The cost of silence

Last month Mercy For Animals released undercover footage of severe cases of animal abuse at a Butterball turkey farm in North Carolina. Five Butterball employees are now facing felony and misdemeanor charges for torturing turkeys at their facility, all thanks to the efforts of Mercy For Animals undercover investigators who gathered evidence to prove animal abuse was going on in a big corporation factory farm.

Butterball is a namebrand that most poultry-eating households purchase, and yet it has deniability in this case since the company has set regulations as to the treatment of its livestock. However, what good are regulations when they aren’t enforced? In this case, the regulations seem to be a cop out to avoid corporate punishment and to let things blow over with the public. There have been arguments that undercover investigators should take more immediate action than spending months gathering evidence. However, Mercy For Animals has stated that their investigators always report animal abuse to their supervisors and are repeatedly ignored when they do speak up. This proves that corporate enforcement doesn’t exist; the big agriculture companies running these farms are just as much to blame as the employees who have been indicted.

The irony is that now these corporations are publicly outraged at their violated privacy. Just recently Iowa has passed a law declaring it a crime to falsely gain access to farms; therefore making it a misdemeanor for undercover investigators to expose the abuse going on in many factory farms. Not only does this dampen animal rights groups’ ability to investigate the treatment of farm animals but it sets a legal precedent that it’s alright for factory farms, or any farms for that matter, to keep their practices hidden and unavailable to the public eye.

This is the opposite direction we should be going. We live in an age of hyper-exposure: twitter, facebook, news outlets, etc. all can release information at the blink of an eye and gain widespread exposure within hours or even minutes. Yet the food we eat, the food that is supposed to nourish our bodies is developed in secret. Our bodies deserve respect, we deserve the respect to know what’s affecting our own well being as well as the well being of the animals slaughtered for our consumption.

If you couldn’t tell already I fully support Mercy For Animals and I believe that any company that needs to keep it’s methods secret is probably hiding something outrageous or illegal. I cry every time I see a dead animal on the side of the road, I can’t imagine how anyone could harm an innocent creature for the sake of production and profit.

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