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Legal / Regulatory

May 19, 2020 - Common Dreams

Rather Than Cull Millions of Livestock, Let’s End Animal Agriculture

Rather Than Cull Millions of Livestock, Let’s End Animal Agriculture
Cows Waiting to DieFile Photo / © Photabulous!

In the long term, we must not waste this opportunity to start mending our broken relationship with animals. This begins with the end of factory farming and the redirection of all government relief and future subsidies towards plant-based agriculture and food processing.

As the U.S. economy reels from the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s meat producers are facing a logistical disaster. Social distancing measures have forced restaurants and industrial food service providers to stall their operations, and meatpacking facilities across the country have shuttered or reduced capacity. With nowhere to send their chickens, pigs, and cows, farmers have been overwhelmed by a growing glut of animals within their crowded production facilities. Now, facing pressure to “depopulate,” they have begun to slaughter their livestock populations by the millions.

The situation is ghastly—on this point, farmers, consumers, CEOs, and animal rights activists can all agree. The Food and Environment Reporting Network has described it as “an orgy of waste that turns the stomachs of even the most pragmatic.” But the pandemic provides an opportunity to more deeply interrogate the structural injustice of this system. It is animal agriculture that is wrong, not simply the logistical phenomena that have caused mass culling. As we negotiate a return to normalcy, we must critically examine and dismantle the country’s unsustainable and unethical meat production pipeline.

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