It is admirable of the dressage community to concern itself with the welfare of the animal in training and performance (see current controversy over “hyperflexion” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hIXGiV4N4k). Wouldn’t it make sense then that these same individuals would also be zealous in discovering the horrific and torturous path factory farm animals take to become the meat on their plate?
It continually baffles me that people, especially those who claim to be animal lovers, compartmentalize animals in such a way that the abuses of one creature are of no concern, while the abuses of other creatures are rallied against and brought to the attention of authorities. It requires very little effort to understand the torment and abuses our pets can endure and do endure in inhumane circumstances. But, for some reason, the majority of us either do not wish to see or understand what factory farm animals endure, or we condone what they endure because we think it is a necessity to provide food on the table.
Both of these ways of thinking are erroneous. How are we to grow and learn if we shut off our minds to what is happening? It is amazing what we have accomplished and how ingenuous we can be to solve all kinds of problems. Why can’t we put our hearts and minds to helping resolve the issue of extreme barbaric treatment of farm animals and help make their lives less torturous. It doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone needs to become vegetarian or vegan. But, that is the fastest and easiest thing we can do because dollars talk. And the industry will have to take notice when demand slips. However, the more we discuss this issue and bring it to the forefront, the more attention it will get and the more food companies will be forced to face the public and talk about what is really going on.
And, for those of us who may have actually been exposed to factory farms and slaughterhouses and have seen for ourselves what these animals are put through, how can we condone this treatment? Do we really believe that these animals don’t feel the misery and pain? Do we think they are dumb? Do we think that they are only here to serve our needs and therefore do not get any other consideration? It has been shown, even by the farmers themselves who are with these animals every day, that in fact, these animals have complicated emotional lives and do attach themselves to each other and to their human caretakers. They are sentient beings in every way as complicatedly formed as we are. Their nerve endings and brain functions are fully formed and complex. They feel pain, they see pain and they anticipate pain. They sacrifice their lives for our appetites. In exchange, don’t we at least owe them a humane way of life?