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7/14/2005

Death Camps

I don’t really know how to begin this particular piece so I guess I’ll jest swing into the saddle an’ put the spurts to it!  
 
If you’ve read much of this ol’ Cowboy Blog you know that I am pretty vocal about the dead end road that is known as Agribusiness. I believe that the vitality that was once rural America is something that we should be striving to regain. Small farms and ranches are jest naturally better stewards of the land. That's Agriculture, and culture is the important part of the word.  
 
Recently, I became aware of the practices of what I call a hog factory. I guess I’ve been naïve cuz I was completely shocked and overwhelmed by what I learned. I’ve always known that no good could come from the modern confinement operations for hogs and chickens, but I guess I couldn’t even imagine the houses of torture that are in operation today. 
 
Baby pigs are weighed at a certain age. They must reach a target weight. As I understand it they might be given a reprieve initially, but if they don’t reach that target weight with their brothers and sisters they are killed. Workers become used to knocking the little ones in the head or shooting them. For the most part they are healthy animals. They are just the runts of the litters. On the farm runts eventually grow out to normal size. Factories don’t have time for runts. Thousands of animals die needlessly each year.  
 
The mothers, or sows, are nothing more than production machinery. They are held in very small stalls that allow very little movement. They can reach water and feed without movement and are bathed in a mist of water to comfort them. These animals develop sores on their bodies that become filled with pus. I have heard stories of pus squirting across the room as the sore breaks open from some form of movement or contact.  
 
Animals go insane. They become paralyzed from their inactivity. Sometimes they are shot in their stalls and drug out to the dead pile. One recent animal was shot seven times before it stopped breathing.  
 
Death and crippling accidents are a part of farm and ranch life. We’ve all seen more than we would care to, but the horrors of confinement operations far exceed anything found on any family farm or ranch in the country. How can we as responsible consumers continue to support these kinds of operations? Do you really want your food supply to come from “Death Camp” style operations? Its all about profit and greed. Crank out the numbers as fast as you can. Does money really mean that much to us? These are LIVING creatures! 
 
The cattle industry has its problems, but nothing in comparison. I hope it never comes to that. Agriculture verses Agribusiness: Which do you choose? 
 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 
 

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