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Animal Rights

According to Rush Limbaugh, 'Animals don't deserve and shouldn't have any rights because they don't have the power to claim them.'

The reason any rights have ever been created is for the protection of the weak from the powerful. When one reads the Bill of Rights, one sees that rights are given regardless of an ability to actually claim those rights. Rights are granted as a means of protecting those without power from those who have it.

This highlights one of the huge differences between Republicans and Democrats today. Republicans will always jump to the defense of the corporation and commerce over the stewardship we have toward protecting our environment or its animal life. To Republican leaders, the earth and all life on the earth is here to serve man, his interests, and ultimately his greed. These interests include the accumulation of great wealth and power at the expense of our natural resources. To anyone who does an honest comparison between Republicans and Democrats on these issues, there is no doubt that when a conflict arises between a corporation and the well-being of the environment and its animal life, that the corporation always wins with the votes of Republican leaders.

This is one way the so-called "religious right" has taken over the Republican Party. Their disordered spirituality stems from a misreading of Biblical verses that they believe gives them the right to treat the world and its inhabitants like commodities. Some denominations go as far as saying that animals don't have "souls" so they can justify all manner of brutality toward the animal kingdom. However, Abraham Lincoln appropriately quipped:

"I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it."

Consider the additional belief expressed by Rush Limbaugh that "it is naÔve for us to say that we can harm the environment." These ideas joined with the economic ideas of competition and acquisition create a furnace of destruction that is decimating our planet and destroying species at a rate exponentially faster than any natural extinction that the planet has ever faced.

Apart from those that are pro-actively consuming and destroying life on this planet are others who either don't want to believe any of this, or who simply believe that the problems will go away if we don't think about them. Democrats believe that animal rights are a legitimate moral concern, not because they are trying to keep people from making money (that's what the corporations want you to believe) but because we are all connected stewards over this planet and all life on this planet. Our cruelty to animals and our willingness to ignore this cruelty says a great deal about ourselves.

Let's say you are not directly in the business of torturing animals, but have really done nothing personally to stop it. Then we would like to share with you the truth. If you want to look the other way then you won't want to read on. If you read on, then you are going to become responsible for this information and then decide what you are going to do about it.

Where does our food come from?

Don't worry. The purpose of this website is not to turn you into a vegetarian. However, after studying the issues involved, many have become vegetarians. That is your choice. Our purpose here is to outline man's tragic behavior toward animals, why they deserve our protection, and why the Democratic Party is the only one interested in that protection. We cannot discuss all of the issues involved in this website but only want to give you a small taste of the problem.

If you eat food that didn't come from your own backyard or farm, you have a moral obligation to know where that food comes from. In the words of Peter Singer:

"Those who, by their purchases, require animals to be killed have no right to be shielded from the slaughterhouse or any other aspect of the production of the meat they buy. If it is distasteful for humans to think about, what can it be like for the animals to experience it?... Animal factories are one more sign of the extent to which our technological capacities have advanced faster than our ethics."

Because of the growth of our population and its ever increasing desire to make greater profits with less labor, much our food industry has evolved through the use of factory farms and outsourced slave labor. We may not want to hear this, especially when we are bouncing to buoyant music in the aisles in our local supermarkets. Our meat comes in glistening cellophane and our eggs come in quaint individual compartments of polystyrene printed with pictures of happy chickens.

John Robbins, author of the seminal book "Diet for a New America, " stated:

"Awareness is bad for the meat business. Conscience is bad for the meat business. Sensitivity to life is bad for the meat business. DENIAL, however, the meat business finds indispensable."

William Freeman, a former meat inspector testified,

"The oath I took as an inspector said if I ever saw anything wrong I was supposed to report it. But today I can't report anything. Today, if you blow your whistle, you're in trouble with the inspection service. I feel the oath I took is violated every day I work."

Matthew Scully, speechwriter for former US President G.W. Bush, wrote:

"[I]t is a terrible thing that religious people today can be so indifferent to the cruelty of the farms, shrugging it off as so much secular, animal rights foolishness. They above all should hear the call to mercy. They above all should have some kindness to spare. They above all should be mindful of the little things, seeing, in the suffering of these creatures, the same hand that has chosen all the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things to confound the things which are strong. "

So what are we actually doing in these factories? Let's start with chickens. We like to call chickens "poultry" and cattle "beef." Referring to animals for other than what they are helps us ignore what we are doing to them. Chickens are used for two main purposes in our food industry. One is eating them, the other is producing eggs. The living conditions and dying conditions of these animals are so atrocious that workers seek for ways to desensitize themselves to the carnage just to sleep at night. Recently, a report and video was released of the factory conditions of the supplier for Kentucky Fried Chicken regarding its 700 million chickens it buys each year. The video shows according to the report (NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK Wednesday, Jul 21, 2004):

"slaughterhouse workers for one of its suppliers jumping up and down on live chickens, drop-kicking them like footballs and slamming them into walls, apparently for fun. The undercover investigator, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation and still does undercover work for the group, said he saw "hundreds" of acts of cruelty, including workers tearing beaks off, ripping a bird's head off to write graffiti in blood, spitting tobacco juice into birds' mouths, plucking feathers to "make it snow," suffocating a chicken by tying a latex glove over its head and squeezing them like balloons in order to spray feces at other birds."(See video footage for yourself on kentuckyfriedcruelty.com on the treatment of chickens by clicking on this link: http://www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/anderson-vid.asp)

For chickens that lay eggs, buildings are constructed called "battery houses." In these huge facilities, chicken are stacked up in cages to the ceiling where 5-6 chickens are put in a wire cage the size of an A4 piece of paper. Lights are left on all day to encourage laying. Squished together they are kept there for years laying an outrageous amount of up to 300 eggs a year without being able to move around. The hens lose their minds and are painfully de-beaked with a hot knife, often cutting their tongues out so they don't peck themselves and other hens in their cage to death. By the time they get to a slaughter house a few years later, 96 percent of the birds have broken bones throughout their bodies.

In order to get the hens to produce such large quantities of eggs, egg producers practice "forced molting." They starve the hens for about 2 weeks to control egg laying and prices. Remember, its all about money. The hens go into physiologic shock. They lose up to 30% of their body weight and millions of hens die. All of them endure great suffering and starvation. Forced molting is a major cause of Salmonella poisoning because prolonged food deprivations destroys the hen's immune system, causing disease.

Eggs are kept to create more chickens but only the females are useful because they lay eggs. So, most male chicks are thrown in garbage bins alive to suffocate to death. Others are gassed or ground up alive and fed to the females. An estimated 160 million male chicks are killed in the US alone every year this way.

For every egg you eat that you bought from a supermarket factory farm, a hen has suffered for 23-30 hours in a battery house. We do not have time to show you all the pictures and describe all of the inhumanity done to these creatures on this site but you can read and see more at the following address:

http://www.all-creatures.org/anex/chicken.html

Or you can just believe the ruling of the judge from Oklahoma. Until 1963, cockfighting was illegal in Oklahoma, when a judge ruled that "chickens are not animals and therefore unprotected by anticruelty laws." ~U.S. News & World Report, 6 December 1999

Cattle are treated no better in the factory farms.

A veteran USDA meat inspector from Texas describes the scene:

"Cattle dragged and choked...Knocking 'em four, five, ten times. Every now and then when they're stunned they come back to life, and they're up there agonizing. They're supposed to be restunned but sometimes they aren't and they'll go through the skinning process alive. I've worked in four large [slaughterhouses] and a bunch of small ones. They're all the same. If people were to see this, they'd probably feel really bad about it. But in a packing house everybody gets so used to it that it doesn't mean anything. (from the documentary movie, Slaughterhouse, 1997)

In the factories, the cows straddle a conveyor belt with legs off the ground while each worker is expected to kill one cow every three seconds putting a seven inch spike into their brains. As might be expected in this rush to kill, many of the cows aren't actually killed because of "misses" by the workers. But the conveyor moves on and the cow is torn apart screaming while yet alive. McDonalds says that it officially accepts a 5% failure rate from the workers in this regard.

Baby cows (what people like to call veal) are chained in tiny crates where they cannot stand or lie down so they can't move or exercise so they don't grow any muscle or toughen their flesh. They are forced to lie in their own feces and are prone to disease. Sick ones are often disemboweled and left on the floor to suffer without euthanasia.

Listen to Senator Robert Byrd who had the courage to speak out on the floor of the Senate about these atrocities:

"On profit-driven factory farms, veal calves are confined to dark wooden crates so small that they are prevented from lying down or scratching themselves. These creatures feel; they know pain. They suffer pain just as we humans suffer pain. Egg-laying hens are confined to battery cages. Unable to spread their wings, they are reduced to nothing more than an egg-laying machine. . . . The law clearly requires that these poor creatures be stunned and rendered insensitive to pain before [the slaughtering] process begins. Federal law is being ignored. Animal cruelty abounds. It is sickening. It is infuriating. Barbaric treatment of helpless, defenseless creatures must not be tolerated even if these animals are being raised for foodčand even more so, more so. Such insensitivity is insidious and can spread and is dangerous. Life must be respected and dealt with humanely in a civilized society. (floor of the U.S. Senate, July 9, 2001)

Famous author, Upton Sincair described conditions of a hog farm:

"The shriek was followed by another, louder and yet more agonizing...for once started upon that journey, the hog never came back. One by one the men hooked up the hogs and slit their throats. There was a line of hogs with squeals and lifeblood ebbing away.. until at last each vanished into a huge vat of boiling water (some still alive). The hogs were so innocent. They came so very trustingly. They were so very human in their protests. They had done nothing to deserve it." (The Jungle, written after his investigation of Hormel in Austin Minnesota)

Every American who buys food deserves to know the origin of that food. But more than that, every American who decides to eat meat or eggs from a supermarket has a moral obligation to visit the slaughter houses or the battery houses that produce their food. If you can't look your food in the face, that should tell you something about yourself right there.

Michael Pollan tells us in his book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, that "No other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do. No other people in history has lived at quite so great a remove from the animals they eat. Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do. "

Read more about animal abuse:

http://www.all-creatures.org/anex/index.html

Animal Testing

Food processing isn't the only way we abuse animals. Companies throughout the U.S. and world regularly use animals for experimentation. The practice of vivisection has been a subject of outrage for hundreds (perhaps thousands) of years.

George Bernanrd Shaw noted:

"Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are call medical research."

Mahatma Gandhi proclaimed:

Vivisection is the blackest of all the black crimes that man is at present committing against God and His fair creation. It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion towards our fellow creatures.

Mark Twain wrote:

"I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn't...The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further."

You might think that today, we have finally found other ways of testing things. We have, and yet we continue to test. For example, in a recent Columbia University experiment, monkeys were forced to endure surgical procedures in which metal pipes were implanted into their skulls for the sole purpose of inducing stress to study the connection between stress and women's menstrual cycles.

So who is making the laws regarding animal testing? Let's look to the former Majority Leader of the Senate. Senator Bill Frist admitted in his 1989 book that, while a student at Harvard Medical School, he adopted cats from animal shelters and practiced surgery on the animals. In adopting the cats, however, Frist told shelter staff members he wanted the animals for pets. All of the cats died as a result of the surgeries. He rationalized this by complaining that Havard just didn't provide enough animals to work on.

To get the facts and figures of the millions of animals experimented on annually, read the fact sheets at this address:

http://peta.com/mc/factsheet_display.asp?ID=126

Animal experiments have been going on for some time. Even Leonardo Da Vinci lamented its immorality when he said hopefully:

"One day the world will look upon research upon animals as it now looks upon research on human beings."

Final words

If you want to change the way things are done, stop voting for Republicans that support these industries. If you want to know what you can personally do about it, stop using products that participate in animal testing. Here are the list of those that do and don't test:

Companies that torture animals for experimentation:

http://www.caringconsumer.com/pdfs/companiesDoTest.pdf

Companies that don't test:

http://www.caringconsumer.com/pdfs/companiesDontTest.pdf

Here are some final quotes:

"If we cut up beasts simply because they cannot prevent us and because we are backing our own side in the struggle for existence, it is only logical to cut up imbeciles, criminals, enemies, or capitalists for the same reasons." ~C.S. Lewis

"Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow-creatures is amusing in itself." (James Anthony Froude, Oceana, 1886)

"The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality." ~Schopenhauer

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men." ~St. Francis of Assisi

"We are a part of life and should study carefully our relationship to it. We should be in sympathy with it, and not allow our prejudices to create a desire for its destruction. The unnecessary destruction of life begets a spirit of destruction which grows within the soul. It lives by what it feeds upon and robs man of the love that he should have for the works of God. It hardens the heart of man... The unnecessary destruction of life is a distinct spiritual loss to the human family. Men cannot worship the Creator and look with careless indifference upon his creation. The love of all life helps man to the enjoyment of a better life. ...Love of nature is akin to the love of God, the two are inseparable." ~Joseph F. Smith








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