Why draw the line when it comes to species?

Regarding the new Chik-fil-A coming to Merrimon Avenue, it is disappointing to see so much attention focused on zoning and homophobic corporate activities while the institutionalized, systematic torture and death of baby chickens goes unmentioned [“Ruffled Feathers,” Aug. 7 Xpress].

Yes, I said babies. Most of the 9 billion chickens killed annually in America are about seven weeks old. Yes, I said systematically tortured. There are no federal laws or regulations protecting chickens raised for food. It is egregious and a tribute to industry lobbyists that birds, who represent 98 percent of the animals slaughtered for food, are exempt from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Most states, including North Carolina, specifically exempt "standard agricultural practices" from their cruelty statutes, no matter how violent and depraved the procedure.

Those surviving the horrific conditions of factory farms (extreme confinement systems, bodily mutilations done without anesthesia, etc.) face a gruesome ending. They are fully conscious when their throats are slit, and if the blade misses the mark, which is often the case, they are still conscious when dropped into boiling water. See for yourself; watch a short video narrated by Paul McCartney at http://www.meat.org.

This treatment would warrant felony cruelty charges if inflicted upon animals who have legal protection from abuse. But, is there any difference between abusing a chicken and doing the same to a dog? It is illogical that most who care deeply about companion animals ignore the intense violence inflicted upon the animals they eat. Chickens are capable of not only outperforming dogs and cats in tests of cognitive and behavioral sophistication; they also outperform 4-year-old human children.

To learn more about these clever and interesting animals, please visit http://www.farmsanctuary.org and click "Someone, not Something."

To be a Progressive means to stand with those who are discriminated against because they are “different.” Why draw the line when it comes to species?

As Alice Walker said, “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men."

— Stewart David

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