Recently I was flipping through a farm magazine, "Successful Farming" from May-June 2009, and I found an ad put out by Pfizer Animal Health. It had an eye-catching picture: a hog building with a large picture of a pig on the front and side. The caption said, "This is not a pig."
So, I read the small print in the paragraph at the bottom, and within that paragraph was this sentence:
"To us, Individual Pig Care means ensuring every pig has the proper feed, water, environment and health interventions to be free of pain, disease, discomfort and injury."
Okay. I believe every animal must be cared for properly, which includes feed, water, environment, and health interventions. I fully agree with that.
But what REALLY gets to me is the last half of that sentence:
free of pain,
Lately you hear animal rights folks using these words and declaring them as a right that animals must be given. Sounds good, doesn't it?? The trouble is, that is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to achieve!! I don't even know a single human being who has even one day that does not include the things on that list. Pain, disease, discomfort, injury. It happens to all living things, even people, and I see absolutely no reason why some think animals should somehow be exempt from that.
For me, I firmly believe that God created people to be above animals and in dominion over them. As such, we have a strong responsibility to treat our animals well and with respect. The trouble I have is when you try to grant animals rights that even humans do not have, and will not have until Heaven.
It really bothers me when I see people mistreating animals: starving them, beating them, neglecting them. But it also really frustrates me that there are folks who take farmers in agriculture and distort the way they are raising their livestock and attempt to describe that as mistreatment - that is just ridiculous. Give the animals proper feed, water, environment, and health interventions (no successful livestock farmer ignores these things!) and save the outcry for the animals who truly are being abused, or for children or other human beings who are experiencing pain, discomfort, disease, and injury.
Many people die daily from lack of clean water to drink, diseases such as malaria, children born to drug addicted or HIV positive mothers, genocide, human trafficking - all these things are going on. Yet, all some people seem to be able to think about are the (poor?!?) farm animals who have constant access to clean, cool water, feed that is formulated specifically to their life-stage, high-tech ventilation. Perhaps they live inside a barn, in conditions that a human would not want to live in....but people and animals are drastically different, and have different needs in housing.
It strikes me as funny that one could object to an animal living it's life in a so-called "factory farm" building, not having to fight or struggle for food or water, then be hauled on a livestock trailer close to the other animals it has lived with before for comfort as well as help them keep their feet - they lean on each other while riding on the trailer. What is the difference, really, from a human living in a NYC apartment, getting on the crowded subway to go to work in an office building?
It just bothers me that there is such a disconnect from the "rights" some want to claim for animals, and reality of what is actually within the realm of possibility in this imperfect world. I just would like to see a stronger desire to improve human well-being, and quit trying to create some kind of "ideal" world.