Failing to Protect Farmed AnimalsPosted by Lisa Franzetta, ALDF's Director of Communications on September 2nd, 2009
Excluded by most state animal cruelty laws and the federal Animal
Welfare Act (AWA), farmed animals are particularly at risk for
large-scale exploitation and abuse since the advent of factory farms,
which mechanized and exponentially expanded the production of animal
products at the expense of humane animal care.
The 28 hour law, enacted in 1873 and amended in 1994, covers farmed animals during transportation only. The law states that when animals are being transported for slaughter, the vehicle must stop every 28 hours and the animals must be let out for exercise, food, and water. Animals are often tightly confined and transported in outrageous heat and cold, and the only requirement is that they receive a break every 28 hours. Many truck drivers do not adhere to this rule, especially when the trip is only slightly over 28 hours. The law is rarely, if ever, enforced. The United States Department of Agriculture also claims that the law does not apply to birds.
The Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act is similarly limited. Originally passed in 1958, the Act requires that livestock be stunned into unconsciousness prior to slaughter. This is usually accomplished through electrocution when dealing with pigs, and captive bolt stunning for cows, goats, and sheep. The Act excludes birds, who make up more than 90 percent of the animals slaughtered for food, as well as rabbits, fish and other animals routinely raised for human consumption. It also permits ritual slaughter in which the animal is not rendered unconscious before slaughter. Unfortunately, enforcement of this Act has been inconsistent, and animal protection organizations continue to uncover and expose pervasive and horrific violations of it.
Individual states all have their own animal cruelty statutes; however many states have a provision to exempt standard agricultural practices—meaning farmed animals are on their own.
How You Can Help
Let your state legislators know that legal protections for animals are important to you. If you live in a farming community, tell your prosecutor that when anti-cruelty laws are broken on farms, you want to see the violators punished to the fullest extent of the law.
As long as the law so clearly fails to protect factory farmed animals, we must let lawmakers know that all animals deserve basic legal protections!