5@5 - What consumers can do to improve the lives of farm animals
July 13th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Editor's Note: Matthew Prescott is food policy director for The Humane Society of the United States.

As food policy director for The Humane Society of the United States,  I have the privilege of working with people all over the country taking steps to help farm animals every day. Fortunately for the animals, one needn’t be a full time advocate to help make things better for pigs, chickens, cows and other farm animals. Here are five small ways to make a big impact toward building a more humane food system.

Five Easy Things You (Yes, You!) Can Do To Help Farm Animals: Matthew Prescott

1. Change your diet
Many Americans eat way too much meat, though over the past few years, that amount has started to drop. Most of us know that eating large amounts of meat is bad for our health and the environment. It’s also bad for farm animals, the vast majority of whom suffer immensely on industrialized factory farms where they’re treated more like machines than animals.

If each American simply chose to go meat-free just one day a week, more than a billion fewer chickens, pigs and other farm animals would be caught up in the factory farming system each year. The Humane Society of the United States advocates an approach of reducing the amount of animal products in your diet, replacing animal products with plant-based options and refining your choices by being a conscious consumer and seeking products with a higher welfare standard.

As more people de-emphasize meat in their diet, it’s no surprise to see Meatless Monday programs taking root in households, schools, hospitals and restaurants. Meatless Mondays , a popular international movement that promoted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, offers a great opportunity to celebrate a fresh take on eating in a way that people can feel good about.

 2. Ask your legislators to support farm animal welfare reforms
Farm animals are often unprotected from everyday factory farming abuses, such as being locked in cages in which they can barely move an inch their whole lives.  There are no federal laws that protect animals on farms and only a few state laws that do. Many states even have laws that exempt common agricultural practices from animal welfare statutes - regardless of how abusive they are.

Right now, there are bills pending in Congress (H.R. 3798 and S. 3239) that would offer some protection to hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens. Amazingly, in an all-too-rare case of adversaries finding common ground, most animal protection groups and most egg producers jointly support the legislation. But other factory farming industries - like the industrial pork and beef industry - have voiced opposition.

 3. Support the movement to let pigs turn around
Last month, Eatocracy drew attention  to the misery of pig “gestation crates” - tiny cages that virtually immobilize breeding pigs. These cages are so small, the animals locked inside spend basically their entire lives unable even to turn around. Of all the hideous things that happen to farm animals, this is among the worst.

Fortunately, major food companies that purchase vast quantities of pork are taking a stand against this abuse. Since February, The HSUS has helped leading food companies announce policies that will require their pork suppliers to give pigs some freedom of movement and socialization. Taking this stance are some heavyweights in the food industry, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Kroger, Safeway, Denny’s, Sodexo, Oscar Mayer, Kraft Foods, Sonic, Cracker Barrel, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and Baja Fresh.

Despite all of this, there are some major pork producers that refuse to budge, and continue defending lifelong immobilization. You can help pigs today by using resources on our site to take action and let your voice be heard.

4. Encourage food businesses to switch to more humane products
Each time you go out to eat or buy groceries, ask about more humane options. Grabbing some coffee? See if there’s soy cream available. As a customer, you deserve to know the source of your food, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Next time you are at your favorite restaurant, ask if the pork comes from factory farms that confine pigs in gestation crates, and if they do, explain why this concerns you. If they don’t have a veggie burger, ask why not. Every time you ask these questions, it plants a seed that can grow into significant change.

5. Get social! Let your online friends know you care
 The Internet has made helping animals easy. With just the click of a mouse – a simple “Share” or “Like” or tweet, for example – you can help reach vast audiences with messages of compassion for farm animals.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

Posted by:
Filed under: 5@5 • Animal Rights • Business and Farming News • Farmers with Issues • Farms • Food Politics • Think

soundoff (555 Responses)

    HSUS is a scam. They take your money and keep 90% and only use about 10% for helping animals . None of it goes to your local shelters like their ads say.

    July 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Mike

      Ok so you think the HSUS is a sham. Don't you still think that animals should be treated humanely?

      July 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • rancher

      Almost there, HSUS keeps over 99%, less than 1% is used for animals. They are under investigation in at least 12 states. They are being sued on multiple accounts. In South Dakota, they illegally removed dogs from a reputable breeder and then they treated the animals so poorly that many of them died at the hands of the HSUS.

      July 14, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  2. Dale N.M.

    The best thing we can do to help farm animals there is one thing start eating bleeding heart environmentalists

    July 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  3. allenwoll

    The day is NOT that far off when meat products will be synthesized in industrial plants rather than obtained from living creatures - That last practice being pretty awful if you bother to actually face up to it ! ! ! .

    I know that sounds fantastic - but how would you like the task of explaining the details of your life today to some folks living in, say, 1875 ? ? ? . You would be put away into the nearest Funny Farm ! ! !

    July 13, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  4. Computed

    "What you can do to help farm animals"

    Eat 'em!

    July 13, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  5. Margaret Lisi

    In many states, most farms are family owned, or "corporate" in that they formed a family corporation to protect them from onerous death taxes. Farming is hard work, and producers are not just under appreciated but ignored. However, without farmers there would be no food, clothing, shelter or, increasingly, fuel. Want to do the best for yourself and your family? Become an educated consumer. Know where your food comes from, shop locally and eat seasonally. Then get to know...REALLY KNOW...more about agriculture. Then you have the tools to make informed decisions about what you put in your body and your environment. One American farmer feeds more than 122 people. They live and raise their children where they work and do what they do because they love it. And they know healthy, happy animals are stronger and more productive. I know these things because I'm a city girl who fell in love with farming, and was open to learning every side of this story. Give it a try.

    July 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Real Animal Activists

      Thank you! Well stated!

      July 13, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Stop the Hatred

      Work Union for a Better America

      STOP the Obama-Pelosi War against Medical Marijuana Patients –

      Support UFCW Local 770


      Move to Schedule 2 – thank you.

      July 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • jim

      "One American farmer feeds more than 122 people"

      That is the myth the agricultural industry wants you to believe. One farmer may live on a lot that produces enough of one commodity to feed many (e.g. 122) people. But what you don't realize is that modern farming uses a lot of off farm inputs like diesel, fertilizer, computers, bio-engineered seeds, and of course the entire transportation and handling system to move the product from the farm to the table. The truck driver, the computer scientist and chemist are all part of this value chain that enables the farmer to survive. Farmers need those other people as much as we need farmers to grow crops and raise animals. Without other sectors of the economy, farming as we know it today would not exist.

      July 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Fail. Those are the people that develop the seeds and fertilizers. Farmer brown is a customer of theirs, and they him. Mr. Brown lacks Beaker in his tractor cab.

        July 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
      • Margaret Lisi

        I said one farmer feeds 122 people. The supply chain you outline employs one in 22 Americans. Truckers, manufacturers, scientists, grocers, box makers....all are jobs provided by agriculture. It remains the economic backbone of many U.S. States and supplies food for the world. Someone else said it in this thread...don't complain about agriculture with your mouth full. Fill your brain with accurate information and make your own decisions instead.

        July 14, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  6. ammauceri

    This is awesome! Animals deserve so much better than life on a factory farm. Thanks for posting, CNN.

    July 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  7. Mr.Chef Man

    Om nOm nOm NOm NOm Nom,pass the bacon cheese burger please.With a side of chicken wings/

    July 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      And gizzards! OOOOMMM NOM NOM NOM!!!!

      July 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  8. Derek James

    While I will freely continue to eat meat, I do advocate for the humane treatment of animals–whether they're bred for the market or not. There is absolutely no reason why the animals we consume must be made to suffer. We should be thankful for their life and treat them accordingly.

    July 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  9. Real Animal Activists

    Seriously? You folks think this guy is an expert? My bet his brow never sweats feeding and watering livestock. This country needs to be grateful to the farmers and ranchers who work hard every day to feed you at a relatively low cost. This country has not been hungry in a very long time. Why don't all of you get out there and figure out a way to produce just SOME of your own food. You might actually learn something valuable.

    July 13, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Paul Froehlich

      There are plenty of people who raise much of our food – such as me, though we mostly eat vegetables and grains – who agree that many animals are raised today in inhumane conditions.(Read "Mad Cowbow" by Howard F. Lyman to get a sense of the twisted and cruel treatment many animals are given in animal "factory farms." As well as the unhealthy meat that too often results.) And, whether or not you eat meat, or raise your own food, I believe there is a strong ethical argument to treat animals with dignity and let them live natural lives before being slaughtered for food.

      July 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  10. FlowerGirl

    People wouldn't even think of killing their pet dogs and cats etc., and yet have no
    hesitation about killing cows, pigs, lambs, and chickens. Switching to a plant based diet is
    the kind and humane, and healthy, thing to do.

    July 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Real Animal Activists

      WOW! How sweet! Would you like a job?

      July 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        I would. Neither of you have been truly starving before, have you?

        Bye, bye, Mittens! Hello, dinner! We stay alive another day! Maybe in time to cure a cancer, which my dog and cat are bothe completely capable of.

        Digest that, b!txches

        July 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • karenhehe

      Yes, you are so correct...no one thinks of eating their cats or dogs as the same as eating cows, chickens or pigs...poor little guys The poor abuse they endure to make it to the table... I have 3 boys that i live with and they have no clue of the difference even though I am vegetarian....though I would love to be vegan. The torture, the violence and the inhumane ways are put into the universe and in turn are returned to us. We all wonder why we have torture, violence and other atrocities,,,Remember what you put out to the universe returns to you.....including the treatment of animals...God love them all!!

      July 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Ah, the ignorance of American vegetarians. How hard are you lobbying against the child sex trade in Cambodia? The violent theft of food from 8 year olds in war-torn Somalia?

        Get real. You make me sick.

        July 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Ah, the ignorance of American vegetarians. How hard are you lobbying against the child $ex trade in Cambodia? The violent theft of food from 8 year olds in war-torn Somalia?

        Get real. You make me sick.

        July 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • nimrod

      While it's true that in real survival situations, I might be more willing to dine on you than on MY dog, or even possibly your dog, YOUR cat is certainly fair game (and I have to say that cat is quite tasty; sort of sweet and very tender).

      July 14, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  11. Gene Finneran

    I say we should show farm animals how much they are appreciated by feeding and housing them-and, when that's over--serving them with an appropriate, non-screw-cap wine. :D

    July 13, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  12. SlowMoneyFarm

    As food policy director, why doesn't HSUS have any live model of how to profitably raise animals for food? There are recommendations, but none that include outdoor or 'humane' meat...and from the comments here it doesn't matter how animals are treated if they're used for food at all. If that is a reflection of the HSUS view, then it does seem like elimination, not reduction, might be a better choice of words. I would think with millions of dollars in assets there could be a farm set up, perhaps on HSUS owned property that shows how it can be done. When might we see such a thing?

    July 13, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  13. Matt Prescott

    Thanks for reading, everyone! To answer some comments and questions I've gotten from folks:

    1. Yes, there are many farmers out there doing a job. Most (and by that, I mean more than 98%) comes from factory farms though.

    2. You can follow me on twitter at @MatthewPrescott to learn more.

    3. Thank you – I've never been told I look like Jim Brewer before. I guess that's a good thing.

    July 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Reason

      Thank you for a reasonable article. Well done.

      July 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Jdizzle has good goggles.

      July 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Rodney

      Matt, you are factually wrong! I am a farmer and have been all my life. Stating stats like you just did, is why we have the problem we have. Sure, as with anything there are bad apples. However, most all farms that raise livestock go above and beyond when it comes to the health and well-being of that animal. In fact, most farmers take better care of their animals than do city people with pets! Small farms across the country are the true suppliers of the meat industry. As the animals grow into differnet periods of age, they are sold to more specialized components of the livestock industry which insure proper nutrition and environmental conditions. When those animals are butchered, they might be at what you call a "Factory". However, many farmers had a lot to do with getting that animal at market. None of the large beef companies ever witness a calf being born! Why don't you write a article on how many babies are killed each year in this country from abortion. Talk about horrible living conditions. However, you most likely support that baby being killed. However, a pig in a building is beyond the pale right?? You make me sick. You have no idea of what you talk about. Use your writing skills to make a difference that matters.

      July 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Rodney, you have valid points, but I also sense an aura of the local cafe farmer talk in your post. We all respect the local farmer, but some (farmer's) don't realize whom they're selling to. These are the same cats telling you how the economy works over breakfast at Aunt Emma's Diner. I am so glad the internet have made bored farmer's wives voices that much louder.

        July 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • rancher

      98% of farms are FAMILY owned. Get the truth about HSUS go to humanewatch.org.

      July 14, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Margaret Lisi

      Matt: 98% of American farms are family owned small farms. Please refer to the 2010 U.S. Ag Census for stats: http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/
      bTW, shows for the first time in decades that the Ag sector is growing, in large part due to local and sustainable ag efforts. Get to know those farmers, support them with your food dollars, and GET EDUCATED. Oh, I already said that.
      New census coming in 2012. If you are in any way associated with agriculture, even part-time, do your part and fill out your census.

      July 14, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  14. Patrish

    Don't expect humans to stop eating meat, but Factor farms are horrible places for animals. It's not like years ago when small farms, let their animals run lose, live stress free and just 'be' till it was time to kill them and eat them. These animals suffer almost everyday of their lives. Therefore, I support the Humane Farming Assoc. as well as eating only meat from Certified Humane farms. These animals give their lives to us, the least we can do is treatment them decently!

    July 13, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Rodney

      You are being brainwashed! You also state that animals use to "run loose", are you kidding me?? Stay in the city. We have no use for people like you who cannot think for themselves. I suppose you support abortion don't you. People like you think it is fine to "butcher" a late term unwanted baby because someone did not have enough common sense to use birthcontrol but yet you put a chicken in a cage and you are outraged. Something wrong with that picture. Oh, just so you know. You are paying about 3 times more for buying that meat just because the package says it is from some "nice" heavenly farm where the animals enjoy a life of luxury. Give me a break.

      July 13, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
      • bob

        I fully support a woman's right to an abortion until the moment labor sets in. By granting personhood to a fetus, you take the personhood away from the woman. You take her bodily rights away from her. A woman should not be required to risk her health to keep something alive. After all, the entire population is not required to give blood or organs to keep others alive. I'm not required to give up a kidney so a child can live. I'm not required to donate part of my liver so an infant can live. Why should a woman be required to let a fetus grow inside of her?

        July 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  15. VisGood

    Do yourself, and the world, a favor and go vegan! It is better for the environment, your health and the animals. There are so many cruelty and animal-free products out there to choose from these days, it's not as hard as you think!

    July 13, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Aaron

      Honestly, if the biggest concern is the planet, we humans need to just die out – we're the only major problem to the ecosystem. However, I bet you think that your life is still worth more than a vegetable you eat (else you wouldn't eat it). In the end, live life responsibly, enjoyably, and in moderation.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Mr.Chef Man

      Um,IF I want to chow down on dead animal flesh,then I will.In fact,I like eatig pigs while they're still alive and squealing

      July 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
      • karenhehe

        Squealing as a pig, barking as a dog, meowing as a kitty, there is no difference... They are all part of this universe....are you willijng to eat your pets?? No, they why woudl you treat or eat other animals in this same manner???

        July 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
        • Rodney

          News flash!!!! Eating a plant is also eating something that was once alive but now is dead. Your a moron!

          July 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  16. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Dude looks like Jim Brewer.

    July 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  17. Terri

    Matthew, my hat goes off to you! Thank you so much for posting this important information. I wish more people in the USA and around the world had the same heart as you do. I agree with you whole heartedly and will do my very best to do my part. I highly encourage everyone to watch the documentary Frankensteer. I watched it through Netflix. It gives a true picture on what goes on at some factory farms in the USA. Healthy animals will produce healthy food!

    Keep up the good work buddy! We need more people like you!

    July 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  18. Rags

    Stop eating meat. Simple and effective.

    July 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Seriously

      Stop telling people what to do. Simple.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Stop telling people what to not say.

        July 13, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  19. Joel

    I have stopped eating meat 3 years ago, I feel great, it was easy to keep, there tons of other food to eat, never felt better, I wish I have done it years ago.

    July 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      Meat keeps me regular and keeps the Glade people in business. Do NOT go in there!

      July 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        I am creating jobs. And works of art.

        July 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  20. ok

    Leave it to an american to not care where their food came from. A cow that was raised on grass and able to exercise their muscles tastes magnitudes better than a cow raised on hormones with atrophied muscles and saturated with adrenaline.

    If you imbeciles dont care about the animal then at least care about the quality of meat (which directly connected to the treatment of the animal). Animals are what they eat. Im sick of MY choices being limited to this garbage grade meat with pink slime added because YOU bozos dont have the slightest concern for quality or taste.

    July 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • NitWits

      Who are you yelling at? I think you need a drink. Or a Xanax.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
      • Rags

        They figured you're a nitwit and needed the extra volume to sink through your thinker than normal but denser than ever, skull

        July 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Seriously

      Who is saying they don't care where their food comes from? I don't see that anywhere in the article.
      No one if forcing you to eat pink slime... just buy from local farms and butchers you trust.
      I do, and I'm just fine.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  21. Tanten

    I'm a vegetarian. I don't push my views on anyone, although if someone asks, I'll let them know.
    – Why eat animals when I can stay healthier without eating meat? It all started when I found out how disgustingly some farm animals are treated, and now I am healthier than I used to be. I am very thankful to have been lead onto this path. I do sometimes eat fish, cage free eggs and organic milk. I also cook meat sometimes for my family, although I replace the meat with vegetarian meat whenever I can for them and they can't tell the difference. A lot of times my son who is 5 is asking me for a Veggie Burger rather than a regular burger, I believe we have to start giving our children more meatless choices to truly change the direction of a nation. A vegetarian diet is a much healthier choice for our ecosystem as well.

    July 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Patrish

      Intelligent people know that, but don't often practice it. Sorry about the kidney issue. I do try to support the farms that do farm humanely.

      July 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  22. Baconlovercanada

    You dont make friends with salad!
    You dont make friends with salad!
    You dont make friends with salad!

    July 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Norma Martin

      My husband and I both have 3rd stage kidney disease. Although we eat some meat we try to be careful!! In studying
      about this disease we realize that the kidneys filter all protien in our bodies. By not eating meat we can keep our #s up.
      Kidney disease is on the increase and there are not enough kidneys to go around. Dialasis is terrible and at the Dr.'s office I watch these people come and go that spend hours taking the treatment. So Baconlover have all the meat you want and don't have any sympathy for the poor animals and know that God is watching and He did not put animals down here to be abused and maltreated! Maybe that is why there is kidney disease. One day when you go and have a
      blood test and your GFR shows to be 59 or lower you will know you have kidney disease. Maybe you already have it
      and don't know it. God says the good man tendeth his beast. Being careful in TEXAS

      July 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Hmm. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing. It is unfortunate you cannot partake in a balanced diet of meat and other stuff ( iforget what things are that aren't meat). Stay well.

        Keep in mind, though that the way your comment is worded may mislead some to believe meat will cause end-stage renal disease. Peace.

        July 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  23. Sam

    Having pork ribs tonight. This article's made me so much more hungrier now.

    July 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • vchick

      "More hungrier"?

      Thanks for displaying your admirable intelligence, both with your asinine statement and your shoddy grammar. Clearly you don't want to think about anything too much...hence your complete emotional detachment from the plight of these poor animals. Something tells me if you had to actually hunt the food you eat, you'd have a heck of a lot more respect for the animals from which you derive your sustenance. Shame on you.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
      • Rags

        That's the way porkers talk. Live with it. :-)

        July 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Ben

      Something tells me "you are what you eat" applies to you, Sam.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  24. John

    But bacon tastes good....pork chops taste good

    July 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Rags

      And both are loaded with saturated fat. Which your body does not need.
      Got it?

      July 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
      • Reason

        Pork chops are actually very lean.

        July 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
        • Amyrica

          Pork chops are cut up dead animals. Go get some road kill, it's just as good for you.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
        • Reason

          Just saying they're lean. And no need for roadkill, I have a local farm.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        Ever read the back of the peanut and sunflower package?

        Got it?

        July 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  25. Bruce Mallory

    Ms. Spencer's comment is a sign of the defensiveness that Mr. Precott's perspective will draw out. Prescott did not accuse all farms and farmers of harmful practices. He specifically and exclusively focused on factory farms. My son is a small farmer raising grass-fed beef under humane conditions, limiting his operations to only what is necessary to feed his local network of customers and himself. To suggest that Prescott is uneducated is off the mark, given his role as chief food policy officer at the Humane Society. I followed one his recent lectures at Yale on this topic, and now he is well informed. Thanks to CNN for this story.

    July 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  26. Not Bad...

    The ideas presented are not bad ones, and not extreme. Decent article.
    Could probably easily a part-time vegetarian without even trying. Veganism, never.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • vchick

      So do it! Hypotheticals don't help anyone. :)

      July 13, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  27. Baseball Fan in Wyomming

    Seriously should have known this came from The Humaine Society. Propaganda and misinformation abound!!

    July 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Alliegirld

      Seriously! That house bill that they are sponsoring? Rubbish. Best case for a laying hen in SIXTEEN YEARS is a mere 12 by 12 inch square. Pathetic. People need to know their farmer, eat less meat, and ask their legislators to enact REAL change.

      July 13, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  28. Beans4UrHeart

    Livestock are property just like a TV or a refrigerator. God tells us that animals have no souls, so I'll have my bacon with a side of gravy. God says I can!

    July 13, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • 777888

      Gxd says you should eat Kosher and not eat Pork. Belief in Jesus does not exempt Xtians from obeying Gxd's laws. Jesus was a practicing Jew.

      July 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Mike

      If your god does not care how animals are treated then he surely is not worth worshiping.

      July 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • porto

      Believe what you want, but it's troubling to see people use their god to justify their seemingly inhuman acts. The bible was written by men, after all. Don't take instructions from it verbatim.

      July 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Char

      Oh, have you heard that from talking to God personally?

      July 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
      • porto

        Right, like YOU have heard from your god personally yourself.

        At least I don't use an imaginary god as a justification for anything I do.

        July 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • vchick

      Actually, the Bible says we are stewards of the earth and the animals, and that we are charged with caring for them and looking over them. I'm not religious, so I don't buy into Christianity, but if you believe in religious ideals then it would be mighty hypocritical for you to believe that we needn't treat animals with dignity and respect.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Rags

      'Cause HE wants you home sooner than the rest of us.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  29. Bourbon Drinker

    What can I do as a citizen....eat them.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  30. changedfortheBETTER

    I recently stumbled upon one of those undercover videos inside a pig farm and wow. I'm not eating pigs ever again! Poor things, terrified and crushing their own babies. It's IN-HUMANE of us to treat them like that, I don't care if they are "just animals".

    July 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Char

      Like Paul McCartney always says, " If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian".

      July 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
      • really???????

        I butcher my own meat in my own kitchen every few months, and my whole family, who sees this, eats it and loves it. Mr Sir Singer McCartney isn't anything more than a singer.

        July 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
        • Rags

          "I butcher my own meat in my own kitchen every few months, and my whole family, who sees this, eats it and loves it."

          That kitchen must be a mess. I can picture a large steer being slaughtered in your kitchen with blood and guts all over the place.

          Who cleans the kitchen later? You or the whole family?

          How do you rid the kitchen of the stench? Or do you not notice because you have bragging rights?

          July 13, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
        • Char

          Actually he's a brilliant business man, plays seven instruments, took care of his wife during her breast cancer, has great kids and has enough intelligence to know that humans-drum roll please-even they they have big brains, shouldn't devour/kill animals just because we can.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
        • Char

          And butchering in your own kitchen? Very chic. Do your kids have nightmares?

          July 13, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
        • really???????

          No, they know where their food comes from. They know that an animal has to die for them to eat meat. They know that there aren't any hormones or chemicals in their food. As far as chic, who the hell are you? If it weren't for a farmer, how would you eat? Like most of the armchair philosophers here with their morally superior agenda, you wouldn't.

          July 14, 2012 at 11:38 am |
        • really???????

          and sarcasm about cancer?

          July 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Kristi

      Even small pig-raising operations, the ones without crowding problems and where pigs are treated humanely, routinely use "gestation box"-type rigs, simply because mama sows do tend to lie on their babies and kill them. It isn't intentional, and it isn't caused by nervousness or stress . . . it's just what happens sometimes if the mama is allowed to lie down with freedom anywhere she wants while her babies are still nursing. The little ones simply scamper all around, and when the mama does decide to lie down, it is a big event! They are very heavy animals, and the babies are very small.

      As for treating animals humanely . . . Terry Pratchett put it best in one of his Tiffany books (_The Wee Free Men_?), where he had a character telling her granddaughter that we are as gods to the animals. We order the time of their birth and the time of their death. In between, we have a duty to them. As someone who comes from a farming/ranching background, I thought that was a very good summation.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  31. Becomevegan

    How disappointing, but not surprising, that HSUS is advocating for supposedly better treatment (although it usually doesn't really equate to that) instead of advancing a plant-based diet. The first suggestion heads that way, but the others are just more ways for people to feel better about consuming products made from the bodies of tortured animals, no matter how less small the cage is. Such hypocrisy.
    to those who comment that animals shouldn't be treated like humans, think about what you are saying. so only humans should be free from torture and death? Why? Because they can think and speak? What about humans who are less smart, or who can't speak? No one is suggesting animals should get their driver's license or go to school, or anything as ridiculous as that. But non-human animals should be allowed to live free of torture and molestation because they can feel, and for that reason alone. And there is no necessity for humans to consume animal products, a plant-based diet is completely healthy for the human body and it's better for the planet.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Tha Chikin

      Where I agree with you... there are a LOT of people who will simply NOT give up their meat. That's okay... but we do need to treat animals better. It's deplorable what they do in these processing plants... it makes me ill. We should have free range EVERYTHING!

      July 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
      • Char

        Sorry, free range, not enough. Hey guys...everyone run around for a few months and THEN we'll chop your heads off! Great- I feel so much better now and lots to look forward to!

        July 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
        • Seriously

          Quite the ambassador, Char.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
        • Char

          I just call it like it is. No discussions needed

          July 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
        • Seriously

          And that is why your tact will never get off the ground.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
        • Char

          I'm already flying, and so are my family and friends who have turned the corner to make their (and the animals) health better. seem to have hit a nerve and that's the whole point to make you think that maybe there is a better way to live and eat.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
        • Seriously

          If I were related to you, I would probably give up meat to shut you up too.
          To the rest of the world, you are merely an annoyance. Your yapping only aggravates omnivores and enforces their habits.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
        • Char

          Sorry you can't have me . I am already taken.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
      • rancher

        Free range hogs have trichinosis, a deadly worm, among other parasites. Hogs can not sweat so they need to be protected from the heat. Hogs will sunburn so they need protection from the sun. Hogs don't have fur so they need protection from the cold.
        Free range poultry are feed for coyotes and other varmints. They also will eat anything. A favorite food of free range chickens is the manure of other animals.
        I have a degree in ag. I raise cattle. I have raised hogs, ducks and chickens. Free range seems like a nice term for the uninformed to use. It gives a visual of happy animals but it is not safe or practical.

        July 14, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • NitWits

      Matthew's article had more influence than your extreme ranting will. You are so engaged in your cause, that you don't realize that extremism from vegans do more to work against your purpose than a moderate stance.
      I look at someone who says "Try to go meat free for one day a week" and say "Hey, no problem! I can do that easily."
      You say "Give up all meat and animal products, including your shoes and car seats!" and I say "No way, Josè."

      July 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Derek James

      The line has to be drawn somewhere: plants are living, breathing organisms that cannot consciously think or speak either, but that doesn't stop people from eating them. Your salad is alive when you eat it. So I'm not sure that "it doesn't have to think or speak to be saved" is the criteria you should be arguing in favor of.

      July 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  32. Pink Turtle

    Eat mor chiken ! Oinkers are my favorite though, yum yum.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  33. Jim Beranis

    Lowering the demand for meat in the U.S. would be a tragedy for farm animals, prices would fall and open up an entirely new consumer group, the poor and third world countries. Exports would increase from meat being affordable to the poeple who simply can't afford it now. Dumb idea.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • jhutch42

      I'm not sure I understand. The animals are better off because they suffer and die to feed americans, but will be worse off if they suffer and die to feed people in other countries... I'm confused.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
      • Jim Beranis

        Demand would actually increase. Once could afford meat and realized how good it was they would demand more and we would need to farm more animals. A few computer models have been developed that show that if we reduced our demand for meat, world consumption would actually RISE!

        July 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
      • Jim Beranis

        More animals will be dieing and suffering. If you consider one animals death as big a tragedy as millions of animals, well, I guess my point is moot.

        July 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
      • Char

        Yep that's what was said. Thoughtful isn't it?

        July 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
        • Jim Beranis

          It's impossible to eliminate meat production. My point was keeping the volume of animals slaughtered down. Maybe I'm naive about how to eliminate meat in the world market.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  34. Becky Spencer

    Mr. Prescott, I would highly recommend that you come to the midwest and live for awhile before you judge all farms. Not all farm animals are treated poorly but I will say that we do make our living raising/selling and butchering cattle. You sound very uneducated in your article and generalize a great deal – I must say, you really have no idea what is really like on the other side of being a farmer and making a living and treating animals with respect.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  35. TAH

    What a bizarre comment disgustedvet. Denying them life? If the animals are not bred due to lower demand, they simply don't exist – ever. And therefore are not abused. They're not 'denied' anything. I really hope your logic is better than it seems. Apologies if I've missed it or if you really mean to be satirical.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  36. Mike

    This is all good advice, thank you CNN for reporting on this. I wonder if some of the others who posted on this actually read the article. I hope you will do some specials on how poorly our food animals are treated. All it takes is a little bit of effort from all of us and we can change the world for the better.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • really???????

      As a farmer myself, I resent your assumptions about how farm animals are treated and can see that you have not been involved in farming at all. HSUS is nothing more than a front for fund raising. Check them out-you've seen the commercials for all the animal shelters they run, right? All those kitty cats and dogs they are keeping? Look at where their money goes...for commercials to show you all those kitty cats! Do some research, see how many shelters they run, and maybe visit a farm before you complement all the knowledge you gained from their propaganda.

      July 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • rancher


      July 14, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  37. Elizabeth

    Another very easy way for meat-eaters to cut consumption without even eating meat is less often is to avoid eating more than one kind of animal per meal. People can live without bacon burgers, turducken, chicken cordon-bleu, etc.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  38. Jez

    I have been vegan for 9 years. Its a healthier way to eat, and you harm none.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  39. Campstovejack

    This guy has got the heart but ain't got the jest of things. I agree 100% with him cause he's on the right track. He didn't say one word about mass chicken raising. Birds in the local supermarket may be only a half year old – 10 per 10 square feet and allowing no time to grow the flavor. Real chicken coq au vin is lost in this country; 90% of the people in North America who've order this dish have never REALLY eaten it. Pigs in cages? – Now that is just wrong. Do that to a cat and see what jail that'll land you in. And cattle, don't start me up on cattle. What is pushing these type of methods are the mega production houses. They tell contractors how and when to grow and how much. And this type of control has all but wiped out family farms. Buck their system and go broke. Its happened to more than 75% of farmers in the last 30 years.
    It's enough to make a guy shrug off the super market and have a better excuse to go do some hunt'n. What a great excuse to buy a new rifle...honey, we are going to save so much on grocery bills... And for many, its TRUE!
    Is anyone aware that there is an edition of Joy of Cooking that has recipes for Crow, Possum and Ground Hog? They are referenced under Critters.

    Now this reminds me of a story about a White House chef I knew, with a French cooking background, that occasionally enjoyed serving unsuspecting guests crow... Never said if it was served to a president though.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • rancher

      Oh dear. I'll just tell you that the animal with the most parasites is the white tail deer.

      July 14, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  40. yummydrfood

    I'd love to go vegan (can't because of other people, but that's a different story), but I don't want to end up like the wiener that wrote this article. Pompous...

    July 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  41. porto

    I think I will start with being vegetarian for a few days a month. Few things bother me more than the suffering of helpless animals, though being a carnivore I won't cast the first stone.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  42. disgustedvet

    Headline is somewhat deceptive. They say help and save animals by not eating them. There is not a huge market for food animals as pets so these animals will not be born if there is no demand. I guess you could say you are "saving " them by denying them life.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  43. 1221

    The best way to treat a pig is with cole slaw and BBQ sauce. These busy bodies that want to control the food chain need to be turned into soylent green.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • stevec

      ... with apple sauce too?

      July 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Fiona

      1221, you are a waste of blood.

      I became a vegetarian about a decade ago, after seeing a video of pigs in a factory farm. I'd followed a on-and–off vegetarian diet in years previous, but was never comitted to it until I saw those pigs.

      People who joke about animal abuse do not deserve space on this earth.

      July 13, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
      • Hobbyfarmer

        Not all animals are mistreated. The problem with YOU people (I'm using that b/c YOU people always go after US people) is that you assume all farmers/ranchers/butchers/etc are the same, and probably without ever stepping foot on a farm. It's amazing how an opinion about farming can be made from an urban setting behind a computer screen.

        July 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
        • Char

          Killing is killing whether it's urban or on a factory farm or a farm with wide green pastures. Killing is killing.

          July 13, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
      • karenhehe

        Yes, I totally agree!! Why to people think it's okay to eat pig but not dog???? There is NO difference!!! They are all mammals that care for their young ....give them another billion years and they will evolve to our thinking. Watch how the animals are treated and the kill process and then decide if your personal pet would be okay with this. Please eat veggies!!!

        July 13, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • 1221

      Fiona: That is why I despise people like you. You place livestock above humans. I've encountered enough of you loons to know where the real waste of space is. I'm going to have a hamburger now and think of you.

      July 13, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
      • thinker

        not above humans, equal. We are all living, breathing, sentient beings!

        July 13, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
      • Denise

        Really? Did you really think at all before typing your comment? HOW is she placing animals over people. "People like you" are so ridiculous. And you just had to throw in the hamburger remark. Weird.

        July 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • ok

      Better treated animals means better tasting food nitwit. Thats the problem with american food, you have no respect for the food you eat and thats why all you get are substandard chains serving up bottom barrel mass produced food while other countries have incredible food on every corner fresh from local farms.

      July 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  44. Notahippie

    Another vegan pushing their view on others. Animals shouldn't be abused, but they also shouldn't be treated like humans.

    July 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • thinker

      why not?

      July 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
      • NitWits

        Because they're not humans?

        July 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Char

      How about just treated kindly....you know...not eating them or wearing them around your neck? I am sure they would appreciate that. They are sentient animals.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
      • NitWits

        They are bred and raised as food.
        FYI- Extremism only pushes people in the other direction. Stop defeating your own cause by being preachy.

        July 13, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
        • Char

          Bred and raised as food. Bad argument...living creatures should be allowed to LIVE. That' why they are ALIVE.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
        • NitWits

          They're alive to be food. All living things are something else's prey. Circle of life.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
        • Char

          Gosh I hope I'm not someone's prey. I don't want to be worn around your neck or swallowed down your gullet.

          July 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
        • Matt Prescott

          Not sure recommending people eat meat 6 days a week instead of 7, or that pigs be able to turn around, counts as "extremism."

          July 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
      • NitWits

        Matt- Char is a vegan. That is what she advocates for, nothing less. A few lines up, she states that Cage Free and Free Range aren't good enough.
        I think that is extremism. Not basic animal rights, humane conditions and a reduction in meat consumption.

        July 13, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
        • Char

          Mmmm...not extremism. It's called just living. Really simple.

          July 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  45. rob462

    It just seems like until the "big day," the least we can do, is to treat animals well. Doesn't it?

    July 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  46. aldebaranredstar

    Great ideas!! Thank you.

    July 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  47. Jean

    nice to see an article such as this on CNN...

    July 13, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  48. Boy CNNhasDeclined

    Eat them.

    July 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  49. Bubba D. Redneck

    I can think of a few ways to improve the lives of farm animals.

    July 13, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Char

      Yes bubba I am sure Deliverance is your family's Christmas movie.

      July 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
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