VEGA's response to Sunday Times article concerning cruelty in dog breeding
6th August 2003,
Down on Funny Farm
Don’t be cruel indeed (Magazine, “Are We a Dog’s Worst Enemy?”, 3rd August 2003) but let’s remember that these pedigree freaks live like most of their owners on the mortal remains of travestied herds and flocks of farm animals bred as meat, milk and eggs on legs disabled by the stresses suffered in brief and harsh lives of forced overproduction. Breeding birds are raised to produce progeny so overdeveloped with breast tissue for the “best meat” that they can’t copulate: insemination must be achieved manually. Breeding cattle for beefiness and milkiness, with tricks of AI and embryo transfer, conduces to persistent production diseases such as lameness, mastitis and reproductive disorders: udders distend and drop and yields go up, but today’s average intensively-reared dairy cow has to be culled before she enters her 4th lactation, and delivering her oversized calves may call for resort to winches or even a pull from the tractor – or ultimately a caesarean. BSE originated in travestied herds of archetypal herbivores turned into “carnibals”.
Shams of free-range environments for poultry are not welfare-friendly alternatives to cages for birds of jungle origin, laying seasonally and unable in their modern exploited state to flee from predators and resist infestations and infection. They are awkward in their now limited capabilities of flight and break bones on landing. In their distress and boredom they succumb to vices such as feather- and vent-pecking, and outright cannibalism.
Vets are shying away from careers in livestock farming because of the affronts to their professional vows of care. While DEFRA’s Animal Welfare Bill toils with decency in the disparate treatments of all animals every consumer has the means of direct action in relieving cruelty to animals exploited for food.
Dr. Alan Long
Hon. Research Adviser
(Vegetarian Economy and Green Agriculture)