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Different Opinions

Story ID:3694
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Netley Manitoba Canada
Year:2008
Person:Martha Rosenberg
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I went to CBN this morning because I wanted to find Pat Robertson's talk
on the concern that too much corn is being diverted for ethanol to the
detriment of our food needs. I wanted to comment on this article and ask
him why he is not also advocating eating less meat because too much of our
grain reserves are used this way. Less grain to the cattle means more
grain for our food needs and the needs of the starving poor of the world.

I didn't find that segment, but I doubt that he and others of his ilk will ever
consider this an option. I hope that I am wrong and that many meat eaters
are sincerely trying to cut back for the good of the earth and all its inhabitants.
I do have a marvelous article called "Meat-guzzlers." The title even is
provocative and original. I think I should send it to him though I already
know that most of us are so entrenched in our ways that nothing will change
our thinking.

I always read anything that Martha Rosenberg (a cartoonist for the Evanston
Roundtable) writes. Somehow I never imagined that a cartoonist would be so
sensitive and compassionate. Though maybe Schultz of Peanut fame was one
such in a humanistic way. However, Martha's compassion extends to the animals
which she reveals not in her cartoons, but in her writing. Her recent article:
"Another Byproduct of Factory Farming: Livestock Incinerating Fires."

She starts her article with her belief that one of the worst parts of being
incarcerated for a prisoner is the fear that should a fire break out, the guards
probably won't risk their lives to save you. And she rhetorically asks - Why
would they? If your life had any value, you wouldn't be locked up in the first
place.

I don't think that she really believes this because I see her as such a
compassionate person. I think it was her way of making a point which is --
10,000 pigs perished in factory farm fires in Canada and Indiana in the past
month. If these poor animals were truly valued as living, breathing beings
they shouldn't have been locked up in "prison" factory farms in the first place.

In the Netley Hutterite Colony in Manitoba, Canada 8,700 pigs were burned
alive on April 2. The pigs were "cared for" by only six-full-time and two or three
part-time employees. They were housed together in a 900 by 80 foot barn.
(Obviously, profits are huge requiring so little manpower and so little space
to care for so many, many pigs. But CARE is hardly the correct word to use for
this blatant abuse. These poor sentient creatures "piled" together in a huge
windowless factory never seeing the sun or breathing in fresh air or being able
to move around in any meaningful way-- how can the words CARED FOR apply?

There were efforts made to stop the fire by cutting a path through the barn
with a bulldozer. It failed because it got hung up on the factory farming style
manure pits beneath the stalls. How would we like to breathe in our urine and
fecal waste products day in and day out?

"At one point we heard a big squeal and it was ear-shattering," said Tm Hofer,
a retired hog worker, with tears in his eyes." Only one big squeal? I imagine
there were many, many more. And so attests Markus Hofer, a teacher who
witnessed the conflagration. "You could hear them scream."

Martha observed: "The Netley fire is not the first factory farm fire at a Hutterite
Colony whose members follow teachings of Jakob Hutter in sharing communal
goods and observing pacifism at least toward humans. In the past two years,
fires at Vermillion Farms Colony and Rainbow Colony, both also near Winnipeg,
have incinerated 3,000 and 5,500 pigs, respectively.

As for the US, Indiana firefighters were called to Cardinal Farms Sow Farm
55 miles northwest of Indianapolis. There 2,500 pigs were burned alive as
fire engulfed a hog farrowing and nursery barn. The facility, the largest farrow
hog producer which produces 100,000 hogs annually was not cited for cruelty
to animals. It is no wonder. I received a flyer from Animal Advocate which
profiled the states re animal cruelty laws. Fifteen states were colored black
indicating having the WORST ANIMAL CRUELTY LAWS. Among them were
Indiana, Texas, Kentucky, the Dakotas, Idaho, Montana, and Hawaii. I have
to go to a map identifying the other states. Shame on me a former teacher!

The Indiana fire was not the first fire killing hogs. Hundreds were burned
alive on a farm in White County, IN near Otterbein. Last June-- 50 firefighters
battled yet another lethal hog farm fire near Flora, IN in the very same building
where 3,300 hogs perished in a fire seven years earlier. Obviously, we just
don't learn from our mistakes. It is also obvious too that for many of us, pig
lives are not all that important.

Until I read Martha's account I wasn't aware of these horrible fires which
took so many pig lives in this cruel way. I know that Isaac Beshevi, writer
laureate, were he still alive would have also written about this as well. As
a young Jewish boy in Poland, he heard his neighbors killing a live screaming
pig. He vowed then and there to become a vegetarian even though most
Jews do not eat pig meat. Were that more people emulated his compassion.

P.S. I knew I wouldn't be happy without finding the dispositions of ALL the states per the Animal Legal Defense Fund newsletter - The Animals' Advocate. So here they are - The Best,The Worst, and The Average.

THE BEST: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

THE WORST: Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, S.Dakota, N. Dakota, Indiana, Kentucky, Hawaii, Mississippi,
Arkansas, and Alaska.

THE AVERAGE: Nevada, Arizona, Nebraska, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, S.Carolina, N. Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Iowa, Missouri, and Maryland.