Agricultural practices highlighted on Oprah
“I believe how we treat the least of being among us determines our own humanity,” stated Oprah Winfrey in the opening of her show which aired on Tuesday in the US.
This particular show was dedicated to issues of livestock treatment, and looked at issues such as whether cages for egg layers, gestation stalls for sows and individual crates for veal calves “cross the line” into animal cruelty.
The programme was considered to be more even-handed than many in the meat industry might expect. Guests on the show were representatives both for and against California’s Proposition 2, including farmers and processors, and non-profit groups.
The pro-Prop 2 participants largely hewed to the idea that an animal that can’t turn around in its living space is an unhappy and poorly treated animal living in an unhealthy environment, and that human beings have an obligation to do better. The anti-Prop 2 participants mostly discussed the cost of changing the housing structures in the way that the proposed legislation would require, and indicated that they felt the animals were quite content, and arguably healthier, when they are more closely confined.
The discussion also touched on the question of consumer demand for the more expensive goods produced on “free-range,” sometimes also organic, farms. Pro-Prop 2 adherents believed that more consumer demand would prompt more farmers and processors to make the switch, increasing supply and lower prices. Anti-Prop 2 participants felt that prices would simply rise from their already relatively high position.
“I’m not here to tell you what to think, but just to bring you the information,” Winfrey announced.