Agriculture's Big Picture
AgWeb Editor Greg Vincent takes a big-picture look at agriculture and current events.
PETA Alert: Farm Animals Not Having a Good Christmas
Dec 12, 2008
We like to monitor what those rascals and anti-agriculture groups are up to, and often it’s not good. This is the case with the recent letter our Executive Editor Linda Smith received from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) pleading with her to donate money to help the cause of farm animals who are having a less-than-perfect holiday season.
Well, it got Linda a little riled, and me too, honestly. These tactics are underhanded, misleading and filled with half-truths. But they’re effective and PETA continues to publicize the extremes like this. It’s disturbing and annoying, but the industry (even if you don’t raise livestock) needs to take notice.
You know, stuff like this should hit every farmer’s face in some form or other. Who the heck gives PETA the ammunition for this kind of shot? It came to me under an email subject “Please remember animals living on factory farms this holiday season.” And by the way, I have NOT done a lot to stop the suffering – I don’t give $ to PETA but I did sign up on their email so I can see what they send out.
You have done a lot to stop the suffering of animals on factory farms this year without perhaps realizing it. Your support of PETA has helped lead to the closure of the world's biggest kosher slaughterhouse, brought livestock abuse and neglect charges against farm workers we caught abusing pigs, and helped win a historic victory against the cruel confinement of farmed animals.
Now we need your help to bring many more compassionate changes to the lives of animals in 2009. Please make a tax-deductible, year-end contribution online right now.
In just the past few months, we have won several major victories that changed the lives of countless cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and other animals. First, PETA's undercover investigators spent two months in hell on an Iowa pig farm that supplies meat-industry giant Hormel. The investigators caught on tape workers who bashed piglets' heads against concrete floors, abused a sow by spraying toxic paint up her nose and across her face and eyes, and tortured a downed sow with a broken hip, repeatedly kicking her in the face. We have all the evidence on film.
As a result, the Greene County, Iowa, sheriff has filed 22 counts of livestock neglect and abuse against six people employed by the farm during our investigation, and 14 of the counts are the stiffest possible charges under Iowa state law for crimes committed against farmed animals—each carrying up to two years behind bars. This is unprecedented!
With your loyal support for our work, PETA will turn up the heat on Hormel to reform its suppliers, and we will do even more to expose the despicable cruelty that is going on out of sight in slaughterhouses and intensive farming sheds.
Not long after our Hormel investigation, PETA made headlines again by exposing the horrific treatment of cattle by Agriprocessors, the world's largest kosher slaughterhouse. Faced with a number of civil and criminal charges and having lost 76 percent of its employees in one of the largest immigration raids ever, Agriprocessors closed its doors and has filed for bankruptcy. And the good news doesn't end there. The rabbi who was running the place is in jail, and three of the five largest kosher beef slaughterhouses in the U.S. are not currently operating.
Your support this year also helped make possible the landslide victory of Proposition 2, California's precedent-setting ballot initiative that, by 2015, will make it illegal to confine egg-laying hens, calves used for veal, and mother pigs in ways that prevent them from standing, lying down, turning around, and fully extending their limbs. PETA staff and members helped gather signatures by organizing numerous demonstrations using special highly realistic-looking pig models that we imported from New Zealand and by phone-banking in the months before this groundbreaking vote for animals. Now our goal is to build support for similar measures in other states.
This year has been great, and we must build on the victories and keep the momentum for animals going and growing in 2009. In a difficult economy, it is animals who suffer the most. We know that factory farms are even more likely to "cut corners" and cause animals to suffer when money is tight, and some people will cross animals off their giving lists. Your contribution is needed today more than ever so that we can win more victories for animals in the year ahead.
Thank you for being such a powerful voice for those whose voices are not heard without our help.
Best wishes and happy holidays!
Ingrid E. Newkirk
P.S. The remarkable victories that we won this year on factory farms have steeled our resolve to do even more for all animals caught up in this cruel industry in 2009. I hope that you will continue to stand with PETA—by making a tax-deductible donation right now—as we fight hard for animals next year.