Ending confined farming is a huge step forward for ensuring humane treatment of animals Recently, multinational retail corporation Walmart announced they were demanding associate meat suppliers and egg producers use antibiotics only when absolutely critical for disease prevention or essential treatment. The common practice of fattening up cows, pigs and other livestock are over in an industry that is finally being held accountable. Educated shoppers are insisting on information about where their food comes from. Conscientious consumers want to know what farm animals are ingesting and how they're being physically treated. Transparency when it comes to how things are grown is not only a matter of ethics but one of protecting our own health.
Even if economics is the primary motivating factor for Walmart's humane leap forward, human beings and animals will benefit from the end of the horrifying practice of confined farming. Animals suffer tremendously stuffed into gestation crates and wire cages. They are subjected to castration and other forms of mutilation, often barbarically abused by workers before being slaughtered. The abuse has become so common there are controversial laws that may be enacted to prevent workers from video taping or speaking out against animal abusers on farms. Walmart stated in their announcement quite adamantly, "First, we expect that our suppliers will not tolerate animal abuse of any kind."
According to one Consumer Affairs report Walmart stated its own market research study showed:
77% of its shoppers said they will increase their trust in the industry.
66 % of those polled will increase their likelihood to shop at a retailer that improves the treatment of livestock.
Walmart supports the globally-recognized “Five Freedoms” as an aspiration for animal welfare in their supply chain. The "Five Freedoms" are as follows:
- Freedom from Hunger and Thirst – by providing ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
- Freedom from Discomfort – by providing appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease – by ensuring prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to Express Normal Behavior – by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
- Freedom from Fear and Distress – by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
CEO and president of The Humane Society of the United States, http://www.humanesociety.org/ Wayne Pacelle announced the move by Walmart is “game-changing progress and signals to agribusiness that the era of confining farm animals is ending.”
Ask questions. Check your own local grocery and supply stores to see how they are measuring up.