts of cruelty? How can any elected official anywhere or any judge anywhere be supportive of the current system?  The level of punishment in these cases only shows support for criminals.

Actress promoting factory farming reforms: Actress Kristen Bell is calling for the end in the use of gestation crates for pigs. She expressed those concerns directly to the CEO of the National Pork Producers Council.

 

Not sure what to make of this new effort …

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Several news stories crossed the Pack News Wire this morning, concerning the development of a new group hoping to be a resource for information on the topic of the welfare of farm animals in Iowa.

The Sioux City Journal reports several groups are teaming as the Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition – “Iowa State University colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life Sciences and the state veterinarian’s office at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship” and animal welfare experts and agricultural industry leaders.

The article notes this: “” The state Farm Bureau Federation and Pork Producers Association are funding the project. “” But the executive director of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa will also be on the advisory committee.

I hope this a good step forward for the welfare of animals on factory farms in the state. But I’ll admit I’m looking at this with a bit of caution. Will the factory farming industry really move forward, with concern for the emotional and physical well being of the animals?