Animal Cruelty and Dangerous Food Go Hand in HandPosted by Carter Dillard, ALDF's Director of Litigation on October 16, 2011
The Animal Legal Defense Fund was recently joined by the Center for Food Safety, Public Justice, and several Texas residents in a case filed in Texas state court challenging state officials’ refusal to follow their own law, and ensure that egg laying hens are not overcrowded into cages, left alone injured and dying, or otherwise left to dwell among dead bodies or in other unsanitary conditions. That is not a lot to ask.
But the state, under influence from the factory farm lobby instead of the Texas citizens that passed the law, has refused to do it and is now wasting precious taxpayer dollars to support the factory farm lobby and fight the Animal Legal Defense Fund in court. The state is literally spending tax dollars to defend a private industry that does little if anything for the citizens of Texas.
But the funny thing is, by supporting overcrowded and unsanitary factory farms the state is not only wasting taxpayer money to defeat the very law the taxpayers passed. The state is also playing games with food safety.
Video courtesy of The Humane Society of the United States
Those conditions – egg laying hens overcrowded into cages, left alone injured and dying, or living among dead bodies or in other unsanitary conditions – dramatically increase the likelihood that eggs will be infected with Salmonella, a bacteria that can cause serious illness or even death in unsuspecting consumers. Every year, about 142,000 Americans contract salmonella from eating eggs. Texas has seen a major increase in salmonella outbreaks in recent years and millions of eggs have been recalled from facilities with conditions similar to those found at Cal-Maine.
Texas is putting the welfare of factory farmers over that of its citizens. What else are state officials good for if they cannot even protect food safety?
Texas agencies have been giving egg producers like Cal-Maine an unfair free pass by allowing them to operate in violation of state health and safety laws. The government can no longer give these operators what amounts to economic subsidies at the cost of public health and safety. Texas citizens passed this good law. Whose side are state officials on?
The court is expected hear arguments later in the year.