Canada's food and agriculture industries have launched a public relations blitz designed to build public trust and confidence in Canadian food and farming. But even a cursory look at how this campaign is being conducted and who's behind it suggests consumers should cast a skeptical eye on its claims. To put it simply, Farm & Food Care Canada is not what it seems.
Imagine a not-too-distant future where the survival of mankind hangs in the balance because modern medicine's frontline defenders -- antibiotics -- are being outsmarted by deadly microscopic enemies. I'm talking about the emergence of so-called "superbugs." They're real, they exist, and if you eat non-organic chicken, then you're all the more at risk.
Canadians are familiar with the company's television ads promoting its "vegetarian-fed" chicken and beef with "no added hormones or steroids" (although neither policy affects animal welfare). While McDonald's and Wendy's are racing ahead to appear like chicken liberators, A&W risks branding itself as the guys who keep hens locked up.
On June 13 2015, all around the world -- in Paris, Brussels, London, Berlin, Istanbul, Delhi, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal -- people gathered to March for the Closing of the Slaughterhouses. But the slaughterhouses will not close of their own accord. To close the slaughterhouses people's eyes and hearts have to be opened.
The word "chicken" has become the name of a product rather than that of an animal. Nearly all North American chickens are raised and slaughtered in industrial operations. Most chickens raised for meat are engineered to grow rapidly in crowded barns with tens of thousands of other birds. The virtual hell created for tens of billions of animals by factory farming is one of the greatest moral issues of our time. Positive change requires us to take animal interests seriously in the all the choices we make, as consumers, citizens and human beings.
I wrote a song on our new record called "The Eco-Terrorist In Me." The song started with the simple realization that I have much more in common with what the industry and government calls an 'eco-terrorist' than with an industry and government bent on hiding the business of meat production from watchful eyes. If you have to find legal ways to hide the way you do business, that's the first sign that there is something wrong with the way you do business.
If Calgary Co-op member, and local food activist, Clint Robertson's motion is successful on Wednesday at their AGM, Calgary Co-op will make history by being the first major food retailer in Canada to begin phasing out the intensive confinement of farm animals, specifically caged pork and battery caged hens for eggs.
This poor juvenile rhesus macaque was found wandering through an IKEA parking lot in Toronto a few days ago, and he quickly became an international Internet sensation. In similar circumstances in recent memory, law enforcement agents have been known to shoot wayward animals, send them to zoos, or return them to their irresponsible human caretakers.
Why do we object so vigorously to what these poor animals experienced, yet accept that had they not escaped from the trailer, the steers would have be slaughtered for food just hours later? The only difference is, we don't bear witness to these conditions -- the suffering goes on behind closed doors.