A Forbes article exposing the inherently cruel and violent existence of pigs used and killed by the pork industry caught my attention today.
No matter how you slice it, pork is nasty business. Ecologically, ethically, and in terms of human health, it’s a global pursuit that threatens to undermine otherwise noble efforts to design humane and environmentally sound food systems. A closer look into how the sausage is made provides a sobering reminder that the future of food, if it’s going to be just, cannot involve the mass production of animals.
The article, as they often do when covering any topic related to cruelty to animals, inspired commentary both by animal protection supporters and those who profit through the artificial insemination, mutilation without painkillers or proper (if any) veterinary aftercare, and ultimately the violent slaughter of the animals that animal agribusinesses use to line their wallets and pocketbooks.
Reading the comments by those defending these animal abuse industries, there were no revelations. Those defending using and killing animals for profit (virtually all of the animals are violently slaughtered at a fraction of their natural lifespans) used the same lame and infuriating claims fed to them by the marketing departments and media strategists who advise abuse industry executives. These were some pretty amateur responses, of course, and not media spokespersons. (If they are media spokespersons, they’re terrible at it their jobs.) Nevertheless, it irks me to read such blather.
You may check the article and comments out yourself if you’d like to see what I’m responding to, but here’s one of my responses.
Having overseen the undercover investigations into dozens of employment-based cases around the U.S. during my tenure with Mercy For Animals (“MFA”) as Director of Investigations I wish I could say that I find this response “laughable,” but I don’t. I don’t even find it sad; I find this response irresponsible and infuriating and full of industry-speak. You are either blind to the suffering you see daily at your facility or you aren’t being honest with us, let alone yourself.
Every investigation I oversaw was into a facility selected completely at random. Every employment-based investigation documented malicious and/or sadistic cruelty, including severe neglect. And every investigation was released to the public including those still underway when my three-month resignation notification was completed.
Animal agribusiness treats animals like commodities. To these profit-driven corporations: an egg is an egg no matter how the animal is treated.
To the consumer: an egg from a battery cage hen tastes the same as an egg from a less-cruel facility. An egg is an egg. And ALL of the production methods for eggs, dairy, and meat sold in the U.S. are cruel and completely unnecessary.
If the public could taste the suffering in the egg, dairy, and meat industries everyone would be vegetarian and consume diets free of the inherent violence in animal agribusiness.
The problem is – all of these facilities are cruel. They treat animals like the trash the industries consider the animals to be by sending living, sentient beings to slaughter. Is that caring?
Who cares about cows? The dairy industry that sends mother cows to slaughter at about five years of age after artificially impregnating them 2-3 times and then sending them to be killed after their bodies are so worn down they can only be used for ground beef (because their carcasses are so beat up they could never be used for anything of “higher quality”). Cows can live to be a good twenty years of age.
Their male calves are sold off to be crated as veal calves and killed at mere weeks of age. Many calves are killed at 1-3 days of age and sold as “bob” veal. These young animals can hardly walk.
Is that “caring” about animals?
The egg industry grinds up the male chicks while they are still alive by dumping them into macerators. Arguably, the males get the better end of the deal because the females go on to have their beaks seared off with a hot blade or laser and are then crammed into cages (the vast majority of them) so small that they cannot even fully stretch their wings let alone breath any fresh air.
After one to two years of misery, if they survive, the hens are killed.
Where does “care” fit into that scenario? It doesn’t.
The pork industry is no different, of course, and Dr. Temple Grandin, who you mention, reviewed all of our investigations (I believe every case that I oversaw in fact).
These industries blatantly lie about practices we documented for the public to see. The pork industry tosses piglets like footballs between workers and then denies it, slices off their little tails without any painkillers, and then slices into the poor guys’ sacks with dull blades and yanks out their testicles. No proper veterinary care. Usually no vet in site for their entire lives, frankly.
That’s the pork industry for you. And it’s horrific.
And I’ve seen it and anyone else can see it too by merely searching for all of the years (YEARS) of undercover investigations by multiple animal protection organizations. Pick an organization and look it up. Don’t take my word for it: SEE (and HEAR) for yourselves.
I wish you could all smell it, too.
These animals are used and killed for profit.
If, for instance, the pork industry cared about sows they wouldn’t be fighting the movement to ban gestation crates. In these crates pregnant sows cannot turn around. They are forced to lie down in their own excrement. They suffer from sores that get worse because the wounds rub against the exact same parts of their cages (these gestation “crates”) that caused their flesh to become agitated or rub off.
The misery in these facilities is obvious, even to the most jaded among us.
Dr. Grandin is in fact opposed to gestation crates and says so openly. Yet, the industry – as well as the companies (companies that in one breath claim they care about animals and in the next breath decline to make steps toward prohibiting the cruelest practices at their suppliers because they don’t want to pay a few cents more in production costs) and the pork industry continues to fight the move away from these obviously cruel intensive confinement systems that have been banned both in states in the U.S. and abroad.
Producers, such as the pork industry, even fight less cruel practices that would ultimately mean reduced costs, better quality “product,” less cruelty for the animals used and killed, and better working conditions for the workers.
This is the case in “controlled atmosphere killing” for birds. According to the industry’s own studies after a few years any increased cost would pay for itself all the while improving worker conditions and sparing countless birds from the violent handling of being yanked out of transport trucks and slammed upside-down into shackles before their throats are slit. The workers wouldn’t be vomited on, urinated on, defecated on and scratched up by the animals they are handling who are fighting for the only thing these animals have – their very lives.
Nope: McDonald’s continues to fight this change.
James didn’t make anyone out as “devils”; It is “livestock” farmers themselves who take on this “evil” role by the very nature of using, abusing, and violently killing animals for profit.
I understand fully what agribusiness does to farmed animals and I look forward to the day when the rest of the country opens up its eyes to see the inherently violent reality of what you “do” too.
Of course, after writing this, I saw the comment by “porkproducer” (an anonymous individual, of course) and couldn’t let that crap slide either. Check it out if you want to be angry about something today.
And don’t take my word for it: Look it up yourself!
Challenge me. Question what I say.
I can back up all of my statements. The pork industry cannot.
Don’t be part of it. End your involvement. If you pay others to be cruel on your behalf, you aren’t innocent of the acts. Now you know. Choose a delicious, cruelty-free vegetarian diet free of the violence inherent in the egg, dairy, and meat industries. Learn more at ChooseVeg.com, GoVeg.com, or TryVeg.com.
- Walmart Pork Supplier Allegedly Caught Abusing Pigs In Graphic Undercover Video (huffingtonpost.com)
- Undercover Video Shows Alleged Mistreatment Of Minn. Pigs (minnesota.cbslocal.com)
- Babe star James Cromwell attacks Walmart supplier’s treatment of pigs (theguardian.com)
- Minn. Pork Farm Accused of Animal Abuse, No Charges Filed (kstp.com)
- WATCH: Cromwell and MFA Take On Walmart’s Pig Suppliers (ecorazzi.com)