Today, November 13, is World Kindness Day. Kindness toward species outside our own constitutes the highest form of altruism. Dr. Melanie Joy, a professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts, introduces the concept of "carnism": a belief system by which we love and treat some animals well, but not others.
Shockingly, very few laws protect farmed animals from abuse or neglect during their lives on factory farms. Standards are set by the industry itself, and compliance is voluntary. Consequently, bad has become normal and horrific cruelty has become standard. As our investigation shows, the egg industry is the proverbial fox guarding the hen house and is incapable of self-regulation.
Every year, untold numbers of dogs die trapped in vehicles. It's a ghastly scenario made more vexing by being easily avoidable. In an attempt to drive the message home once and for all, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward took a radical approach to the problem, videotaping himself inside a parked car and posting the outcome online.
Call me an extremist. Say that I'm a hippy, vegan, vegetarian, fanatical, idealist. Tell me that these views are unrealistic and going to destroy the lives of countless farmers. It's hard to talk about eating animals without getting defensive, angry, sad and judgmental. Take a deep breath. Here are five facts about the consequences of being a carnivore.
China does have a tradition of compassion for nonhumans. So the daunting question is: what went so awry that in the name of economic development, both farm and wild animals are now being treated ruthlessly, even as they're being driven to the brink of extinction? What is the root cause of the animal welfare crisis, especially in mainland China?