”I believe how we treat the least of beings among us determines our own humanity!” …Oprah said in opening remarks on her show about the treatment of farm animals
The Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday shined a spotlight and her support on Proposition 2, the California ballot initiative that will determine how animals are raised.
Reporter Lisa Ling visited both free-range farms and “factory” farms to show viewers the differences in how animals are raised. On the set of the program, Oprah stood next to replicas of cages and crates to show the size of some animals’ quarters in large-scale farm operations. Those who support California’s Proposition 2 say these animals have a right to more space during their lives. Opponents claim the new law would drive up costs, put farmers out of business and end the egg industry in California, and deny consumers the right to choose less-expensive food.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told Oprah’s audience that he supports Proposition 2. “This is just about basic decency,” he said. “It’s about, if animals are going to be raised for food – and that’s certainly the case in this country – then the least we can do for them is allow them to move. I mean, what’s more basic that allowing animals with legs and wings to move around and treating them in a humane way? Californians do the right thing and vote ‘Yes’ on Prop 2.”
The show, however, was not one-sided. Opponents of Proposition 2 also had their say. Ryan Armstrong, a third-generation egg farmer from California, told the audience that if Proposition 2 passes, it will make eggs produced in California too expensive for most consumers, creating the possibility that eggs will be imported from places without these animal housing laws. (However, in several other states the changes are already being made).
A couple that now raises range-free veal calves successfully, says that in the long run, it is actually cheaper and less labor intensive to allow them to live freely, with their mothers.
Another farmer who raises range free pigs and chickens says that food is all about energy, and the energy emitted from abused animals affects all of us who eat that meat in a negative way.
Listen to AgriTalk’s interview with Illinois Farm Bureau President Phil Nelson, who invited Winfrey to travel outside of Chicago and visit a farm in downstate Illinois.
Listen to AgriTalk’s interview with Matt Kellogg, a hog farmer from Yorkville, Illinois who was featured on the program and talked about the experience.
They treat animals like units of production. They overcrowd them and put our food supply at risk. They pollute the land and water.
“They” are Big Agribusiness, and they have raised and allocated $10 million to defeat a landmark initiative in California that would ease the suffering of millions of animals now confined in tiny crates on factory farms and suffering terribly. It’s called Proposition 2, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called it “the most important election you’ve never heard of.” Indeed, because California is a trendsetter, this election has the potential to establish a better future for farm animals across the U.S.
Because of that, Big Agribusiness is investing millions in deceptive and false ads to disparage Prop 2.
The only thing that can stop them is you and me. We can match them ad for ad and tell our story to the people of California.
If not you and me, then who will stand up to Big Agribusiness?
Just who are these underhanded foes of animals, who on a single day donated nearly $5 million to defeat Proposition 2? They’re Pilgrim’s Pride, chipping in $25,000, where a whistle-blower employee videotaped chickens being stomped and thrown against the wall. They are the United Egg Producers, adding $185,000 to the opposition’s pot, fined to settle false advertising complaints. They are Moark LLC, donating more than $504,000 against Prop 2, which paid $100,000 to settle criminal animal cruelty charges. They are Cal-Maine Foods, leading the pack with nearly $600,000 in campaign contributions, cited for spilling chicken parts and manure into waterways and killing tens of thousands of fish. The list goes on…
These are not the kind of farms we read about to our kids before bedtime. This line-up is straight off the crime blotter. Cruelty to animals. Threatening the safety of the food supply. Despoiling the environment. And deceiving consumers.
We need to raise $1 million by the end of the month as part of our offensive to counter their deception and dirty campaign tactics.
Please make an emergency gift right now to put television ads on the air to challenge every one of their claims. If just 5 percent of you who read this message make a gift of $20 — a symbolic amount to reduce the suffering of 20 million farm animals — we’d reach our $1 million goal today.
Without your help, we will not be able to counter the deceptive claims of an industry that insists on cramming animals into insufferably small cages and crates — to increase density, and thus profits.
The claims made by these companies reveal them for the shameless hucksters they are. Here is their wildly false assertion about Prop 2 straight from their published propaganda:
Undermines animal welfare and food safety in California.
Ha! Remember what the California factory farmers were doing recently for “animal welfare” and “food safety”? They were patting themselves on the back and accepting performance awards for providing healthy food to the National School Lunch Program. Then one of our undercover investigators went into a Southern California slaughter plant. He secretly filmed the torturing of animals — horrors like a fallen cow being smashed in the eyes with a blunt object and another downed cow with a water-hose shoved in her mouth to simulate drowning. He showed plant operators routinely risking the health of children to get these potentially ill “downer” cows on their feet so they could be herded into the processing line for the lunch program.
The industry tried to deny that any such things could happen. But videotape evidence exposed their deceptions and false assurances. The result? The largest meat recall in U.S. history.
The nation was horrified by the abuse of these cows, who were literally minutes away from being killed. If we are concerned about the downer cows — as we should be — then we must also be concerned about the animals suffering in cruel confinement day after day for months or years on factory farms. Here is this remarkable one-time chance to do something about their suffering.
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States