A few weeks ago, the Canadian branch of the American non-profit Mercy For Animals revealed the findings of its latest undercover investigation inside a Manitoba hog farm. Among the horrors discovered, the one particular act of cruelty getting the most attention is a routine practice called "thumping." Thumping is when farm hands take sick or non-viable baby piglets and slam them against concrete until they die.
To you and me, this sounds shocking, disgusting, something out of a slasher movie even. But not to the pork producers in Canada. They've fired back saying that this practice is a completely humane way of euthanizing unusable pigs. Why should this concern Americans? Because thumping is also widely practiced right here in the United States and is defended with the same rhetoric.
If we are to take the farmers at their word that this is a humane practice, I'd like to ask why animal shelters across our country, which euthanize over five million dogs and cats each year, bother with injections that put those animals "to sleep" when they could be thumping and saving a whole lot of money. Just imagine it: kittens being bloodied to death against a cement floor, puppies having their brains bashed in. If thumping is so humane, what's the problem?
The problem is our own hypocrisy. Our society cuddles and coddles certain animals (dogs and cats) while relegating others to the monstrosities of the slaughterhouse. It's wrong, shameful, and woefully inconsistent.
Go back a couple years to the case of Michael Vick. The country was in an uproar after learning how he violently tortured his dogs to death. But was Vick's behavior that much more awful than thumping a baby piglet against concrete? Where is the outrage now? Pigs are not only just as conscious and aware as dogs and cats, science tells us they're smarter too. Where is our compassion? Where is our sense of justice? Where are our ethics?
If we are going to pride ourselves as being civilized, it's time we start acting like it. We must take the same kindhearted stance for farm animals that we take for other animals. We have very specific laws that make sure dogs and cats are protected. With currently no federal laws on the books protecting farm animals from cruelty, it is imperative that new laws and new attitudes be adopted that protect all animals, not just the ones we think are cute and cuddly.
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