EcoRI News recently reported on a dance that’s been going on for ages between animal “advocates” and animal ag. You know, the one where both sides spend enormous sums of money and time studying and refining animal confinement. All so you, the animal eater, can feel at ease about what’s on your plate. As long as someone else is concerned about the issue, the consumer need not be.
This time, we’re back to debating battery cages vs. “cage free.” What a joke. If you’ve ever taken the time to see what so-called cage free looks like, you’d wonder why animal advocates ever waste their resources pushing for it. It’s one giant overcrowded, filthy cage that’s flat out torture for chickens. Which means the Humane Society is comfortable lobbying for animal torture. Can you imagine a human rights advocate lobbying a government to stop ripping out prisoners’ teeth in favor of waterboarding them instead?
Attaining a cage free Rhode Island is not the kind of campaign Rhode Island animal advocates should feel good waging. Cage free confinement is cruel to birds in its own unique ways. Not to mention it makes people more comfortable with killing and eating chickens by deluding them into thinking the chickens live happier lives. So long as groups like the Humane Society refuse to acknowledge that it is wrong to exploit and kill innocent animals, their welfarist campaigns will continue to lead to a confused public. A public who claim to care about animals, yet pay to have them killed merely for palate pleasure. Welfarist campaigns help create this hypocrisy and further entrench the animal-eating paradigm we live in.
We seem to recognize that animals matter morally when we express concern about the terms of their confinement. Yet nobody bothers following that obvious notion through to its logical conclusion: If animals matter morally at all, then we owe them the most basic of obligations. To respect their right not to be used as chattel property. But no, instead we engage in this silly dance arguing over which forms of confinement, torture and death are most satisfying to our delicate sensitivities.
It’s really quite simple – either animals matter morally and we are obligated not to use them as expendable resources, or animals do not matter morally and we may continue to eat, hunt and wear them. Debating cage size is part of the latter mindset, no matter which cage you think is most proper.