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Mercy for someone, please February 25, 2010

Posted by Angelique in Animal welfare.
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Mercy for Animals recently released the latest in its series of undercover videos of the conventional livestock industry’s vile treatment of animals. This one offers footage of the largest dairy farm in New York, 7000-cow Willet Dairy, which seems to be run by some of the lowest forms of life that still technically fall into the category “human being.” Interspersed with scenes of calves’ horns burned off while workers dig fingers into their eyes and cows sliding around in their own manure is a completely gratuitous slap in the face for an unsuspecting victim.

I applaud Mercy for Animals for giving us visibility into the world of conventional meat and dairy production, and I’m somewhat starstruck by their undercover agent, who copped a flawless good ol’ boy attitude to provoke the workers into bragging about their sadistic exploits. I’m underwhelmed, however, by lawmakers’ responses to the video. After seeing it, NY Rep. Linda B. Rosenthal introduced a bill that would ban tail docking, a practice shown in the video in which calves’ tails are partly cut off. While tail docking probably should be banned, it’s hardly the most egregious abuse on display at Willet Dairy. What about the obvious things, like, oh, hitting the animals? The state Assistant DA noted after seeing the video that although the treatment of animals in it is shocking, it’s not illegal – in other words, there’s not much that can be done about it.

The fact is that all the bans against tail docking and gestation crates and battery cages in the world will not force farm workers to make nice with the animals. Further, as consumers, we can’t fool ourselves into thinking that if we just buy products from farms that don’t dock cows’ tails, or don’t cage chickens, or whatever, that we are necessarily doing the right thing. We have to find farms that actually respect their animals. They do exist; I’ve seen a number of them. Get to know one of them and buy a share in them through a CSA, or visit them at the farmers market. Don’t wait to find out that Mercy for Animals just shot a video of Your Farm.

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1. Mercy for someone, part 2 « From Animal To Meat - March 5, 2010

[…] animal ag, animal rights, Animal welfare, food ethics, pigs, slaughterhouses, veal trackback In last week’s post, I applauded Mercy for Animals for uncovering animal abuse at Willet Dairy and bemoaned the lack of […]


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