Nearly two years after Mercy for Animals (MFA) went public with an undercover investigation into Canada's largest dairy farm, charges have finally been laid against the company, Chilliwack Cattle Sales, located in British Columbia. Before rejoicing that justice will finally be done, let's carefully examine the case.
Our eating habits currently sanction the slaughter of nearly two million chickens per day, the vast majority of whom are treated by the industry as meat-producing machines, forced to live through a mechanized, hellish experience. If your local SPCA habitually allowed dogs and cats to languish with excruciating injuries, or turned a blind eye while countless animals in its care died during transport, it would be rightly shut down by provincial inspectors. Yet the routinely barbaric abuse of chickens is an uncomfortable reality that exists nationwide -- a direct result of the high demand for legs, breasts and wings.
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.
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.