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A Victory for Farm Animals?

Last week’s breaking news is not the announcement by the Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary, among others, of a so-called “landmark” agreement between HSUS and the United Egg Producers to propose legislation that would in theory improve the lives of billions of chickens imprisoned on factory farms in the United States. Rather, it is the use of the word “victory” to describe what many animal rights activists see as an agreement forged misleadingly in our collective name with some of the most dangerous humans on the planet as far as animals are concerned.

Here’s what the proposed legislation would do (from the HSUS site, with the most of the PR spin catchwords removed and my additions in italics):

1.    require a moratorium at the end of 2011 on new construction of unenrichable battery cages and the nationwide elimination of barren battery cages through a phase-out period;
2.    require phased-in construction of new hen housing systems that provide each hen nearly double the amount of space they’re currently provided (67 inches, to be exact);
3.    require environmental enrichments so birds can engage in important natural behaviors currently denied to them in barren cages, such as perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas (keeping in mind that everything added to a cage will take away from these extra 19 inches of space);
4.    mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens” or “eggs from cage free hens;”
5.    prohibit forced molting through starvation—an inhumane practice that is inflicted on tens of millions of hens each year and which involves withholding all food from birds for up to two weeks in order to manipulate the laying cycle;
6.    prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses—a common problem in the industry that is harmful to both hens and egg industry workers; and
7.    prohibit the sale of all eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these requirements.

In exchange, HSUS agrees to stop pushing for state-level reform of layer facilities; it agrees to stop investigating cruelty on egg-producing factory farms; and, perhaps most tellingly, it agrees to stop pushing for an end to hen cages altogether (telling because it blatantly shows that HSUS has never been about total liberation, but about amelioration, illusion, and band-aid plastering in an effort to increase its profit margin – I mean, its membership base).

My own sarcasm aside: this is a victory? Remember, this legislation hasn’t even been passed. It’s simply an agreement to propose legislation that the HSUS and the UEP agree upon. But let’s say it passes, becoming the first federal law to protect chickens who are in the process of being exploited on their way to being murdered (and ignoring, for the moment, the obvious contradiction contained therein). Will it be a victory then?

Before exploring the answer to this question, I would like to say unequivocally that all of us at VINE Sanctuary are in complete agreement with the stance that total liberation as a goal is not necessarily contradicted by efforts to make the lives of existing animals better. We reject that as a false dichotomy when presented as a statement of unalterable fact.

Let me better explain this position as follows. Hammering out an agreement with the UEP seems, on the surface, to be exactly the same thing as sitting down with Himmler to discuss whether inmates at Auschwitz should have two slices of bread a day, or three; how many ounces of water they should have; and whether they should work twelve hours, or sixteen, every day.

However, there is one critical difference here between the struggle against human genocide and non-human genocide: the former is far more recent an invention than the latter. The former has barely had enough time to embed itself in the minds of humans, while the latter has been around for many thousands of years: longer than patriarchy, longer than systems of racial superiority, longer than any other codified system of oppression except, perhaps, the idea that land can be owned. And so, while it was reasonable for the armies of the world to assume that they could vanquish the particular human-oriented genocide known today as the Holocaust in their lifetimes, and indeed within a few years, it is completely unreasonable for anyone alive today to believe that systems of animal use will be eliminated any time soon.

Thus, the unreasonable becomes reasonable: we find ourselves in the position of having to consider the quality of the lives of those animals who will be enslaved and tormented for decades to come while we move toward our goal of total liberation. That was not the case with those who sought to free the inmates at Auschwitz and other concentration camps. And so, for this reason and this reason alone, we support measures that will improve the lives of non-human animals who are in the hands of abusive humans; again, so long as these measures actually improve their lives, and so long as our message, and our actions, toward total liberation are never compromised.

And that is the key. In order to ensure that such incremental improvements do not, in fact, end up as feel-good dead-end measures for the humans who enact them, at least two things must occur:

1.    Such improvements must never come with agreements to not seek further improvements, nor must the overall message of total liberation ever be diluted. In short, we must not get into bed with the oppressor.
2.    Such improvements must actually be improvements, in truth, as opposed to words on paper that are not translated into reality.

Given that the HSUS has gotten into bed with the oppressor by agreeing to stop seeking an end to cruelty using all methods available to it, and has eradicated the message of total liberation completely by agreeing it will never seek an end to caged hens, that alone renders this “victory” hollow indeed. Strike one.

How about point two: the question of whether or not this will truly lead to improvements in the lives of actual hens? Let us consider the possibility that this legislation will be passed in its current version (as opposed to being watered down from its already highly diluted state, as it most likely will be). Will 67 inches of space make a hen happier than 48 inches? Will a perch make her happier than not having a perch? Will having a handful of straw in her cage make her forget that her entire life will be conducted in a warehouse? My gut reaction is hell no, a reaction formed through over 12 years of observing freed layer hens who freak out when they are confined in any way. But let’s say sure. Sure it will. Should we then call this a victory?

Well, the problem is with enforcement, as it always is with agreements of this kind. Who will enforce this legislation? Who will measure the cages, who will see whether or not there are “enrichment” areas in each cage, and who will determine these “acceptable” levels of ammonia? Who will be sure that forced molts are not being used? The same USDA that is so seriously underfunded in relation to its current mandates that it can’t even monitor whether or not anti-US terrorists are poisoning our food supply? And this is something they care about – terrorists, that is. They sure as hell don’t care about animals, as their primary goal is to use them for profit, not to make their lives better.

So, it won’t be the USDA, and as far as I can see, the proposed legislation doesn’t call for the creation of another external monitoring body. In fact, this agreement was reached just at the same time as ag-gag legislation was cropping up in state after state; and while thus far it’s been rejected in state after state, does that matter? Do any of us think the multi-gazillion-dollar agriculture industry will stop trying to keep prying eyes out of their business? They’ve been fighting this sort of oversight from the beginning.

Is it possible, then, that the UEP agreed to this proposed legislation in part because it was counting upon at least some of these ag-gag bills being enacted (or, ideally for them, a similar bill enacted on the federal level), thus effectively rendering it impotent? Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but the timing seems awfully, well, interesting to me, given that undercover investigations are often the only thing keeping these people in anything remotely resembling a line.

Even if I knew I couldn’t count upon ag-gag bills being enacted, if I was the head of the UEP, I would be very happy to agree to something that would counter the mounting undercover footage of their operations, in part because I would know it would be represented as a victory by mainline AR “activists” who would spin the agreement as a victory for animals for their own reasons. I would also know that no one would be there to enforce the new legislation, in part because the government most likely wouldn’t be able to do it, one of the most powerful “AR” organizations has agreed not to do it, and (again ideally) undercover investigators will be far more heartily discouraged from doing it if ag-gag bills are passed. It’s a win-win for the animal exploiters, hands down.

For these reasons, I find it amazing that so few people have questioned why the UEP would have made this agreement in the first place. Conspiracy-theories aside, are we really foolish enough to believe that they have come to see the light and suddenly care about animals? Some would say that the UEP is simply responding to public outcry about the abuse of animals, and possibly this is true. But rather than give up a dime of its many billions of dollars – which the industry will have to do in order to live up to this legislation – it is more likely to me that the UEP has counted upon two things in reaching this agreement with the HSUS:

1.    That it will reap the profits of a public happy to believe that the animals from whom they steal eggs are being treated well, and
2.    the very people who should be their biggest enemy – namely, AR activists – will aid them in this public relations battle.

Industries that make many billions of dollars a year in large part by operating in total secrecy are not about to change as a result of backdoor deals of this sort. They believe, I am sure, that they have effectively neutralized the threat of AR activists by striking this agreement with the HSUS, and by noting the numbers of individuals and organizations who are supposedly animal advocates and who believe this is a victory for animals. How clever of them – how very, very clever.

As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.” We are the voice of the chickens. We have decided they are willing to submit to what amounts to an insane level of torment as long as they receive a handful of straw and 19 more inches of room in which to move? This is the sum total of our demand to the powers that be?

Hell no. That is why there is no “we” here. This is not, and never will be, enough, especially because these extra inches will almost certainly never be seen or experienced by those billions of hens. My bet is that the legislation will have basically no impact whatsoever upon the lives of these hens, even 15 years in the future, because no one will be there to make sure the actions called for by said legislation will be put into place. Strike two – and in this game, that’s all you get.

Unfortunately, however, just as the general public needs its illusions (such as the idea that “free range eggs” are magically produced in the absence of pain and misery), so too, it seems, do many AR activists. Are we happy to accept agribusiness’ assurances that improvements will be made? Are we willing to believe that of its own accord, a multi-billion dollar industry will decide to go along with this legislation, even though it has shown time and again it will get away with whatever it can, in the absence of external monitors? Yes, apparently we are.

This is not about advocacy versus abolitionism. This is about truth versus lies.

Now, as I believe strongly that knocking down the strategies of AR folks should not come without proposals for alternative actions, let me propose some now.

First, please do not call this a victory, and do not perceive this as a victory. We should not need the same kinds of illusions that allow other people to believe in the existence of things like “happy meat,” and in fact, such illusions will kill our movement if we allow them to fester.

Second, the message that all animal use must cease must be pushed now, harder than ever. With the big-guns of the AR movement out there agreeing to water down the message of total liberation, and in fact agreeing to stop monitoring some of the biggest abusers the world has ever known, someone has to stand up for animals, uncompromisingly and completely. For all humans to see members of non-human species as literally equivalent in terms of our “right” to live our lives according to the rules of our own societies, and equally entitled to live free of externally-imposed oppression, is the underlying premise of the goal of total animal liberation, and we must never forget or compromise that.

Third, let’s ramp up undercover work while we can. It’s excellent news that ag-gag bills have largely died in session, of course, but given the existence of AETA, we can’t pretend that other versions will not be introduced, at either the state level again or at the federal level, and we can’t pretend that they won’t be passed. Support the work of undercover investigators who are exposing the sickening truth behind the animal agriculture industries, with your money, your time, and even your own undercover work.

Fourth and finally, commit yourself to convincing at least one other person to go vegan — and go vegan yourself if you aren’t already. The wide-scale adoption of a plant-based diet will end the existence of animal agriculture once and for all.

In the words of Hillel: If not now, when?

26 comments to A Victory for Farm Animals?

  • Catherine Podojil
    Excellent, just excellent! Why weren’t you folks at the Vegetarian Summerfest this past week/weekend?

    Your work is invaluable. Thank you.

  • Wen
    As always, very well put.
  • Of course I agree with and am inspired by everything you say. “Victory” apparently means many different things to different people. As for me this deal with UEP isn’t even close.

    I too am a major skeptic on the unfolding of this proposed “law”… Um in umpteen years. I suspect these “new and improved” living conditions for hens, will go the same way as the unfulfilled pledge of larger pig cages made by Smithfield. They are masters in their tactics of delay and deceit.

    When will we learn that you cannot bargain with an oppressor? They will always make the rules suit their ends.

    I’m all in favor of your 4 step strategy. Thanks for saying what needed to be said.

  • bravebird
    Thank you for the kind words! Which Vegetarian Summerfest do you mean? Sadly, we don’t have the people-power to attend nearly as many events and conferences as we would like — we went to Maine’s VegFest last month, though, and it was excellent. In the future, that is one of our goals, to get out more. ;-)
  • bravebird
    Thank you, truly. :-)
  • bravebird
    Bea, thank you also, especially for reminding us of the Smithfield “bargain.” I think it’s incredibly useful to learn from the history of past strategic campaigns, both those that are specifically AR-related and those that are parts of other justice movements — and one thing we learn, time and again, is exactly what you have said: bargains with the oppressors just don’t work. It’s seductive to think they might work, but time and again activists try and fail…..
  • victoria figurelli
    The minute I fouind out about this agreement from Hsus I never saw this as a victory for the chickens it sickens me.I revolked my memebership with the Hsus they will never get another penny from me.
  • bravebird
    I wonder how many others feel the same way — it will be very very interesting to see how this pans out for them, for sure.
  • Steve
    Have you even spoken with the folks at HSUS about this issue? There are so many factual errors in this piece it’s hard to know where to begin. First, HSUS never called this a victory — you alleged it, but it’s not true. Second, it’s also not true that HSUS plans to stop advocating for an end to all cages. That HSUS believes this is the most they can get right now on federal legislation doesn’t mean they aren’t also continuing their other efforts on cage-free. Third, it’s also not true that HSUS plans to stop doing undercover investigations.

    And these are just three examples. Perhaps you shouldn’t blindly believe everything you read and instead talk directly with the vegans you’re comparing to Nazi sympathizers before posting so much false information.

  • bravebird
    I am searching for the original posting of theirs that called this a victory — however, they may well have changed the wording or deleted it entirely. This has happened in the past with their postings. I did indeed see that word clearly used. However, we can do away with an argument over that word, I think; it doesn’t change anything in substance.

    In response to your allegations that I’m blindly alleging random things (for what purpose, I have no idea), I will say that The New York Times reported that these concessions were being made by the HSUS — here is a link to the article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/business/egg-producers-and-humane-society-urging-federal-standard-on-hen-cages.html?_r=1

    In response to your charge that I am comparing the HSUS with Nazi sympathizers, I will suggest that you not allow emotion to cloud what I did, in fact say. Negotiating with a Nazi is not the same thing as sympathizing with one. Negotiating with the UEP is not the same thing as sympathizing with them. I have no idea, in fact, what anyone at the HSUS feels about UEP. I was simply and literally comparing negotiating with Nazis with negotiating with the UEP — given that the UEP has tortured and murdered far more living creatures than the Nazis ever dreamed of torturing and murdering, I find the comparison salient.

    However, I am fully aware that such comparisons are not palatable for those who view the torment of humans as more important or significant than the torment of non-humans, and that is where such things always break down. This is why I ask you to re-read that passage without the emotional impact of the word “Nazi” to see that I was talking about negotiations, not sympathies.

    I will end by saying that talking with HSUS representatives is something I’ve done before, with worrisome results. For example, we’ve been assured in the past by HSUS reps that rescued cockfighting roosters who were in their custody would be brought to safety, to our sanctuary, only to find out later, through other sources, that they were murdered instead — by the HSUS, as it so happens. Trust doesn’t exactly spring from such instances.

    If The New York Times is wrong in their portrayal of this backdoor deal, let the HSUS come out and explicitly state that they are not making these concessions. That burden of proof — that sort of explicit reassurance to the AR world that they are not voluntarily giving up any of their considerable power to make life better for animals — is on them.

  • bravebird
    I just wanted to clarify that it was Farm Sanctuary, in one of their alerts, that called this a victory, not the HSUS. HSUS used words like “landmark” and “groundbreaking.”
  • victoria figurelli
    Ia m a resedent of california alot of tme petitioning and money went into the passing or Prop 2 I voted and hoped that the passing of this would eliminate cages .
  • victoria figurelli
    Bravebird I always was under the impression that all the chickens snd roosters that HSUS rescued were brought to a Sanctuary .I have recenty found out also that they were all euthenized I could see If they were sick but none of these were I am sure they dont kill all the cats and dogs they rescue .I feel very sad to learn this And i very sad about the plight for chckens and roosters
  • bravebird
    They don’t kill all of the cats and dogs, but they definitely do kill many of them…

    And yeah, you are right about the sadness. It’s horrible enough to murder someone when there are no homes for them, but another kind of horrible when there ARE homes for them. It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around.

  • Your words are very important. We need to understand the pitfalls in our agreements with evil. We also need to understand the immense effort it takes to win even pitiful gains against this blind monster of cruelty and exploitation. I feel we need to support each other in this effort as well as criticize. We need to aid in the effort to pass this legislation intact and without provisions that generalize its agreement with the HS to other AR organizations.

    I believe the Humane So measures, if passed intact, are a big gain. While critical analysis is important, it is also important to allow people to feel pride in creating positive change. Unrelenting criticism of fellow travelers without acknowledgment of improvement is also cruel and self defeating. Movement people need to see that their efforts have some measure of success.

    The worst thing we can do is never to allow any feelings of hope and satisfaction to exist in the mass of vegans and vegetarians who are depressed daily by feelings of helplessness. Everything in the political world right now conspires to create the meme that there is nothing we can do, things won’t change. The oligarchy has bought all our networks of communication as well as the politicians and political system.

    This does not mean that your criticism is wrong or you should be silent. It just means you should also acknowledge the difficulty of what HS achieved and thank them. So I will see this as a great step forward and thank them. Because I know there are many groups in the big city basement. What HS will no longer do, another group will do.

    But I will also tell the HS what I expect.

    I expect the HS will work to keep big ag off their board. It is the tactic of the oligarchy to take over the boards of change orgs through nominating big funders. The need for money from these wealthy individuals causes organizations to accept them as board members and they bring their friends. They keep raising big money and eventually they determine who will staff the organization.

    I expect the Humane Society to continue publicizing the conditions for caged and so called “cage free” birds right up until this bill becomes law. I urge the Humane Society to INCREASE their efforts at exposure of factory conditions in order to prevent the dilution of this bill – to accept no compromises that disadvantage exposure efforts without increasing benefits to birds and enforcement opportunities.

    I expect the Humane Society to oppose any legislation that criminalize the exposure of conditions in these factories. I want every door open for public inspection by AR organizations as part of any legislation.

    Which reminds me, I believe I read that BO’s Adm cut funding for inspectors recently or congress did it in some budget bill. If you know anything about this, please tell.

    I will also congratulate the HS, when and if I ever see a final bill that contains all the above provisions you list in your post.

  • bravebird
    Hey!

    First of all, who is BO?

    Second of all, I hear you, and respect what you are saying. However, I don’t personally agree, so I can’t bring myself to thank the HSUS for this, regardless of how much time, energy, or money they spent upon it — that was their choice and, in my opinion, an egregiously flawed one at that. However, I assure you that far more people are thanking them than not, so they don’t need my thanks. ;-)

    Finally, I hear you about the need for us to feel hopeful from time to time. I do know that it can make for a far more pleasant existence. I just can’t see this as something to be hopeful about. Wish I did, but I don’t.

    But I am happy you do, truly. And again, you are not alone.

    Miriam

  • It is hard to see the forest through all the brambles —

    BO is Barack Obama who is, as we write, deeply cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits for his Wall St and K Street friends under the guise of compromise with republicans about the deficit they both created.

    At the same time, the Adm announced that they are not going to give Pakistan eight hundred million of foreign aid (which is one third of the money they give Pakistan annually). And all those big AG subsidies and dirty oil subsidies — no we would not want to touch that to plug the deficit or charge ranchers for use of public lands or…………..better to cut SS and medical care for the old and disabled.

    An attitude of Thankfulness is more necessary for your spirit than for the HS. Support that is given comes back 3 fold. But remember, I also want you to keep doing the analysis as you did in this post. It is important work. I am saying that you can point out the danger and still support fellow workers for improving significantly the lives of millions of animals. They deserve that lust as you do for your work. Many paths to the Goal.

    The point is, we are going to need the people and attacking without balance our own organizations…well soon we will be all alone with our purity and without any money to care for our own animals.

    The people need Hope that they can win in order to organize.

    Obama just made promises without any proof he could deliver and people marched over Hillary’s truth-telling to elect Hope.

  • just not “lust” — geez i need to get out into the garden
  • We need truth before hope becomes more than a sentimental journey, and it’s Brad Miller at Humane Farming Association who is telling the truth about the egg deal.It’s a “terrible, terrible deal for farm animals,” Brad says.” And up until now, HSUS was condemning AHA for being co-opted and going along with the industry on these exact same issues” (‘Colony’, cages, time frame, etc.)

    The central provision of this deal would not even go into effect for another 18 years, if ever, Brad says, but of course, the industry gets what it wants right away. More at http://www.friendsofanimals.org on FoA’s blog.

    Priscilla Feral
    President
    Friends of Animals

  • bravebird
    Greenconsciousness, I agree that any time is a good time to get out into the garden. :-)

    However, I just can’t possibly agree with your perspective on either HSUS or this particular secret deal. Since you brought him up, I will add that wasn’t taken in by Obama either, not from the very beginning, just as I am not taken in by HSUS. I voted for Obama only to keep McCain and Palin out of office; he was always (to me) a smiling, well-spoken, shiny face for corporate America. And of course he began going back on his promises about 5 minutes into office, starting (as I remember) with his support of DOMA, which he’d vowed to oppose on the campaign trail.

    I fear (and I’m not saying this is the case with you, but I do know it’s the case with plenty of folks) that Pacelle’s charisma and physical appearance have played a monumental role in how easily so many AR people are snowed under by HSUS these days, just as I believe these things played a role in how easily most people on the left were sucked in by Obama (leaving out some of the other reasons that I think “right-minded” lefties were hot for him).

    I do not believe for a moment that this deal will have any positive effect whatsoever on the lives of billions of hens. I do believe it will line the pockets of HSUS execs even more than they are already lined. So thanking them for this is unthinkable to me.

    Priscilla, I do thank you, however, for the link to your blog. Excellent, on-point comments as usual.

  • Marion Churchill
    This mandate should be on all cartons now:

    4. mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens” or “eggs from cage free hens;”

  • Cheryl Cross
    We need your voice. I also attended Vegetarian Summerfest. It is sponsored by the North American Vegetarian Society in July at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. It is a five day conference with renown speakers and authors covering all things vegetarian. Health, food, activism, film, etc. About six hundred attended this year, check out the web site!
  • bravebird
    YES — the one in Johnstown! Thank you, I should have googled that days ago — I know Oohmahnee used to attend when they were in existence — I’ve heard it is an excellent event. Will definitely try to make it next year!
  • bravebird
    Ideally, along with explanations of just what those terms mean — plenty of people think cage free means hens are roaming about hillsides somewhere….
  • bravebird
    From Linda Brink at Sunnyskies Bird and Animal Sanctuary:

    *And so, at this point, most all of us are now aware of the agreement
    between United Egg Producers and the HSUS to support a mutually
    acceptable federal legislation proposal, one which would provide, among
    other things, a national standard of welfare for this nation’s approximately
    280 million egg-laying hens. Anyone aware of the truly indescribable
    suffering imposed upon these hens will immediately recognize, reading the
    legislation, that this is, indeed, an empty and indifferent proposal; empty
    of measureable improvement in the torturous conditions that now exist for
    these hens, and thus, a proposal utterly indifferent to their suffering. As
    Karen Davis has so aptly put things, this proposed legislation is in fact,
    “a huge step backward”.*

    * *

    *And sitting here, thinking on this, I can’t help but reflect: no Karen,
    it’s even worse. It’s a huge step backward, and over the cliff’s edge. At a
    time in the History of Man when we are, more than ever, finally tuning in to
    the twisted reality of our actions in regard to other living creatures, when
    we are actually confronted with undeniable truths in the heart-wrenching
    videos, in the scientific evidence proving that animal-part-eating humans
    are consuming chemically saturated, diseased, suffering creatures trapped in
    a state of prolonged, anguished, unimaginably painful, dying–in light of
    all these things, UEP and the HSUS come up with: this? At a time when the
    consequences of factory farming, other than those of pure pain and
    suffering, are being measured in contaminated ground water, soil,
    atmosphere, when every aspect of the industry is being viewed as simply,
    unsustainable, United Egg Producers and the Humane Society smile and wring
    their greedy hands over: this?*

    * *

    *This is not, of course, about hens at all–to UEP and HSUS. It’s about a
    division of what is, in fact, a money pie. It’s a greasing of the axel to
    insure the wheels and gears will continuously turn–without
    discouragement. Without possible derailment. This proposal is not, by any
    possible definition, a recognition of what needs to be done to make things
    better for the hens, it’s a recognition of what needs to be done TO
    PREVENTsignificant change being mandated, to make things better for
    the hens.
    Buried beneath cries of victory and self-satisfied congratulation, lost
    beneath the celebration–there will you find the truth of this matter. The
    poor, broken feathered bodies, severed combs, prolapsed cloacae, missing
    toes, breaking bones. The infection, the rotting toes, the missing legs,
    missing wings, missing eyes, missing beaks, dying gasps–the filth, the
    despair, the darkness, the unrelenting suffering, the utterly appalling gut
    wrenching torture that is their life–this, the reality, all lost beneath
    the thunder of self-applause. At a time when the survival message, for
    humans, is so very crystal clear: turn to alternative protein sources or,
    in time, forfeit the earth–from UEP and HSUS comes this ridiculous, self
    centered, profit fueled, pitiful, proposal for federal legislation.*

    * *

    *The UEP, well–they’re just doing what they’ve always done: follow the
    money trail. They have never pretended to care about the hens’ quality of
    life. But I ask you: how does Wayne Pacelle meet his own eyes in the
    mirror? How do movers within the HSUS sleep at night? I wonder about this;
    truly, I do. I understand, they are not like me. I understand, they are
    not like us. I have come to understand, they are just like, them. They say
    one thing, but do another. They wear, many disguises. They are all about
    big business, at any cost, any cost, and that business has very little to do
    with the word: humane. They take donations for things they do not do, for
    inhumane actions. They are not attempting to help the 280 million living,
    sentient individuals trapped in the nightmare of the egg producing
    industry. They are, instead, in the bigger picture, very intentionally
    attempting to destroy the few fragile life lines available to help those
    very hens. They are, instead, doing them harm. They are indeed, sleeping
    with the enemy. They are not attempting to inspire a conscience in the
    great, vast, apathetic population of this country; they are, instead,
    attempting to appease that conscience, to quiet dissent, by implying:
    humane standards are in place. When, clearly, they are not.*

    * *

    *It takes a lot to balance the selling out of 280 million individuals, that
    number being refreshed on approximately a yearly basis, by yet another 280
    million individuals, for at least the next 18 years. We are talking, my
    friends, about the selling out of 50,400,000,000 living, feeling,
    individuals; the dooming of well over fifty billion birds, to a life of
    indescribable agony. And by not fighting for them, for significant,
    appreciable change, for cage-free living, you are, indeed, truly dooming
    them. By not even suggesting the notion, why eat eggs at all? you are going
    forward with bloodied hands.*

    *.*

    *You need to change your name, HSUS. If you must keep the letters, be
    honest, just this one time, and call yourself, The Harm Society of the
    United States. Because, that is what you bring: harm. Steps backward,
    backward and over the cliff’s edge. With no feathers to break the
    plunge. With no wings, to soar. *

    * *

    *Linda Brink*

    *Director, Sunnyskies Bird & Animal Sanctuary*

    *Warwick, NY*

    *http://sunnyskiesbirdsanctuary.org*

  • victoria figurelli
    WELL SAID.
    Thank you, Linda

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