Politics, Technology, and Language

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Archive for March 12th, 2007

Cruel and usual punishment

Posted by metaphorical on 12 March 2007

Lancaster County Sportsmen’s Club Pleads ‘No Contest’ in Animal Cruelty Case

LANCASTER, Pa., March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Elstonville Sportsmen’s Association, 3133 Pinch Rd., Manheim, Pa., today pleaded “no contest” to eight counts of cruelty to animals as a result of charges filed on Jan. 22, 2007, in District Court. Judge John C. Winters issued fines to the association of $50 for each count.

Charges were filed by Officer Keith Mohler of the Farm Sanctuary of Pennsylvania and stem from an event held at the club’s facility on Sept. 9, 2006, during which domestic turkeys were staked to straw bales and used as live targets for a bow and arrow shooting contest. The club was cited for eight violations of the Pennsylvania Cruelty to Animals Statutes including four counts of cruel ill treatment and four counts of offering live animals as prizes in a contest.

The thing I find puzzling about this case is that the acts of cruelty here occur every day, about 17,000 times a day in fact. They occur in every factory farm where, as ethicist Mylan Engel Jr. puts it:

Broiler chickens are warehoused in sheds containing anywhere from 10,000-50,000 birds; veal calves are kept in crates chained at the neck; pigs are confined in metal crates situated on concrete slatted floors with no straw or bedding; and beef cattle are housed in feedlots containing up to 100,000 animals,


To prevent chickens and turkeys from pecking each other to death, the birds are “debeaked” using a scalding hot blade which slices through the highly sensitive horn of the beak leaving blisters in the mouth;[24] to prevent them from “back ripping,”[25] their toes are amputated using the same hot knife machine.[26] Other routine mutilations include: tail docking, branding, dehorning, ear tagging, ear clipping, teeth pulling, castration, and ovariectomy. In the interest of cost efficiency, all of these excruciating procedures are performed without anaesthesia.

You can see 13 minutes of horrific depiction of it here, or you can take in some fast facts from Engel:

98% of all eggs and poultry are produced in factory farms, 90% of pigs are raised in confinement systems, half of the nation’s dairy cows are raised in confinement systems, virtually all veal calves are crate-raised, and 71% of beef cattle are confined in factory farm feedlots. To see just how many animals suffer the institutionalized cruelties of factory farming, consider the number slaughtered in the U.S. each day. According to The New York Times, 130,000 cattle, 7,000 calves, 360,000 pigs, and 24 million chickens are slaughtered every day. Extrapolation reveals that 8.94 billion animals are raised and slaughtered annually, not counting turkeys, ducks, sheep, emu, or fish. Consequently, over 17,000 animals are slaughtered per minute.

It’s good that these “sportsmen” were held responsible for their wanton cruelty, but when will the thousands of factory farms be held responsible for theirs?

Thanks to the NotMilkman for the pointer to the story about the “sportsmen” club, and to Terrible, Wonderful World for Engel’s page, from which I’ve removed the many footnote citations.

Posted in animal-rights, politics | 8 Comments »