You know when you have a thought or discussion about something and then shortly after you read or hear someone expressing that very same thought?
This week as I’ve been digesting what so many of us saw on the video taken by Mercy for Animals of cows being horribly beaten and terrorized at the Chilliwack dairy farm in British Columbia, I’ve had many thoughts. Julian, my husband, and I have talked extensively about it this week as well as we once again try to unravel the mysteries of human behaviour and why the general public is outraged at a dog being beaten but a cow is somehow not the same thing and does not warrant the same concern.
It was over the course of these days that the thought struck me: any time an undercover video emerges from factory farms, the person who has taken the footage has not worked at these places for very long before the abuse is revealed. These are not the Donnie Brascos’ of undercover work, toiling away for years at a slaughterhouse or dairy farm waiting for that big moment when that one “bad apple” employee fucks up and creates an “isolated incident”. At most, 3 months would be the longest. Most abuses occur within days and weeks of going undercover; sometimes even as soon as the first day. Why? Because abuse, neglect, confinement, cruelty, deprivation ARE INDUSTRY NORMS. Maybe not on paper or in front of the public but certainly in practice. In fact, one of the workers employed at Chilliwack (not involved in the video) told CTV News yesterday: “I wouldn’t say they (management) should be completely shocked. They knew about 80 percent of what was going on.”
Of course they did. Because that’s what factory farming is.
Then this morning, as I was following up on the story, I read an op-ed piece by Peter Fricker, special to the Vancouver Sun on this story that put my thoughts so succinctly:
“If animal cruelty on industrialized farms amounts to just a few isolated incidents, why is it being uncovered so easily and so often, and why does the industry want legislation to hide its operations? If cruelty rarely happens, what is there to hide?”
An excellent question.
To send a message to Saputo, the dairy supplier to the Chilliwack Cattle Company* where the abuse occurred, click here to sign the petition. Oh, and go vegan.
*Correction: Chilliwack Cattle Company is one of the suppliers to Saputo, not the other way around. June 4, 2015, NcSark