Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Humane Misconceptions

My third blog this week will merely consist of my commentary on a blog I saw late last week. I've been meaning to write about and address this blog, but there is so much in the body of it that I know I will never have time. Instead, here are some notes I made in my comment. Honestly, I appreciated the author's comments about misnomers and false claims within the recently budding humane market. But he still missed on so many points.


"I have to say that you made a good compilation of all the propaganda out there on factory farming, mixed with some accurate facts. Especially accurate in my own opinion is your criticism of organic as a falsely humane production method. Also very accurate is the plight of "cage-free" hens which is a poorer condition for them than the original "battery cages". If "cage-free" was better, then HSUS wouldn't have just signed a deal with UEP for enhanced cages in family groups rather than "cage-free" systems. However, the list of misconceptions in your post is surprising given how much research it appears you conducted into these matters.

"I'll highlight just a few glaring misconceptions.

"1) Chipotle is a skilled advertiser and marketer and they are killing profits in a tough economic environment. They do that by advertising humanely raised product and then by only sourcing a percentage of their food from these sites. Look into it.

"2) Don't you find it ironic that EatWild.com will cite every single article that mentions health benefits of components of animal products, but in the same webpage fails to cite any articles that flaunt these increased CLAs in pasture or increased omega-3s in pasture? If they could link proof, wouldn't they have?

"3) The dairy cow is one of the most pampered creatures in farming today. They do not reside in feedlots, and instead each have a mattress for resting in well-ventilated and twice daily cleaned barns. They have a personal "doctor" (veterinarian) who inspects them regularly and the slightest discomfort to them during the day or undetected illness results in huge drops in production. By no means are they housed similarly to beef cattle, which are bred to be hardier - the only similarity between the two is the care and observation given to both throughout the day.

"4) Pigs and chickens are naturally cannibalistic. True, this behavior can be accentuated through close quarters, but this behavior is equally observed in pastured pigs and chickens as well. However, under less close observation by caretakers, the infections and death from this cannibalism can be worse in pasture-type systems.

"5) Pigs are housed in highly climate-controlled barns because they are not naturally inclined to reside in the cold and drafty outdoor environment. They are thus healthier inside in these scientifically proven and specialized barns than are their outdoor, lean-to-sheltered counterparts.

"I'm not saying that a market driven compromise isn't possible or a good thing to aim for. Welfare of animals is definitely new in the 10,000 year scheme of animal domestication, but it's important to not advocate for systems or products which are deceiving. Some systems you supported are equally detrimental or worse for animals in different ways than the systems you so harshly criticized.

"Food for thought."

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