Since the beginning of history, people have used farm animals to assist with their work and to provide a source of food. These agricultural pursuits were not questioned; rather, they were a widely-accepted way of life. In fact, many people still say that the very purpose of livestock on this Earth is to provide these resources for mankind. As for the proper way to treat our livestock, we commonly hear farmers and livestock producers make comments like, “If we take care of the animals, they will take care of us,” and, “We treat our animals well because that’s just good business.” Though times and methods have changed, our need for the resources provided to us by farm animals has not. Today individual families rarely raise their own livestock to harvest on the farm or at the local butcher shop. The majority of animals are raised in larger scale operations, and the task of harvesting them has been assumed by the meatpacking industry. This change has been driven not only by economics, but also by the fact that urbanization has encroached on previously rural lands. People do not want, or have the space, to grow their own food. The purpose of this commentary is to respond to the question, “Should laws criminalizing animal abuse apply to animals raised for food?” The simple answer to the question is “yes,” but the reality is not simple. It requires analyzing both the science of raising livestock and the current legal framework, which we must understand before discussing what to require and how to implement those requirements. Continued improvements in the livestock and meatpacking industries and the rising expectations of consumers add to the complexity of the issue.
Angela J. Geiman,
"It's the Right Thing to Do": Why the Animal Agriculture Industry Should Not Oppose Science-Based Regulations Protecting the Welfare Of Animals Raised for Food,
Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr_fi/vol106/iss1/5