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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

At Which Point I Reconsider Animal Rights...

Misplaced Trust

Daily Yonder

Speaking of the USDA, the New York Times has a story about the agency’s U. S. Meat Animal Research Center, a mad-scientist-sounding program aimed at helping meat producers (read: corporate farms) make more money, doing some things that should repulse even the most unapologetic meat eaters (like me). I’m just going to give you a couple paragraphs from the story to set the scene.

At a remote research center on the Nebraska plains, scientists are using surgery and breeding techniques to re-engineer the farm animal to fit the needs of the 21st-century meat industry. The potential benefits are huge: animals that produce more offspring, yield more meat and cost less to raise.

There are, however, some complications.

Pigs are having many more piglets — up to 14, instead of the usual eight — but hundreds of those newborns, too frail or crowded to move, are being crushed each year when their mothers roll over. Cows, which normally bear one calf at a time, have been retooled to have twins and triplets, which often emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers that even meat producers have been repulsed.

Then there are the lambs. In an effort to develop “easy care” sheep that can survive without costly shelters or shepherds, ewes are giving birth, unaided, in open fields where newborns are killed by predators, harsh weather and starvation.


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