April 17, 2014

Inside the Egg Factories

Every year, in the United States alone, nearly 300 million egg-laying chickens are exploited to provide Americans with their breakfast omelets and egg salad. Few if any of them know the suffering this enormous amount of birds endures for this commodity.

Perhaps you’ve seen the pictures; rows and rows of chickens stacked in tiers of cages, confined in wire a few feet or a few inches above their own waste — like dead sardines in tin cans. What the pictures can’t convey, though, is how badly this environment smells. Or how awful it sounds. [Read more...]

Mestengo. Mustang. Misfit.

Fifty million years ago, a small dog-like creature called Eohippus evolved on the North American continent. In fact, this forerunner to the modern horse was traced to the Tennessee Valley. After evolving into Equus and disappearing into Asia and Africa presumably 11 to 13 thousand years ago, the horse returned to our soil with the Spanish in the early 1500s. From their hands, a few escaped onto the American canvas and reverted to a wild state. The horse had come home — but the welcome has only proved deadly.

According to Western writer J. Frank Dobie, their numbers in the 19th century reached more than 2 million. But by the time the wild horse received federal protection in 1971, it was officially estimated that only about 17,000 of them roamed America’s plains. More than 1 million had been conscripted for World War I combat; the rest had been hunted for their flesh, for the chicken feed and dog food companies, and for the sport of it. They were chased by helicopters and sprayed with buckshot; they were run down with motorized vehicles and, deathly exhausted, weighted with tires so they could be easily picked up by rendering trucks. They were run off cliffs, gunned down at full gallop, shot in corralled bloodbaths, and buried in mass graves. [Read more...]

The Texas Massacres: Horse Slaughter in America

(1992)

There has been no rest for the incredibly, terribly weary. They arrive utterly exhausted, frantically falling over themselves as they dangerously slip on the feces- and urine-slicked floors of the two-tier cattle truck that has brought them here. They are pushed forward with electric prods into the temporary holding pens outside the killing plant. From California to Texas, they arrive bearing the scars of their strenuous 30-hour trek across state lines — from other states, the journey has been nearly 2,000 miles. They arrive injured, emaciated, pregnant. And they have come a long way; all of them: registered thoroughbreds, purebred Arabians, former wild ponies, speckled appaloosas, draft horses, donkeys, old-timers and newly born foals. Not a horse is safe from the Texas massacres. [Read more...]