The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is in the business of slaughtering birds for human consumption, and it is funneling donor dollars to a for-profit company to do it.
According to its own press release, the organization gifted over $150,000 to a poultry ranch called Good Shepherd Ranch “to promote humane poultry welfare.” One might think that humane welfare would include not being killed at a young age, but no such luck. Still, the ASPCA seems proud that the chickens and turkeys whose slaughter it pays for are “heritage breed.” Apparently having a pedigree makes the birds’ lives more humane because they have not been overbred to be chronically ill, but it certainly doesn’t make their deaths any kinder.
Birds live in family groups and miss individuals who disappear. No matter how quick, painless, or “humane” the slaughter process is (and I doubt that it is any of these), it hurts the survivors, not to mention ending the life of a sentient being.
Humane Farming Association founder Brad Miller explained,
“It is simply delusional to think that getting humane organizations into the business of promoting meat from heritage breed chickens will result in even the slightest reduction of animal suffering. The ASPCA decision to fund the commercial production of chickens for meat raises a number of troubling issues. Beyond the obvious ethical issues from the animals’ standpoint, there is also the matter of using charitable dollars to further the commercial interests of a privately owned, profit-driven poultry company.”
A group called Farm Forward will administer the ASPCA’s grant. FF’s mission is to “reduce farm animal suffering” — not to reduce the number of animals on farms or the amount of animal products people eat. Together with ASPCA’s “donation” to the for-profit Good Shepherd ranch, this makes it crystal clear that ASPCA subscribes to what animal advocates call the “welfarist” position — that non-human animals should be treated well while alive, but that exploiting them in many ways, including killing and eating them, is acceptable.
Another twist to this story is that Good Shepherd Ranch’s owner and operator, Frank Reese, sits on Farm Forward’s board. The fox is in charge of the money that funds the hen house.