I know this isn’t what some of the equine enthusiasts want to see, but slaughter in the US is the lesser of two evils. Without this market horses suffering has risen astronomically in the past five years and that was BECAUSE we couldn’t have horse slaughter. With allowance in the US again we can manage humane treatment and transport while providing an outlet for unwanted animals.
Factory farming may not be pretty, but we all need to take a step back, look at how we got here and try to understand the industry on a scientific, nonemotional level.
On Oct. 31, the world population hit 7 billion. Our food animal industry has had to modify production methods to safely and efficiently meet the growing demand.
Yet our population is becoming increasingly urbanized, with little or no exposure to farming.
As a veterinary student, I entered school with people who had gone their entire lives without stepping foot on a farm prior to our large-animal rotations.
People who have not been exposed to large production farming have a difficult time understanding its current state. We have become an urbanized society susceptible to emotional reactions and extreme animal-rights propaganda.
In light of recent events regarding Sparboe Farms and Mercy For Animals (MFA), let’s take the poultry industry as an example. The American Veterinary Medical Association has released a chartcomparing housing methods in poultry.
The choice comes down to cramped housing that minimizes disease and injury but sacrifices natural behavior, or preserving natural behavior but increasing the incidence of disease, injury and subsequent suffering among the flock.
Disease and injury also mean a decline in food supply in the face of increasing demand. It is clear why agricultural practices have become what they are.
As a vegetarian who plans on being a small-animal practitioner, I can say that there are aspects of modern agricultural practices I don’t like.
But I have also learned that they aren’t quite as bad as they seem. I see room for improvement, along with the importance of providing food for our population.
Take the video released by MFA. The footage shows workers vaccinating chicks, trimming beaks and utilizing conventional cages, and MFA is trying to pass it off as extreme abuse.
Vaccination decreases the incidence of illness in the flock; trimming beaks decreases injuries and death, and conventional cages allow staff to efficiently manage a large flock and catch any disease outbreaks in more timely manner.
They portrayed arguably humane practices as inhumane to people unfamiliar with the industry.
The actions of a few individuals actually abusing the animals were troubling and unacceptable but are an example of bad people, not necessarily a bad industry.
I may not like the fact that hens are kept in cramped living conditions, but I find myself hard-pressed to come up with a viable, safe and economical alternative.
Target’s egg shelves were empty across Minnesota last weekend. Consumers now see that we can’t have the best of both worlds.
For now, Target and McDonald’s will find a new supplier using the same production methods, with no real change occurring. The issue that MFA presented was not about an individual company but about what animal-rights organizations want changed in the egg industry.
For some in the industry, the pressure to change is becoming reality. Proposition 2 in California will require all eggs sold in the state to come from farms with either enriched cages or free-range methods by 2015.
The European Union ban on conventional cages starts in 2012 and is expected to cause a 12 to 20 percent increase in production costs.
Do we want more expensive food? My guess would be no, but many changes will come with a price that must be passed on to the consumer.
As consumers, it is your job to develop a better understanding of agriculture practices so that issues regarding animal welfare and our food supply are approached in a practical way.
You must also understand the consequences of any demands you make on the industry.
I thought a very well written article. From the StarTribune via Feedstuffs.
- 248 million turkeys will be raised for this Thanksgiving
- Minnesota is the leading state in raising turkeys
- More than 90% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day, 50% percent put their stuffing inside the turkey and more than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving.
- A turkey typically has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.
- Turkey is listed among the top 10 foods for your eyes because it’s rich in zinc
Have a great Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy the time with your family and friends.
Thank you!!!!! That is so great to here ! As long as they keep asking questions, I will keep trying to educate them (though at times I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall)
November 17, 2011 – About 300 activists representing the animal rights, environmental, and public health movements converged in Arlington, VA on October 27-29 for the first-ever “Conference to End Factory Farming”. More than 25 speakers attempted to gain the attention of decision makers in Washington, D.C. with sessions titled “The Hidden Costs of Factory Farming”, “Inside the Industry”, and “Building Coalitions for Change”. The goal of the event? To create synergy between competing activist campaigns and frame their extreme goal of eliminating today’s animal agriculture industry as a mainstream effort. The event was co-hosted by Farm Sanctuary and the ASPCA and sponsored by a wide variety of extremist organizations and companies including the Humane Society of the United States, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing, A Well Fed World, Compassion in World Farming, E: The Environmental Magazine, Discovery’s TreeHugger, and Whole Foods Market.
Many speakers revealed just how out of step with American values during their presentations. For example, Holly Cheever, of HSUS’ Veterinary Medical Association Leadership Council said that “slaughterhouses are a kind of Auschwitz”. This equating of human suffering with agricultural practices not only diminishes the horrors inflicted on the victims of the Holocaust, but is a sentiment commonly expressed by PETA and other extremist groups. Jonathan Balcome, author of Pleasurable Kingdom and a former HSUS and PETA employee, referred to the the push for animal rights as comparable to “African colonialism, slavery, women’s rights, and the civil rights movement”. Many of the extremists seemed to realize that while their beliefs are not mainstream, they could still seek to influence the public through emotional appeals. As speaker Nick Cooney of The Humane League put it: “revolution is not a question of virtue, but of effectiveness.” Notably, the single presenter who suggested compromise to target large-scale producers rather than eliminating animal agriculture in entirety, Dr. John Ikerd of the University of Missouri, was met with ridicule from the audience and fellow presenters. HSUS Senior Director of Farm Animal Protection Paul Shapiro responded to Ikerd by saying that “combating factory farming and promoting veganism are not exclusive concepts”. Promoting veganism – and as speaker Mark Bekoff claimed, sharing the idea that meat is a “who” rather than a “what” – was a main goal of the meeting. Farm Sanctuary President Gene Baur elaborated on this ambition during a pre-conference media interview, saying: “But at the end of the day, it’s not necessary to eat any animal products. We’ll continue to hold up the vegan ideal, but we will also support and encourage any steps that move away from the industrial factory-farming model.”
The activists discussed tactics to intimidate farmers and ranchers using litigation and legislation while promoting the “factory farm” stereotype to the public. Nathan Runkle, Director of Mercy for Animals, indicated that undercover videos represent the “lifeblood” of the organization. Speaker David Wolfson, a partner with the Milbank Tweed law firm and professor at NYU’s school of law, said that providing pro bono work to activist groups is one of the most important things lawyers can do to help the movement. He also elaborated on the legal strategy used during California’s Proposition 2 campaign, saying that “if a farmer came out in criticism of the ballot initiative, they would be subject to undercover investigation and sued”.
Selected Conference Quotes:
- “For modern animal agriculture, the less the consumer knows, the better.” – Dr. Michael Greger (HSUS)
- “Slaughterhouses are a kind of Auschwitz.” – Dr. Holly Cheever (HSUS)
- “The lifeblood of Mercy For Animals is our undercover investigations of animal agriculture.” – Nathan Runkle (Mercy for Animals)
- “In California, if a farmer came out in criticism of the ballot initiative, they would be subject to undercover investigation and sued.” – David Wolfson (Milbank Tweed)
- “Meat consumption shouldn’t be normal.” – Gene Baur (Farm Sanctuary)
- “Everyone can agree that cutting down on animal consumption is better for the public.” – Paul Shapiro (HSUS)
- “We need the poultry industry not to exist.” – Wenonah Hauter (Food and Water Watch)
- “Agribusiness… they’re the radicals!” – U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA)
- “Let’s hear about veganism as an alternative. Taking on meat should be the real war.” – Dr. James McWilliams (The Atlantic)
Information obtained by Animal Agriculture Alliance.
Why the US animal agriculture industry tries to work with these people is beyond me. They want nothing more than to destroy us AND have no qualms about playing dirty. Lieing to consumers and making up false accusations is how they intend to do this. Someone needs to put a stop to them.
I don’t care what you eat or where you get it from. If you are going to try and “educate” people about agriculture, please make sure you get all the facts and understand what you are saying. Think, really think, does what you are saying make sense? Can that really be possible. Do I truly understand this particular industry enough to make this statement.
A couple things that caught me eye:
-No, not all bull calves born in the dairy industry go as veal calves. Only a certain amount. Ever heard of baby beef? Baby beef is the industry term used for bull calves that go through the same process as beef calves. They are raised, fed and slaughtered to make steaks and hamburger.
-Not all conventional agriculturalists are cruel beings that only want money and are dead set on destroying the planet.
-All natural products and organic products are different
-GMOs are going to kill you
-Everything is done for a reason. If you want to know why something is done, message a blog that seems to know what they are talking about. They will probably enlighten you.
“The World Trade Organization has ruled on Country of Origin Labeling and that ruling is in support of complaints made by Canada and Mexico that COOL violates global trade rules and unjustly harms agricultural commerce. The WTO panel says that the U.S. COOL mandatory labeling law, which labels meat and other products on the store shelves with its country of origin, is too stringent and gives U.S. cattle and hog sales an unfair advantage over imports from Mexico and Canada.
Canadian cattle shipments to the United States have fallen by more than half, and hog exports to the United States are down 40 percent so far in 2011 from the volume three years ago.
Colin Woodall, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association called this - a strong ruling from the WTO that shows far-reaching implications from COOL for two of the most important trade partners for U.S. agriculture.
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) says the decision by the WTO panel affirms the right of the United States to require country of origin labeling for meat products, but the dispute panel disagreed with specifics of how the U.S. designed the implementation of its requirements. USCA President Jon Wooster, San Lucas, CA says USCA remains committed to the COOL law.
Following the WTO ruling, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office said it is considering all options, including an appeal.”
Recieved from: Northern Ag Network.
Whether or not this is against the organization’s ruling I think people in all countries have a right to know where their food is coming from.
Apologies to my small crew of faithful followers! I broke my wrist late Tuesday night (slipped and fell on ice chasing the dogs), so my typing abilities are pretty limited.
I will get up my next breed profile as soon as possible, but be warned it’ll take a while. Besides the fact it hurts to type, I am usually high as a kite on my pain meds (makes the day VERY interesting).
Apologies again! Oh, and let me know if there are any new Ag stories you want me to report on!