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Tears of Joy on 2015

Story ID:10220
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various California usa
Person:Mark Bittman
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At my age- I wasn’t even awake to usher in the new year. But it has started very
well for me indeed. After liturgy, Michael offered to take me to Marc’s to load up
on Vegan Boca Burgers on sale. I was so grateful. I had been out the other day in my car,
and I was afflicted by sun blindness- which makes me realize that my days of
driving will soon come to an end. I was fearful that I would cause an accident -
so I thanked God for sending this wonderful help for me today.

My older sister is the better driver, but she said that I am lucky living near my
church and some stores equally close by. Ah, but I said – how am I going to get
the bales of wood shavings and litter I need for my cats? How am I going to
get the cases of cat food and dry food for my cats? How am I going to get
the bags of bird seed for the snow birds of Ohio? She had no reply.

But my tears of joy were occasioned by reading Mark Bittman’s New York Times’
post- HENS, UNBOUND. I am not a crying person usually, but recalling all these
years since probably the 50’s when millions and millions of chickens were being
tortured – yes, tortured in battery cages from hell for all their lives, Bittman writes
that finally- for some millions of them- California’s Prop 2 is taking effect today.
Though it will only affect California –I still cried tears of joy for the chickens who
will benefit. I would love to see even ONE finally spread her wings!

Passed by a landslide in 2008 –six years were given to animal farmers to convert
to more humane conditions. Not only will egg-laying hens not be kept in “battery”
cages which even prevent them from spreading their wings, but baby calves or
mother sows in crates so small that they can’t even turn around will be given more
freedom of movement as well. I will never understand how we -as supposedly a “humane”
nation could allow this cruelty to persist, and sadly it will continue in all the other
states which have them except for compassionate California.

And kudos to then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who signed into law in 2010
a bill that extended these protections to out-of-state birds. You can no longer sell
eggs to California if the hens were kept in extreme confinement. Isn’t this beautiful
and compassionate? I think so, and my eyes welled up again.

I was even disillusioned by learning some years ago that some monks in Georgia
were using battery cages. If anybody should be compassionate, I thought religious
people would be. Of course, that was not the case here, and they justified their use of
battery cages and cruel moulting by saying they were following the prescriptions
of the egg industry. Wow, what a lame excuse.

Bittman isn’t sure how limiting confinement for hens will play out. Will larger cages
be built or will hens be kept in groups that meet the new minimum area requirement
per bird? Whatever the resolution, there is also more good news. Bittman writes that
with this measure, the table is set for similar action in states all over the country.

Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States agrees, and writes that they are
working on passing anti-confinement laws in 10 states now, and that at least three
other states are to take up similar legislation in 2015.

All I can say is – God bless all these humane and compassionate people -whether or
not they see farm animals as living beings who have souls (confirmed by Pope John Paul II).
But certainly they have basic needs like our own. We have been remiss in the stewardship
God has given us to care for them. Let us hope that in the years to come, we will respond
in more compassionate ways.

Bittman has much more to say in his post, but for me I have read enough to make the
start of 2015 a happy one. Lucky the people of compassion who will be able to go to a
farm and see these improvements. Maybe, they may seem small, but if a battery chicken
can spread her wings, if a gestational mother sow can get up and move around, and if
a crated veal calf can finally turn around and even perhaps take some steps- it seems
to me that we are on the road to long overdue compassionate treatment of farm animals.

And thank you vegetarians and vegans- because certainly your diet lifestyle is a blessing
for the animals. No animal has to live in barbaric conditions or die for you.