My older sister is the better driver, but she said that I am lucky living
near my church and some stores equally close by. Ah, but I said -- how am I going
to get the bales of wood shavings and litter I need for my cats? How am I going
to get the cases of cat food and dry food for my cats? How am I going to get the bags of bird seed for the snow birds of Ohio? She had no reply.
But my tears of joy were occasioned by reading Mark Bittman's New York
Times' post- HENS, UNBOUND. I am not a crying person usually, but recalling all
these years since probably the 50's when millions and millions of chickens were
being tortured -- yes, tortured in battery cages from hell for all their lives,
Bittman writes that finally- for some millions of them- California's Prop 2 is taking
effect today. Though it will only affect California --I still cried tears of joy for the
chickens who will benefit. I would love to see even ONE finally spread her wings!
Passed by a landslide in 2008 --six years were given to animal farmers to
convert to more humane conditions. Not only will egg-laying hens not be kept in
"battery" cages which even prevent them from spreading their wings, but baby calves
or mother sows in crates so small that they can't even turn around will be
given more freedom of movement as well. I will never understand how we -as supposedly
a "humane" nation could allow this cruelty to persist, and sadly it will continue in
all the other states which have them except for compassionate California.
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And kudos to then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who signed into law in
2010 a bill that extended these protections to out-of-state birds. You can no
longer sell eggs to California if the hens were kept in extreme confinement. Isn't
this beautiful and compassionate? I think so, and my eyes welled up again.
I was even disillusioned by learning some years ago that some monks in
Georgia were using battery cages. If anybody should be compassionate, I thought
religious people would be. Of course, that was not the case here, and they justified
their use of battery cages and cruel moulting by saying they were following the
prescriptions of the egg industry. Wow, what a lame excuse.
Bittman isn't sure how limiting confinement for hens will play out. Will
larger cages be built or will hens be kept in groups that meet the new minimum area
requirement per bird? Whatever the resolution, there is also more good news. Bittman
writes that with this measure, the table is set for similar action in states all over
Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States agrees, and writes
that they are working on passing anti-confinement laws in 10 states now, and that at
least three other states are to take up similar legislation in 2015.
All I can say is -- God bless all these humane and compassionate people
-whether or not they see farm animals as living beings who have souls (confirmed by
Pope John Paul II). But certainly they have basic needs like our own. We have been remiss in
the stewardship God has given us to care for them. Let us hope that in the years to come,
we will respond in more compassionate ways.
Bittman has much more to say in his post, but for me I have read enough to
make the start of 2015 a happy one. Lucky the people of compassion who will be able
to go to a farm and see these improvements. Maybe, they may seem small, but if a
battery chicken can spread her wings, if a gestational mother sow can get up and move
around, and if a crated veal calf can finally turn around and even perhaps take some
steps- it seems
to me that we are on the road to long overdue compassionate treatment of
And thank you vegetarians and vegans- because certainly your diet lifestyle
is a blessing for the animals. No animal has to live in barbaric conditions or die for