Dangerous Common Ground
The popular reprobation of "factory farming" has inadvertently created a demand for products labeled with euphemistic terms associated with "alternative, small-scale" animal farming. This was not the initial intention of the term. Many groups originally used the term for the purpose of ending all exploitation and killing of farmed animals, as they do today.
But there has been a shift in the last few years, a shift toward "humane" animal farming, and now everyone, it seems, can get behind ending factory farming: the animal rights activist as well as the consumers and producers of meat, dairy and eggs. This is unintended and dangerous common ground whereby the rhetoric of the animal rights movement has been appropriated by our opposition to promote the very products we seek to condemn. Now when we are denouncing animal products with the term Factory Farming, we are ironically repeating the marketing slogans of an increasing sector of the poultry and other animal industries.
"Factory farming" has come to imply that only the conditions the animals are kept in are of importance, and that taking an animal's life, the slaughter itself, is unproblematic. The marketing experts of the animal farming industry brandish this term to make people believe that as long as it isn't a "factory" or "industrial" setting, as long as it's not a mega-size farm, as long as the animal had some kind of minimally "natural" or "comfortable" life, then it's ok to slaughter the animal for the enjoyment of the "conscientious" consumer.
Many organizations want to "end factory farming", but still promote the killing of young animals for human consumption. These organizations support smaller farms with supposedly better conditions, but as I reveal in my book The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat, no label tells the whole story and "alternative" farming can be just as bad and in fact, no different from so-called factory farming for the animals and the environment.
The term Factory Farming no longer implies a vegan message. It no longer necessarily suggests a desire to stop the exploitation and killing of farmed animals, and those who work towards this important goal must abandon the term, or we risk inadvertently repeating what has become a marketing slogan of our opposition. Instead, we should be more specific and use the term Animal Agriculture. This encompasses all animal farming. We must be careful to speak in ways that express the truths that all farming of animals is exploitative, all farming of animals is abusive, and there can never be a humane way to breed, confine, and kill animals for their flesh, milk, and eggs. Let's shift our language, and the consciousness around this issue, and push beyond "humane" exploitation. It's time to retire the term Factory Farming.
What do we want? To Stop Animal Farming! When do we want it? Now!
- See more at: http://freefromharm.org/industrial-agriculture/sto...