Time for animal-rights legislation?

July 28, 2008
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California voters are being asked this fall to vote on an initiative that would do away with tiny cages for egg-laying hens and other staples of corporate agriculture.

The rights bill for farm animals is the most sweeping in the nation after other states passed more limited measures.

Big farms use cages along with metal gestation crates for pregnant sows and veal crates for calves for a reason: Theyâ??re more profitable than less-restrictive environments.

Gov. Mitch Daniels has said agribusiness is a key pillar in his efforts to rebuild Indianaâ??s economy â?? not just the farms themselves but also investment in processing, research and other work that revolves around the farms.

Whether producing steel, meat or just about anything else, one of Indianaâ??s advantages is low costs. Electricity and land are cheap, for example.

If Indiana adopted more animal-rights legislation, the stateâ??s cost advantage would erode. Yet, the animals would live at least marginally happier lives.

As a consumer, are you willing to pay more for food raised under more humane conditions? And if you live in the state, are you willing to exchange a weaker economy for greater farm regulation?
  • I absolutely would--and do--pay more for food raised under more humane conditions. As St. Francis of Assisi said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
  • You have got to be kidding, right? Let them live at least marginally happier lives until they are slaughtered for us to eat? That is even more ridiculous than healing a death row inmate so he can be put to death.
  • I also already pay more for ethically-produced food. In fact, I refuse to buy food not ethically produced if there is an alternative. Cage-free eggs come to mind.
  • I pay more for organic food. I pay more for products not tested on animals. I'm vegan, though, so I don't purchase animal products. Most Americans, if they knew the truth about what goes on at factory farms, would avoid those products. Visit ChooseVeg.com for information about the lives of animals and what animal products do to our environment and our health.
  • Just exactly what is less humane: cage living for animals (in this case, chickens) or animals free to roam but are threatened by predators or hunters. We humans think we can make everything fair in our lives. Well, is it better to produce an abundance of eggs at a lower cost so more people can be fed or to give in to the anmimal rights zealots that want to make all things fair and happy. What are they going to do next, stop all earth moving because of the number of earthworms and ants that might be killed? Or, do we have to move the ant colonies first?

    The reasonable treatment of animals has its place and rightfully so, but this is just another case of extremism by progressives. I applaud those that take another course of action, buy cage free eggs. But to pass more restrictive laws is another step in government intervention going too far.
  • I would definately not mind paying higher prices if I knew that the animals were being treated humanely. All of the life on this planet should be treated with respect and compassion.
  • Firewoman:

    Meaning no disrespect, does that include rats and cockroaches? Or mosquitos and flies? Is life supposed to meaningful because we see it as useful and/or attractive?
  • Remember the adage; you are what you eat. The stress imposed on factory farmed animals affects their tissues. So reflect on that the next time you're enjoying your meat/eggs produced abundantly at a lower cost.
  • I have moved to Organic dairy, cage free eggs, Organic meat other organic foods, even the cleaning products that are eco friendly. Granted, I have to pay a little more up front, but I won't be paying for it in the long run with my health. Yes, Some say that producing more food is more important, but we need to make sure that the food that is produced is actually healthy for us to consume.

    Beefing up the cows to feed X more people is good unless the chemicals actually change our makeup (right now or in the long run). There have been studies linked to Growth Hormones and the childrens Growth, Animal Farming (keeping animals stationary in one place while beefing them up) and heart conditions and weight problems of our families and friends, and the list goes on. If we can produce cage free (small space cages free) animals, it will improve the health of the animals, and the long run us. Give the natural order of things back to where it belongs, we will see an improvement in general health. Excuse me if I sound like a Left-Wing NUTJOB here, but my views are skewed by the fact that I have seen people's health change because of the food quality and cost difference.
  • Chickens are not equal to humans. They do not have rights, they are animals. They do not think, they are not sentient. I promote human rights and human well-being. If that means a few chickens die then so be it. The life of a human is worth more than the life of a chicken or a million chickens.

    The fact that you even have the luxury to buy organic foods is only because the vast majority of food is so-called non-organic. Let's convert all food to organics and see how people like paying $5 for a tomato. It is industrialization, pesticides, fertilizers, and genetic engineering that has allowed this country to grow the most abundant amounts of food with the least amount of work. Go to Africa or parts of Asia and ask them how much they enjoy growing crops by hand, not even creating enough to feed themselves.

    The fundamental issue here is whether or not the government should force consumers to pay more for their food through legislation. This is a whole-heartedly awful idea. If you like your organics then by all means buy your over-priced food to your heart's content, I have no problem with that. If you think chickens should be freed to live among us humans as equals, you are more than welcome to think so. But let those that don't hold your beliefs purchase how we choose and eat how we choose. Note: I don't think anybody actually said they promoted the government's involvement but I am responding to the original topic.
  • E 101:

    Amen, you are exactly on point. Let's all stand for less government. Do you hear that Mr. Obama?
  • Visit a confined feed operation, or ask an animal health inspector. If you think its all rosy, sorry its not. It is pollution, manure lakes, and dead livestock buried in the water table.
    Mitch Daniels wants to allow these operations to double production! What about those that live within 5 miles of CFO's and have polluted water as a result?
  • Let's control steroid and growth hormone additives & harmful insectidies from our food first... then we can focus on finding a humane way to slaughter our food... which is quite the oxymoron is it not.

    You make an omelet, you break some eggs. Some things we don't need to know about. But the carcinogene level of a bean sprout might be one of them. How you dispose of the cow, then chop 'em up all nice and juicy, is not one of them.
  • Brother! I can barely afford eggs now, and they want to raise prices so the chickens can have happier lives?!? Let's worry about the human families that can barely keep food on their tables. Chickens are for eating!

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