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May 07, 2020 - National Review

The Human Cost of 'Culling' Livestock and 'Depopulating' Farms

The Human Cost of 'Culling' Livestock and 'Depopulating' Farms
Cows Awating Their FateFile Photo / © Photabulous!

It’s not always clear whether industry representatives regret the waste of life or just a waste of food.

Unfolding this month, in the background of the pandemic, is a “depopulation” of livestock farms — another surreal new term of the crisis to add to our list. It’s as detached and colorless a word as the industry could find for gassing, suffocating, or otherwise doing in the millions of animals whose appointments at the abattoir have been canceled by coronavirus outbreaks and who therefore, in the refrain of news coverage, have “nowhere to go.”

The system has its own unbending schedules and logic. No sheltering in place for factory-farmed pigs, cows, chickens, and other creatures when yet more troubles appear. When they can’t die on a kill line, because a slaughterhouse has closed, that just means they have to die somewhere else to get out of the way — even if, as in this case, they’re all bound for landfills, blast furnaces, or burial pits.

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