This Year Consider Factory Farmed Animals As Part of Charitable Giving, 12
It’s the time of the year for those that can afford to give something. We make very personal decisions about the organizations we donate to. For me it has always been animals where I’ve focused much of my attention, locally, nationally and sometimes globally.
Not The Hardy Yeoman Farmer of Thomas Jefferson’s Day
In a general sense, I consider industrial agriculture an environmental obscenity, which needs radical transformation, the sooner the better. In the long run—which is getting shorter and shorter—it is not tenable economically, socially, health wise or humanly, anywhere on this planet.
Of course this is easy to proclaim. And, we still have to feed some 8 billion humans in some way. That’s the problem right now. How do we create a new model or, for that matter, several different models for the 21st century and beyond? It’s not by putting band-aids on the old one or just saying that “we care.”
If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. (St. Francis of Assisi)
A component of industrial agriculture are the animals themselves, often forgotten and overlooked in the discussion. Sure, many of us have heard some of the stories, and a few of us have seen some of the surreptitious videos of what occurs inside this very secret world of horrendous industrial animal slaughter and bottomless cruelty, which the industry knows full well would turn off a lot of the potential customers if known about. They rely on compliant and feckless politicians, especially on the state level, and morally challenged officials to keep the slaughterhouses running. Above all they count on the apathy of too many of us. Where have we heard this before?
Missouri, where I live, is “hog heaven,” with limited oversight of large factory killing sheds in the rural parts of the state which, among other things, can affect both health and land values in certain areas. Using the hog industry as an example, the reality worldwide is that 4 huge global factory farm corporations, with considerable political influence, control approximately three-quarters of the hog industry today.
The domestication of farm animals began some 8,000 years ago. These animals have fed us, provided clothing for us, and oftentimes have been part of our households. Surely we humans in the 21st century can demonstrate some small amount of humanity toward other species that also feel pain and loss.
Yes, globally, we really do slaughter more than 80 billion land animals each year, along with more than 50 billion farmed fish—in one year
A Small Consideration
A good article in the NYT, written by Ezra Klein, gives us both an overview of the problem and provides some suggestions for giving:
What Klein does is break down the issue into two broad areas: (1) Amelioration and (2) Substitution. How do we make the killing of the animal less cruel and less painful? How do we go about replacing the animal by eating meat from plants or grown from cells? As well, Klein offers some suggested organizations but obviously there are a number of worthy groups we should support and encourage. Above all, research who you give money to.
For amelioration he suggests:
For substitution he suggests:
Make your voice heard, regardless of the cause. In the case of farm animals, get to know some of your local farmers, the issues that affect them and the organizations they belong to. Even if you live in the middle of a city, it is in your self-interest to know exactly where your food comes from, how it gets to you and how far it has traveled to reach your table. Of course, vote with your pocketbook and let people know you’re going to do just that. No, don’t rely on these large corporations to do what is right. And certainly, considering the times we live in at the moment, don’t count on the average politician to take any initiative. It is up to all of us, individually and collectively, to apply continuous pressure, at the local, state and national level. There is no secret society we can all run to to find out how to keep a viable community or a democratic republic. I speak no evil; I hear no evil; I see no evil. The knock on the door will still come if we passively wait. I want to end animal death camps.