Animals aren't meat machines!

As I sat down to eat my dinner tonight, I turned on the HBO special “Death on a Factory Farm”. Within fifteen minutes, I couldn’t take another bite. I was that horrified by the abuse of pigs and piglets I had just witnessed.

For example, mother pigs at this farm were forced to lie on the ground as milk machines for their babies and given no other contact with them, and when the piglets grew big enough to move to the next phase of their miserable lives, they were literally thrown several feet in the air until they landed with a thud against the hard metal side of a mobile pig-mover or on top of some of the piglets already inside. All the while, piglets were squealing and the mother was going insane as her babies were ripped away from her. The pigs were then thrown onto a school bus, at which point I turned it off because I couldn’t watch any more.

I was eating a chicken dish, but I know most chickens are raised in incredibly cramped conditions. I knew factory farms weren’t kind to animals, but I didn’t suspect they could be so cruel. We usually buy “free range” or “cage-free” eggs, but I’ve just learned that those labels can be pretty meaningless.

I haven’t (yet) watched more of the show, but it’s made such an impact that I’m beginning to re-think my meat-eating practices. My first stop was at Certified Humane. It says:

The Certified Humane Raised and Handled program is the only farm animal welfare and food labeling program in the U.S. dedicated to improving the welfare of farm animals from birth through slaughter for the 10 billion farm animals raised for food each year.

Certified Humane’s website says I can find products they certify at several nearby stores, including Stew Leonards and Stop & Shop. I’ll be looking for their logo and encourage you to do the same!

Posted by James on Thursday, March 19, 2009