UPC’s 8th Annual Conference explores the controversy within the animal advocacy movement over philosophy and strategy on behalf of farmed animals and the best ways to promote a vegetarian world of compassion, global responsibility and animal rights. From their recent writings, here is a sample of the challenges offered by our speakers.
Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns: “If the public is told it can eat humanely raised and slaughtered animals, what incentive do people have to explore the range of delicious and nutritious vegan products on the market? Should animal advocates make it easier and more comfortable for people to consume meat, milk and eggs?”
Harold Brown, President of Farm Kind: “Ask yourself, ‘Why would any multinational corporation make a change that wasn’t going to be profitable?’ In my opinion, the move away from gestation crates for sows is designed to assuage the concerns of consumers. Granted, this is a slight improvement, but no one should call it a victory for the pigs or for the animal rights movement.”
Patty Mark, President of Animal Liberation Victoria in Australia: “The majority of the animal movement continues with the same approach we’ve taken for 25 years and things are getting worse for animals. The numbers killed have never been higher – 55 billion each year globally, and growing – and this doesn’t include aquatic animals. It’s a poor use of our time to engage with animal industries, big business and governments trying to encourage them to treat the animals who are at their mercy “better.” It’s time for us to set the pace and to be proactive. The real work isn’t negotiating with the animal industries, but with educating the public. The biggest threat to animal farming is veganism.”
Christine Morrissey, Director of East Bay Animal Advocates: “Clanking big-rigs barrel past Sunshine Donuts in Livingston, California, carrying 4,500 feces-caked chickens to the Foster Farms processing plant one block to the left. The Livingston plant kills nearly 600,000 chickens daily. It’s the largest slaughterhouse in the world. Maintaining a campaign website entitled FosterFacts.net, we slammed Foster Farms on its poor treatment of chickens, resulting in lively corporate outreach efforts and penetrating false advertising complaints.”
Roberta Schiff, President of Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society in New York: “I know there are organizations who believe that making conditions for farmed animals somewhat less inhumane is the only thing possible given the voracious demand for meat, eggs, and milk. But two fast food chains agreeing to purchase a small percent of their flesh from animals treated with a bit less cruelty is hardly either exciting or a victory. It is a measured amount of progress, at best. Please let none of us do things or state things in such a way as to influence people to think these products have no price.”
Paul Shapiro, Senior Director of HSUS’s Factory Farming Campaign: “The trend is clear: battery cages for egg-laying hens are being relegated to the dustbin of history faster than anyone would have imagined. We must be careful, however, in describing the campaign to the public to put forward a truthful message. Cage-free is a factual statement that describes the hens’ housing – simply that these birds are not confined in cages. It’s one thing to state that not using battery eggs helps reduce animal suffering and is a move in the right direction. It’s another to claim that cage-free eggs are by definition ‘cruelty-free.’”
What Do You Think? Enrich the discussion with your participation in our conference March 29-30, 2008. Early registration: $80. After March 15: $95. To register, send check or money order to: UPC, PO Box 150, Machipongo, VA 23405. Or register by credit card at www.upc-online.org/Forums/08forumreg.html. Farmed Animals have voices but they need your voice: Register Now!