Monday, March 16, 2009

Death On A Farm Factory

HBO's Death On A Factory Farm is not a easy film to watch but tells an important story that often gets pushed to the back-burner. The rationale is who has the time and resources to devote to the well-being of livestock on a farm when millions of human beings around the world are suffering incredible hardships - dying from poverty, famine, disease and war.

The film traces the work on an undercover animal rights investigator working on behalf of the
animal rights group The Humane Farming Association (HFA). The investigator signs up to work at the Wiles Hog Farm in Ohio with the objective of gathering evidence of cruel, inhumane treatment of pigs on the farm. The mission is successful in as far as being able to file a petition and get a court case against the farm.

However, justice ends up being no more than a token acknowledgement of the wrong done to the helpless animals. The questions are deeper than merely reviewing the evidence presented to judge right and wrong. They involve public perception of farm animal as a consumable commodity and in such not meriting the same love and affection that is bestowed upon pets such as cats and dogs.

The even more significant issue is probably that of credibility and moral high ground of those who come out and make these accusations. They simply cannot win. If they are meat-eaters, they have essentially co-opted into the inhumane practices they are railing against. Just because the meat in their grocery store has been sanitized to the point where it is impossible to imagine their sordid provenance, does not make them innocent. Being part of the problem, they cannot also demand a solution - they lack the necessary moral authority to win in this debate.

If however, there are vegan and opposed to killing animals for meat, they have no credibility. The argument would then be that eating meat is a choice that people should be free to make. To impose your world-view which is colored by your dietary preferences on those who do not agree is not acceptable. If you don't eat meat you can't really participate in a discussion on the best way to get it to your table.

Unless significant number of consumers are repelled by the sights of cruelty and torture that whistle-blower organizations like HFA try to make public and eschew meat en-masse, very little is likely to change for the hapless pig or turkey on the factory farm.

8 comments:

Bea Elliott said...

Yes, you right that people who eat animals see it as their rightful "choice". However more and more people are beginning to connect that the "choice" of killing animals is not necessary. I hope that this documentary reveals sufficient information that will compel honest people to make healthy and compassionate changes in their "choices" and opt for a plant based diet.

Thanks for inviting comment -

Heartcrossings said...

Bea - Thanks for stopping by. The best hope is for people to feel repelled by all the ugliness that goes into putting meat on their plate. I am not a vegetarian myself and understand how that connection is hard to make and keep in mind. It is for such documentaries to keep making their case over and over again until the plight of these farm animals can no longer be ignored or forgotten.

Bea Elliott said...

Absolutely documentaries like this will remind people of the plight animals endure to become "food" for some... It took me 50+ years till I finally made the connection of a plant based diet to physical health and spiritual wellbeing. Perhaps in time you will find a similar path.

Anonymous said...

i would like to have five minutes in a room with that sicko who slammed the piglet against the wall.

Bea Elliott said...

"that sicko who slammed the piglet against the wall"... well, you certainly have my permission to 5 minutes with the perp. But, it's a hard truth to swallow - this is just common practice for the industry. It's just "too expensive" for them to properly/painlessly/humanely euthanize these dying or diseased animals.

As long as these animals are considered a commodity and are "property" - whatever is in the best interest of the industry (profits) is what will be acceptable.

There's just no "happy" meat - all of it involves an unacceptable element of cruelty. Making the choice to go vegan eliminates this conflict...

Anonymous said...

I would just need 2 minutes with him. I would do to him what he did to that pig.

Byron from Alberta said...

I am sorry that you feel that if a person eats meat they could not win this fight or that a vegan would have not credibility. I live in the city, I have for the last 15 years. I grew up on a hog farm. Our farm was way smaller 20-50 sows and a max arounf 350 total. I think the hanging was way off mark. I'm not saying it was pleasent to watch but slaughtering isn't either and we did that. As the Judge said I don't remember exactly how but it was basically that the law does not provide the alternative just options. The thing that appalled me more was the sick injured and dying animals in pens that were then injested while alive buy the others. THIS WAS CRUELTY, this was what should have been gone after how many weeks did animals have to wait to end there suffering. We had a problem with pigs biting off the others tails once blood was smelt all in the pen had to be separated. When dad talked to a old farmer he said they needed salt. we fed them a hand full of salt and they stopped. I don't know if you were able to identify it but in one shot a pig had a severed pigs leg in it's mouth consuming it. On our farm the hogs were spaced and clean, feed was bush pasture and local grain. Our farm went under we could not survive unless we went big the likes that are in the show. This comes with loans and production requirements to pay the loans. My dad was told that he could not get a loan to operate how we had and expand to a larger herd, that he could only get one for the 2foot by 6foot 500 pen concrete barns like you see on the show. The true issues are 1) rough handling of imature animals yes. 2) cruelty to sick or injured hardly mentioned in the show yes. 3) check and make sure your investments are not going to support bankers that insist on building, Production therefore Profit, WAREHOUSE FARMS. For that is the truth, beef feed lots cram animals into warehouse size areas just like hogs. When it gets this big it is all for shareholder profit it makes no difference if your a partner or your money is used by the bank to lend to an operation.

Bea Elliott said...

The true issues are 1) treating living beings like "things" 2) treating living beings like disposable "things" for monetary profit 3) the arrogant thinking that says we have a "right" to do such.