On Environmental Injustice and Animal Units
I was going to write about Thanksgiving but, really, what's there to say that would be interesting or different at this point. Americans will pay to have tens of millions of one kind of sentient nonhuman slaughtered for one meal. And they'll do it this year because they did it last year and the year before and call that "tradition." They'll say that this particular day wouldn't be the same without the sight, smell and taste of one creature as sentient as their Labradoodle. Or their rescue dog.
It's simultaneously more upsetting and just as upsetting as any other day or meal. Scores of millions of animals have their lives unjustly taken for every meal, but I for one do feel an acute sense of scale and carnage when it comes to turkeys and Thanksgiving. But I'll spare you discussion about that in favor of some language deconstruction.
I was reading about a new study discussed over at Grist about infant mortality and factory farming (and, no surprise to you I'm sure, those rates are higher around the CAFOs), and was struck by a couple of passages in this happy meat article:
- "The animal abuses associated with this type of confinement seem obvious. Cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other animals need the same type of space and fresh air that human beings do. Crowding them together and never letting them see the light of day is certainly inhibiting their natural inclinations as sentient beings. But we should care about CAFOs for reasons far greater than animal abuses, for they abuse our own environment and the health of our children."
Is it that the environment is directly related to "the health of our children," and that's why it's so important (as in, not for its own sake)? I don't get it.
- "This week, Stacy Sneeringer, a professor at Wellesley College, published research, which documented the impact of CAFOs on infant mortality, in the respected American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Sneeringer looked at a 15-year period between 1982 and 1997, analyzing data on a county level for the number of CAFOs and animal units. Controlling for a host of variables, she found that changes in animal units directly compared to changes in infant mortality."
I'm going to return the two kitties today, as I was basically asked "are you high?" at behavioral assessment. Further, the entire colony was observed and there are likely only a handful–if that–who might be able to be socialized. There are two pregnant kitties, so obviously their offspring, if they can be caught very early, should be adoptable.
Our Animal Care and Control has killed 16,000 cats so far this year and adopted out 5,000. That's just for Palm Beach County and there are over a dozen other shelters that are kill shelters and not included in that number.
Some of you may have read about the public/private partnerships that serve the feral cat population and involves animal control (and not in the traditional sense, to trap and kill feral cats, but for TNR). I'll be looking into that, as good samaritans are fantastic, but from what I see around me, they're burnt out, frustrated, at full capacity and broke, and the feral cat situation in this county needs more than they are in a position to give and could use some help.