The coining of a new phrase, or a neologism, is a way of commanding the transformation of new and modern language. By commanding the transformation of language, and coining new words and phrases, one can bring society up to date in a rapidly changing world. In the animal advocacy world, neologisms are frequently formed for this very reason. For example, Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society, coined the term “vegan” to describe individuals who abstain from the consumption and use of animal products. Another example, Richard D. Ryder, a British psychologist, animal advocate, and author, coined the term “speciesism” in 1970 and “painism” 1985. Speciesism opposes the assignment of moral values and protections on the basis of species alone, and painism argues that all beings that are capable of feeling pain deserve rights. A last example of neologisms in the animal advocacy world comes from Gary L. Francione, an American Legal Scholar, and Distinguished Professor of Law & Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers School of Law–Newark. Francione coined the term “New Welfarist” in his 1996 book Rain Without Thunder, to refer to animal advocates who would like to see an end to all uses of animals, but who believe that incremental welfare reforms will both ultimately lead to that goal and alleviate suffering in the meantime. In this post, I offer a neologism to the animal advocacy community to recognize the “Daily Comfort Level,” or DCL, of factory farmed animals that are forced to live in factory farm facilities.
As one can observe from the neologism itself, the DCL refers to the daily comfort that a factory farmed animal receives while being held at a factory farm. The reason for coining this new term is because voters and elected representatives in the Unites States are now, more than ever, coming together to try and create comfortable lives for confined factory farmed animals. Examples of these accomplishments can be seen in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, and Rhode Island. These states have all passed laws to prohibit the use of gestation crates. Gestation crates are stalls with metal bars and concrete floors that are used by the commercial pork production industry to individually confine pregnant pigs.
The USDA reports that nearly 10 billion land animals are raised and killed for food annually in the United States alone. Such large numbers, and meager legal rights, means that factory farmed animals are confined to space that is economical for the factory farm owner but cramps their bodies in ways that makes it impossible to walk or even turn around. While Francione may very well argue that this article takes on a New Welfarist approach, the essential recognition for increasing the DCL of a factory farmed animal is to accept that the United States is not going to change overnight and rid itself of factory farms forever. Therefore, by increasing the DCL of factory farmed animals, and alleviating the daily suffering that factory farmed animals receive, is a feat that is vital to animal advocates in the United States. Accordingly, if the desire to increase the DCL of factory farmed animals is expounded upon, and seized through the transformational commands of language and neologisms, the phasing out of these cruel and harsh conditions will no longer be just an ideal future for animal advocates alone, but a reality that all citizens of the United States can become a part of.