Ads at your local supermarket probably go farther on behalf of farmed animals
by Irene Muschel
I just opened my computer and found myself looking at a startling American SPCA fund-raising email that encourages people to support the breeding, raising, and slaughter of animals destined for human consumption.
The email, captioned “Take a Bite Out of Farm Animal Cruelty,” under the guise of wanting to improve the lives of farm animals, attempts to make a false distinction between the experience of animals destined for slaughter who are bred and raised on factory farms and those whose short, miserable lives are experienced elsewhere, although usually ending at the same slaughter houses.
Why doesn’t the ASPCA say beans?
The article states that one should:
• Cut out meat, eggs, and dairy from animals raised in factory farms
• Swap in meat, eggs, and dairy produced on welfare certified farms,
as well as all plant-based meat and dairy alternatives.
No mention is made of beans, egg alternatives, or the enormous number of foods that can
replace animal products.
Going for the lowest bar
The ASPCA states that its “Factory Farm Detox” program is a “one-week commitment to
eliminate factory farmed foods from your diet.”
Wow! Nothing like going for the lowest bar.
What happens after one week?
This is not even as high as the low “Vegan before 6,” pushed by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman, or the “Meatless Mondays” goal promoted since 2003 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future.
If one signs up for the ASPCA program, lists are given of “Certified Farms by State.” The farms listed are engaged in the breeding, raising, and slaughter of animals.
The “Welfare Certification Labels” and “Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Label Guide” are filled with
confusion, ambiguities, and uncertainty. There are references to exceptions such as
“standards do not extend to breeding animals, transport, and slaughter.”
Unenforced labeling standards
The ASPCA pitch ignores the huge number of undercover videos, including of farms used by
Whole Foods Markets, that have shown––repeatedly––the worthlessness of these labels. Farms that have various purported humane labels have often treated animals brutally.
We should certainly know by now all the problems with false labeling. There have been countless
undercover investigations of fake fur garments with laboratory tests revealing that these garments
often have real animal fur.
The ASPCA does not address the capabilities of the certifying groups who have been known
to be inaccurate in their assessment of a farm’s treatment of animals or its enforcement of
protection of animals.
(For examples, see Courting hen & egg producers leads animal charities into deep @#$%, Fundraising, FADS, “dolphin safe,” & why Ric O’Barry left Earth Island Institute, and Cage-free egg farm fire kills 65,000 hens, revives attention to lack of sprinklers in barns)
Why this message is so pernicious
The ASPCA ignores the reality that there is nothing ethical about the breeding, raising, brutalizing, and slaughter of animals who do not want to be hurt or killed.
This is the ASPCA!
Why do they not care for these animals? Why do they not see the value of his/her life to that animal? How would they feel if someone treated them this way?
What the ASPCA did in “Take a Bite Out of Farm Animal Cruelty” was to give the public a feel-good loop, a feel good pass to continue eating animal products.
That’s why this message is so pernicious. It completely removes incentive from people to care about these animals and stop supporting an industry that brutalizes and slaughters them.
(Irene Muschel, a longtime New York City animal advocate, school teacher, and social worker, lives about a mile from the ASPCA head offices as the crow flies, but a world away as ethics evolve.)
The ASPCA recommendations in “Take a Bite Out of Farm Animal Cruelty” are substantially the same as were issued by the Massachusetts SPCA and the American Humane Association more than sixty years ago, circa 1955, and by the ASPCA, the Massachusetts SPCA, and the Humane Society of the U.S. circa 1990.
The ASPCA policy at that time differed little, if at all, from views expressed by founder Henry Bergh (1813-1888), albeit that Bergh reputedly avoided meat consumption late in life, and did not put his views into a policy statement.
Subsequent to that, in 1991, then-ASPCA president John Kullberg endorsed vegetarianism and was fired for it, while HSUS in 2005 adopted a vegan food policy for HSUS events, albeit compromised by other HSUS programs and policies.