Sunday, December 4, 2016

Does Organic mean Humane?

My friend, Tara Lynne Groth, is writing a Pay it Forward series and this one about animal welfare speaks to me. We treat animals cruelly in this world. Not the dogs and cats we keep as pets, although many of them are abused, but domestic animals raised for food.

I grew up on a large farm where cows lived on green pastures. Dairy cows spent their days grazing and sleeping. Their purpose was to go into a milking barn twice a day where they were treated humanely and milked by electric milking machines which they seemed not to mind at all. 

Beef cattle also had the wide open pastures with plenty of water for their consumption until the day they were loaded onto a truck and taken to the cattle sale. When I was a child, I tried to never think of them once they left the farm. But as a mature individual and one who has read many books and articles, the horror of the way they are slaughtered makes me ill. Even as the cows are killed, those crowded in behind them see, hear and smell the process of death. The same is true for hogs and pigs. They don't grow up in a field but in a pig barn, on concrete where they have no room to move around.

Poultry is one of the largest food products in this country. I know first hand how chickens are raised for food. After the dairy business became unprofitable, my family began raising chickens. A large chicken house, larger than our family home, was built with cages for the hens. Three or four  hens lived in one cage and they only had room to squat and lay an egg. They never touched the ground for as long as they lived. It was horrible and I said so to  my brothers, but they said that is the way this business was done in order to be profitable. I think they felt it was awful but had to  be done.

I've seen trucks on the highway with white chickens packed into cages so  tightly they  could not turn around or move. Often their feathers fly in the wind and scatter like snow flakes on the asphalt. Empathy overwhelms me and I can't bear to look at them. I know they are usually on their way to be killed or to go to a chicken farm. Either way they have no decent future.

While we think that organic food labels mean that the animals are grown humanely, we are wrong. 

Read Tara Lynne's post to learn what is being done today.

Feedlots - where animals are kept to be fattened before slaughtering.

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

Sadly we have similar problems.
These days I buy eggs which are 'free range'. However, the government is being very, very generous about just what constitutes free range.
My partner's sister rescued a few poultry farm chickens. They lived their declining years in much more comfort.
We need to do better.