In Support of Animal Welfare

Thanks to California–often the first state in the nation to get on board with progressive legislature–there’s a new motion to help prevent animal abuse: an animal abuse registry.

From yesterday’s New York Times comes an article outlining a bill introduced last Friday that “would be the first of its kind in the country and is just the latest law geared toward animal rights in a state that has recently given new protections to chickens, pigs and cattle.”

Animal abusers could be listed in an online registry, just like sex offenders.  

A state with major farming interests and millions of pet owners, it’s the first one to “outlaw so-called tail-docking of dairy cows, where the tail is partly amputated to ease milking.” And in 2008, voters in the state passed Proposition 2, “which gave hens, calves and pigs more room in their crates or cages.”

If you’re a pet owner, this law might be intriguing to you–possibly one you’ve been waiting for. 

If you’re a meat eater, you might be asking: What’s the big deal about giving farm animals more space when their destiny is ultimately food on our tables?

It all gets back to the suffering. Just read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, Eating Animals, and the picture is clear: Our factory farm food industry does not promote animal welfare. Even worse, it breeds violence towards animals because the working conditions are so stressful. Says Stephan Otto of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which drafted the bill, “We know there’s a link between those who abuse animals and those who perform other forms of violence.”

If the bill passes, it may be one tiny step toward happier food.


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