Thursday, July 19, 2012

New Farm Bill May Flip Ca Ban on Foie Gras


Legislation that bans farming is bull


This news should give supporters of the abolition of foie gras  farming pause to reconsider the strength of their political and moral arguments.

I'm not thrilled by much of what I have read of the new Farm Bill, but I'm even less in favor of laws that ban specific farming practices that cannot be proven to directly and negatively impact human health or that result in long-lasting environmental degradation that threatens public welfare. So legislate against the use of chemicals that are known to bio-accumulate and incite human cancers or other health problems and ban practices that result in flash flooding.

There are enough laws on the books to protect animals from obvious cruelty and that don't shut down entire farming industries.

Don't like the way a particular food is produced? 

Then encourage a free and vigilant press to  keep people informed about what the farming industry is doing and let the people decide for themselves what they want to eat.

Don't like gestation crates ?

Don't buy pork from farms that use gestation crates.  If enough people do that, gestation crates will disappear and hog farms will morph into whatever it is the public and 
farmers believe should replace them.
Hate factory farms?
Well, buy your food from one that isn't. Or buy or rent a chunk of land and create an alternative.  Lots of people are doing that and there's no reason why you should feel like you can't do it too. Just be prepared to see a lot of animal suffering that would have made you apoplectic with rage if you saw it happen on a "factory farm."
I should warn you that might take a while. Especially if you create a "true" non-factory farm where you control the animal's life cycle from birth to plate,  but you don't horizontally integrate and set up specialized divisions to handle each phase of the animals life-cycle -especially the super-critical (for animal welfare and meat quality control) slaughter and meat processing part of your business.  That's because it is very hard for one farmer to do all of that well and make any money. That's why we have so many factory farms now -they tend to be easier places to work. 

And don't think you can just hand off the parts you can't manage  to another business and walk away with a clean conscience. The most human slaughter facilities -the ones that can afford the Temple Grandin designed kill floors -are often the biggest. And unless you have a lot of animals to send to them they are not going to want your business. There are smaller kill-processing facilities that will treat your stock well, but there aren't many. So  if  the prospect of having total 
responsibility for breeding, feeding, managing and slaughtering animals, butchering them and turning them into meat doesn't scare you. Hell, then a sustainable non-factory farm is probably right for you. 

Frankly, if I wanted to create and alternative farm, I would make it a factory farm with pastured animals. But then, I'm not a dyed in the wool hater of factory farming design or practice. In fact, I recently helped set up a kill and meat processing facility for a farmer who raises grassfed cattle and dairy cows on almost 10,000 acres of grass and forest. He also built a 50,000 sq ft dairy where he milks the cows and turns the milk into cheese and yogurt. It's a factory farm by ANY definition but all the animals are pastured, the fields are fertilized with manure spreaders, there are no hormones used. Bulls do the insemination....
But I digress.

You don't like it? Don't buy it, write about, complain about it publicly or build your own.

But as soon as you start banning specific farming practices you open up the gates to the banning of everything about farming that special interest groups don't like. Today it's force feeding, tomorrow it's going to be banding and surgical castration without general anesthesia or 'calf" pulling or induced abortions to save prized breeding stock and so on until killing animals for food is banned as "inhumane." 


I sure believe that.







Inside Scoop SF » New Farm Bill amendment could overthrow California farm laws, including egg standards and foie gras ban:

'via Blog this'

2 comments:

Zalbar said...

I'm normally with you on most things Bob, but you're being too black and white on this subject which is very much grey. It's an extremely emotional issue, but I don't think it's a this or that decision. There isn't a yes or no, agree or disagree opinion for this.

That would be like me pointing out that you not hating factory farms, means you are in favor of perpetuation the deplorable conditions that is seen in some large cafo's. Again, because you are taking such a black/white stance on the issue.

I agree that people need to put their money where their mouth is, as well as taking the time to become truly educated. I am also not opposed to large farming operations with high standards of quality and care. I am of the opinion that all the organic nutties are sometimes a bit out of their minds and take things to a rather large extreme at times. But I am also someone that will never in his lifetime ever purchase milk that has come from a dairy farmer that uses Posilac to increase yield.

Bob delGrosso said...

Zalbar,
I agree that I presented a very simple treatment of a complicated subject. But it wasn't really intended for people who already know that "factory farming" is not always a terrible dreadful thing.

Rather it was aimed at people who look at slaughter house and call it a "factory farm" when it is merely one division of a much larger factory farming system.

I like that you point out that someone might mistake my defense of the "factory farming" model as an endorsement of some of the deplorable practices that occur in some farms. I'm not sure why anyone would choose to believe that I would condone something simply because I failed to point out how wrong it is. I'm sure I've never written that I approve of farming practices that cause environmental degradation, harm to human life and unnecessary stress to animals.(All of which -anyone who has been around farming long enough will know can occur on ALL kinds of farms.)But I suppose that there is not much I can to do prevent those who would like to think the worst of me to do just that. Can any of us, do otherwise?