Animal Rights

Taking on Animal Cruelty and Factory Farming

| by The Humane Society

By Wayne Pacelle

The HSUS takes on not just individual acts of cruelty, but large-scale, institutionalized forms of exploitation. For decades, The HSUS has witnessed with great distress the harsh turn Big Agriculture has taken toward animals. Whether it is on the factory farm or at the industrialized slaughterhouse, we are there advocating to curb theworst forms of animal mistreatment. Readers weighed in on some of my recent blogs on the subject.

On the impact and current priorities of The HSUS's factory farming campaign:

The HSUS has my full support on its factory farming campaign. I think that the work that you are doing, and the awareness you are creating, will help spur continuous victories throughout industry in the United States, though the struggle will be hard against old attitudes about animals raised for food production. Nevertheless, it's time for a new way of thinking, and acting. —Bonnie Shulman

I'm really amazed and pleased by the progress of the HSUS in curbing animal farming abuses. Here was an area of cruelty that NEVER seemed to find significant reform until now. Kudos again! —Sara N.

As a PROUD supporter of The HSUS I once again applaud the efforts and more importantly the results of your campaigns. While our enemies are many their foundation is built on greed and power, and history has told us that this is the weakest foundation of all. —Jonathan Gilbert

As a victory state in California with the passage of Prop 2, we are with you and acknowledge the HSUS was the major force in our success. As a volunteer at a sanctuary for farmed animals, I am deeply committed to this campaign because I see the ravages of battery cages every time I go to the farm. Battery caged chickens are brutalized. They suffer daily. By the time we ever get to rescue a precious few, they have very few feathers, their toes are mangled, they have arthritis, they are emaciated and they are infested with lice and mites. They do not know how to walk upright ... I could continue on about the horrors of the dairy industry, the pig farming industry and all other factory farming but please, Ohio, fight the mighty fight for those battery caged hens. No being deserves to live the way they are forced to. —Connie Pugh, Sunnyvale Calif. 

I am so GLAD that Wal-Mart is going cage-free with their private brand. That is definitely good news! When I see those hens in those cramped cages it just makes me sick to my stomach. I just do not get it! How any farmer can treat their animals this way is very disheartening. HSUS, thank you for working so hard to end this. I NEVER realized how our poor hens are treated. —Karen Wagner

And in response to last week's Congressional hearing on enforcement of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, where Dr. Dean Wyatt, public health veterinarian for the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, spoke about the resistance and retaliation he faced when attempting to report humane handling violations:

Wayne, thank you so much for all the work that you do, day in and day out. I forwarded this last email to about 25 people and asked them to please join in to stop this horrific slaughter of animals! It is so unjust the way they are treated and the people that are doing these hideous things need to be fired from their jobs at once! All of God's creatures need to be respected. I can't look at the videos because they tear me apart but I will sign on for everything that will help alleviate these animals’ pain and suffering. —R Lewis 

Horrific video. Thank you for posting. I shared this on Facebook and Twitter. People need to address the cruelty they are supporting every time they sit down at the dinner table. —Sara N.

Wayne, after reading your testimony, as well as Dr. Wyatt's, I can only imagine what these workers do when they leave work. … Not only should these companies be shut down for an extended period of time, possibly, permanently, those abusive [workers] should be heavily fined and thrown in jail. That should be applied to those in charge who allow the abuse, as well. —Barbara Fleming

I listened to Dr. Wyatt's testimony to the House committee and it was certainly illuminating. But we need to get real about the idea of "humane treatment of animals." We cannot create a culture of "humane treatment" of creatures that we are raising for the sole purpose of putting them through the trauma of mass slaughter and then consuming their flesh. There is nothing "humane" about this and our continuing participation in this system of exploitation is unlikely to render us more "humane" in our concerns toward animals. —Ginger Carter

Why is society, as a whole, so barbaric that we cannot even be humane to animals being slaughtered for food? If you say, "It doesn't matter, they're about to die anyway," then YOU are the problem with our society. It seems that for every one of us who fights to end the abuse of pets, livestock, and other animals, there are ten who take cruelty in stride or, at best, are indifferent to the insidious degenerative impact on humanity. We must never give up. We are their only voice, their only hope. —Heidi at Pup-Eez Pet Care

Wayne, while I do not agree with your organization's ideals and philosophy about livestock agriculture, I also do not support animal abuse on the farm or at the slaughter house. I have talked to my butcher several times about handling practices after [the animals] leave my care and am confident that he also shares my concern about their wellbeing as well as food safety. … I hope that inspectors across America take as much pride in their job as the ones that I have met and the case that you mentioned is just an isolated case. —Mike Haley