Odd Animal Laws, Odd Culture

This is a guest post by Kenji Crosland, a writer for TeachStreet.  Teachstreet is a website that provides online and local classes, including classes on law and pet training classes.

In the effort to preserve a certain semblance of order certain laws (don’t steal, don’t kill) have been universal since Hammurabi, although the punishments for disobeying these laws have varied greatly. Laws concerning animal cruelty, however, are unique in that they are not necessarily “required,” to keep the peace.  For a society to establish animal cruelty laws it needs to reach a certain level of moral development.  These laws, just like the humans who created them, however, aren’t perfect, and those imperfections can give us insights into a particular culture.

These days, India and countries in Europe seem to be the most progressive, while others like China are slowly adding laws to the books.  The US is a study in contrasts: while some states are on the progressive side, there are others that are far from it.          Continue reading

Ohio Issue 2 Aftermath

David Cassuto

Reports of the death of animal advocacy in Ohio in the wake of last fall’s passage of Issue 2 have been greatly exaggerated.  Ohioans for Humane Farms has begun the process of getting an initiative on the ballot that would:

1. Require the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to establish minimum humane standards for certain farm animals within six years after adoption of the amendment. The minimum standards would:

  • Prohibit a farm owner or operator from tethering or confining any calf raised for veal, pig during pregnancy, or egglaying hen, on a farm, for all or the majority of a day, in a manner that prevents such animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending his or her limbs, or turning around freely. This prohibition would not apply during certain times set forth in the amendment, including, but not limited to, during veterinary treatment, certain livestock exhibitions, and scientific or agricultural research. Continue reading

Newborn Calves Abused at Organic Farm

Elizabeth Bennett

Unfortunately, allegations of animal abuse at slaughterhouses have long been prevalent.  It is not, however, too often that you hear of a farm or company being punished for such cruel behavior.  Recently, an organically certified Vermont slaughterhouse called Bushway Packing Inc. was ordered to close because of their inhumane treatment of calves.  An undercover agent for the Humane Society of the United States captured various forms of animal abuse at this slaughterhouse on video.  According to the humane society, slaughterhouse employees were kicking calves, electrically prodding them, wetting them with water so that electric prodding would be more painful, improperly rendering them senseless before slaughter, and even skinning them alive.  These are typical abuse allegations against slaughterhouses commonly made by animal welfarist and rights advocates that are all too often ignored.

The calves processed at Bushway Packing were born on dairy farms and immediately torn from their mothers so that the mother’s milk would not be wasted on them.  This rendered many of them weak and unable to walk.  They were then physically abused into standing and walking so that employees can avoid prohibitions on slaughtering “downed cows.”   These calves were being produced as “bob veal,” where they were killed when less than a week old to be used in food items such as hot dogs and lunch meats, unlike regular veal production which “harvests” calves at around 4 months of age.  Keep in mind that supporting the dairy industry is, in a way, supporting the veal and bob veal industries because of the need to take calves away from their dairy cow mothers so that all their mother’s milk can be processed for human use.  Male calves are a byproduct of the dairy industry and are thus put to use in the veal industry.  For this very reason, dairy farmers were greatly worried about their financial stability in the wake of this story.   Continue reading