Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
May 7, 2013 Sandra Kyle and Lynley Tulloch: Factory farms an assault on humanity
Factory farms have no place in a humane and caring society.
Pigs and other intensively reared animals are often kept in inhumane conditions. Today, more than 70 billion animals are raised and killed for food worldwide annually, the majority in factory farms.
The factory farming industry strives to maximise output while minimising costs, and intensively reared animals are commodities to be bought and sold in the global marketplace.
In factory farms in New Zealand, 90 million broilers (chickens reared for meat), 3 million layer hens, and 800,000 pigs are killed annually. Here, as elsewhere in the world, broiler chickens live their entire lives crammed by the tens of thousands into filthy, windowless sheds while layer hens are confined to tiny wire cages with sloping floors that deform their feet, without even enough room to open up their wings.
To produce our pork, pigs live indoors and sows spend a good proportion of their lives in gestation crates so small they cannot turn around. They gnaw on the bars and shriek in sheer frustration, before sinking into despair. These industrially reared animals will never raise their families, root around in the soil, build nests, feel the sun on their backs, or do anything that is natural and important to them.
Not so long ago, to eat chicken was a treat. On the chicken industry website it is stated: "In 1976, three processing plants in the Waikato and Auckland regions were collectively processing about 4500 birds per day. Those same plants are in 2008 processing around 200,000 birds per day".
The only reason that chicken is plentiful and cheap now is because the animals are kept in horrendous conditions to cut costs. They are placed at 15-20 birds per square metre, just enough to support the rapid weight gain they are bred for. This rapid growth leads to lameness and organ failure as legs, hearts and lungs find it difficult to cope with the demands placed on them.
Enter into these barren, sunless, filthy enclosures and you will see chickens limping, or unable to walk at all; chickens lying in their own excrement; chickens lying dead, or in various stages of dying, of heart failure. The majority have sores and abrasions, and all of them are worn out and brutalised by the conditions they spend their short, desperate lives in. This is the truth, the insane reality behind our desire for "young succulent, purpose bred chickens", the true price of cheap meat.
Of course, free-range chickens have better lives, but the discerning consumer needs to be very aware of food labelled "free-range". Some brands wearing this label barn rear their chickens with only occasional access to a barren paddock outside.
Last year, the law around battery cages was changed, and they are to be completely phased out by 2020. However the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (Nawac) have recently announced that they are considering pushing these dates back in response to lobbying by farmers.
The Government has a tendency to listen to the poultry farmers, not animal rights groups who are speaking up for those with no voice to defend themselves. According to Michael Morris (Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 2009), "the Government ... appears to have a strong antipathy to those demanding better welfare for (factory farmed animals)".
Proposed measures such as introducing slightly bigger cages for layer hens (so called "colony cages") are an example. Set to replace battery cages, they are little better. Hens will still not be able to forage for food, dust bathe, have access to daylight, walk on grass, scratch the ground, make a nest, or tend to their young. Colony cages are not an acceptable alternative to battery cages, and are no future for hens.
To quote former Green MP Sue Kedgley: "Hens are curious and sociable creatures, with a surprising intelligence, and their own language and way of communicating with each other. Scientists have identified 25 to 30 distinct calls that hens have, and say they could have many more. So, imagine how they must feel when they are locked up inside cages, even colony cages, for all of their lives."
Chickens, pigs and other intensively reared animals are living beings, with needs, desires, emotions, and the ability to feel pain just like us. How long can we keep turning our heads the other way? Are we not only accountable for what we don't do, as well as what we do? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and die premature crude deaths to produce the food we eat doesn't motivate us, then what will? If we don't do something now, then when will we do it?
As Matthew Scully says in his book Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy: "When you take the necessity out of 'evil necessity', what do you have left?" The continued use of factory farms is unconscionable, an assault on our very humanity. It is time for them to go. We need to have a sustained dialogue on factory farming in this country, and begin to explore the alternatives.
- Agree 100 percent. Well said. This needs to be looked at in the context of our soulless society, with a consumerist mentality, where profit and power are running rampant, and people are just units of consumption, slaving away to feed the needs of the corporate-industrial machine, and animals are used as a convenient means of cheap, low-quality "food" to underpin that sick culture.
- I agree wholeheartedly with this article. the way some farmed animals are treated is deplorable and barbaric. Factory farming should be phased out to ensure the animals we eat are raised humanely. It is crazy that people can mistreat a dog and be sentenced to jail time and the public outcry is heard up and down the country, while at the same time the vast majority of Kiwis are complicit in the mistreatment of pigs, chickens and other intensively farmed animals whose existence is beyond cruel.
June 13, 2013 Do manly thing, dads: Eat plants
Unrepentant meat-eaters are turning a blind eye
Re: Readers flesh out meat-eating arguments, Letters, June 19 Vancouver Sun
To the letter writers who wanted to enjoy their Fatherís Day meal without being reminded that they were consuming the flesh of a once living, breathing creature, I ask, do you also look away from the other atrocities in this world?
Turning a blind eye to our own barbarism does nothing to advance humanity. Feelings of guilt arise from knowing whatís right or wrong.
As Dr. Albert Schweitzer said: ďThe thinking man must oppose all cruel customs, no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo.Ē The sooner we awaken to this truth, the better.
CARMINA GOOCH, North Vancouver
August 3, 2013 From the Vancouver Sun: Rabbit Rescue snarled in red tape, a letter writer responded with: Don't waste money moving rabbits; eat them. It was recommended that abandoned domestic rabbits and their offspring be captured and fed to the poor, rather than spending time and money trying to relocate them. Letís not revictimize these creatures again.
Carmina Gooch countered with: Feeding rabbits to poor a mindless proposal
How many times do we have to hear such primitive and mindless proposals as to feed rabbits to the poor? This does nothing to address the root causes of poverty, nor does it even begin to address the ethical implications of a society that exploits its weakest and most vulnerable members for personal use.
Can we not move beyond the mindset that we are more deserving of life than other species?
Domestic rabbit abandonment is a problem instigated by humans. Suggesting that these animals be fed to the needy is heartless and impractical.
We can feed both body and mind and advance our humanity without killing animals.
December 21, 2013 Peace on Earth, but for whom?
August 12, 2014 Whole Hog Fundraiser
Carmina Gooch wrote to the Langley Advance regarding the inappropriateness of the letter caption: Hog feast offends vegan. Whether the letter-writer is vegan or not, is immaterial. Veganism is the future and itís the only choice that aligns oneís values ó the opposition to cruelty and killing ó with oneís actions.
How can the exploitation, suffering, and slaughter of animal life be part of a fundraising event? I find the idea totally insensitive and repugnant.
While consuming animal products has been ingrained into us, many people are now shunning cruelty and opting for healthier, ethical lifestyles.
Patricia Tallman pointed this out in her eloquently written letter. I found the editorís title choice Hog feast offends vegan, offensive and inappropriate. Whatís next? Hog feast offends Muslim.
Read more: Is rabbit the new white meat?
June 26, 2015 More than 240 rabbits die from heat after fair auction