Practical Issues > Factory Farm - Index > Chickens

The truth is always stranger than fiction...... From the Michigan Daily online:

Animal rights activist shocks with pictures, message
Paul Shapiro, the campaigns director for Compassion over Killing, shows the anti-cruelty video Meet your Meat yesterday at the Michigan Union.
(EUGENE ROBERTSON/Daily) By Allie Horevitz and Lucille Vaughan, Daily Staff Reporters

September 30, 2004

Lecturing to a mostly sympathetic audience, Paul Shapiro delivered a controversial and heated message yesterday: conscious consumers should reject meat and egg products, which are created in an atmosphere of suffering and economic waste. "From our very childhood we create these myths to help us feel better about eating these products," Shapiro, campaigns manager for the animal advocacy group Compassion Over Killing said, in the Pendleton Room of the Michigan Union last night. He mentioned the "Old MacDonald" stereotype of happy farm animals and a caring farmer. "We conjure up these images of happy hens laying eggs for us." But Shapiro said the egg industry is the most inhumane of the agribusiness industry. "These birds have every natural instinct frustrated. They can't flap their wings, they can't dust bathe or forage," he said, adding that egg-laying hens are kept in tiny cages and suffer intense misery.

"If it was strictly about humane considerations, I would eat a steak over an omelet any day," he added. However, United Egg says in their online Egg Nutrition Center that eggs provide nutritional contributions to the diet and are affordable and convenient sources of food for many Americans. Shapiro also condemned the dairy cow industry.

"We are the only species that not only never weans itself but drinks milk from another species," he said. "It's hard to think of anything more unnatural than drinking mother's milk from another species," he said. Milk is considered by many, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to be "nutritionally irreplaceable" in terms of calcium and fat, especially for development in children.

For people who think choosing fish for dinner is more humane, Shapiro emphasized that aquatic creatures are able to feel pain. "By choosing fish we're not choosing any more ethical of an option than chicken or pigs or cows," he said. Shapiro also addressed the issue of economic waste caused by the meat and egg industry, saying that a cow must be given 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. "None of us would leave the water on when we brush our teeth or throw away 20 plates of pasta," he said, "But when we eat meat that's the same thing." Roughly 70 percent of grain and 50 percent of water consumed in the United States are used by the meat industry, according to the Audubon Society, a conservation organization.

Shapiro's lecture was titled "Ethical Food Choices in an Age of Agribusiness" and sponsored by the Michigan Animal Rights Society. The society is a University student group that provides information about vegetarianism and veganism, volunteers at the humane society and farm animal sanctuary and holds campaigns to raise awareness for animal-related issues.

In contrast to Shapiro's opinions, the Center for Consumer Freedom says the animal liberation movement does not seek to improve animals' lives and wants to place unnecessary restrictions on ordinary people.

The event included a graphic video of slaughterhouse procedures titled "Meet Your Meat" and narrated by Alec Baldwin. Shapiro said these images are repellent to us but represent the daily suffering of animals in so-called "factory farms." LSA senior and MARS member Zahrah Kahn said the event brings realism to day-to-day food choices. "I think in a lot of situations people are not aware of what goes on behind the walls of the slaughterhouse," she said. Kahn said she decided to become a vegetarian in her freshman year of high school, when her class visited a slaughterhouse. After the experience, she was unable to eat meat. "It didn't take a lot to change me," she admitted. After exploring the realities of animal agriculture, Shapiro addressed the topic of how individuals could make a change. He admits to being "the anti-Christ" to vegetarians in his teen years, enjoying foods like pork chops and Popeye's chicken. When he saw a video of a pig being killed in a slaughterhouse, Shapiro's attitudes changed. "I had this little awakening and realized animals care about their lives," Shapiro recalls. "I thought to myself, `What type of person do I want to be?' " "Being a vegetarian or vegan is a way to make the world a better, kinder, gentler place for both humans and non-humans," Shapiro concluded. MARS member Bernie Fischlowitz-Roberts, a student at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, discounted the stereotype of vegans as unhealthy eaters. "A lot of people think if they eat a vegan diet they will be somehow deficient," he said. "But in America diseases of excess are the problem." He also said vegans, who base their diet upon whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, have a significantly lower incidence of heart disease than non-vegans. "I like my chances as a vegan." LSA sophomore Alex Dimitrov said he attended the event to learn more about food choices and the reality of the animal industry. "I want to know how I could be eating more progressively, he said. "I think (vegetarian eating) is better for the global community as a whole."

Lets close down Huntingdon Life Sciences once and for all

Protect R Wildlife (PA Rep.)

PAWS-BAY (Auction for Wildlife) _PAWS-Bay Home_

TNR + _TNR +_ (

K.A.W.S. 4 KIDS _K.A.W.S_