Dear Editor. The commentary by AmbrÖse in your paper alludes to an ongoing existing perception about ‘Factory Farming’ and in turn local media’s lack of attention afforded to less than great animal husbandry methods.
The Factory Farm, including the dairy industry for today’s purposes, but similarly beef cattle, pigs, chicken, turkeys, fois gras (ducks) and on and on, all justified as a common industry practice when challenged.
The fact remains that Factory Farms were created to milk every cent out of every animal, all the time and to do so has spawned some of the most horrific and cruel practices all under acceptable industry practice and yes, local media has turned a blind eye to most all. Occasionally, exceptional incidents of extreme cruel methods surface and local media may do little, if anything to express true public disgust, rather they, as AmbrÖse suggests try to spin in favour of industry. It is always alluding to the immense sums of money generated for the local community, such as unjustified existence of propane cannon farms.
When chickens poop, industry see money to be made out of protein poop and establish pellet foods to feed some livestock. In the areas of anti-biotics, industry claim no harm to humans but lo and behold, the advent of super bugs and a cause anti-biotic resistance strains, in part, caused by over-consumption of anti-biotic fed livestock. Thinking back to around early ninety’s when I challenged Industry about spread of disease and in particular Mad Cow disease, I was assured, such as sheep scapies cannot be passed to cattle but industry tried to hide facts and lo and behold a major outbreak, nearly decimating Cattle Industry when Mad Cow disease spread. Yes, it seemed disease can be spread from sheep to cattle.
It is sad and often mean-spirited husbandry practice that only seek to maximize profit but to add insult to injury, when Factory Farms spawn a cruel demeanour by employees that treat animals already destined for the dinner table, such lack of dignity and cruel inhumane treatment, as undercover investigations have produced, whether on turkey or battery cage chicken farms, towards ducks, pigs, cattle and now dairy cows. It goes on across the country at puppy & kitten mills.
It may start with farmers who fail to establish a respect for animals, train employees and demand care of animals, but whenever cruel practices are uncovered, like the current case of the dairy cows, it is always the same spin. How Farmers care for animals and would not tolerate such practice but in reality, it is incongruous that they would suddenly uncover an isolated incident and they must know but elected to ignore what is happening, often under the guise, I suppose, ‘they are only animals.’
Municipal Councils are (the) main problem in many instances dealing with Companion Animals, and fail to adopt progressive bylaws to control unwanted litters and establish proper breeder permits to control breeding; no tethering to eliminate cruel treatment of Dogs left for hours in all weathers, tied outside and in harm’s way, but mayors and councils are indifferent to them. More often it is a lack of adequate funding by municipal councils that exacerbates companion animal problems.
Thank you to Mercy Canada who is doing an admirable job of exposing the cruelty that goes on daily and their undercover videos are spawning new and undeniable facts showing that cruelty exists in all animal food industries, that all deny when challenged, even when evidence is produced, as lying has become the norm, denial commonplace, and thanks to many local media, until recently TV and Network Shows like W-5, Sixty Minutes, 16:9 entering some investigative journalism, local media tends to occasionally jump on the band wagon, in part, but too often tries to downplay facts or spin favouring the poor farmer – even when caught red-handed.
The consumer can play an informed and major role by boycotting Farmers who permit cruelty on their farms, regardless of alleged acceptable industry practices, as growing numbers of consumers will not continue buying excuses and certainly not products, from such vile farms, many of which are caught in a time warp of wanting excessive profits at any cost and thus denial of any untoward cruel practice is commonplace, that until now, farmers have been mostly able to fool media and consumers.
George F. Evens