Short blog today regarding my friends at MSU and the frustrations they continue to endure caused by a campus newspaper that absolutely fails to be objective on the issue of animal agriculture. I think nobody would mind that as much if students weren't forced to pay a subscription to the paper that in turn verbally scathes the major studied by some of its mandatory subscribers.
I encourage you to read the article, then to dig up Joel's original column, as well as following the comments below the article I linked.
I sent some brief comments to MSU regarding the news article today and I confess to spending relatively little time editing them but it's a busy day so you'll have to forgive me. Here's my thoughts:
"Phil and associates,
"I can understand your concern about animal suffering. Farmers share this concern which is why it does not in fact happen. Animals are humanely raised, above and beyond government regulations in most cases, and are also humanely slaughtered with researched methods that prevent the feeling of pain prior to death.
"Some parts of a farm animals life can be painful, but again, in accordance with the law, these conditions of painful existence cannot be prolonged into what you would term suffering. Research has shown stress and pain indicators to diminish shortly after painful procedures which you cite such as castration, and tail and teeth clipping. The animal certainly does not remember the experience, nor are they experiencing a continued sensation of pain. Accusing farmers of causing animals to suffer is greatly similar to whining about a doctor being abusive for administering your once in a lifetime vaccinations.
"As was agreed by PETA VP (what was his name?) during his visit last fall, even more personal inflictions of painful surgical procedures are not remembered by humans, nor are they remembered by animals which is made obvious by their ongoing observed interactions with people over their lifetime. We are not talking about animal abuse here, which farmers do not condone or participate in. We are talking about the regulated and required health-related procedures which ensure an animal’s healthy existence in this world as they grow and eventually serve their purpose to provide food for Americans and those in less fortunate countries.
"I am personally involved in the worldwide research to improve the living environment of animals through their housing and social stimulation. However, this research takes time so that we can find effective ways to raise healthy animals for the public while improving the environment they live in. This is to avoid the mistake of building costly, “trendy” systems that truly don’t benefit the animals in the long run. Be patient because you’re not being ignored.
"Joel probably did not mention a necessity to give livestock antibiotics to stay alive because there is rarely a necessity to give animals antibiotics. In fact, there’s rarely a necessity to give humans antibiotics as well. If you would prefer to suffer through a secondary respiratory infection, or worse, accumulating scar tissue that will inhibit your ability to function for the rest of your life then please suggest to your doctor not to prescribe you antibiotics as well. Farmers care about their animals, and so they make sure that they give them what it takes to live healthy lives.
"The reason that farmers give their animals antibiotics is also not because the housing facilities are poorly designed. On the contrary, the ventilation, cleanliness and air quality in most “commercialized” layer barns is far better than in other systems which you imply would be more desirable, such as free-range or cage-free systems. If you don’t believe me, look at some research literature or actually visit some real farms.
"Finally, don’t even get me started on the supposed environmental hazard that animals pose to the world. Animals today represent just a small portion of what the world has to be concerned about in the way of environmental impact. Consider for example the fact that in America we produce over 1.2 billion pounds of garbage every day whereas the livestock industry produces 0.8 million pounds of waste per day. Then further consider that farmers recycle almost all of that waste to reduce the use of fertilizer on your vegetable crops that you consume. After you figure out what happens to the 1.2 billion pounds of human waste, let me know, because I’m pretty sure it is not being recycled and we are stuck with that figure for life. Animal agriculture is not the headline polluter that you claim it is."