I was disappointed that the Obamas' recent Asheville visit began with a meal of factory-farmed ribs. They clearly adore their dog Bo, and it's hard to understand why people who care about a certain species can be so indifferent to the suffering of others. Pigs, after all, are smarter than dogs.
Many think the government regulates animal agriculture. Think again. Most states specifically exempt "standard agricultural practices" from their cruelty statutes, no matter how violent and depraved the procedure. Animals routinely have their body parts (genitals, toes, ears, tails, horns etc.) mutilated or severed while they are fully conscious, and no pain relief is provided. Most animals are crammed indoors and inside enclosures so tight they can't turn around — or, in the case of chickens, spread a wing. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act doesn't apply to birds, who represent 98 percent of the animals slaughtered for food. And it's seldom enforced for other animals. Countless animals are hacked apart while fully conscious, or scalded alive.
Most consumers support factory farms and slaughterhouses with their food dollars, which provides a sense that it must not be all that bad. Yet history is full of outrageous social injustices: evil can, indeed, be the norm. If you think I'm exaggerating, take a peek behind the closed doors that hide the institutionalized cruelty of food production by visiting www.meat.org. If you treated a dog or cat this way, you'd go to jail.
A 2008 Gallop poll noted that 97 percent of Americans believe that animals should be protected from abuse. Yet most people eat animals who have been treated abominably. Contrary to common criticisms, animal activists are not trying to force our views on others. We seek to shine a spotlight on carefully hidden cruelty so that people will make lifestyle choices in accordance with their own ethical standards. Most people, including the Obamas, would not do these horrific things to animals. Where's the integrity in paying others to do it for them?
Does a culinary preference to eat corpses outweigh another individual's interest in not becoming one? Does might make right?
— Stewart David