To the editor:
In the wake of the recent upsetting activities at the Sunshine Dairy Farm, a reader recently wrote in about the wrongs and cruelties of the dairy industry. She had worked on a dairy farm and saw firsthand how miserably cows and calves suffer when they are wrenched from each other, and how pitiful the babies’ lives pan out, especially if they are male calves, destined for the veal market. The writer closed with words to the effect that the issue really wasn’t about eating meat, but rather about eating humanely raised meat.
I beg to differ. Humanely raised or not, there is something hugely wrong and creepy about bringing into this world a sentient, intelligent, emotional individual — such as all calves, cows, pigs, sheep, turkeys and chickens are — (and science is bearing this out) specifically with the intention of eating it. These beautiful creatures are not commodities. They are not ours to exploit. They have as much right to live on this planet unmolested as we do. If they cannot live out their existence in such a manner, then they should not be brought into the world at all.
There are powerful economic, environmental and medical arguments against raising our non-human brethren for consumption. But really and truly, who needs those arguments? All one really has to do is ask oneself: Would I want to spend my entire sad life in a veal crate? Would I want to watch as my child is torn away from me, moments after its birth, never to be reunited with it again? Would I want to suffer the fate of too many farm animals, raised humanely or not — destined to march down a slaughterhouse chute, forced to listen to the cries of those before me, made to wait to be hung alive and upside down before my throat is cut? Would any of us want this for ourselves or anyone we love? If your answer is no, then your priorities, your outlook and, most importantly, your diet must immediately change to reflect the compassion and the respect that all living things deserve.