Special for the Republic
Arizona voters will be asked this fall to weigh in on a ballot measure
called the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act, which is now in the
signature-gathering stage but, by November, is certain to be one of
our livelier election-year debates.
The initiative, modeled on a reform passed by Florida voters, would
prohibit the factory-farming practice of confining pigs and veal
calves in crates so small that the animals cannot even turn around or
extend their limbs.
Factory farming, in general, is no one's favorite subject, and the
details here are particularly unpleasant to think about: masses of
creatures enduring lives of unrelieved confinement and deprivation.
But if you're in need of reasons to sign the petitions and vote for
the initiative, they are easy to find, and our discomfort with the
subject is a good place to start.
Known in the trade as "intensive confinement" or "mass confinement,"
it sounds pretty rough. And as we're seeing already, pork producers
and the PR firms in their hire do not take well to criticism of what
they regard as "standard practice."
Prepare yourself to hear, in the coming months, these arguments and
similar rubbish from industry lobbyists, their shill veterinarians,
and anyone else they can trot out to make something pernicious and
contemptible seem decent and praiseworthy. Then in the quiet of the
voting booth ask yourself why any creature of God, however humble,
should be made to endure the dark, lonely, tortured existence of the
factory farm, and what kind of people build their fortunes upon such
The answer will send an unequivocal message, to factory farmers here
and to all concerned, that unbridled arrogance, bad faith, and rank
cruelty are not Arizona values.
Matthew Scully worked for Arizona governors Mecham, Mofford, and
Symington. A former special assistant and deputy director of
speechwriting for President Bush, he is the author of "Dominion: The
Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy."
full story: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/0219scully0219.html