It’s a great day to be an American

This is a new feeling.

The U.S. beat No. 1 ranked Spain in the Confederations Cup, and I still enjoyed watching the game on DVR even though some dumb Twitterer ruined the score for me. That little Charlie Davies is ADORABLE. (Spain hasn’t lost a game since 2006, fyi. And we’re an AMERICAN SOCCER TEAM!!)

AND! Farming advocates (known in some social circles as Big Agrobusiness–or whatever sinister name they give you when you raise more than 200 animals) passed a joint resolution to create an advisory board that *might* keep the Humane Society of the United States (known in some social circles as The Devil Incarnate–or whatever sinister name they give you when you think animals are people) from determing how Ohio farmers ought to raise their livestock. They are philosophically opposed to raising animals for food, by the way, which would eff the entire industry and Ohio’s economy.

Take your cat back to DC, Humane Wayne!

Take your cat back to Hollywood, Humane Wayne!

I’m not sure if I could have blogged about two things that you cared LESS about.

Both opponents were formidable, but the good guys won in the end! Spain and HSUS can shove it! THIS IS AMERICA, BABY!

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  • Jaydubs

    I am sure I’m oversimplifying this, but if the HSUS-supported restrictions go into effect, it seems like farmers would be wise to respond with a “buy local” marketing plan. They could emphasize both the more humane conditions for food animals and the improved economic impact that results from buying from your friendly neighborhood farm, rather than from a far-off organization.

    Furthermore, I sort of see this as akin to the smoke-ban thing, when people worried about business migrating out to the townships. 1.) The economic impact was not as great as feared; and 2.) Eventually the state had its own restrictions in place. (Similarly, I think at a certain point, it’s likely that the cage rules will be in place throughout most of the country, ameliorating worries about people just turning elsewhere for eggs and meat.)

  • theteet

    I love that you learn about your food and I think that is very sexy. That is genuine and I’m not in a condescending way. The problem is that there are an awful lot of people who are not as informed or as conscientious as you are about the food they eat. Like, everyone.

    Most people buy the cheapest eggs in the store. In California, everyone started buying their eggs from Mexico because they are the cheapest. They are trying to ban the import of eggs in the state legislature (or at least require they also be cage-free) to keep California’s industry in tact. Because they could really use some money.

    Here is what I thought was crazy in that article I linked, and why it’s different than the smoking ban thing. Because it’s bigger, I guess:

    “According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ohio ranks second in the nation in both laying hen and egg production, with a combined estimated value of over $650 million in 2008. In 2007, Ohio supplied nearly 8 percent of the nation’s eggs.
    If Proposition 2-type legislation were to pass in Ohio, Tweeten estimates that … nearly 8,000 jobs in the poultry industry alone would be lost.

    In addition, other segments of the agriculture industry, such as field crop production, would be impacted.”

    Corn growers and other ag industries would be screwed if the poultry business suffers, because the chickens eat what they produce, etc. etc. I heard on NPR this morning that 1 out of 7 jobs in Ohio are ag-related.

    Another reason that it is different is because even if we get a nationwide ban, Mexico is right there waiting to take the market. And then Brazil. Etc. Etc.

    I think the marketing strategy that you suggest is the way to go. Let the consumers decide, and let the market shape the industry. That is already starting to happen. Farmers are ALREADY like, “Well, if these a-holes don’t want cages for soem reason, we should probably phase those out.”

    I don’t mean to sound so negative about HSUS. I like that they are forcing farmers to reevaluate the status quo, and to take a second look at the way they’ve always done things. They are also forcing them to get off the farm and talk more directly with the consumers. (Vegatarians, Even!!!!) But I don’t like it that HSUS is trying to legislate their moral beliefs that chickens should not be raised for food and that chickens are happiest when they spread their wings.

    Let the sucker consumers decide that.

    Does that make sense?

    OMG.

    I’m no longer a Democrat, am I?

    (Sorry this was so long, but I feel like it doesn’t matter because you and I are the only ones who are going to read it. I)

  • Jaydubs

    We are *totally* the only people reading this.

    Some thoughts:

    *I think you’re contradicting yourself a bit here–you said consumers *don’t care* about anything but $ at the beginning of your comment, but by the end, you say that consumers are already pushing farmers to make changes.

    *Tariff that shit. Statewide, nationwide, whatever. Make it so that it costs more to import into the U.S. or Ohio than it does to provide local eggs. (Or do what California looks to be doing, and ban imports outright).

    *I find it difficult to find stats I trust when it comes to the *potential* economic impact of this stuff, because it seems like everyone compiling ‘em has a horse in this particular race. I’d be more interested in seeing statistics showing what has happened *as a result* of legislation, and I think the California stuff is to new for anything truly measurable to be available.

    *The ag industry may have a longer reach into Ohio’s economy than does the hospitality industry, but I’ll maintain that the parallels still work.

    *As to this being a slippery path toward vegetarianism, well, the entire EU is going cage-free by 2012, and somehow I don’t think the populace is gonna go veg. That said, aren’t all laws ultimately based in moral beliefs?

  • Seth

    You are assuming that cage free is a better system. There is not a lot of data to back that up. Mortality rates are actually slightly higher in cage free systems. So is disease. There is a higher risk of food born illness. I also think it is a much dirtier environment. But the chickens can run around and scratch and dust bathe.
    You’re just trading one set of concerns for another. Chickens aren’t mistreated in a properly managed caged system. It’s the manager that’s the biggest issue, not the system.

    Caged eggs represent 95 percent of the egg market. That means only 5 percent of consumers are currently willing to pay more even though cage free eggs are widely available.

    The last I heard, California’s attempt to block out of state eggs is likely a violation of interstate commerce laws.

  • jaydubs

    Got this from Wikipedia, so grain of salt, blah, blah, blah, but the animal welfare and human health entries are in dispute with some of what you’re saying: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_cage (Part of the gist, I think, is that management is key if a chicken is in a cage or cage-free) And I think by their very nature, the standard cages used in the U.S. constitute mistreatment.

    The 95/5 percent split may be the case for now, but I think that more than 5 percent of people would prefer cage-free eggs–I think that’s reflected in the California vote.

    As to the interstate commerce thing, I’ll take your word on it.

  • theteet

    Teters V Jenny Wray! Why is this always happening? I fear we are never going to agree, but rather, we’ll all become more stubborn and entrenched in our views. I still like it.

    When it comes to arguing, I feel satisfied when I can isolate the primary disagreement. I think I have found it.

    About the numbers, I think the difference between you and me is that whether it’s 8 or 8,000 employees, or whether its $250 million or $1 bazillion, I don’t think it’s worth it. When properly managed, chickens in cages is not that terrible of a sin to merit what I would call a risky change.

    To me, cages are not PREFERRED, but they are definitely not INHUMANE.

    To you, I think chickens in cages IS that terrible of a thing. They are INHUMANE. Is that too simple?

    When improperly managed, of course, as you both have said, there is always an issue. This is what the NEW AND IMPROVED animal board will determine and that is exciting.

    Similarly, one family losing their farm, to me, is not worth the financial investment required to allow a chicken to spread its wings without touching another chicken in its cage. (I’ve seen that they do this while they are literally standing on top of each other, but that if off topic.)

    The California vote reflects what you and I both hate. People will simultaneously say “You are a MONSTER!” when they hear that I raised a pig for slaughter while their mouth is full because they are eating a bacon sandwich.

    RE: contradiction

    Most people do not care. The large majority. There is a small voice of people who are upset by cages and gestation crates and whatever else. I think that voice is growing louder. If people agree that cages are cruel, when it gets to a certain pitch, things will change.

    RE: morality

    Only laws about gay people are based in morality.

    RE: I declare victory

    I win because both houses of the legislature agree that its too risky, but more importantly, so does Gov. Ted Strickland. And he should know. He grew up in a chicken coop, as I understand it.

    ($10 if you can pick the part in this comment where I resorted to nonsense because I’m no longer emotionally capable of arguing these points or any other points.)

  • Seth

    Well you get your 10 scientists and I’ll get mine. The fact is we can’t ask a chicken if its happier in a cage or not.

    I have observed chickens in cage systems and have felt good about how they were treated.

    So why are we going to legislate something that we really don’t know will have any significant impact on the quality of life for that animal.

    And anyway, what quality of life does a chicken deserve and who should pay for that and how much? What quality of life should I give up so that a chicken may or may not be slightly happier?

    Also, there are a lot of things in this world I would prefer, but I’m not going to pay for them. Should we make a law that gives them to me anyway?

    Since there is no clear answer to this issue, I’d rather make choices about how I live my life rather than having the government live it for me.

    I don’t want to live anyone else’s life for them either. So eat cage free eggs, or don’t.

    When there is clear agreement that a better system than cages exists, I agree we should move that way. But there are just too many questions to be answered.

    Perhaps we should all take a moment to give thanks that we live in a society where we have the luxury to tediously debate the happiness of chickens. There are a lot of people in this world that wished they had our problems.

    The fact is man has many problems, but a hungry man only has one.

  • theteet

    I like the way I said it better.

  • Rogue Agent

    What does “uncaged” feral cat taste like? Chicken?