Animal activists seek to ‘End Factory Farming’ at first-ever conference(continued)
Whereas Aaron Putze of the Iowa Soybean Association lauded the wholesomeness of American beef, dairy, pork, poultry and eggs, physician and bestselling author Dr. Joel Fuhrman detailed his argument that eating animal products causes deadly ailments like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease—a belief echoed by Whole Foods Market co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey, who rolled out the store’s new plant-based nutrition and wellness programs.
In place of reassurances from hog farmer Tim Belstra and cattle rancher Debbie Lyons Blythe about their industry’s humane and respectful treatment of animals, veterinarian Dr. Holly Cheever of the New York State Humane Association described the “industrialized cruelty” and suffering she said is often ignored by the veterinary associations who recommend inhumane standard practices, and Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals condemned what he called the “rampant neglect and abuse” as well as the many “despicable” yet legal and accepted practices that his group works to document in undercover videos shot at large-scale animal farming facilities—videos that some state lawmakers supporting animal agriculture have attempted to criminalize with measures that would ban them.
On perhaps the same microphone that Kelly Smith of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation used at the AAA Summit to warn about the dangerously clever legislative campaigns and richly-laden coffers of Wayne Pacelle, president of The Humane Society of the United States, Pacelle himself rallied the troops to fight ever harder on behalf of animals.
Presentations during the End Factory Farming weekend included such topics as “Environmental Degradation: Land, Water, and Air Pollution” and “Disease, Contamination, and Antibiotic Overuse” versus the AAA’s “The Truth about Sustainability: Debunking ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow,’” and “Making Safe, Affordable and Abundant [animal-derived] Food a Global Reality.”
At the “End Factory Farming” Friday buffet, braised chard, smoked lentils, and mushroom ravioli took the place of the gorgonzola cheese salad, pancetta bacon, and “chicken cooked under a brick” served at the AAA’s awards luncheon.
“United We Eat” was the AAA Summit slogan, representing the industry’s demand that consumers retain the choice to dine on animals and animal products. At the End Factory Farming conference, speakers urged a vegan diet as a crucial commitment for the sake of our “Health, Environment, and Farm Animals.”
Billed as a “groundbreaking” first-ever conference focused on the alleged ills of factory farms, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), as they’re more officially known, the event nearly sold out with more than 300 attendees, according to Baur.
Sponsorship and funding came from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Humane Society of the United States (HSU, Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing, Whole Foods Market, Compassion in World Farming, E-The Environmental Magazine, and more.
For upcoming articles about these two very different conferences, please visit Animal Policy Examiner again soon.
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