Animal rights groups a lot like fleas (commentary)

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The following response is regarding the original post from this link:
http://feedstuffsfoodlink.com/blogs-animal-rights-groups-a-lot-like-fleas-commentary-9395

First of all, fleas are quite persistent and tenacious, so thank you.

“Too often, they see facts as nuisances that just get in the way of their single-minded agenda.”

Facts like turkeys bred to be so big they cannot mate and instead are forcibly held down and injected with semen; facts like the legality of transporting pigs for over 24 hours in sweltering heat with no water, food or rest; facts such as newborn male chicks ground up alive at hen hatcheries. The facts support our agenda: an obligation to refrain from inflicting avoidable harm on others. This principle is the essence of the Golden Rule and is at the heart of most moral codes.

“When called out on their conveniently fact-free smear campaigns…”

These campaigns have resulted in many cruelty charges throughout the world, some government-mandated shutdowns, and zero lawsuits from the industry. They reveal standard, widespread cruelties that are often documented in industry literature.

My approach to animal advocacy is far different than that of DXE. But I am heartened that so many people are exposing animal agriculture deceptions (such as “happy cows”) and exposing people to the horrid, violent truths (e.g., male babies taken from their mothers on dairies and stuffed into tiny dark veal pens). This army of people with conviction – excuse me, fleas – is helping Americans to see that meat, dairy, and eggs – despite billions in advertising and the lion’s share of government farm subsidies – is inherently violent and cruel, it breaks up animals’ families, it mass-slaughters animals usually just past babyhood, it is an inefficient and dirty way to produce calories (see: United Nations, Worldwatch Institute, et al), and it is not particularly healthy (see AARP-NIH largest clinical health study in history, Loma Linda Adventist Study, recent Harvard study showing link between dairy milk and early death, American Dietetic Association endorsement of vegan diets, Kaiser-Permanente’s advice to 20,000+ member physicians that they recommend plant-based diets to patients, etc.). Literally thousands of undercover videos and “overcover” investigations (see “Dominion”, by republican speechwriter Matthew Scully) help make the case.

Anyone can change – as soon as they are honest with themselves. As soon as they realize that we don’t need to deliberately mass-murder billions of animals each year who want to live, in order to have satisfying, healthy, sustainable diets. Some ranchers have woken up, seen the light, and gotten out of the business – and even gone vegan – for ethical reasons. You can too. It may sound radical, but so what – give it some honest thought.

Author: Gary L. (farm sanctuary volunteer & rabbit rescuer)

ANIMAL rights groups are like fleas. Highly annoying, they can create havoc among the infected, and that infection might not even be noticed until the second or third generation, when they’ve become a voluminous threat.

Too often, they see facts as nuisances that just get in the way of their single-minded agenda.

When called out on their conveniently fact-free smear campaigns, their spokespeople are masters in using the “yeah-but” argument, as in: “Yeah, I could be wrong, but you’re much wronger,” or “Yeah, but you’re just trying to use facts to deflect attention from the larger issue.”

And, like fleas, they’ll hop all over the place when their comfortable resting places are disturbed by people who insist on correcting the false records they’ve concocted.

Such was the case when a group calling itself Direct Action Everywhere (DAE) released an undercover video attacking both Whole Foods’ use of the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program and also Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), an organization founded and headed by Adele Douglass to define the most humane ways to handle farm animals and award a Certified Humane (CH) certificate to the farmers and ranchers who meet some very demanding rules and regulations.

On its web site, DAE bills its mission as empowering “activists to take strong and confident action wherever animals are being denigrated, enslaved or killed and create a world where animal liberation is a reality. We use creative nonviolent protest to tell the animals’ story. We are not afraid to push boundaries and even polarize the debate. We integrate the latest technology and most innovative research to most effectively advocate for the liberation of our animal friends. And we use the power of an open and welcoming community to make all of us more inspired and confident activists.”

The group’s statement that it’s willing to “polarize the debate” marks it as the typical pigeon-on-a-chess board group. They’ll strut around for hours, claiming the moral high ground until someone starts to win a debate. When that happens, they kick over all the pieces, crap on the board, fly away and declare victory.

As scene after scene of horrible abuse flashed onscreen in the DAE video, there were issues with both the use of the CH logo and DAE’s many remarks condemning the activities of HFAC: None of the footage was of plants certified by the HFAC program — a small problem DAE’s top dog Wayne Hsiung conveniently dismissed. His “yeah, but” theme continued throughout the discussion.

He did back up a few steps during an interview aired by the Huffington Post when he was confronted by Douglass, who reminded him several times that claims he made in the video were “simply not true” and are a disservice to the animal agriculture industry.

Agreeing that HFAC and its CH program aren’t the problem and were not even actually shown in the video, Hsiung instead pointed his finger at Whole Foods, which raises an interesting point: What would he have said if a Whole Foods representative was present?

Those carefully staged shots of slaughter plant atrocities with a voiceover droning on about the inhumanity of such plants and implying that the CH program is a sham were manufactured out of cheaply made whole cloth — lots of holes, very thin on substance and easy to shred.

Correcting Hsiung’s self-inflicted toe stub, Douglass politely responded, “We don’t certify slaughter plants. Not ever. We inspect the slaughter plant a farmer or rancher is using to ensure that plant is meeting the (American Meat Institute’s) guidelines in order to certify the farmer or rancher’s products.”

The DAE video continued with wildly bizarre statements complaining about such things as “the castration of baby pigs so their meat tastes better after they are slaughtered” and calling the de-beaking of hens “incredible and really violent because there is no humane way to slice off their nose or castrate someone and sell off their dead body.”

In a written statement surgically dissecting the video, an aghast but still amazingly calm Douglass replied, “No one’s nose gets sliced off, … least of all the hen’s.”

She added that the HFAC Laying Hen Standards state the following:

“In cage-free housing systems of laying hens, there is a risk of outbreaks of cannibalism. The pain and suffering of the hens that are being pecked to death is appalling and may quickly affect a considerable proportion of the flock. The need for beak trimming is being constantly reassessed and will be thoroughly reviewed in the light of research currently being carried out. Producers will be required to phase out beak trimming/tipping as soon as the causes of cannibalism and ways of preventing it have been identified.

“Humane Farm Animal Care is also aware that alternative methods of beak trimming, such as infrared technology, have been developed which may offer potential welfare improvements, for example a reduction in the pain caused during the procedure, as well as improving the accuracy with which the procedure is performed,” the standards state. “HFAC will review the findings of the latest research on this technique to ensure that only the most appropriate methods are used.”

HFAC’s bottom line is one to which I’ll subscribe. Why would DAE attack one of the most prominent organizations working to improve the lives of farm animals? It seems counterproductive to the group’s avowed mission in life.

Digging deeper, though, far enough to understand that the usually unstated primary mission is to end animal agriculture as well as the keeping of family pets, it makes more sense. They would rather see widespread animal abuse and use that as the social lever that makes the keeping of any animal morally unacceptable.

That territory was staked out several years ago when People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Ingrid Newkirk, queen of their coven, claimed: “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”

Just in case you’re approached by a group with which you’re unfamiliar, I’m including a current list of animal rights groups, as opposed to animal welfare groups.

Those are two entirely different “things” with which you’ll have to contend. The main difference is that animal rights groups always get it wrong, while animal welfare groups occasionally get it right.

The list is by no means complete (note that DAE is not on there). I’m sure it’s difficult for the list keepers to keep up with these groups because they come and go, form and reform or operate underground.

Animal rights organizations: Animal Aid (U.K.), Animal Defense League, Animal Equality, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Liberation Brigade, Animal Liberation Leagues, Animal Liberation Press Office, AnimaNaturalis (Spain and Latin America), Anonymous for Animal Rights, Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade, Compassion Over Killing, Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, Equanimal, Farm Animal Rights Movement, Friends of Animals, HAYTAP, Humanitarian League, In Defense of Animals, International Primate Protection League, Italian Horse Protection Assn., Justice Department (animal rights), Last Chance for Animals, Libera!, Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition, Mercy for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Save Animals From Exploitation, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Southern Animal Rights Coalition, Western Animal Rights Network and Uncaged Campaigns.

*Chuck Jolley is president of Jolley & Associates, a marketing and public relations firm that concentrates on the food industry.

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