Posts Tagged ‘Animal Welfare’

For a blog that’s about factory farming and animal rights, I realize I haven’t said much about one of the biggest anti-factory farming campaigns going on right now: Yes on Proposition 2 in California.  If passed, Proposition 2 would end the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small the animals can’t even turn around, lie down or extend their limbs.  This would apply specifically to hens used in egg production, calves raised for veal, and sows during pregnancy.  Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Oregon have passed similar laws, but if Californians vote yes on Prop 2 on November 4th, the ripple effect across the entire country could be substantial.

I guess I’m not sure why I haven’t said all that much about Prop 2.  Part of it is that it seems like such a no brainer to me that I can’t believe there are so many organizations and individuals who aren’t supporting it. I mean, honestly: requiring that animals can stand up, lie down, turn around, and extend their limbs is really kind of asking for the bare, bare, bare minimum.  And yet there’s so much opposition?  Who are these people anyway??  Oh look, here’s who they are–click here.  You can see all the lovely organizations who oppose this legislation, and also learn more about instances where they’ve been in legal trouble for animal cruelty and/or environmental offenses.

Anyway, the HSUS came out with a new ‘Yes on Prop 2’ Commercial.  Check it out & send it to everyone you know in CA.  This ballot initiative is important, and I will be sorely disappointed if it doesn’t pass!

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Many of you have probably seen the news story about the woman who recently cloned her pet Pitbull, Booger, who passed away from cancer in 2006. The cloning procedure resulted in 5 miniature copies of Booger and cost the woman $50,000.

Yes, $50,000.

Look, if there is anyone who understands what it’s like to love a dog, it’s me. My dog Otis is like my baby. I cannot imagine my life without him, and I dread the day when I will have to. He is a sweet, kind, loving, stubborn little guy who makes my life so much more enjoyable – I would do anything for him.

Well, almost anything. I would NOT clone him so that I could have him again and again and again. Why? Because it wouldn’t be fair. This country alone is wildly overpopulated with unwanted pets. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year due to overpopulation. These are often times healthy, young animals that shelters just can’t house—they aren’t vicious or sick or old. They are simply victims of overpopulation.

How, then, can someone justify spending $50,000 to CLONE their dog? How can you look the other way while millions of other animals will die, knowing that you could have saved at least one more had you not decided to do something so irresponsible? What’s more – think of how that $50,000 could have been better used to benefit homeless animals if it had been donated to her local shelter or to some other animal advocacy organization!

I think when you look at it from that perspective, there’s just really no way to justify cloning – no matter how much you love your pet. I hope that my dog Otis lives a long and happy life, and that when he passes, I know I did the very best for him that I could. Then, when the time is right, I will go to a shelter and find a new dog to love and will start that incredibly rewarding (though eventually sad) process all over again.

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This weekend on my 6.5 hour drives to and from my parents’ farm in North Dakota, I saw several trucks transporting pigs to–I assume–slaughter. Every time I saw them, I’d look at them all crammed in there and wondered when they last had anything to eat or drink. I thought about how hot they must be in the 85 degree weather packed so closely together. I wondered how many of them would die on the way to their imminent slaughter. It broke my heart passing those trucks.

Technically, truck drivers are supposed to unload, feed and water the animals every 28 hours. They are to have 5 hours of rest. The thing is, that law isn’t always followed, so animals go days without food, water, rest, or any kind of comfort. Compassion Over Killing did an investigation a few years ago and spoke with truck drivers who admitted to falsifying their documents—saying they unloaded the animals when they never did. I had read that prior to this trip, and couldn’t get it out of my mind as I saw each truckload of doomed pigs.

Animals die all the time during transport because of a failure to provide food, water, and rest. According to a 2006 press release issued by the HSUS:

“…none of the pigs were offloaded after their cross-country truck journey. Instead, the animals, who arrived in Texas on June 26 and 27, were left in cramped confinement inside trucks until June 29, up to an additional 48 to 72 hours, suffering temperatures in excess of 95 degrees. As a result, approximately 150 animals perished.”

Imagine spending DAYS trapped in a truck with very little room to move in 95 degree weather with no food and no water. It is amazing, really, that only 150 of the animals died when you think about it. I don’t think I’d survive in those circumstances!

The other thing that occurs to me is that I used to eat these animals – these sick, starved, dehydrated animals. The idea now of putting the diseased flesh of an animal that knew no kindness in his or her life really does not appeal to me.  The only comfort I had (and it wasn’t much) when I saw those pigs sticking their snouts out of those trucks was that I know I no longer contribute to their suffering.  I wanted to be able to tell them that, to tell them that not all humans are like the ones who forced them onto those trucks, and who will eventually kill them for their flesh.  While I obviously couldn’t communicate that to them, it was good to know that I have at least removed myself from that suffering. I know it doesn’t make a difference to the pigs that I saw this weekend, but hopefully as more and more people go veg*n, fewer and fewer of their offspring will have to endure the same fate.

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