Westland/Hallmark, of the famous “downer cow” footage, has nothing on this one. I got an email a few days ago with a link to footage taken at a Vermont slaughter plant. I often receive videos depicting horrific animal treatment, but this one stood out. The footage I was sent showed veal calves—only days old—unable to walk or stand on their own, repeatedly kicked, slapped and shocked. Once again, we have sickening proof that there are people who just don’t get it. In a civilized society we have to do things right. The USDA, despite the industry’s best efforts, does have rules that cover some parts of a slaughter plant operation. Slaughter plants that operate like this can’t hide anymore. People are no longer satisfied with being spoon-fed lies about production practices that are “in our best interests”; the consumer is educated, interested and is paying attention.
Part of the objective of our blog is to encourage educated discussion about farm animal welfare. Here are three recent articles that discuss California’s Proposition 2, and some of the issues surrounding it. One article by David Sneed summarizes the debate and its political implications. Another article in the Arizona Republic describes cage free vs. confined, and another in the New York Times speaks to the increasing demand for eggs from cage-free production systems.
A “proposition” that is often left out of the issue, however, is the possibility of many smaller, pasture-based farms. More and more consumers and farmers are learning about the environmental and health benefits of eggs from hens on pasture. Feel free to comment on the articles above, or suggest one for further reading!