While the “March for Our Lives” cause has dominated media coverage of late, I want to ensure yet another animal welfare misstep by our current administration doesn’t go unnoticed.
On the heels of withdrawing the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLPP) earlier this month, the USDA has refused to include poultry under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. This act is the only federal law that protects farmed animals against cruelties during slaughter. Currently, methods of slaughter include birds getting their throats cut while still conscious, birds scalded alive, and worse.
A Mercy for Animals article had this to say:
“Since birds account for 98 percent of all animals killed for food in the United States, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act protects just 2 percent of the animals slaughtered here every year. The remaining 9 billion are chickens, turkeys, and other birds who have no federal legal protections during their entire lives.”
And this is not just an issue of animal cruelty. According to MFA, today’s poultry slaughter “leads to increased risk of fecal contamination of meat and much higher injury rates among slaughterhouse workers.”
Along with MFA, the push to include poultry under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act has been backed by more than 250,000 citizens, along with organizations that include the Government Accountability Project, Oxfam, Compassion in World Farming, Farm Forward, Compassion Over Killing, PETA, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
It’s clear that money and greed are driving this issue.
While animal welfare organizations will continue the fight to include poultry in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, you can make a difference with your pocket book. Aside from the obvious donation to these worthy causes, consider eating less poultry and/or purchasing poultry from trusted local farms and from humane-certified labels such as Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), Global Animal Partnership (GAP) and Certified Humane (CH).
Also consider poultry substitutes. Some of my favorites are Quorn’s Chik’N Nuggets, Simple Truth’s Meatless Griller Strips, Gardein’s Crispy Tenders, and Beyond Meat’s Chicken Free Strips.
If each of us takes some small step to express our outrage over this latest USDA decision, we absolutely can stop these barbaric practices. As Mahatma Gandhi so eloquently said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”