Tyson’s Lobbying Efforts to Continue Animal Cruelty

On five previous occasions, Tyson Foods has been caught kicking, stomping and suffocating chickens in their plants. Each time, they apologize, say they will fire the employees who engaged in the cruelty, and then it happens all over again. Now they are stooping to a new low.

This November, after much efforts by many people concerned about animal cruelty (see last blog), Question 3 is being put on the ballot in Massachusetts giving voters an chance to end extreme confinement. But Tyson’s is attempting to stop this measure.

Right now they are lobbying Congress to prevent legislation that provides basic protections for poultry farmers. September 30 is a deadline for finalizing annual spending bills and Tyson Food lobbyists are working tirelessly to pass what is known as the “GIPSA Rider” (USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration).  If successful, this rider will block the USDA from enacting farmer protection rules that were implemented in 2011 and continue to be blocked by the industry.

Tyson is highly profitable, yet many contract poultry farmers lose money each year, with 71% of small farmers living below the poverty line. This past year, journalist Nicholas Kristof wrote an exposé in The New York Times shedding light on the fact that the poultry industry is unjust for farmers, extremely inhumane for birds, and dangerous for the environment and human health.

Lobbying costs a lot of money and it is effective. It sometimes feel that consumers are at the mercy of these animals abusers, but we have power, too. We can stop Tyson’s in their tracks by boycotting their products.  If you feel as strongly as I do about these conscience-less bullies, please tell everyone you know to boycott them. With social media, we can reach a lot of people and take back our power.





Let’s Put an End to Extreme Confinement

1,000 volunteers mobilized in a period of six weeks to gather signatures for the issue of ending extreme confinement for egg-laying hens. The government said that if we got 35,000 signatures, which meant that we’d have to get 65,000 to allow for vetting, then it would be put on the ballot.

Every single signature had to be validated. That means that electronic petitions were not acceptable. Each person who signed had to be a voter and their addresses were checked. The only way to get that information was to ask, face to face. I was one of those people who drove up to Massachusetts when I could, standing outside of Walmart and gas stations, to get the signatures. Every person I spoke with happily signed. Most people do have compassion.

batthens05_300_1We crushed the numbers. We got 133,000 signatures. Now it is on the November ballot.

I came across an article this morning with some folks saying that because cage-free conditions would mean an extra 1 to 2 cents per egg, they disagreed with it. I’m astounded. One person’s justification was that they are poor.

The irony is that eating eggs is very unhealthy. There’s a humungous amount of research that shows that the cholesterol in eggs are a significant contributor to heart problems, and many other diseases (Read Michael Greger’s How Not to Die for 100 pages of references on this). The cost of medical care far outweighs the 24 cents they would pay buying a dozen eggs.

It is surprising that despite a lack of longer term thinking, many people hold onto old habits of eating regardless of their harmful effects. We have so many affordable choices available to us, but there are some people who stubbornly defend their old ways even if it means inflicting life-long harm to innocent beings.

As a relatively new vegan, I can assure you that I don’t miss eggs. Yes, I get lots of protein without them, and my cholesterol is back in the normal range, too. To those voters in Massachusetts, I ask you to please let your conscience be your guide. You won’t lose anything and you’ll help us reduce the needless suffering of innocent hens.