Advocating for Animals, part 7
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Advocating for Animals, part 7

Critics of campaigns to reduce animal abuse on farms and elsewhere claim that financially and politically powerful industries prevent any changes that would prove costly. Consequently, the only reforms we see are those these industries want, and animal protectionists are quite irrelevant to the situation. I don’t think that history bears this out.

There have been significant animal welfare reforms prompted by animal advocates and opposed by animal agribusiness. One prominent example has been the movement away from battery cages for egg-laying hens. Though this does not increase production costs substantially, obtaining eggs from cage-free facilities tends to be more expensive. A major development in that story was California Proposition 2 in 2008 that phased out tight confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding sows, and calves, eliminating any housing that restricts their ability to stand, turn around, or spread their wings. A perhaps more effective tactic has been to put pressure on large purchasers of animal products to adopt “animal welfare standards.” Already, major buyers such as McDonald’s, Albertson’s, Target, Costco, and Whole Foods are phasing out or have ceased purchasing eggs from caged hens.

Are eggs from cage-free hens humane? Usually not – the chickens still live in crowded, inhumane conditions. But, intensive confinement in cages is extremely abusive, and whenever they are abandoned there is a significant reduction in animal suffering.

Go on to: Advocating for Animals, part 8
Return to: Reflections on the Lectionary, Table of Contents

Return to Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion