A recent press release from the US Animal Agriculture
Alliance, a pro-industry group, reported on the Animals and Society Institute
"Strength of Many" Conference which encompassed organizations opposed to
intensive animal agriculture. By Simon
A recent press release from the US Animal Agriculture Alliance,
a pro-industry group, reported on the Animals and Society Institute "Strength
of Many" Conference
which encompassed organizations opposed to intensive
Miyun Park, Vice President of Farm Animal Welfare for the
Humane Society of the United States declared that the objective of the
Organization was to eliminate intensive animal production. Erica Meier of
Compassion Over Killing, a vegan advocacy group reported on attempts to petition
government agencies to enforce labeling of conventional eggs as being "produced
by caged hens".
72% of Arizonians expected to endorse ban on gestation crates
The strength of the US Humane Society
is exemplified by Proposition 204
which will be voted on by the citizens
of Arizona in early November. The constitution of many states allows citizens to
vote on propositions which on passage become law. Proposition 204 entitled "The
Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act" will ban gestation crates for sows.
Advocates of the proposition include the Humane Society of the
USA through state organizations including Arizonians for Humane Farms, have
spent in excess of $1 million on campaign advertisements to sway voter
In 2002, a similar proposition in Florida was passed resulting
in withdrawing from the State by the two largest pig producers. Despite
opposition to the proposal, recent polls show 72% of voters will endorse the
ban, despite the lack of scientific support, including a report by a task force
of experts commissioned by the prestigious American Veterinary Medical
Opponents to intensive animal farming play emotional card
Attacks on intensive animal agriculture by determined and
politically experienced opponents appeals to the emotional responses of
citizens. The demographics of Florida and Arizona presume a high proportion of
voters in urban areas. These citizens have little knowledge of farming and take
for granted a constant and inexpensive supply eggs, poultry meat, pork and beef
to their supermarkets.
Unjustified attacks on acceptable practices
While some farming practices are undesirable from an ethical or
moral standpoint, unjustified attacks on acceptable practices may radically
affect the structure and financial viability of farming systems in
Generally intensive animal production has responded positively
to environmental regulations which are usually based on quantifiable parameters.
In the case of animal welfare, much of the opposition is represented by
"pseudo-science" and has strong emotional or anthropomorphic content.
It is wrong for vegetarians to force their lifestyles and
philosophy on consumers. Organizations such as the Animal Agriculture Alliance
play an important role in
communicating the contribution of animal agriculture to a supply of nutritious
and affordable food products, countering the publicity and half-truths generated
by animal rights activists.
Producers of poultry and eggs must
eliminate obviously unacceptable practices such as inducing molt by starvation,
ultra-high stocking density, handling practices which induce injury and
slaughter methods which are inhumane. Proactive communication of valid
information to consumers and legislators, supported by scientific opinion and
data based on physiologic measurements is essential to protect the industry.
By: Simon Shane