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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/12/16

Why Does Farm Animal Cruelty Persist?

Message Suzana Megles
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In the 70's I thought that once people would learn about farm-animal cruelty, big humane changes would be imminent. Of course, I would soon become disillusioned about my naivete. I now realize that knowledge alone about animal cruelty and suffering will not change the world's concern in this matter. I now believe that the all-important missing ingredient is COMPASSION, and I am sorry to say but I feel that not too many
people have it in regards to animal suffering.
In 2003 when I wrote some 350 Catholic bishops about my concern in this regard and the church's lack of concern for animal suffering, I had hoped for some positive feedback and/or at least some acknowledgement of my letter. Was I ever in for a shock. I believe I received 16 compassionate responses. Clearly, I was not impressed by this seeming lack of compassion then and even today as well as the lack of acknowledgement of my letter.
Would I still have taken the time and expense to xerox a 3-page letter to the leaders of the Catholic Church? In a heart beat. I knew that if I truly cared about animal suffering, than I should always do all I can to alleviate it.
Sadly, the church was not then or even today receptive to consider the need for compassion to animals. It seems they have forgotten that God also created the animals and expects us to treat them compassionately. Sadly, ditto, and also lack of response from the 80 Cleveland Catholic clergy and the 5 theologians I also wrote to in this regard.
Undercover videos revealing animal cruelty is not new, but recently in an effort to galvanize support for a referendum mandating cage-free eggs in Massachusetts, a video depicting chickens packed in tight cages was released. Particularly disheartening was the picture of chickens trampling on the carcasses of dead hens.
The Humane Society of the United States said the clip was filmed at a large Maine egg farm that supplies Massachusetts stores. The practices seen on the video were not only detrimental to hen welfare but to public health as well.
Revealed at a Boston news conference, the video underscored the battle over the ballot question that requires changes. Starting in 2022, farms and business would produce and sell eggs from cage-free hens; pork from pigs not raised in or born of a sow raised in a confining gestation crate, and veal from calves not raised in confining crates. I can't believe that poor calves are still being placed in crates -- cruel and unusual punishment for a baby
cow whose only crime is that his flesh is prized by meat eaters.
Paul Shapiro of the HSUS said the video exposed the facility managed by Hillandale Farms, a major national egg producer, as a facility with rampant problems. They found birds in cages dead and decomposing for weeks.
This farm was also the subject of a 2015 ABC News investigation. I am always happy when something like this makes it on the world news. Thank you, ABC News.
On the other side of the coin, Chad Gregory, president and chief executive of United Egg Producers, decried the press in this regard as a ridiculous stunt. He said the farm in Turner, Maine, had passed an independent United Egg Producers Certified audit last year.
Well, I don't know about you -- but I believe videos don't lie. I also believe that the HSUS doesn't lie either. I am also glad that as a vegan, I do not eat the eggs of these tortured hens. And I truly hope and pray that, for the chickens' sake, the referendum mandating cage-free eggs will pass in Massachusetts. These battery cages have been in existence for far
too long. When will we get rid of them once and for all?

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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