Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Animal Rights Orgs' Undercover Investigations...and becoming an educated, informed consumer

People for the Ethical Treatment of animals conducted an undercover investigation at an Iowa Hormel pig factory farm.

From “For more than three months, PETA went undercover at an Iowa pig factory farm, which supplies piglets who are raised and killed for Hormel products. PETA found rampant cruelty to animals committed by workers and supervisors. The farm changed ownership and management during PETA's investigation, but that made no difference to the animals who were born and confined there: Abuse and neglect were widespread during PETA's entire investigation.”

PETA is one of the few organizations that actually monitors this closely the practices at factory farms. Lawmakers and legislators do not go in with their cameras to film what they are supposed to be regulating. This is raw video, this is not edited, so please be aware that much of this is very difficult to watch – yet this is reality. These are people in OUR country committing such brutal, cruel acts on animals. These people can be walking next to you outside, driving down the highway on the same mile as you, sitting next table over at a restaurant eating the very animals they bloodied, tortured, and in the case of dozens of piglets, beat to death just earlier that day.

I commend those at PETA who undertook this painful assignment. Very few are capable of carrying out filming something so horrific and disturbing. While you and I watch the video and hear the pig screaming for mercy as a farmer beats a pig on his back and stomach with a metal gate rod, a person with a camera is there witnessing it him or herself. Most, including myself, would be incapable of standing there and not trying to stop any of those men from abusing the animals. But in order for us to become educated, informed consumers, we need groups like PETA and the Humane Society of the United States, whose footage from puppy mills to animal testing labs has been aired on network TV, out there taking on these tasks of exposing animal abuse and then taking action on stopping it, as well as educating and informing we consumers about how we too can take action to stop it.

Although these videos are very difficult to watch, I would encourage everyone to watch for at least a couple seconds – because this is not a TV show or movie, this is real and these are people in our country committing such atrocities. I hope that fewer and fewer people turn a blind eye to this, because it reflects a part of our population that lacks sensitivity, that lacks compassion toward life in general, and that exemplify the cowardice in attacking a living being who is rendered helpless and defenseless.

The factory farm employees in this individual video represent hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others just like them who perhaps wouldn’t allow cameras in their factory farms.

Please understand that without large animal advocacy organizations with resources and finances to carry out these documentaries of abuse, we would not have the opportunities to learn the reality of an industry we have daily interaction with.

article conveys the other side. A writer for the Farm & Ranch Guide wrote about a Minnesota factory farm who was exposed for abuses, just as the one in Iowa was. Their employees committing atrocities against the animals on their farms was caught in real life, on camera.

You will read that through most of the article, the MowMar farm representatives are defensive: “We're here to demonstrate this can happen to you. All of us in the industry, and all sizes and types of operations, need to be prepared and try to prevent this type of action from happening...The amount of extra time and strain it has put on us, we really don't want anyone else to have to go through."
On the experience: “It was a coordinated effort of many industry partners…makes things go smoother and quicker, and easier to defend…I think we did pretty good, but we could have been more prepared.”
The reporter finally said that it is very important that applications are completed and that the farming employer conducts a background check.That this needs to be reiterated in the context of an article like this is appalling. Furniture companies do background checks, my dad’s dealership conducts background checks. Shouldn’t that go without saying for a company who relies on individuals’ proper handling of live animals in order to profit?

You will also read toward the end an admission that proper regulations, employee screening processes and training, as well as management consistently monitoring their businesses on the ground is lacking. The only victims are the animals, as each of these farms continues to employee people and make money. If their only motivation to treat animals humanely is so they don’t have a PR crisis on their hands, then I’ll take that. It’s not the reason I’d prefer, but if animals’ lives are in better care, then I would call PETA’s actions successful. Their aim is to expose the abuse not change things overnight or solve the problem in one day or with one sole investigation.
Lastly, the only way to help stop these atrocities is to not support the business. Go veg. Click here to read about all the reasons why it’s better for you, for the environment, for all living beings with whom we share Earth.

If you do not add to the demand, Hormel and other meat-producing corporations will not have means to keep producing the supply. And as demand for vegetarian products rise, farmers will shift toward cultivating these products, away from the slaughtering of animals.