November 1, 2011

First US summit on ending factory farms

Held near Washington, DC from October 27 to 29, the animal protection group Farm Sanctuary hosted the first ever National Conference to End Factory Farming, supported by the Humane Society of the United States, the Treehugger media group, and food justice organization A Well Fed World, among others.

Noted speakers included meat-free advocate, US physician and bestselling author, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and vegans such as Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine director of government affairs Elizabeth Kucinich, and leading vegan nutrition researcher and author of “The China Study,” Dr. T. Colin Campbell.

Addressing some of the major problems presented by factory farming, Farm Sanctuary co-founder and President Gene Baur spoke of its undeniable cruelty to animals as he also said, “It is inefficient, unhealthy and unsustainable, and costs our nation hundreds of billions of dollars every year.”

Gene Baur (Vegan) Farm Sanctuary co-founder and President (e): Most people that here about this factory farming think it is wrong and it is inhumane. And laws should reflect those social values. So this is a system that is about extraction not investment, it is about exploitation, and when it comes to animals it’s about callous cruelty. And we’re better than that.

Nathan Runkle (Vegan) Founder, Mercy for Animals (e): These cows spend the vast majority of their lives, nearly every single day indoors living on concrete and that comes at high expense to the welfare of these animals. They often times slip on the concrete that is coated in urine and feces. Some of these animals become injured. They have joint problems, they can’t get up, and they’re known as downers.

Wayne Pacelle (Vegan) HSUS President and CEO (e): We’ll never have a truly civil society, until we stop this needless violence against animals. Meanwhile, The New York Times contributing journalist Jim Motavalli pointed out the inefficiency of using the world's grains for livestock feed, and Professor John Ikerd of the University of Missouri, Columbia, USA spoke of a lack of respect for the sanctity life, which undermines the moral fabric of human society.

The relevance of such a gathering was further highlighted by the news of confined pens on factory farms that recently led to mass animal deaths in the US, as half the pigs on a 5,000-animal farm in Missouri perished in the heat during a summer power outage. In another facility, temperatures above 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) inside stifling pole barn-type structures led to the fatalities of more than 4,000 turkeys on a southern Kansas farm.

Furthermore, an estimated 10,000 cattle in crowded outdoor feedlot pens scorched to death during heat waves across several states. Also highlighted during the conference was the fact that the disturbing conditions of most intensive animal operations are deliberately hidden from public awareness, both within and outside the US.

Speaking with concern for societal well-being, Greenpeace Senior Legislative Representative Kyle Ash stated that factory farming makes every public health problem worse, as he warned that humans’ disregard toward other beings is destroying the planet even for ourselves.Our appreciation, Farm Sanctuary and all participants of the National Conference to End Factory Farming for your unified voice and actions toward ending an industry that harms both animals and ultimately humans.

With sorrow for the countless beings who suffer and perish through such practices, we pray that all people soon switch to the humane and life-giving plant-based lifestyle. During a December 2010 interview with a journalist for the Mexican newspaper, “El Quintanarroense,” Supreme Master Ching Hai discussed the problems surrounding factory farming, while suggesting the best and necessary solution.

Supreme Master Ching Hai: But the truths are kept away from people. That’s why they even know people are sensitive, they don’t like killing, so all the factory farms, the killing houses, for-animal killing houses, all very, far, far away from the city. Nobody can go in and look. Mostly hidden, big wall and gate.

So, people don’t know, and come home and tired and just grab a piece of meat and eat it – don’t even think. And then eat that and get sick. More tired, time for hospital – have to earn more money after for doctors and hospital. People are very pitiful. They’re really cheated from all sides, all sides.

In my opinion, all the newspapers, all the TV, all the radio must have at least one article every day, or one show, one program, to inform people about climate change and the solution of the vegan diet.

They have to inform themselves first and then inform the public every day. And the governments must disseminate all this information.

Sources: Kansas City, Info Shop, Green Muze, Factory Farming Conference

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