by Michelle Miller, Farm Babe From AgDaily
When you think of the ASPCA, you likely envision Sarah McLachlan singing “Arms of an Angel” as images of abused and neglected animals were brought up on the TV screen. In the past, the ASPCA (or American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) focused mainly on the suffering of domestic and household pets, including dogs, cats, and horses.
However, in recent years, they have broadened their campaigns to include animal agriculture.
While the ASPCA sometimes does good work, especially with providing shelter and veterinary services to animals in need. But they have missed the mark when it comes to food-production animals. The ASPCA spends only $86 million of its $270 million revenue on animals; the rest is spent on education, fundraising, and administrative costs like the CEO’s $760,000+ salary.
Some of these “educational” funds and money utilized for lobbying or policy work have been promoting a message that animal agriculture is inhumane.
Animal agriculturalists — whether raising beef, dairy, pork, or poultry — work hard to keep their animals happy and healthy. Inhumane treatment of animals leads to sick, poorly conditioned animals, which results in poor quality products. A skinny cow does not produce good beef or milk. A similar approach applies to an ill-treated pig, chicken, or any other animal.
Livestock owners would not be able to profit from animals that are not in good condition, so why do organizations continue to spread a message that farms are abusing animals?
The ASPCA supports new legislation titled the Farm System Reform Act, which seeks to phase out “factory” farms. Except, there is no such thing as a “factory farm” — outside of the activist lexicon, that is. This term has never been used by agriculturalists and is simply a fear-mongering word utilized by animal-rights activists to sway consumers into believing that livestock operations are inherently bad, especially if they are large.
In reality, larger farms are often more likely to have better welfare because they can afford more advanced technology and have more discretionary funds to spend on animal welfare. Some examples could include the purchase of automatic milking machines, improved beef cattle handling facilities, or herd health initiatives such as broader vaccination protocols and increased identification and treatment of sick animals.
Economies of scale play a huge role in a livestock owners’ ability to provide for their animals. Although all livestock operations do their best to provide for their animals, there is simply more available for those with larger operations and larger revenue streams.
The ASPCA claims on their website that the “ …majority of the nearly 10 billion land-based animals, plus countless more aquatic animals, farmed for food each year in the U.S. live in unacceptable conditions.” Yet they have no evidence to back this up.
Although the ASPCA claims to want to move toward a more “compassionate” livestock farming system, their actions and messaging relay a darker message: the end to all livestock production.
For the remainder of this story, click on https://www.agdaily.com/livestock/aspca-helping-hurting-animals/