Square Peg: #NoBill24
15. Oct. 2017
Bill 24 "Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act"
(Proposed: Winnipeg, MB, Canada)
Poor, poor Mother Earth. She already bears too many scars that she does not deserve. I wonder how many more fresh wounds she can withstand before she succumbs? There are too many people on this planet and too many of those living large and a big component of that is our seemingly insatiable addiction to meat.
Globally, 66 billion land animals are killed for food each year. Animal agriculture is responsible for environmental degradation, habitat destruction, species extinction, uses vast quantities of fossil fuels and our precious water and, according to a UN report, produces more green house gases than all forms of transport combined. A meat-eating cyclist uses more resources than a car driving vegan. Adding industrial hog barns to our landscape has as much a place in a “made-in-Manitoba” green plan as would building a pipe-line.
Animal agriculture has huge human health implications. Bacon and other processed meats have been identified as carcinogens by the World Health Organization. Populations with the highest rates of animal product consumption have correspondingly high rates of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity and cancer. We do not have a health care system. We have a disease management system and it is collapsing under its own weight. Building more hog barns while shutting down Urgent Care facilities and ER's is the polar opposite of what needs to be done. Perhaps people will finally realize they need to take their health into their own hands if they wish to avoid a medical system that itself is on life support by adopting a plant-based diet. Wouldn't that be a happy accident?
And while those reasons alone should be sufficient to give pause, I am here today to speak up for the pigs. To say they are voiceless is not entirely true because they do have a language of their own. Only you can't hear them because they are locked behind the closed doors of factory farms. I recently learned that mother pigs sing to their babies. But I doubt if there is any singing going on in those farrowing stalls.
On the world stage, Canada bears the shameful reputation of having some of the weakest animal protection laws in a developed country. Any effort to make common-sense, science-based improvements is met with vehement opposition by industry. We saw that recently with Bill C-246, The Modernizing Animal Protections Act, and attempts to bring our federal transportation laws into the 21st century. Pigs can be subjected to continuous transport for up to 36 hours with no food, water, or rest. The trailers they are stuffed into provide little protection from scorching heat or bitter cold.
|Square Peg - Debbie Wall - #NoBill24|
Here in Manitoba, our outlines that the Duties of owners includes providing adequate food, water, medical attention when ill and reasonable protection from the elements. Animals shall not be confined to an enclosure or area with inadequate space, unsanitary conditions, inadequate ventilation or without providing an opportunity for exercise such that it “significantly” impairs their well-being. It specifies that no person shall inflict upon an animal acute suffering, serious injury or harm, or extreme anxiety or mental distress that “significantly” impairs their health or well-being.
While much of this wording is troubling in and of itself, it gets worse for those animals unlucky enough not to be deemed pets because the Act then goes on to provide an exhaustive list of 15 so-called “Accepted activities”, including agricultural uses and slaughter, that are exempt as long as they are carried out in a manner “consistent with a standard code of conduct”. This would be like excusing employers from labor laws as long as they follow their own rules and explains why animals on factory farms can be treated in a manner that would have you and me headin' to the hoosegow if we did the same things to our pets.
Incredibly, euthanasia is considered an “accepted activity”. Imagine your horror if you took your ailing companion animal, a beloved family member, to a veterinarian for euthanasia and then watched as they swung them by their hind legs and smashed their skull onto a concrete floor. This is standard industry practice for killing piglets. Given that the definition of euthanasia is “a painless, peaceful death”, including it as a so-called “Accepted activity” makes it a most obscene oxymoron.
We are told time and again that policies and laws are based on science and not emotion. But I submit to you that the Animal Care Act has a huge emotional component as it provides a semblance of protection only to animals that have sentimental value to humans. That is, companion animals. But science tells us that pigs suffer just as greatly as a dog would when they have their teeth clipped, tails cut off, ears notched and testicles ripped out without anesthesia or are kept in crates the size of a coffin their entire lives. All are standard practices. And while they are capable of feeling joy, this is never experienced by those caught up in the industrial farming system. They can also feel fear.
I cannot give you the details of what happens once they reach the slaughter house (known by the euphemism “processing plant”) as letters to both the Minister of Agriculture and Manitoba Pork requesting this information have gone unanswered. But Science tells us that pigs produce the same hormones as we do in response to stress and I can't imagine what their levels of cortisol and adrenaline must be after enduring factory farming conditions, transport and slaughter. These stress hormones don't just drain away with the blood on the kill floor and I wonder what impact they have on those consuming their flesh.
Industrial hog farming already could not exist without being exempt from the same level of care expected of citizens. And now they want to rework the fire codes for farm buildings. This will leave animals who are helpless in every sense of the word even more vulnerable to dying in fires. I am truly sickened by these so-called “barn” fires that kill tens of thousands of pigs every year. According to the Winnipeg Humane Society's latest newsletter, nearly 4,000 hogs died in a “barn” fire in June of 2017.
I struggle to think of a death more horrific than being imprisoned, with no chance of escape, feeling the heat of the fire approaching while listening to the screams of those being consumed by the flames. These animals deserve nothing less than fire classification systems that include livestock and not just the number of employees. They are entitled to fire sprinklers, alarm systems, evacuation plans and concrete wall separations to slow fires down. Instead, it appears that emergency preparedness consists of the ability to file an insurance claim.
I worked in small animal practices for three and a half decades and, over the years, too numerous to count were the times I heard veterinarians say, “People shouldn't have animals if they can't afford them.” So I say to the hog industry in this province: If it is too expensive to provide these beings with bedding and access to the outdoors where they can enjoy fresh air, sunshine and engage in natural activities so that you don't have to resort to mutilating them in order to offset behaviors caused by extreme confinement. . . If it isn't within your budget to house them in a manner that will keep them safe from burning to death . . . If you cannot afford to provide them with one last kindness by ensuring their trip to their slaughter leaves them free of hunger, dehydration, heat exhaustion or freezing to the sides of transport truck trailers . . . Then you shouldn't have animals.
Just like a holistic approach is the key to our own health, so it is for our poor dying planet. Doing it piecemeal is as effective as plugging up a sieve with toothpicks. The contents will have drained out long before it is sealed. We are in need of a paradigm shift and politicians who are forward thinking and bold enough to make changes in that direction. We will never achieve true peace on this planet as long as we continue to heap violence on our fellow Earthlings, treating them as commodities instead of recognizing them as the sentient beings they are.
In an interview, Dr. Jane Goodall said, “I saw meat on the plate. I looked down and said this symbolizes fear, pain and death, and I don't want that in my body.” You are what you eat and peace begins in the kitchen.
Read about the proposed Bill 24 here: https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/environmentalists-hog-industry-clash-452663353.html
Hog Watch Canada: https://hogwatchmanitoba.ca/
Bill 24 not only lifted the moratorium on new industrial hog barns being built, it also relaxed the fire codes for farm buildings leaving animals that are helpless in every sense of the word even more vulnerable to dying in fires. Within days of its passing, in a harbinger of things to come, 7,500 hogs perished in a so-called "barn" fire in southeast Manitoba.
Change is never easy, but change that results in sentient beings burning to death for the sake of profit is never acceptable. This should be the position of all the self-described animal lovers who are reading this while enjoying their morning bacon and who should be putting their thoughts into action. Otherwise, Manitoba is not the "Hog Capital of Canada" but the "Cruel Indifference Capital".
--Debbie (Published in Freep 16. Nov. 2017)
Debbie Wall writes about the Winnipeg MN, Canada Bill 24, which is Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act (Winnipeg, MN Canada). She discusses the benefits of animal protection and even changing your diet. This piece is written to highlight the detrimental effects of giving free range to businesses and not to the environment or animals.
© Debbie Wall / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2017 All Rights Reserved. - Square Peg - Bill 24 - Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act (Winnipeg, MN Canada)
#OgFOMK #DebbieWall #AnimalRights #Canada #Winnipeg #Vegan #Earth #NoBill24 #HogWatch
ED. Note: I totally misinterpreted this and I thought it was for the Canadian C-246 Bill. Debbie has since corrected me and this piece is against the local Winnipeg, MN Canada "Bill 24" (proposed). --Alex Nuttall