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What’s the Bird Flu News — “Millions Dead” or “Eggs Prices Could Increase”?

May 4, 2015 by Leave a Comment


Opinion

In media coverage of the bird flu outbreak, reporters have delivered the news that million hens have been “destroyed” as though they were delivering the weather report — with virtually no emotion. In fact, the mass extermination has not been treated as news at all. It has been provided as background information to what media outlets regard as the real news: the impact of the flu deaths on on egg prices, egg exports and human health.

AP LA-Times USA-today

The media’s disregard for what, in a just world, would have been THE news – “Millions Dead!” – reflects the larger problem that society deems farm animals as commodities and objects instead of sentient beings. If millions of humans were, through no fault of their own, stricken with a virus and killed, the media would report on the tragedy around the clock for weeks, and they would do so with emotion.

Chicken cull in Hong Kong (photo: Philippe Lopez

Chicken cull in Hong Kong (photo: Philippe Lopez

Humans are the only animals who are destroying the planet, yet society has brainwashed us into thinking that we’re superior to those who live in harmony with it. We see ourselves as so superior, in fact, that we can kill animals by the millions without taking a moment to reflect on the pain and suffering they endure – which is caused by us.

Humans behave as though in charge of - instead of a part of - the planet.

Humans behave as though in charge of – instead of a part of – the planet.

The irony in this tragedy is that the 5.3 million birds who were killed are lucky compared to those who are forced to live. There are some fates worse than death, and spending one’s life intensively confined in a factory farm is one of them.

battery cage hens

The vast majority of egg laying hens spend their lives in cages so small that they can’t spread their wings.

In its bird flu coverage, the media also glanced over the conditions on factory farms that facilitate disease transmission. When thousands of animals are stuffed into sheds with no space to move, pathogens that enter spread quickly. Shouldn’t the media report on these conditions, which the industry intentionally hides, so that the public can make informed decisions about what (and who) they purchase at the grocery store?

Bird flu outbreak in China in 2013 (Photo by ChinaFotoPress, Getty Images)

Bird flu outbreak in China in 2013 (Photo by ChinaFotoPress, Getty Images)

The infectious diseases, mass slaughter, public health risks, cruelty and environmental devastation wrought by animal agriculture could be altogether eliminated if people adopted a plant-based diet. Perhaps renowned author Jonathan Safran Foer said it best, “Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else?”


Filed under: Food, Opinion
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Funeral To be Held in New York For Victims of Animal Holocaust

April 12, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

On Holocaust Remembrance Day (4/16), victims of the animal holocaust will be remembered during a funeral procession in New York City. Among the participants will be a survivor from Hungary who lost her sister and father in Nazi concentration camps and has dedicated her life to fighting atrocities committed against animals.

Funeral for victims of animal holocaust on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Funeral for victims of animal holocaust on Holocaust Remembrance Day

The animal holocaust

The animal holocaust

“The longest running holocaust in history is taking place right under our noses, but it is being ignored.” said organizer Shimon Shuchat, who comes from a Hasidic Jewish family in Brooklyn. “Right now, mother cows are crying out for their kidnapped babies; piglets are being castrated with no painkillers; male chicks are being dropped into shredding machines; monkeys are being tortured laboratories; and millions of farm animals are making the long, terrifying journey to a slaughterhouse. For what?”

cow-slaughter

Slaughterhouse

Every year in the United States, roughly 10 billion land animals and 50 billion sea animals are killed for food.

animal concentration camp

Painting by Jo Frederiks

One of the founders of the modern day animal rights movement, Alex Hershaft, is a Holocaust survivor, and, like Mr. Shuchat, he’s not shy about invoking the genocide when speaking about animal factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Before being smuggled out of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II, five year old Hershaft saw Jews being beaten by Nazis in the streets. He lost most of his family during the war, but he gained empathy that helped him connect dots between crimes against humans and crimes against animals. In 1976, Dr. Hershaft founded the organization that would eventually become the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM).

Over the years, the animal rights group PETA has come under fire for using Holocaust imagery – juxtaposing images of  concentration camps with factory farms. Some activists believe that the comparison gives the target audience license to dismiss the message, which defeats the purpose of the campaign. Others support the analogy. In fact, author Isaac Besheva Singer said, “In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. For the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka. Human beings see oppression vividly when they’re the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought.”

The animal holocaust

The animal holocaust

PETA's Holocaust Campaign

PETA’s animal holocaust Campaign

It is the “cries of the silent victims of modern day concentration camps” that Mr. Shuchat intends to amplify on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Shuchat also hopes to change behavior: “When footage of factory farms farms is played side by side with footage of the Holocaust, people can see that there’s not much of a difference. If only a few of those people stop eating animals, then we know we will have made a difference.”

Funeral procession participants will gather in midtown at 7:00 p.m. and, carrying posters and banners, will travel to Times Square for a candlelight vigil.

Coby's family hid Jews during in Amsterdam during WWII. She has been vegan for 35 years (photo: Kyle Justin DiFulvio)

Coby’s family hid Jews in Amsterdam during WWII (photo: Kyle Justin DiFulvio)

Two weeks prior to Holocaust Remembrance Day, Germany announced that it will be the first country in the world to ban live chicken shredding. Fifty percent of chickens born into the egg industry – the males – are either dropped alive into a shredding machine or are suffocated to death because they cannot lay eggs. In Germany alone, an estimate 45 million baby male chicks are killed each year.


Filed under: Clothes, Experimentation, Food
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