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Videotaping Farm Animal Abuse

Story ID:4864
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Local History
Location:various Ohio USA
Year:2009
Person:"Pete"
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I had no idea when I received an e-mail notification from Humane Farming
that I should make time to view HBO's "Death on a Factory Farm" documentary
that this factory farm was in northeast Ohio. But a post on CARE 2 written
by Drew Wilson today gave us this pertinent information and more in this
regard. It will air on Monday night at 10 PM (EST).

In 2006 "Pete" got employment with the Wiles Hog Factory Farm in NE Ohio.
A 20-something vegan and animal activist, he went undercover to videotape
the cruelty. Undercover video footage is a great tool which allows us to see
what really goes on daily in the factory farms and slaughterhouses which
are purposely kept far from public view. I admire so much people like "Pete"
who are placed in a terrible position having to view and videotape this daily
and remain passive -not allowed to intervene and stop the cruelty.

Most reasonable people would be shocked to see how our farm animals are
systematically mistreated in the meat, dairy, and egg industry. I admire
Paul McCartney, and in this regard, he once said "If slaughterhouses
had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian." I concur. I think the
numbers of especially younger people who are becoming aware of farm animal
cruelty are asking themselves - do I really want to eat meat anymore? And some
are answering in the negative.

I'm a realist though because after 30 years trying to convince my family to give
up meat- it was largely a wasted effort. However, at this point I am praying for
two things - first is that these horrible CAFOs (Confined Animal Farm
Operations) will disappear. If they were allowed to begin during the Reagon
administration - somehow hopefully, they will be phased out during the Obama
years. Difficult - you bet. It's easier to allow corporations to move forward on
money-making CAFOs then to tell them they need to be disbanded. I feel sorry
for any president who may want these CAFOs to disappear. He will feel the ire of
these fat corporations who are making money on these cruel CAFOs.

And secondly, if people must eat meat, I hope that they will be concerned about
not only how they are raised but how they are slaughtered. Anyone who hasn't
read "Slaughterhouse" by Gail Eisnitz and will do so- will probably be as horrified
as most of us who have.

"Pete's" videotape evidence led to a rare prosecution and trial for animal
cruelty. Most states, and Ohio included, have very lax animal welfare laws.
That the prosecutor was able to bring charges against the Wiles Hog Farm
was a small miracle in itself- probably largely due to the explicit video footage
that at least one Cleveland TV station showed in part. I imagine that the
courts really had no choice but to move forward on this cruelty. I hope the
documentary will bring this out as well as having a very unsympathetic judge
sitting in on this case.

The prosecutor did all that he could and he won the cruelty case. But what
happened at the sentencing phase was in my estimation truly "farm country"
injustice and I was ashamed of the judge and of our weak Ohio laws.

I hope those of you who get HBO will watch on Monday at 10 PM. If you don't
have cable and are interested, you can watch some clips of this on the YouTube.