Farmed animals are sentient beings, who experience joy, loneliness, frustration, fear, and pain just like the cats and dogs with whom many of us share our lives. However, factory farms and slaughterhouses can legally abuse farmed animals in ways that could warrant felony-level cruelty charges if cats or dogs were the victims. This disconnect is the subject of New York Times columnist Mark Bittman's recent blog post, "Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others."
In this compelling opinion piece, Bittman explains that the meat, dairy and egg industries are allowed to abuse farmed animals because they essentially set their own standards. He notes that state laws called "Common Farming Exemptions" permit cruel, yet common, agricultural practices like castrating piglets without the use of painkillers and dumping male chicks into grinders while they're fully conscious. Bittman quotes Eating Animals author Jonathan Safran Foer, who sums up the situation by saying, "[T]he industry has the power to define cruelty. It's every bit as crazy as giving burglars the power to define trespassing."
As factory farms and slaughterhouses are held to such low legal standards, often lobbied for by agribusiness itself, hundreds of millions of farmed animals are abused and tortured daily. The easiest and most effective way of opposing this cruelty is simply withdrawing our financial support for it. For recipes and tips on getting started, please visit ChooseVeg.com to order a free Vegetarian Starter Kit.