Food for Thought
compared with the thirteen to seventeen weeks that nature had planned
and the three to four weeks still allowed by some intensive hog farms in Europe. When the barn is full of piglets, like a popper filled with popcorn, somebody will come by to collect them. The mothers will be tethered, as some already are. The rear gates of their stalls will be opened. And the little ones will all be swept away.”
I love to eat meat. It’s one of my favorite foods, especially cured meats. Mmmmm. Give me a prosciutto and melon antipasto or a juicy honey ham on Thanksgiving, and I’m in heaven. And yet despite my love for this food group, I no longer indulge, and here's why.
There is something wrong with the system of farming animals in this country. Really wrong. And I can no longer support it.
Before I go further, let me clarify one point. I don’t have a problem with raising and killing animals for food if it’s done in a humane way. But it isn’t being done in a humane way. Not by a long shot. Because most, if not all, of the animals that we eat are being raised in horrendous conditions on factory farms.
Since we don’t have all day to go over all the specific abuses to all of these animals, let’s just pick one animal. How about the female pig? Why the pig? Well, because the pig is highly intelligent. Just as intelligent as a dog or even more intelligent than a dog according to some. Why the female pig? Well, because I’m a female, and no one messes with my bitches and gets away with it. I don't care if they are pigs. They're still my bitches.
So, how are these intelligent and sensitive creatures treated on factory farms?
Female pigs, or sows, that are kept for breeding are placed in confinement crates that allow very little movement. Often referred to as “rape racks”, these gestation crates, which are still legal in the U.S., are so small that the pigs can barely move. The sow is confined here during artificial insemination with an “AI” rod, which is thrust into her from behind. She may remain in this crate during her entire 4-month pregnancy. After the birth of her litter, her piglets are quickly taken from her, and the process of insemination begins again. This cycle continues for up to four years with the sow in confinement the entire time and very often suffering from sores, tumors, broken bones and illnesses. Each sow births more than 20 piglets a year. This type of cruel, intensive breeding is done for one reason only: to maximize profits.
This is just a small slice of the sad and disgusting conditions that these animals face on a daily basis--to say nothing of the lack of sunlight, proper veterinary care, straw, space, or clean air.
Approximately 84% of the hogs killed in the U.S. each year are factory farmed, which means that there’s a good chance that the pig served up at your local deli was raised this way.
Like I said, I think it's wrong. And I can't support it.
So I don't eat meat. Well, I kinda don't eat meat. I'm not a strict vegetarian. I do eat fish, but I don't eat chicken or any other meat. I admire vegans because I know that abusive farming practices go on in the dairy industry as well, but I'm just not disciplined enough to give up cheese and milk. I just don't have the willpower.
And although I completely despise the filthy, green-eyed corporate farmers who are so money-hungry that they have have created a system of torture for the animals that are killed for our food (not to mention how they are obliterating the small family farmer in the process), at the same time, I don't judge non-vegetarians.
I do, however, encourage people to read up on this stuff and become educated. And if this is something that also strikes you as wrong, I encourage you to do what you can as a consumer and a voter to reject these types of farming practices. Maybe that means purchasing your meat from a source that you know treats its animals well. Maybe that means choosing meat entrees less often when eating out. Maybe that means sending a letter to your representative. You don't have to go all the way and stop eating meat or meat products entirely. But you can do something.
I implore you to do it for our amigas in those crates. They are powerless. We are not.
This post was written in response to Her Bad Mother’s recent “call to action” in which she asked us to blog about a cause that we are passionate about.