All Creatures Great and Small


I want to tell you about a presentation I attended about the Humane Society of the United States and their new program, All Creatures Great and Small.  I tried once to write this with lots of facts and figures and another time with a number of quotes and then I decided just to remind you of the responsibility you humans have to all living things.  It is up to you to set the example for your children to follow, and I also think that when it comes to animals that you eat for food, many of you are not aware of what is going on.

Once upon a time, you humans grew your own food on your own land, which also meant that you raised a sheep or a few cattle or chickens or had a pig that was being fattened up for the dinner table. Some of those animals were used for food and some became pets. They were seen every day so family members always knew how they were being treated.

Today when you buy a chicken cut up into parts or order a pork chop off the menu, you are relying on the producers of that meat to give you a product that is fresh and tasty. Do you know what the living conditions are on some farms today? Does it matter to you how that chicken or pig was raised and then slaughtered? I think it should.  The way animals are kept on farms is far different from what you probably remember or what you expect.

In the last 30 -40 years, there has been a drive away from responsible animal husbandry on family farms to huge warehouse factories where animals are mistreated.

According to Christine Gutleben, Director of the HSUS Animals and Religion Program, In the United States alone, almost 280 million egg-laying hens spend their lives in wire cases no bigger than a piece of 8 X 11 notebook paper and never have their feet touch the ground.  They never get to scratch the ground because their feet never touch the ground. They cant perch or dust bathe, spread their wings or even walk.  Think of taking a child to a petting farm and seeing the cute little yellow chicks, or reading a book to a toddler with chicks and ducks and lambs and calves that make sounds; cheep, cheep, quack, quack, baa, baa , and moo, moo. Then imagine taking a child to a factory farm of chickens living in deplorable conditions. How do you reconcile the two images?

During a recent presentation at Yoga in Daily Life, Gutleben talked about the relationship between humans and the animals they rely on for food and other uses. As stewards and caretakers, we have a responsibility towards animals and through this program {Animals & Religion} we are encouraging people of all faiths to align their principles with their daily lives, said Gutleben.  The new program at the Humane Society is an appeal to religious communities to take action by advocating more humane food choices.

Concern for animal welfare is a longstanding tradition in many religious communities; the HSUS web site has a listing of the denominations in the United States who have adopted official statements on animal welfare and animal protection.

Each one of you can help prevent animals from suffering in factory farms by speaking out against them and by choosing not to buy products from factory farms where crating and other cruel practices exist. In April 2008, the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Protection released the results of a two-and-a-half year study that supports a phase out of common factory farming practices such as the use of gestation crates, farrowing crates, tethering, forced feeding, tail docking and body altering procedures that cause pain
In 2007, Oregon became the first state to ban gestation crates through its state legislature. A number of other states are considering similar bills.

Please take a few minutes to review the information posted on the site by clicking on Animals and Religion. Please become an advocate for the proper treatment of food animals and buy responsibly.

Keep your tail high and your feet dry.
Love, Daisy Mae