Friday, January 26, 2007

More good news about factory farming

Smithfield Foods Inc., the nation's largest pork producer, announced yesterday that it is phasing out the use of gestation crates at all of its farms.

(Continue reading at MoJo Blog)


I heard that! And there I was ragging on them the other day. Maybe they read it and acted accordingly?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:30 AM  

You never know. Someone left a justifiably angry and articulate comment on the MoJo post. I agree with him--it's just done for show, and is possibly evil in its own way--but, as I pointed out, every such move empowers more states to do what Florida and Arizona did.

By Blogger Diane, at 9:49 AM  


Let me begin by thanking you for covering this issue on here and on the MoJo blog. These stories don't receive nearly enough coverage or discussion in the media.

Looking back over my rant on the blog, I realize that it may have come off as angry, and this was by no means directed at you. I just think thats its important for people to understand that these gestures by agribusiness to quell the concerns of compassionate citizens and consumers are not enough--they're not even close--and they're not enacted to help animals. Before I get into what I'm going to post about, I want to note that I applaud any efforts that are aimed at improving the lives of animals, so long as the ultimate goal of such campaigns is abolition, not regulation of exploitation.

If we want animal liberation, and are going to expend resources (peoplepower, $$, time, etc) to affect change in this direction, activists and advocates are fooling themselves if they think they can work with/within a system that thrives on the exploitation of nonhuman animals.

We should be extremely skeptical of any reforms that agribusiness will willingly adopt because these changes must necessarily allow farmers to continue operating and expanding their bottom lines. So any reform that is not lucrative (read: ones that will effectively decrease the mass murder of animals) will never be adopted, and only ones that will increase profits and productivity will receive consideration.

We live in a capitalist society and the only way to dismantle animal farming to is destroy its profitability. Am I saying that we should burn down factory farms? Well no, not necessarily.

If the only way to end animal farming is to completely eliminate the demand for its products, then promoting veganism and vegetarianism is the only way to do so. We need a sea change in social consciousness. Regular folks will not see a logical progession from eating pigs, albeit ones that weren't kept in crates (what proponents of humane farming are asking them to do) and eliminating meat, milk and eggs from their diets altogether. The latter, given the much more comfortable, convenient first option seems way too "radical." So, by asking for people to buy humane products now and expecting them to make the jump to veganism/vegetarianism later, we may be closing the door for any future major lifestyle changes. We may be faced with the retort, "Well, I'm already eating free range, isn't that enough?" In this case, the struggle to win over hearts and minds must start all over again. Welfarism and humane farming is backpeddling. If people are going to ask consumers to inconveneience themselves and buy free-range chicken, why not tell them to stop buying chicken altogether? The evidence is there that these processes that produce these products are not only cruel to animals, but unhealthy, terrible for the environment, etc.

We need to stop being afraid of alienating ourselves and scaring people off and to start asking for what will really be good for animals. People will come around to it. If we truly believe that animals have inalienable rights, lets recognize our obligation to secure those rights as we do so often for other humans.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:49 PM  

Again, I agree with you. And it is important for us to remind people who are eating "free range," that the animals they are eating wound up at the same nightmare slaughterhouses as the factory farm animals.

Thanks for stopping by, Justin.

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