What led to current state of factory farming? – Greed. What prompts the annual seal slaughter in Canada and the similar kangaroo slaughter in Australia? – Greed – And then there is the unfortunate market for the products from these mass slaughters.
A new Whole Foods just opened in my hometown. My wife and I roamed through the store over the weekend and I found a section with meat products from animals raised as free-roaming. This – for the most part – is the way it used to be, before factory farming took over the industry.
For the sake of massive profit – pigs, cows, turkeys and chickens, etc are crammed into tiny cages for the entire span of their entire lives. It’s horrible. Why can’t the animals at least be free to roam before their deaths? Why can’t they live free of cruelty at least until the time of their deaths?
The response to these questions from the supporters of factory farms always turns to the cost of production and the increased price on the shelves. It’s always about money. They can’t help it. It’s money and profit and pricing and sales. All things are excusable because finances always come first in the era of factory farming.
Employees need better working conditions? Employees need a raise? – Can’t be done. After all, the CEO needs another multimillion-dollar bonus. The record profit margin must be maintained. The vice-president in charge of what-ever is only making $1.2 million; hardly enough to maintain homes in California and Florida. And have you checked how much it takes to fill the gas tank on a yacht lately?
The employees don’t need a raise. The price of house-brand macaroni and cheese is still pretty cheap in the grocery store. They can eat that every day. After all – they’re only workers. If they want more, they can get a fourth job. What are they doing in the overnight hours anyway – sleeping? That’s pretty lazy.
And for the animals; if they weren’t crammed into crates 24/7, they’d be wandering around outside doing nothing. They can’t read or watch TV and they aren’t allowed in the mall, so what kind of life could they lead?
This is the philosophy of the universally greedy.
US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill last week that could improve the housing for hens on factory farms – in this case, in mass-production egg farms. The bill is endorsed by the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States. It doubles the size of the cages most hens are crammed into today – for at least 124 square inches for each hen.
An editorial this week on the Chicago Tribune website noted the following – “” Major chains like Costco and Wal-Mart already insist on cage-free eggs for their private brands. Food companies General Mills and Kraft are shifting in that direction. Burger King has announced that within five years it will switch to all cage-free eggs. “”
Slowly but surely, progress is being made toward more humane conditions. But there is a long way to go and other facets of the factory farming industry might not be so willing to change their ways.
I referenced the annual seal slaughter and kangaroo slaughter above. Lesli Bisgould, a Canadian animal rights lawyer is making a connection between the two very similar atrocities, on separate continents.
An estimated 90 million kangaroos have been killed in Australia over the last two decades.
Bisgould, reportedly the first lawyer in Canada with a focus in animal rights, has been challenging the Canadian seal hunts and questioning the justifications for the slaughter. I haven’t handed out one these of late, but Bisgould is hereby awarded a Pack of Humane Justice Award.