News Index > Sortable News > April 2007
LTE: Curb Animal Cruelty

[Denver Post - opinion]

The painful part isn't the actual death, but the fear that animals are subjected to prior to their slaughter. Research on the circumstances surrounding animal slaughter has led Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, to conclude that minimizing the terror that animals suffer prior to their deaths leads to a more peaceful transition.

The result of the economy of space and the need to maximize profits has been to treat herds of cattle and other animals with wanton callousness and cruelty. In addition, some still regard animals as unfeeling, insensate objects. It's true that some humans lack empathy not only for other humans but much less for other creatures. To love animals and wish them no harm predisposes man to love other humans.

Through the work of researchers like Grandin and others, we know better: Cattle, pigs, ducks and other animals have emotions and feelings, and deserve more compassion.


In the United States, more than half of all slaughterhouses follow her designs. The provisions include lighted passageways, no sudden, startling moves or noises, the things that cause animal fear and
panic. All animal products headed for Whole Foods' shelves are raised and treated humanely. Their deaths are quick and painless, and follow Grandin's precepts.

It was gratifying to find that fast-food chains McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King have adopted Grandin's animal-welfare system, which has specific measurements to show lack of an animal's suffering before slaughter. The city of Chicago has banned foie gras in its restaurants because the barbaric force-feeding of geese and ducks to fatten their livers is callous, merciless and unnecessary.


We won't all become vegetarians; humans will continue to eat meat. PETA, the ASPCA and others must extend their influence to other cultures and societies, for a more humane treatment of animals. It reflects on how we view and consider our neighbors, our family, ourselves and humanity in general. As we diminish the suffering of animals bound for slaughter, we become that much more human.

Pius Kamau of Aurora is a thoracic and general surgeon. He was born and raised in Kenya and immigrated to the U.S. in 1971. His column appears on alternate Thursdays.

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