The Abatement Of Cruelty, Ctd

Readers keep the thread going:

I have not eaten pork in several years, after I saw the “Pandora’s Box” episode of This American Life (the TV show). Half of the show is dedicated to pig farming and the science behind it.  They keep experimenting with how they house and treat the pigs, which is spurring unexpected side effects. That was galling enough but seeing how the pigs live, how they are shoved into small pens, how they don’t even procreate – they don’t even have a chance to fuck – it was too much for me. Based on all that, I decided I cannot eat any more pork.  Other people can choose to eat pork; that’s fine with me.  I know that I couldn’t.

Another sends the above video:

Two of your recent themes have merged; Banksy is now bringing attention to pig torture in the Meatpacking District.

Another shifts the discussion:

Matthew Scully asks, “Why is it right or fair to pamper dogs [ ] and torture pigs?” He goes on to describe the horrible treatment of dogs as food in Asia. Scully omits mistreatment right here in the United States of dogs for research and agriculture.

The USDA estimates that 65,000 dogs are used in animal testing in the United States. Pertinently for Dish readers, beagles are one of the most common breeds used in research because they are “friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving, and people-pleasing.” Invasive research on dogs commonly involves exposure to experimental chemicals like cosmetics, insecticides, and dog products like flea medicine to determine their toxicity. These experiments ultimately lead to suffering and death.

One of the most horrifying facts about research on dogs is that many animal shelters have arrangements to give abandoned dogs – who at one time were companion animals for a family – to research facilities. These people are infamously known as Class B Dealers in the animal rights community. Everything I just described for dogs in research is wholly permissible under the Animal Welfare Act as long as basic conditions are satisfied such as the provision of clean food and water.

Likewise, the Animal Welfare Act does surprisingly little to protect dogs used for breeding purposes in so-called puppy mills. That law imposes no limits whatsoever on the number of dogs that can be used for breeding at a facility. I am a practicing animal rights attorney and commonly encounter reports of facilities with upwards of three hundred dogs (breeding females and puppies). The space requirement for breeding dogs is sadly insufficient – cages must be a mere six inches longer and wider than the dog herself. Breeders must provide clean food and water, as well as proper veterinary care.

Facilities that meet these requirements can call themselves USDA licensed and are often certified by third party groups like the American Kennel Club that are normally but incorrectly viewed of as reputable. Compliance with the Animal Welfare Act is generally checked during annual USDA inspections, and non-compliance almost always results in a warning with no penalty. When penalties are imposed, they are so insubstantial that the last two Office of the Inspector General audits of the USDA’s Animal Care Program (2005 and 2010) have found that penalties are viewed merely as the cost of doing business rather than having actual deterrent value. (I would link to those reports, but they are offline due to the government shutdown.)