They may be raised for our plates and destined for the slaughter, but that doesn't justify farm animals' being allowed to suffer physical and psychological abuse while they live. (Sow with piglets at Pig Breeding Facility at Rabacca, St. Vincent)
Smithfield Foods Inc., the nation's largest pork producer, announced today it will phase out the confinement of pigs in gestation crates over the next decade.
Gestation crates are 2-foot by 7-foot metal cages that house breeding pigs. The sows have a gestation period of four months, and are in the crates for nearly their entire pregnancy. After giving birth, they are re-impregnated and placed back in the crates, enduring perhaps eight or 10 successive pregnancies in the crates before the animals are reproductively "spent." The crates are so restrictive that the animals can't even turn around for months on end. Pigs confined in gestation crates suffer both leg and joint problems along with psychosis resulting from extreme boredom and frustration.
PETA is not where we're at. Their leftist techniques are at least as bad -- more so because of their hypocrisy -- as the amoral industrial animal-cruelty techniques they attack. For them it's not really about the animals but about dissing capitalism. You've probably heard of the latest scandal of PETA workers' murdering a mother cat and her kittens they'd promised to find homes for. We couldn't bear to read about it so don't know the details. Our point is that a humane society can raise food animals humanely and even lead them to the slaughter humanely. The thought of those pregnant sows trapped in crates where they could not move about nor socialize with their fellow pregnant ladies breaks our heart. Think Charlotte's Web. Pigs are sentient beings with rich psychological lives akin to our own. Why do sausages -- not to mention crown roasts -- have to be so delicious?
Then there are our fellow human beings whose abuse of animals -- not to mention other human beings -- knows no bounds, as the latest atrocity in Baghdad attests:
A bomb hidden in a box holding pigeons tore through a crowded pet and livestock market today, killing at least 14 people and wounding dozens, police said, in a blast that left the carcasses of dead birds,dogs and other animals scattered on the blood-soaked ground.
"My friends and I rushed to the scene where we saw burned dead bodies, pieces of flesh and several dead expensive puppies and birds," he said.
Ali Nassir said dead animals were scattered on the blood-soaked ground and several snakes, monkeys and birds had been let loose from their cages as ambulances and police cars converged on the scene.
For the perpetrators, other creatures -- whether homo sapiens or other species -- are mere props in their all-about-me fantasies.
A blindfolded dog sits on a balance beam at a dog training ground of the Belarussian Defence Ministry near the village of Kolodishchi outside Minsk January 25, 2007. After completing the training the dogs will fulfill a variety of tasks in the military such as seeking explosives, mines or drugs.
The opposite of the agribusiness farmers' impersonal abuse of sows -- not to mention Islamofascists' impersonal abuse of everyone -- is the psychologically rewarding one-on-one relationship between man and beast as in the photo above where a person takes advantage of a dog's desire for interesting work based upon canine proclivities to promote human goals for their mutual benefit. Look at the smile on that doggie's face.