The Norman Transcript

Columns

March 27, 2014

Why defend abusive farming practice?

NORMAN — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has decided to involve the Sooner state in a lawsuit that defends the worst abuse of animals known to industrial farming, despite the fact that he is almost certain to lose.

Some background: In 2010, California’s legislature passed a law that prohibits the sale of eggs from hens confined in barren battery cages. Battery cages are small wire cages where the vast majority of laying hens in the United States spend their entire lives. Each cage confines four-to-seven hens, and each hen has no more than 76 square inches of space, which is about 20 percent less than a standard sheet of printer paper.

Battery cages are so abusive of animals that they have been outlawed across the European Union and condemned by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, which included former Kansas Gov. John Carlin and former Secretary of Agriculture and House Agriculture Committee Chair Dan Glickman.

Physically, the animals’ muscles and bones waste away from lack of use. Some birds’ skeletal systems become so weak that their spinal cords deteriorate and they become paralyzed in the cages, an outcome so common that the industry has a term for it: “cage fatigue.”

Mentally, the animals are destroyed, as well. At my organization, we provide life-long care to farm animals who have come from a variety of systems. Battery cage hens show all the signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a predictable result of the damage done by life-long confinement.

So California citizens banned these horribly cruel production systems for use in California, with more votes than any other ballot initiative in California history. And California’s legislature did the will of its citizens by banning the sale of eggs from hens who are similarly confined.

Enter Missouri Attorney General and Gubernatorial hopeful Chris Koster, who challenged the law last month, saving the egg industry as much as $20 million, according to the agricultural journal Feedstuffs. 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014