Almanac

Viewpoint - May 18, 2011

Letter: Why food industry dislikes photos, videos

Free press advocates have been outraged recently by bills in the Florida, Iowa, and Minnesota legislatures to prohibit possession and display of videos of factory farming. Yet, for the meat, dairy, and egg industries that push for these bills, the prohibition makes perfect sense.

A year ago, undercover investigators exposed E6 Cattle Co. in Castro County, Texas, chaining dairy calves in tiny wood crates and bludgeoning their skulls with pickaxes. Last June, Cal-Cruz Hatcheries in Santa Cruz were found to grind up and suffocate live chicks. In August, Iowa's Hillandale Farms and Wright County Eggs were forced to recall 550 million eggs for Salmonella contamination. If I was running one of those operations, I certainly wouldn't want people with cameras anywhere near my facilities.

Filthy conditions and cruel practices are likely to remain legal and commonplace on U.S. factory farms, and their operators will continue to avoid public exposure. Our only option, as consumers, is to stop subsidizing these conditions and practices at the checkout counter by shifting to wholesome, cruelty-free vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as grain- and nut-based meat and dairy substitutes available in every supermarket.

Miles Barney, Sharon Park Drive, Menlo Park

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