What is Good Animal Care? Chapter 2

What ever I say on this matter will bring nasty rebuke from somewhere so it is best to just write the truth and accept the fact that some people will object to it.  Some people would object to chocolate cake.  Animal abuse, or apparent abuse, is one of those subjects that invite protest because there is little cost in speaking out about it.  People know that if they say too much about something like child care for example, it will bring challenges from every direction.  If they have children themselves, they can expect a microscope to be trained on them, looking for flaws.  If they don’t have children, they will receive the response, “what do you know about it”, and anger their friends and family who do have children.  Eventually it will turn into a debate over resources, how much money should be spent on child care.  Is it right that rich people can provide better child care than the poor; should there be higher taxes to provide better care for disadvantage children and so forth?  Few people willingly jump into that quagmire.

I am constantly amazed at the condemnation heaped on factory farms without anyone ever saying anything about doing something about it.  I mean really doing something about it.  These farms, factories, something in between, rarely respond with their only real defense: “we can do all the things you think necessary and here is what it will cost”.  I have yet to hear someone protesting the treatment of chickens, say, “I want to pay more for my chicken so that while it is alive, it can receive better treatment”.  Or, “I will support programs that subsidize the small family farm.  I will encourage and vote for legislators that create tax programs that replace the cheap chicken at the grocery store with more expensive and better treated chicken.”

I write this because the fact is good animal care and the cost of that care, are not two different things.  One can not, with any sincerity, address the issue of animal care and not the cost of that care.  One can not go to the grocery store to buy food for their children and not pay for it.  It is all too easy to trespass, record video of some type of animal abuse, and present it to the public as though you have done something honorable.  Instead, why not stand up and rebuke the local grocery store chain for stocking their shelves with meat that cost less than the labor to produce it.  Well of course the reason is that now you would be talking about money and no one is willing to say prices are too low.  These people are not activists, they are cowards.

Am I making my point?  If you think good animal care has to do with lush pastures and organic feed, humane slaughter methods and heated barns, you are missing the point.  There is more than enough literature on how many square feet a hog should have to turn around, or when you should have a veterinarian examine a lamb, but no one is writing about how to replace all those $.99/dozen eggs with $3.99/dozen eggs and how to pay for them.  Perhaps no one wants to read about that, nonetheless, that is what I am writing about.

Our farm is supported by those people who do sometimes buy the more expensive chicken but, ironically, these are not the same people that are posting videos about chicken abuse on the web.  These people are the true activists, they lead by example.

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