Angela M Groves
How We Treat the Animals We Eat
Are the factory farms we buy our meat from treating animals humanely? Animal mistreatment is illegal and we can make a difference to put a stop to it. According to Ethical Farms “Some of the largest US factory farms refuse to uphold humane USDA and OSHA standards, having unsanitary, unhealthy conditions and animal rights violations. In 1958, the US government composed the Humane Slaughter Act that is not enforced” (Ethical Farms, 2010). There are 7 statutes in effect that comprise the Humane Slaughter Act. Included in these sections are Congress' statement that livestock must be slaughtered in a humane manner to prevent needless suffering, research methods on humane methods of slaughter, the non-applicability of these statutes to religious or ritual slaughter, and the investigation into the care of non-ambulatory livestock. There are farms that follow the Humane Slaughter Act in raising their livestock that we can purchase our food from, like Humane Farms for example. By aligning our consumerism with Restaurants and grocery store chains that purchase from humane farms we can make an impact. Also, supporting an Animal Rights group like The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(ASPCA) or The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA) can make a big difference. You can support them either monetarily or by volunteering your time in your local area. In Chapter 17 of the Omnivore’s Dilemma (The Ethics of Eating Animals), Pollan (2006), says that “Eating meat has become morally problematic, at least for people who take the trouble to think about it. Vegetarianism is more popular than it has ever been, and animal rights is rapidly finding its way into the cultural mainstream”(p. 306). The selections offered at most markets and grocery stores have expanded quite a bit in the last decade or two in order to accommodate the consumerism of a vegetarian making it much easier to choose this kind of diet. Also many fast food and quality restaurants have added vegetarian dishes to their menu. “The general consensus has always been that humans were indeed omnivores and, whatever spiritual or moral dilemmas the killing and eating of animals posed, our various cultural traditions resolved them for us well enough. For the most part our culture has been telling us for millennia that animals were both good to eat and good to think”(p. 306). I myself have never had an aversion to eating meat. I grew up in the country and we fished for food. I visited a pig farm in school and saw a pig being born; I didn’t see anything inhumane. Until I read this book I honestly did not give eating meat a second thought. When Pollan goes back and forth to himself about how he feels right when he first killed the pig, he was very proud of his accomplishment, to how he felt when he saw the picture with the spilled blood, which was so disgusting he could not look at it. He is very graphic in his writing and gave me a clear picture of something I had never thought about. There is an unusual amount of cultural uncertainty on the subject of animals in today’s society and that may be why people tend to look the other way. Many times while researching this topic I myself read things that I think I really would rather not know. Am I willing to change my shopping and eating habits in order to help make a difference? Right now the answer is Yes! Many of us seem eager to extend the circle of our moral consideration to other species, yet in our factory farms we’re inflicting more suffering on more animals than at any time in history. Pollan also says that “In recent years medical researchers have raised questions about the good to eat part, while philosophers like Singer and organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have given us new reasons to doubt meat is good to think—that is, good for our souls or our...