On Wednesday, December 15, we partnered with the Humane Society of the United States on a press conference held here at the Robins-Starr Humane Center. Most of the local news media were in attendance for the important disclosures that were made. At that press conference, findings and a video were publicly disclosed that were made by an HSUS staff member who was working undercover at the Smithfield factory farm that produced pork products in Waverly, Virginia. During the undercover employee’s tenure at the plant, he filmed many horrifying acts of human cruelty in addition to shining a light on the endlessly horrifying cruelty of the gestation crates that the female breeding sows are forced to live in. You may view the video that undercover worker made at this link but be prepared for its disturbing impact.
I do not believe that anyone with a heart can watch this video without tears coming to his or her eyes. Seeing pigs living in gestation crates unable to move or even turn around and being subjected to the horrific treatment disclosed on this video has to be deeply affecting to anyone who cares about animals. Pigs are intelligent, sentient and very social beings who are generally as or more intelligent than dogs. For them to be deprived of any movement and to be subjected to unrelenting cruelty is deplorable.
I want to explain to you, our supporters, why we decided to give the HSUS our support in releasing this information to our community and to the country. First, let me make clear that we do not believe that it is wrong to eat meat. I have no doubt that there will be many people who will say that we are trying to force everyone to become vegans. That is ridiculous. We have no quarrel whatsoever with the consumption of meat, only with subjecting animals to a life of unrelenting misery and suffering in order that we may have cheap meat on our plates.
This is not about animals having rights, as is often asserted by those who would ignore these horrors. It is about mercy. It is about having a conscience and about identifying the point when that conscience says to us that continuing to subject animals to lives of inexorable pain, deprivation and suffering cannot be justified simply to provide us with a moment of eating pleasure for a cheap price. We ask only that these animals be allowed the small mercy of group housing where they can at least move and socialize before going to their deaths.
This does not seem to be so much to ask and would create the sort of society that I want to live in and want my child to live.You can help by letting Smithfield and its largest customers, McDonalds and Burger King, know that you want Smithfield to become gestation crate, and cruelty, free.
Robin Robertson Starr is the chief executive officer of the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our commenting guidelines.