The HSUS Undercover Investigation: Wyoming Premium Farms Exposed

HSUS has been on a roll lately. Yesterday it busted Wyoming Premium Farms for animal abuse, leading Tyson’s to suspend pork purchases from this loathsome conglomerate.

As always when it comes to undercover exposes and subsequent welfare “victories,” my feelings are mixed. It goes without saying that I’m perfectly thrilled that industry will now be under even more pressure to address welfare concerns.  Considerable evidence is already showing this to be the case. (Thanks to Jim Ferguson for this tip). I’m also thrilled that, to whatever extent, some pigs will have more room to move around on some industrial farms–however nominal the added space. Paul Shapiro, at HSUS, told me that in just two days the terrifying clip above has received over 160,000 views. That’s good news, as I’ve no idea how anybody could watch it and continue to eat pork.

Thinking about matters from the consumers’ perspective, though, I just don’t know what kind of impact these investigations will have in the long run. Inevitably, many consumers of animal products will watch this video, become disgusted, and vow to purchase their animal products from more humane sources. But this will accomplish very little–if anything– in terms of reducing the horrors of factory farming. As I’ve argued before, as long as eating animals is considered culturally and morally acceptable, basic economics dictates that factory farms will dominate the production of meat, eggs, and cheese. There is simply no possible way, at least as long as we have a capitalistic economy, that a substantial portion of consumers will choose welfare over cost. And as sure as gravity, factory farms–due to economies of scale–effectively reduce costs.  Eating animals itself must be deemed–and culturally understood–as wrong.  To eat animals is, ipso facto, to support industrial agriculture.

In all fairness to HSUS, to my knowledge it has never claimed to be in the business of eliminating animal agriculture. They just want to improve it. Abolitionists dismiss this goal as accommodating the enemy–and I can see their point. At the same time, though, I’m well aware that–if HSUS would only do more to promote veganism as a response to the horrors it so bravely exposes–the kind of video shown above could have an entirely different impact. Namely, it would move consumers in the direction of eating plants rather than trying to salve their conscience by paying more to eat animals who, while given more freedoms when alive, were still killed in the prime of their lives (or even before) in order to become an entree on a menu at some impossibly virtuous restaurant filled with people who somehow think it’s humane to kill an animal for food we don’t need.

Am I hoping for too much from HSUS? And I hoping too much from omnivores? Am I hoping too much?

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About James McWilliams
I'm a historian and writer based in Austin, Texas. This blog is dedicated to exploring the ethics of eating animals and animal-based products.

53 Responses to The HSUS Undercover Investigation: Wyoming Premium Farms Exposed

  1. Paula says:

    Hi James — I love your blog. But could you elaborate on “There is simply no possible way, at least as long as we have a capitalistic economy …” This whole awareness of “capitalism” as being the evil is something I know intuitively, but can’t exactly articulate on my own. In fact there is an event at the Brecht Forum this coming Monday that I am helping with, and I look forward to learning and then being able to express it in my own way after hearing David Nibert, Adam Weissman and Mickey Z speak. One problem I have with blaming capitalism completely, is that people in socialist and communist countries have industrialized animal agriculture also, as their people love flesh, milk and eggs just as Americans do.

    • Good point. Maybe there’s no need for the capitalism reference.
      Thanks,
      JM

      • brian lindberg says:

        yes, but i don’t think there are many socialist or communist countries left! As for the capitalism problem, for a lucid and thorough examination, it’s in Gus Speth (for one) “The Bridge at the Edge of the World.” We face a major obstacle in the raison d’etre of the now-dominant human institution, the corporation.

  2. KathyLovesKale says:

    Hell NO, you’re not hoping for too much! None of us are. It probably won’t change in our lifetimes. But we can not give up the good fight for the other species that we share this planet with. Keep you eyes on the prize and keep speaking for the voiceless, please.
    Thank you!

  3. First, thank you for being such a powerful voice for the voiceless! My thoughts are that HSUS is doing exactly what it was designed to do almost 200 years ago; promoting and reinforcing cognitive dissonance within our bewildered herd!

    If I may; was wondering if you think it would be best to note that we human animals are “behavioral” omnivores. This may seem petty, yet I find it extremely helpful with those who deal in logic more than morality. I know that most humans actually “believe” they are omnivorous, yet as you well know, we are not: http://veganzeitgeist.org/2012/02/10/our-beliefs-meat-and-dairy-mad-consumers-the-facts-plant-based-diet (Comparative Anatomy of Eating)

    Thank you again, and an honor to speak with you!
    Lain

    P.S. Yes and no on hoping too much. We will be Vegan beings on this Earth, or we human animals will no longer be!

    • Behavioral omnivores–certainly more accurate. Thanks.
      jm

      • brian lindberg says:

        to elaborate on that, once we started doing agriculture, we still relied on animals (domesticated and not), to store calories for our consumption, on need, with seasonal changes. Now, with our transportation and refrigeration systems, it is a vestigial habit, unnecessary, and very unhealthy, for the individual, the animals, and the planet (pretty soon, there won’t be any fish in the ocean…migod…)

      • Hi Brian! Sadly, you are absolutely correct about the fish in the ocean: http://youtu.be/ObNSqa14QNU Our oceans are now down to 10% or less!

  4. Hi James,

    I saw you speak in Ottawa a few weeks ago and really enjoyed your presentation. I was on a panel right after you left helping answer the questions people have about making the shfit to veganism. I have been reading your blog post since seeing you and I like your style. I agree that the work of HSUS would be more powerful if they spent their time promoting veganism instead of trying to mend a flawed system. I would love to be in touch directly with you because this is what I do, help people transition into veganism in an accessible and easy way. I would be interested in knowing if I can assist you with your mission. Can you email me when you get a chance so we can chat at deb.gleason@wellnesswarriorcoaching.com

    Thanks for the amazing insights and great work

    Deb

  5. Provoked says:

    I want animal liberation. I want empty cages. I want an evolved culture that removes itself as far as possible from exploiting others – All others.

    But maybe this is what welfare organizations are supposed to do? Break the ice? Open up the conversation? Plant the seeds of doubt while it reveals all the factual wrongs in animal-using practices? Perhaps this is how it’s supposed to go… That each time an investigation exposes the reality – It presents ethical vegans with the opportunity to reveal the third option. It allows “humane” concerns to be properly answered.

    My thoughts have always been that I’m not going to have the energy to dispute hsus and the likes of peta AND the unengaged carnists as well… I’m picking my battles as wisely as I can. And for the time being… The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Any one that can chink the armor leaves less for me to disarm.

    And a final word about the pig victims in this investigation… The warning on the video couldn’t be harsh enough. I thought “how bad can it be?”. I’m so sorry I didn’t guess how awful. Truly soul crushing stuff.

    • CQ says:

      I knew I wouldn’t watch the video, but because of your comment, Provoked, I am DEFINITELY not tempted to see it now. Envisioning it based on the written description is “soul-crushing” enough for me. 😦

      “Yes” to Brian’s sentiment (below): “[S]hould we just call them selfish rationalizations and be done with it?” It’s great having a candid “curmudgeon” on the animals’ side.

    • KathyLovesKale says:

      “Soul crushing”, perfect depiction of how that space inside you feels anytime that we witness these truths.
      But I feel the least that we can do is be a witness, after all just to honor the undercover investigator’s brave work, and of course the beings that had to actually endure this….
      And then get out there and be the brightest and most brilliant vegan voice that you can be, every single day!
      Oh, I also just love ” the enemy of my enemy is my friend”!! Pass out both abolition and welfare literature. Meet people wherever their minds can stretch to. Plant seeds every where, all the time. This is how change is created.

  6. janweeks says:

    I must confess, my feelings are mixed too. I think Mr. McWilliams accurately conveys a common frustration many of us in the animal-rights movement feel over baby steps in welfare, and yet can we deny the animals whatever relief possible while we continue the struggle for the day when all are free? I think not.

  7. brian lindberg says:

    since you asked….here’s an old curmudgeon’s take on it….most folks “ethics” are pretty strictly utilitarian (should we just call them “selfish rationalizations” and be done with it?). The widest impact is going to be carried by the argument that eating animal products is going to shorten (with a high level of confidence) the life of the consumer. And that is supported by science, which carries, still, some weight (unless we are talking climate change, which is basically a threat to future generations). In other words, fear gets right to the amygdala, and gets those feet a-movin’.

    “as sure as gravity”…nice turn

  8. carolyn zaikowski says:

    janweeks, here’s my feeling as someone who has long been asking myself questions about effective animal advocacy– i used to think it could all be done, reforms plus movements towards total liberation at the same time. this is just me, but i’ve come to see that i’m a person with limited resources and that with those limited resources i would like to advocate for veganism and dismantling cages and prisons, not simply building better ones. it took me some experimenting and psychological maneuvering to figure out how to do this without falling into the trap of coming across as a jerk to people who disagree with me. it’s just that, not all baby steps are necessary or even useful. maybe some are (for instance, i believe in advocating for vegetarianism; it’s very rare that people will become vegan straight from becoming meat-eaters, veganism is a gradual process for most folks and they need support during it), but in these cases of abusive farming, people and orgs could just as well spend their limited resources fighting for *no* veal farming at all as opposed to simply building a better prison. if people want to advocate reforms, that’s fine; it’s just not my path.

    • I appreciate your views, Carolyn. This has to be a multi-pronged effort, with each of us supporting and encouraging various strategies to eradicate all animal exploitation. Some people respond to ethical arguments, some to personal health concerns, others to saving our planet. Some people are easier to reason with, while others are stubbornly resistant. Some, like me, become vegan overnight. Others need coaxing or coaching and take more gradual steps. Still others declare they never will. HSUS understands they must appeal to the lowest common denominator and worst-case scenarios. HSUS follows a strategy that will result in the most good for the most animals in the here and now as soon as possible, not a simple task. They do it by carefully weighing pros and cons while exercising the ultimate caution, restraint, and patience. While they make incremental advances for animals, with our complete support, there’s no reason we can’t carry on promoting veganism and the end of all cages every chance we get.

      It is as “Provoked” says, “animal ag folks deem [HSUS] as the organization that’s pushing “their agenda” to create a “meat-free” society.” And, that’s the point! Animal ag’s stubborn and most vehement resistance is because of what they perceive to be HSUS’s “agenda”: Veganism! They hate vegans and proponents of veganism as much as they hate HSUS. Now, if HSUS were to take an open stance that veganism is, indeed, their agenda, imagine how much more tenacious animal ag’s resistance would be. HSUS wisely tries to keep the door to negotiation open, even a sliver of a crack, to wedge in a tiny toe and possibly gain a foothold–and isn’t that better than no toe at all?

      I, for one, am very glad HSUS is succeeding in getting some relief for animals who are suffering today, now, this very second. Are bigger cages the end result we all want? No, of course not. But they are better than nothing. Ask one of the animals crammed in a gestation stall if she’d rather wait another 50 years for no cages, or have roomier accommodations today, while waiting for total freedom for her offspring. You get my point. Not only that, but these investigations, when they hit the news, raise awareness and tug at the heartstrings (and consciences) of consumers everywhere, perhaps causing them to rethink their consumption of animals and animal by-products. They plant seeds of potential change in human hearts and minds about the animals they once saw only as food.

      • carolyn zaikowski says:

        I hear you, Janet. I understand your sentiments and where they come from. I think I’ve just gotten to a place where I feel like there actually *aren’t* enough resources, either for individuals or organizations, to advocate both reforms and total paradigm changes at the same time. I think whether or not we want to, we end up picking one or the other, and with a just a little more mindfulness and strategic planning– as opposed to always supporting the thing that seems right in the moment– we can be more useful advocates.

        I think it’s a lot more complicated than that dichotomy when it comes to the individual and mass psychology of eating meat (eg. people might go vegan based on a vid like this; they might use it as an excuse to eat “humane” meat which is only slightly less abhorrent–we can’t say exactly what is going to make who do what–but in the latter case the opposite of our goals in being achieved). But in terms of strategic use of advocacy and resources, I just don’t think it maximizes the movement’s potential to advocate small reforms like making cages a bit bigger or making “free range” factory farms which are just factories without the cages. I think the most effective use of resources would would be to do these investigations (and believe me, I’d never downplay this– I can’t even watch the video, never mind garner the courage to do this investigation myself), and then, instead of advocating a change of system/cages/whatnot, use it as a way to talk about how inherently horrible animal farming is. That’s just a simple change of message that would potential have a hugely different outcome for animals, and there’s no reason to believe people wouldn’t respond to it by going veg.

        I want to believe we can do all these things at the same time–help animals be more comfortable while waiting for their liberation–but we can’t. There’s no sustainable, practical organizational strategy for doing that. It’s simply not a matched strategy for the stated goal (freedom for animals.) There isn’t enough money, there aren’t enough people. This kind of reformist strategy has never worked in any social movement. Slaves and concentration camps weren’t freed because work load was one hour less or people got extra blankets; women in the US didn’t get the right to vote because they went through the system, they got it because, among other things, Susan B Anthony got on a literal soapbox, made a speech, voted illegally and made headlines. The Civil Rights Act was passed because people demanded it and refused to step down, sometimes angrily, sometimes with total dignity and peace, but either way with the message of liberation. There’s actually no historical proof that HSUS’ brand of reforms work, ever. That doesn’t mean I don’t have great respect for their efforts or that I don’t think they’re doing anything worthwhile; I just don’t think there’s any basis for the belief– beyond some knee-jerk intuition and a completely understandable, if desperate, hope–that those efforts are going to lead to animal liberation. This doesn’t mean we have to be militant jerks and it doesn’t even mean we have to break laws (though there’s nothing wrong with breaking an immoral law.) It does mean we have to step up, take more ideological and tactical risks, and be respectfully tenacious. With a little mindfulness and strategy there’s no reason we can’t reach for more and get it.

  9. Provoked says:

    The mind-boggling thing about hsus is that time and again animal ag folks deem them as the organization that’s pushing “their agenda” to create a “meat-free” society. Every time their initiatives are mentioned it is with an understanding that it is never the “welfare” of the animals – but always the goal of a “vegetarian” world.

    As just one example in hundreds – This today from Ag Web http://www.agweb.com/multimedia/consumer_ag_connection.aspx?channelId=48a209699aba4214b5f4742a6c074213&channelListId&mediaId=c363b023ea3d44689462b20dd47a746e

    In a way it’s funny that they totally miss the other side of hsus. But then again… Is that how far off the radar genuine abolitionists really are. 😦

  10. Anne B says:

    “There is simply no possible way, at least as long as we have a capitalistic economy, that a substantial portion of consumers will choose welfare over cost.” – JM
    When I think about meat and capitalism, I think a lot more about producer choices than consumer choices. Consumers can be swayed by a number of cultural factors including advertising and status, and many do try to chose welfare over cost. Producers are a bit more calculating in their choices, and generally seek to maximize profits. This is where the animal abuse happens- on the production end. Many consumers are ignorant or deliberately misled regarding production methods, so even if they try to chose welfare over cost, they generally fail. Producers, too, may start out with good intentions and then be driven towards more confinement, larger scales, and poorer animal treatment by the need for profit in the face of competition (see: Neiman Ranch).
    This is the crux of veganism, for me. Vegetarianism is necessary because killing is wrong. Veganism is necessary because capitalism requires minimizing costs. If dairy and egg producers didn’t need money, male dairy calves and chicks could live peaceful, natural, long lives.
    I think your comment about capitalism is relevant, necessary, and appropriate. I just think the word “conusmers” should be replaced with “producers.”

    • Paula says:

      I’m still trying to understand the notion that capitalism with its “mechanized madness” and profit motive, is the single driving force behind the immorality of animal commodification and slaughter. What if somehow — taking the reality of the demands of 7 billion people out of the equation — animal agriculture could transform to small, Salatin type farms, where, as Michael Pollan says “the animals have a good life, and one bad day”? A scenario of less people eating less animals, less animals bred and killed. It’s still immoral to me. I still think of that one unlucky animal person on the killing floor.

      • Ellie Maldonado says:

        As long as there are viable alternatives, I think it’s wrong to kill living beings for food. Even in remote cultures where humans and other animals must hunt for survival, killing doesn’t become something good. At best, it’s a necessary means to an end.

  11. Ellie Maldonado says:

    As despicable as this cruelty is, I don’t think these videos are the answer. HSUS knows full well that no matter cruelty is exposed, no matter what reforms are in place — even if industrial farming is ended — it is impossible to monitor the breeding, raising, and killing of billions of farm animals. Still, it continues to promote reforms and so-called “humane farms” because truth be told, HSUS would collapse without animal exploitation.

    These videos embarass specific farming operations that will probably wind up with no more than a fine, but by singling out one farm, it allows consumers to think other farms are ok, especially if they’re labeled “free-range” or “humane”. That’s good for HSUS since it benefits from animal use. See: Partner in Exploitation: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/partners-in-exploitation/

    Humane Myth re: HSUS

    http://www.humanemyth.org/mediabase/1068.htm

    http://www.humanemyth.org/mediabase/1413.htm

    • janweeks says:

      It is seriously misguided to shoot HSUS down, even weakly, for their strategy to effect animal welfare reforms rather than taking a stance to eradicate cages immediately and demand everyone go vegan today. I mean, how well are Francione’s dictates working? What measurable results has he or his followers gotten? Excuse me if my impatience with Francione shows. In my opinion, he has done more harm to animals than good by leading well-intentioned animal activists astray, as the comments on this story, inspired by McWilliams, clearly show. “It’s the abolitionist way or no way.” I hear that broken record constantly and it makes me sick. We should be applauding and supporting HSUS, not shooting them down. To state that “HSUS would collapse without animal exploitation” is completely unfair and downright hurtful!

      Despite the criticisms from a splintered little group of animal activists (abolitionists), HSUS battles on against big, mean, powerful, and moneyed opponents (factory farmers, puppy millers, canned hunters, seal clubbers, would-be horse slaughterers, dog fighters, cock fighters, CCF goons, and others) who hate them BECAUSE they are getting results. Meanwhile, abolitionists sit back, whine, criticize, push veganism on everyone and, as a result, drive people away with their “my-way-or-the-highway” approach. Animal exploitation will collapse because of HSUS, Mercy For Animals, Compassion Over Cruelty, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and other nonprofit groups who are fighting together, fighting smart, fighting long, fighting hard, supporting one another, and getting results.

      • carolyn zaikowski says:

        I think there’s a larger convo here– I don’t follow Francione (I like his ideas and have read his books but frankly I think he presents them in public as a total wing nut and I think his following, at least the hard-core part of it, borders on cultish…) and it’s a shame that he has co-opted and in effect put his peronal Brand on the word “abolition”, which really just means liberation. This is partly why I use the word liberation instead of abolition. I am frustrated about all that too, but just as much as I am frustrated about those who unblinkingly make apologies for reform (I don’t mean you here– you’re clearly really intelligent, thoughtful, and nuanced.) Because I think there need to be reasonable discussions about strategy and what works and what doesn’t, I don’t think most AR activists (including Francionites) are well-versed in that, and I think there are good reasons to believe that we need to talk about liberation not reform, and fight for it. I wish there were a better way to talk about this, because I think we all want liberation, and I think there *are* reasonable ways to act on that.

      • Ellie Maldonado says:

        Janet, what measureable results has HSUS gotten? The very fact such despicable cruelty continues to exists is proof that exposing cruelty and legislating reforms do not work.

        It is HSUS, not Francione, who leads activists astray, including myself, until I woke up to the reality that when no one is standing over the animal producer’s shoulder, laws are meaningless! For just one example, some years ago they were amending the Humane Slaughter Act, and I worked with other activists to get this legislation passed. Victory, I thought …. until I learned that many farm animals are being dismembered while they’re still conscious.

        It’s not my intention to hurt you, Janet, but over a hundred years of animal welfare activism have done nothing but hack at the branches of animal cruelty, and if we don’t get to the root of it — exploitation of itself — we can expect more of the same.

        I support honest advocacy that doesn’t feign victories for animals, that admits we are doing far more harm than good by promoting so-called compassionate farming, as HSUS, Mercy for Animals, Animal Legal Defense and other groups are doing.

  12. Boe says:

    Dear Dr. McWilliams, Thank you for your articles and your activism. I don’t think you’re asking for too much… There is hope. People don’t smoke in offices anymore. People don’t drive without seat belts anymore. The list of what we used to do that we don’t do anymore is very long. I believe that if we could get a petition going that required all slaughterhouses to have live webcams in them, we would see a decline in animal abuse and a decline in the consumption of meat. In my mind, that is the only hope. (There was a successful petition recently called “Just label it”. I am currently working on creating a petition and calling it something like “JustShowIt”. I would like to start circulating it with the companies that already have good meat-replacer products like Boca and Morningstar and any of the grain companies that would benefit from a population with vegan requirements. Then we would have all the humane orgs around the world sign the petition. The list would go on and on. Until then, thank you for educating so many people. I will also share with you and your readers whatever I develop. I believe we have enough knowledge to crack this nut, somehow. It’s all through education and keeping at it. Sincerely, Boe Devi

  13. Jonathan Gilbert says:

    Janet Weeks V–Really well said.

  14. Oh to be as high minded as Ellie and stand on principal and refuse to work with others who don’t share her views of a vegan world. Meanwhile, 60 million farmed land animals live lives of utter misery. But Ellie can be comforted that she never gave anyone an out by alleviating unnecessary suffering. She stands firm while pigs are kept in gestational crates unable to stand up, turn around, stretch. She stands firm while multiple chickens are kept in battery cages about the size of a standard sheet of paper, and she stands firm while cows are confined to feedlots, dehorned without anesthesia and castrated by farm workers ripping the testicles out. Good for you Ellie. Stand firm. Perhaps you can make the viewing of Earthlings mandatory for all US citizens today. Perhaps the world will become vegan today. I wish I lived in your world, Ellie. I’ll continue to work to improve the lives of farmed animals in the world as it exists today. HSUS got an agreement with United Egg producers, that while it didn’t stop the slaughter of chickens, it got them out of the battery cages. And that is a federal mandate. Where was IDA and Arzone in this epic battle to alleviate horrendous suffering. Oh yeah, that’s right. I forgot. … They were standing on principle, they weren’t out fighting the fight.
    I’m a vegan and I understand your dismissal of “humane farming”. Unlike you Ellie, I cannot wave my magic wand and make the whole world over into my image of an ideal world. I can’t make the world vegan, today. I must live in the real world. That means that I will work with the HSUS, PETA and humane farmers to alleviate suffering wherever and whenever I can. I believe that I am morally obligated to do so. If I can get a hen out of a battery cage, I will do so. It has been accomplished. If I can get pigs out of gestation crates, I will do so. It has been done. Thanks to groups like the HSUS, PETA, MFA and COK, their advocacy and their undercover videos. Your position is like that of the person who confronts an orphanage on fire, who rather than saving anyone that he/she is able refuses to save any because he/she can’t save them all.

    • Ellie Maldonado says:

      What’s the matter, Susan, did my criticism of HSUS make you and Janet feel less important? We all want to help farm animals, and it’s great to think we’re making a difference, but we can’t worry about our egos while nonhumans are trapped in a system of violence, and who will continue to be until organizations like HSUS stop making excuses for meat-eating.

      I don’t give a damn about priniciples. My concern is what works for animals, not activists!

      Pigs on “free-range” farms may not be housed in gestation crates, but do you really believe they don’t cry when their babies are taken, that “ceritified humane” producers are always nice to farm animals, or that male chicks will be spared on “cage-free” egg farms? While you gloat in your victories, I’ve talked with numerous consumers who are actually proud of eating “humane food”. Congratulations to HSUS and similar organizations for collaborating with animal producers to invent guilt-free animal products!

      Further, there are other animals to consider, as well. The farms HSUS and other groups promote inevitably require more land that will rob the habitats of free-living animals who depend these areas for their own survival. For them, such farms are a death sentence.

      In good conscience, I am obliged do everything I can to work against HSUS and other groups that ultimately promote animal farming.

      • Ellie You will work against HSUS and other advocacy groups. That’s nonsense. Do something that makes a difference. What if we were discussing prison reform? Would you refuse to work at alleviating the cruelty in say a Mississippi labor camp due to the fact that you could not immediately revolutionize the entire prison system in our country? Do you refuse to work with groups like Greenpeace, Sea Shepard and OWs because they can’t order the world the way you want it, while depending on donations for their work? Does Greenpeace ultimately promote pollution and corporatism.

  15. Pingback: HSUS: Hero or Villian? « Eating Plants

  16. carolyn zaikowski says:

    Guys… if I may. I find the tones and undertones of this debate to be exactly what is wrong with the AR movement. You both think the other is on a high horse and are using really loaded sarcasm and making accusations about the opposing “team’s” character. How is this useful, beyond building up our own mental fortresses? We need conversations that are open-ended and respectful, not conversations that are shut-down and impermeable with egos and defensiveness just bouncing off from every wall. This isn’t our movement– we are fighting on behalf of others, yet we can not even see each other beyond our own noses. That is really problematic. If it were somebody fighting for their own liberation, that would be one thing. But we are speaking on behalf of others and they need us to speak well and from our highest selves. I feel strongly that one of the first things this movement needs to do is learn about effective communication.

    • Agree! Thanks, Carolyn.

    • Provoked says:

      I agree too Carolyn. In cases like this it’s only the victims that loose. And this kind of “in fighting” is exactly what the animal-using folks are depending on to distract us and weaken our resolve.
      -Eye on the prize friends!

    • Ellie Maldonado says:

      I agree, Carolyn — as I mentioned in my earlier response to Janet and Susan, this is about what works for animals, not for activist’s egos.

      And I clearly criticized HSUS, not the activists themselves. If they take that personally, that is not my intent, but I think I have a right to question why they do, especially if they’re making unfair assumptions about myself.

      That said, I’ll do my best to avoid sarcasm, and expect others to do the same.

  17. cobalamin says:

    Humans that eat animal products need saving; we will only see the liberation of factory animals when humans are saved from their barbaric learned actions.

    Why are those humans in those factory farms so abusive? Maybe they hate their jobs so much because deep down they hate killing other sentient beings to the point of lashing all their anger towards the animals.

    Humans that eat meat need to see that they are addicted to meat. They need to see for themselves that the flesh of another animal makes them aggressive and manipulating.

  18. Ellie Maldonado says:

    Susan, I’m not opposed to prison reforms or other measures as long as they don’t strenghten the root of the problem, as farm reforms do. This would exclude Sea Shepherd, HSUS, and other groups that accept killing animals.

    • CQ says:

      Good comment on prison reforms, Ellie.

      Sea Shepherd? Since when does Paul Watson accept the killing of animals? Greenpeace, yes. Sea Shepherd, really? I hadn’t heard that.

      • Ellie Maldonado says:

        Several years ago in protest of the Canadian seal massacre, Sea Shepherd joined HSUS in calling for a boycott on all seafood from Canada. As I recall, neither expressed any reservation against killing other marine animals at the time, and of course, animal rights advocates disagreed.

        The files I had are gone with my old computer, but I remember clearly that Paul Watson was criticized, and in what seemed to be a response to that, Watson said Sea Shepherd is not an animal rights organization.

        A more recent Sea Shepherd article discourages the consumption of marine animals, but since it’s not dated, I can’t be sure when it was written: http://www.seashepherd.org/seals/boycott.html

        While the Canadian seal massacre continues, as of 2011 HSUS still hasn’t done that, and as always it inevitably links to a request for donations: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/seal_hunt/tips/canadian_seafood.html

      • CQ says:

        I sea. I mean I see. 🙂

        Thanks, Ellie.

  19. Ellie Maldonado says:

    Cobalamin, I wish I could believe they didn’t want to hurt these pigs, but I think they did.

    Also, it turns out I was wrong about large scale farms. As James explained, they began in the 19th century, not after WWll as I thought.

    • Mountain says:

      Ellie, James said the roots of factory farming go back to the 19th century. As an actual practice, factory farming of chickens began in the 1920s, and of pigs & cows after WWII. By the 1960s it was widespread.

      • Ellie Maldonado says:

        Thank you, James and Mountain. I thought that all industrial farming began after WWll.

  20. “Inevitably, many consumers of animal products will watch this video, become disgusted, and vow to purchase their animal products from more humane sources.”

    True. But other consumers will watch “welfarist” videos such as this one, connect the dots, and become vegan right away. I did, and so have many others.

  21. Ellie Maldonado says:

    You’re welcome, CQ 🙂 I also like Creature Quotes, and have saved it among my Favorites.

  22. Ellie Maldonado says:

    havegonevegan, I don’t know how we can quantify what works in the long term, but I think presenting only one measure of cruelty (eg, lack of space) gives a very limited picture of the animals’ experience, that allows consumers to think that by correcting it, farming then becomes “humane”.

    • CQ says:

      The difference between inhumane and humane is not measured in terms of more inches or more time outdoors, but in terms of a 180 degree change of heart from speciesism to a desire for equal justice for all fellow-beings.

      • Ellie Maldonado says:

        Yes! Thank you, CQ. Mislabeling these reforms “humane” just enforces the belief “they’re only animals”.

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