Cages for hens, crates for mother pigs, barren pens for piglets, unethical and extreme genetic breeding of chickens for meat: surely it wouldn’t be allowed if it was so bad? This is the question we at SAFE often get asked, yet it is a question that assumes someone else should do something about the problem.
You could say the same at each stage of the supply chain – surely the farmer loves his chickens? Surely the supermarket would not want cruelly produced products on its shelves? Surely the customer wouldn’t buy the eggs (or sausages, or chicken products) that have come from factory farms? Each of us in fact has the opportunity to make a compassionate choice for the animals.
Factory farming practices were developed decades ago to create ever-more efficiencies in farm production, in a time when scientists couldn’t comprehend that animals weren’t just machines. Now science is catching up with common sense: we know that animals are thinking, feeling individuals with personalities as unique as yours or mine – and we know how similar their capacity to suffer is to ours.
The support shown by well-known Kiwis featured in the current SAFE television advertising confirms the Stop Factory Farming message is mainstream opinion. While shopping habits are hard to change there is no question the majority of New Zealanders support the end of factory farming methods such as battery cages. There is a growing chasm between the economic interests of corporate farmers and animal-loving consumers.
This year we have seen new footage of cruel conditions on New Zealand pig farms; a government report in September confirmed 80% of chickens bred for meat are visibly lame; and eggs from hens trapped in the recently introduced colony cages are being sold without being labelled as ‘cage eggs’. These examples of continued legalised cruelty go against everything we consider to be ‘true Kiwi’.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Nobody has to be a part of it. Factory farming will end when ordinary Kiwis, consumers, customers, rugby players, Auckland latte drinkers and Timaru wharf workers stop buying cage eggs and chicken and pork products from intensive farms.
By working with the retailers, lobbying politicians and most importantly encouraging compassionate, animal-friendly choices by consumers, we will see the end of factory farming. By not buying factory-farmed products you remove financial support, and do your bit to Stop Factory Farming! Join the campaign, and join SAFE as we challenge cruelty.
Eliot Pryor, Campaign Director