When California’s Proposition 2 passed by a landslide last November, requiring the state to end the tight confinement of veal calves, chickens, and breeding sows, the industry was forced to respond. Though the law doesn’t go into effect until 2015, The Wall Street Journal published a piece on Wednesday explaining California’s egg and poultry producers’ plan to adapt to the new animal welfare standards .
Are they going to abide by regulations? Maybe a few of them. Are they going to willfully stop raising animals for food? Not a chance. Instead, animal abusers in California are being invited by lawmakers to move to Nevada, Idaho, and even states as far as Georgia that won’t plague them with pesky anti-confinement laws. The article explains:
In Idaho, as lawmakers convened Monday, Republican state Sen. Tim Corder said he would introduce legislation designed to attract California chicken farmers who might consider relocating. In Nevada, Pershing County is aggressively recruiting poultry farmers in California, the nation’s fifth-largest producer of eggs. Georgia’s poultry industry also has reached out to some California farmers in a bid to woo them eastward, California egg-industry officials say.
This article, better than any other I’ve come across, demonstrates why animal welfare measures are NOT the best path towards animal liberation. At their best, farmed animal welfare measures increase people’s awareness about factory farming, potentially inviting them to consider a vegetarian or vegan diet, while hopefully eliminating the worst abuses of industrial animal farming. At their worst, however, welfare measures cause dedicated activists to spend millions of dollars and countless hours, only to have animal abusers exploit loopholes and to have meat-eaters’ consciences cleared of the guilt that they should rightfully feel when they consume animal products.
While the organizations fighting for these animal welfare measures intend to push similar initiatives in every state across the country, I have no doubt that exploiters will find new and creative ways to bypass the laws and continue to profit off abhorrent animal abuse. For instance, Ohio recently passed Issue 2, creating a so-called animal welfare board with the explicit intention of overturning actual animal welfare laws.
Whether the loopholes conjured up involve moving to a new state, paying a fine in order to keep confining animals, or removing the cages while continuing to confine as many animals into just as tight of spaces (see above photo, courtesy of www.downtownpet.com), pushing “stricter standards” of animal welfare allow the industry to prolong its exploitation.
The best things we can do for farmed animals are to shift to a vegan diet and lifestyle, and to urge others to do the same. If you are not yet vegan, please visit www.vegkit.org for a free Vegan Starter Guide. If you are on the path towards veganism, get involved with FARM’s lifesaving campaigns. Meatout, which since 1985 has grown to become the world’s largest grassroots diet campaign, takes place this March. Get active for the animals!