Hello from London! Monday puzzle: can you find the theme in the following images?
If you were clever enough to figure out the puzzle, you’re clever enough to donate to the Kickstarter for BuyingPoultry:
BuyingPoultry.com will take the guesswork out of choosing the most high-welfare and sustainable products. Our free buying guide—available via the web and on your favorite mobile devices—is going to list every poultry producer and poultry certification (organic, free range, cage free, etc.) in America, and will tell you how they treat their animals. With BuyingPoultry.com you will be able to see who’s best and who’s worst in the United States, and who’s best and who’s worst in your local grocery store. We’ll list what each company can do better and make it easy for you to add your voice to the cause.
Most people eat chicken without knowing that poultry endure the worst conditions of all food animals. Help BuyingPoultry get the word out by supporting their campaign, and help yourself find ethical poultry in your area!
Haute Pasture has been busy preparing for a trip to Asia. While we are slacking on the real posts, here are some headlines:
‘We Support Agriculture’ combats animal rights initiatives in Nebraska: A new political action group, formed by the Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Poultry Industries, Nebraska Pork Producers Association and the Nebraska State Dairy Association, is organizing to protect themselves from regulations, such as the banning of gestation crates.
Kaparot: Jewish leaders want to end animal killing: Some Jewish leaders are calling for the end of the kaparot tradition, in which chickens are ritually slaughtered. Jewish law is strict about the care of animals, and many feel kaparot is abusive.
‘Food, Inc.’ Wins News and Documentary Emmy Award: Good review of the documentary from Audubon Magazine’s blog.
Hoping to learn and post some insights about farm animal rights in Asia over the next couple weeks!
From The Ethics of Eating Animals, p. 326-7
To give up eating animals is to give up on these places as human habitat, unless of course we are willing to make complete our dependence on a highly industrialized national food chain. That food chain would be in turn even more dependent than it already is on fossil fuels and chemical fertilizer, since food would need to travel even farther and fertility–in the form of manures–would be in short supply. Indeed, it is doubtful you can build a genuinely sustainable agriculture without animals to cycle nutrients and support local food production. If our concern is for the health of nature–rather than, say, the internal consistency of our moral code or the condition of our souls–then eating animals may sometimes be the most ethical thing to do.
Since the utilitarian is concerned exclusively with the sum of happiness and suffering, and the slaughter of an animal with no comprehension of death need not entail suffering, the Good Farm adds to the total of animal happiness, provided you replace the slaughtered animal with a new one. However, this line of thinking does not obviate the wrongness of killing an animal that “has a sense of its own existence over time, and can have preferences about its own future.” In other words, it might be okay to eat the chicken or the cow, but perhaps not the (more intelligent) pig.
From The Ethics of Eating Animals, p. 333
The industrialization–and brutalization–of animals in America is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon: No other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do. No other people in history has lived at quite so great a remove from the animals they eat. Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do. Tail docking and sow crates and beak clipping would disappear overnight, and the days of slaughtering four hundred head of cattle an hour would promptly come to an end–for who could stand the sight? Yes, meat would get more expensive. We’d probably eat a lot less of it, too, but maybe when we did eat animals we’d eat them with the consciousness, ceremony, and respect they deserve.
Do the definitions of “CAFO” and “factory farm” differ?
According to About.com, BloggerNews, and others, a factory farm is an AFO (animal feeding operation), and the largest, as determined by EPA guidelines, are CAFOs (concentrated or confined animal feeding organizations). But many sites, such as Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, use “CAFO” and “factory farm” interchangeably.
The Wisconsin Sierra Club site lists the baseline numbers of animals for a facility to be considered a large CAFO. It’s pretty horrifying.
Iowa may be on the verge of passing a bill to make illegal the production, distribution, and possession of video or picture footage taken inside a factory farm without the owner’s permission.
Because factory farms are under-regulated and closed to the outside world, undercover investigators from animal rights groups sometimes take a job at a farm, only to document any health or animal treatment violations to release to the authorities and the public.
That sort of publicity is obviously not in the company’s best interests, but it IS in the public’s best interests: unsanitary conditions in factory farms can lead to outbreaks of food poisoning; and it’s in the animals’ best interests to have their living conditions improved. Happier animals also produce better food, but that’s a different argument.
Big agriculture is a huge industry in the Midwest, so it makes sense that legislators are pressured by lobbyists and constituents to support factory farming. According to Food & Water Watch, Iowa ranks first in the country in number of factory-farmed layer hens (averaging 1.3 million hens per farm–more than double the national average), first in factory-farmed hogs, and fourth in large cattle feedlots. Florida and Minnesota are considering similar bills. These bills are detrimental to food safety, and therefore public health, and should not be passed.
This quote from a New York Times article sums it up nicely:
“If they have nothing to hide and they are operating ethically, they should have no fear,” [Senator Matthew W. McCoy, Democrat of Des Moines] said.