”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.