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LCA Blog

Blog for Last Chance for Animals, an international non-profit dedicated to ending animal cruelty and exploitation.

The High Cost of ‘Cheap Meat’

The High Cost of ‘Cheap Meat’

Deep in the Nebraska wheat fields lies a gory, little tax-payer funded a factory farm called the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.  What goes on behind these doors would make even the most avid enthusiasts of slasher movies sick to their stomachs. Incredibly cruel experimentation is conducted on livestock that includes cows, sheep, and pigs, all in an effort to maximize meat production for the dinner table. To put this another way, the United States has already legalized cruelty to animals as long as the cruelty keeps meat prices lower and the cruelty is government regulated.

Stories like this have been in the news before, but never of this magnitude.  60 Minutes should really conduct an investigative report on this place.  They could show footage where scientists regularly submit livestock to cramped and crowded living quarters, harsh and horrific health conditions, and experimental processes that are designed to increase the levels of meat production while simultaneously decreasing the amount of bones.   Animals are killed by inhumane trapping mechanisms, exploding poison-filled caps, and a series of other ghoulish processes that would make our blood curdle.  Show this on TV, and the American Public would be outraged overnight.

Why are we allowing this to happen?

When faced with the problem of “animals as a sentient beings” vs. “escalating world hunger”, it is easy to see why politicians choose the latter as the more critical issue.  But why can’t we solve both issues?  Why does it have to be an “either/or” situation?  Surely our technology has advanced far enough along that we no longer need to inflict cruel and inhumane treatment on any member of the animal kingdom simple to put food on the table.  But, as one scientist recently interviewed by the New York Times recently put it, “It’s not a perfect world.  We are trying to feed a population (that will soon reach) nine billion by 2050.”

Meat Consumption and Global Warming

Meat consumption and global warming are two issues that most of us would assume have no direct connection to one another whatsoever.  But a recent study by Chatham House released in December of 2014 demonstrates that meat production is the single, largest contributor to the release of greenhouse gases that leads to global warming.  Of course, politicians are also in disagreement as to whether or not global warming even exists.

So, it comes as no surprise that this argument carries very little weight with state and federal lawmakers.  The American Public needs to become more involved in the oversight and accountability of our wildlife services.  We must force our politicians to reject animal cruelty while using other methods of alternative research to solve the world’s hunger problems and issues of climate change.   We can solve both issues, but only if we demand change.

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New Avian Flu Outbreak Plagues Butterball Farms in Arkansas and Missouri

New Avian Flu Outbreak Plagues Butterball Farms in Arkansas and Missouri

A highly contagious new form of avian flu has infiltrated Arkansas and Missouri farms, many of which supply turkeys to the Butterball brand. Butterball is one of the world’s largest turkey sellers, and this discovery has led to a nationwide panic as farmers rush to protect their flocks from possible infection. This new strain of bird flu is also drawing unwanted international attention as countries like China and Mexico demand harsher trade restrictions on U.S. poultry products.

A spokesperson for the Butterball Corporation confirmed that a “limited number” of turkeys from some of their supplying contract farms have indeed contracted the H5N2 avian influenza. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also confirmed, stating that one particular flock of over 40,000 commercially raised turkeys has been infected in Arkansas, with another similarly sized flock having already contracted the disease in Missouri.   

Smaller outbreaks in recent months have already been confirmed in several other states. Previous cases were reported in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, and California. States such as Alabama and Georgia are watching this story particularly closely, as their farms produce the largest numbers of broiler chickens in the U.S. Arkansas is also home of Tyson Foods, the third-largest supplier of chicken products and the second-largest of turkey. If H5N2 were to infect these flocks, the entire poultry industry could be affected.

This wave of sickness comes just as the Arkansas House has proposed a bill  that would make it more difficult to expose wrongdoing at poultry farms and other businesses. HB1774 would make it illegal to record audio in the workplace without the expressed consent of all parties involved. If passed, the new legislation would make investigations into worker or animal abuse extremely difficult to conduct in the state.  

Arkansas is not only the home of Tyson Foods, but of Walmart as well; both corporations have been exposed for animal abuse violations at supplier farms. This latest outbreak of bird flu highlights the need for these undercover investigations, as they are often the only way safety violations are exposed.

In response to the bill, animal advocacy group Last Chance for Animals is circulating a petition to stop the proposed bill and protect the right to record misdoings at factory farms and other businesses. The petition, as well as more information, can be found at endaggaglaws.com.

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