The Norman Transcript

Opinion

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
Opinion
  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 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

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • James Garner will be missed

    Editor, The Transcript: Norman native son James Garner was a fine actor on stage, screen and television. I enjoyed the “Maverick” TV series and, in particular, the 1959 episode “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” in which the very popular ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014