TEDx Talk on Animal Factories and the Abuse of Power with Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), gives this TedX Talk on industrial animal agriculture, and the egregious abuse of power done by the meat, dairy and egg industries and by animal agriculture businesses and workers. Pacelle underscores an enormous contradiction and moral problem today in the U.S. – how can a nation that spends over $50 billion per year on our pets, and are active bird and wildlife watchers who work to protect wildlife and their habitats—be so profoundly and deeply cruel to the largest group of animals in the country today: 10 billion farm animals. These 10 billion farm animals represent the largest category of animals in the U.S.
Pacelle states that our nation views animal cruelty as immoral, and that our laws in the U.S. support this. He notes how we as a nation work to protect animals from cruelty with animal cruelty statutes in all 50 U.S. states and animal cruelty is considered a felony in 47 U.S. states. But he asks, what about all the farm animals? How can we protect all these other animals from cruelty—such as our pets, and yet condone and enact such brutal cruelty on 10 billion farm animals per year? He contends that people don’t actually agree with it, “95% of the people surveyed said all farm animals should be well cared for.” Therein lies the contradiction.
Pacelle says, “we have a basic human responsibility and that it’s more about us than it is about them.” He underscores the basic framework, “that animals feel, think, want to live, want to avoid pain and suffering just like us.” He goes on to say, “it’s about us because we have all of the power. We make the choices and decisions everyday that means such consequence to these creatures.”
Pacelle then says, “animals are not some sidelight to the human experience, animals are instead at the very center of the human experience.” He shows the life of egg-laying hens on the screen and how we force them to live in a space the size of half a page of paper, and how they live their whole lives in that confined, toxic, unnatural space. Then he shows the life of factory farm sows who are kept constantly pregnant, up to 9-10 successive pregnancies for sows without a break, living completely immobile in cages for 3-4 years, essentially their entire lives.
He asks us, “are we this miserly, are we this oblivious to the needs of our fellow creatures to do this sort of thing to them? To confine them in a space that they can’t even turn around? Is this the kind of country we are? Is this the kind of people we are?”
He asks us, “how do we address these problems for 10 billion animals in this industrial food system?” He condemns the industry and our collective culture saying that the animals are no longer animals in our farming system—“they have been turned into meat and into milk-producing machines.”
Pacelle suggests, “that all of us as individuals can take action and do something to make a difference to these animals.” He maintains we can eat less meat, eggs, and cheese, and politically support politicians that support animal welfare, and urge corporations to change and improve their treatment of farm animals.
Most importantly, Pacelle says, “we need to have these principles of anti-cruelty in our everyday lives for all animals, not just some – and we need to eat with a conscience. We can all make choices that will make life better for animals today.”
He ends with, “We need to be mindful of all these creatures, every single one of them.”
Speaker, Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
Video Produced by: http://tedxmanhattan.org
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