H.R. 4733, The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, would require the government to buy food products only from animals that can move freely in their confinement — that means no gestation crates, battery cages, or veal crates.
When I first read about the bill, I was glad that America was taking another step towards increased animal welfare. But I didn’t realize just how much of an impact this monumental bill could have.
The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act is similar to California’s Prop 2, which passed in 2008. Except this time, the standards would be at the federal level.
And that means much, much more improvement for farm animal welfare–like, the virtual outlawing of battery cages and gestation and veal crates kind of improvement.
The government spends more than one billion dollars a year on food for all its agencies and programs — like the National School Lunch Program, the federal prisons, all of the Armed Services, not to mention every government agency office in Washington. That adds up to a lot of meat, dairy and eggs.
And since it’s virtually impossible to trace every piece of meat at the packing plant back to it’s farm of origin, every packer would need to require their suppliers to comply with the new law. Virtually every farm in the country would comply with these new, more humane standards.
This would be a huge victory for the animals who, when confined to these crates, can’t even turn around or spread their limbs. The HSUS just revealed undercover footage of four Iowa factory farms, where hens are kept in battery cages, and the living hell these birds endure. Their feet, legs, necks, and wings get entangled in the wire of the cages, and the doors are slammed shut on the birds, breaking bones that are never mended. They have less space than a sheet of paper to call their own.
When pregnant sows are put in gestation crates, they’re at higher risk for urinary tract infections, weakend bones, overgrown hooves, and other ailments. They get sores from rubbing against the bars of their crates, and bite the bars in a desperate attempt to escape their prisons. And do I even need to explain the cruelty of the veal crate, a device just 24 inches wide that male calves — an unwanted by-product of the dairy industry — are confined to immediately after birth?
Sadly, for the overwhelming majority of farm animals, these cruel confinement methods are the norm.
More and more restaurants and supermarket chains are phasing out products from farms that use inhumane cages and crates to raise their animals. Even the U.S. House and Senate’s cafeteria features cage-free eggs. And seven U.S. states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, and Oregon, have passed laws to phase-out these confinement methods. Americans are showing they care about the welfare of their farmed animals; now it’s time to send that message to agribusiness and stop your tax dollars from supporting gestation crates, battery cages, and veal crates. Make animal welfare a federal priority and let agribusiness know that we won’t let inhumane treatment of farm animals continue.
You can show your support for the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, H.R. 4733, by signing this petition.
Photo courtesy of FARM, Farm Sanctuary
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