Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Dalai Lama's Statement on Battery Cages

Photo by the Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States received a statement from the Dalai Lama on the egg industry: “The abuse we inflict on hens has always been particularly disturbing to me and I have always been particularly concerned toward how these animals are treated in industrial food production. I am troubled to learn about the practice of confining egg laying hens in tiny cages. In these cages, birds cannot engage in their natural behaviours, such as spreading their wings, laying eggs in a nesting area, perching, scratching at the ground, even standing on a solid surface. Each hen has less space to live than the very sheet of paper I have written this letter on. Turning these defenseless animals into egg-producing machines with no consideration for their welfare whatsoever is a degradation of our own humanity. Switching to cage free eggs would reduce the suffering of these animals.”

I appreciate the support the Dalai Lama is showing to the hens who are treated so cruelly, but I am undecided on the Dalai Lama himself. I have read articles indicating he eats veal - to me, that is an unforgivable offense. I don't even feel comfortable going to restaurants that have veal on the menu. But I digress. The salmonella scare has turned a necessary eye to one of the many horrors of animal agriculture - battery cages. No being should live in the conditions forced upon these poor creatures. (Don't kid yourself that cage free is any better.) The agricultural interests are so powerful, they've been able to resist inspection for years. It was only in July that the new egg facility inspecting rules were finalized. I'm relieved I don't eat eggs (for so many, many reasons), but if I did, I would be horrified that my food were produced in the conditions at these farms. (Read about some of the violations here.) The answer is simple: go vegan!

Information on Battery Cages

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