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Factory Farming Commentary
March 2006

One day animal cruelty shall be held in the same regard as slavery in our nation's past.
John Doe, a local Minnesotan homeowner, was arrested Friday for the torture of animals. Inside his home, investigators found cats dangling upside down, some of them dead, some still painfully writhing with life. Dogs were jammed inside cages so tight that turning around or even lying down was impossible.

Interrogators learned that Doe conducted inhumane practices: castrating cats without anesthesia, searing the beaks off of canaries before locking them in overcrowded cages and imprisoning dogs in dark, crowded pens.

Psychologists would characterize Doe as a sociopath, capable of extreme cruelty and callous to animal suffering.

Truth be told, there is no actual one John Doe; there are many. The above abusive practices are commonplace in factory farms, which slaughter animals for meat on a massive scale. Instead of cats, dogs and canaries, the practice involves cows, pigs and chickens: animals of equal if not superior intellect and sentience.

We are supporting these legal yet unethical practices. If you go to McDonald's, Burger King, KFC or any other fast-food restaurant, you are eating meat that comes from factory farms. The vast majority of our meat comes from these industrial factories.

If you eat meat, you're asking meat suppliers to torture animals on your behalf. They're not torturing animals just for fun they're doing it for the dollar in your outstretched hand. Who's more at fault, those who torture animals to make a buck or those who torture animals to save a buck?
The animal liberation movement is not extreme, just as the anti-slavery movement was not extreme. It is part of our moral ascension as beings with an ethical conscience. Ignorance toward animal cruelty is not an excuse. And callousness is not a justification.

The founder of the modern-day animal liberation movement, Peter Singer, is widely heralded as a philosopher, writer, and activist. Time Magazine deemed him one of the top 100 most influential people on the planet.

Matthew Brophy is a University student. Please send comments to

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