Friday, February 19, 2010
Of factory farms & puppy mills
One truth about animal welfare causes is that there are a whole lot of passionate, dedicated people who are truly interested in doing the right thing for companion animals. So why does it seem that many stop there?
How can people who are so horrified by puppy mills seem to be so complacent about factory farms? From my vantage point, pretty much everything your average puppy miller learned was from adopting the practices factory farms put into place years ago.
Take an animal --- one that, in and of itself, is merely a production unit acquired to provide a product. Place it in an environment that uses the smallest amount of time, effort or space necessary to maintain productivity. Preferably the environment will be out of the way of the general public and hard for the curious to access. Deny it the ability to engage in the barest physical pleasures; fresh air, sunlight, grass, the ability to comfortably stretch or lie down. Feed it the smallest amount of food possible to sustain its purpose. Deny it basic health care; choose instead to factor in a loss-to-market percentage. And when the production unit is no longer turning a profit, dispose of it in favor of a new one.
Am I describing puppy mills or factory farms?
Is a puppy mill really any different than a mega dairy? Or one of those gigantic egg production facilities? And if it really isn't all that different, how can a person stand so staunchly against one but not the other?
If we're to call ourselves (or our movement) humane, shouldn't that humanity extend to animals beyond those who curl up on our bed at night? Shouldn't we fight at least half as hard for the mega-dairy cow as we do the dalmatian?