AR-News: (US) Crimes Unseen

animalconcerns at animalconcerns at
Wed Jul 7 13:19:53 EDT 2004

TO SATISFY THE PUBLIC'S ever-growing appetite for meat, slaughterhouses
in the United States killed ten billion animals last year. That's
27,397,260 animals every day, 1,141,553 every hour, 19,026 every minute.
Most Americans, largely disconnected from their food supply, assume
these animals met a painless end, if they think about it at all. Even
readers of books and articles about conditions in factory farms may not
be aware of what happens to animals at slaughter. But every now and then
that reality flashes briefly across the public consciousness, as it did
during last year's news stories about mad cow disease, when television
viewers glimpsed a sick cow being dragged along the ground to a
slaughterhouse. The media attention was on food safety, not the welfare
of the animals, but for a brief moment the veil had been lifted on the
brutality of the process that turns living creatures into meat.

And why should anyone want to inquire further? Can't we just assume that
the same industry that maximizes profits by confinement so extreme that
chickens can't flap their wings and pigs are prevented from turning
around will also routinely mistreat animals at slaughter? What sense is
there in focusing on the final hours of animals whose entire short lives
are often a study in misery?

Mohandas Gandhi said that a nation's moral progress can be judged by the
way it treats its animals. Animal behavior scientists have proven
unequivocally that animals are not machines but sentient beings that
experience feelings of pain, fear, anxiety, and despair. These feelings
matter to the animal and they should matter to us. If Gandhi is right,
we have an obligation to know what happens to animals when they are
killed to feed us, and to let that knowledge inform our actions. Yet
from early childhood, Americans are taught to dissociate picture-book
scenes of cows and sheep grazing in a pasture from rows of
plastic-wrapped cuts of meat lining grocer's shelves. We eat "pork" not
pigs, "veal" not baby cows. Animals aren't killed in slaughterhouses but
"processed" in "packing plants." 

full story:

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