More Clarity About Family Farms
In "Move to Limit 'Factory Farms' Gains Momentum" in today's New York Times, we learn that farmers in Ohio have agreed to phase out gestation crates within 15 years and veal crates by 2017. I won't get into whether I find that to be a victory. Here are the sentences that I want to bring attention to:
The family of Irv Bell, 64, has been growing hogs in Zanesville, Ohio, since the 19th century. Where males and females were once put into a pen to mate, sows are now inseminated artificially and most are kept through their pregnancy in a 2-by-7-foot crate, in which they can lie down but not turn.
“I work with the hogs every day, and I don’t think there is anything wrong with gestation crates,” he said.
This adds another layer to yesterday's discussion about family. Irv Bell's farm is a family farm. It's also a factory farm. The marketing of an operation of breeding and slaughtering sentient nonhumans as a family farm (here, Bell straddles the line) is supposed to trigger some kind of compassion for the humans. Whatever judgments you might have about what Bell does and whether or not he finds anything wrong with what he does, you should put them aside. After all, he's part of a family business.
The important word in the phrase "family farm" is the same word that is important in "factory farm." It's the one that matters most to beings who simply want to live their lives without betrayal, disrespect, enslavement and slaughter. And all of those are implicit in "farm." It doesn't matter what word you put before it.