Sunday, January 02, 2005


The Bush Administration issued a new memo recently saying that torture "is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms.'' What took them so long? Their 2002 memo defined torture narrowly, as an act causing pain equivalent to that of "organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death.'' Their rewriting of international law wasn't limited to the Geneva Conventions. It skirted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Torture Convention. Can anyone explain to me how Bush is any better than General Pinochet who also justified his repressive policies by presidential decree?

Unfortunately, there's no decree of rights protecting animals from torture. Oh, sure, we have laws against animal cruelty but chickens are exempt.

"Currently, almost all chickens are hung upside-down with their legs snapped into metal shackles, which often breaks their bones," the group said in a statement.

"Many are still fully conscious when their throats are slit and when they are immersed in scalding-hot water for feather removal,"

McDonalds is considering making the suppliers use more humane methods.

PETA, which buys stock in companies as part of its strategy, holds 199 shares in McDonald's. The group has had some success with McDonald's, persuading the company to improve slaughter conditions for cows and pigs and stop using egg suppliers that starve chickens for two weeks to shock the birds' bodies into another laying cycle. More here.

I'll be honest with you. My heros and heroines are the brave members of ALF. They risk their freedom to rescue animals from horrific conditions and then, for security reasons, they don't get to enjoy the lucky animals in their new, safe environments.

In SHAC/USA newsletter Vol. 4, Issue 2, Summer 2004, they tell of a time when they rescued boxes full of baby chicks from barns owned by Huntington Life Sciences (a house of torture for animals) and delivered them to a safe house where they immediately began to scratch in the bedding and bath themselves in the water dishes. In this case, the chickens were unable to stay in their new home, so the ALF rescuers found a new home for them where they could enjoy the outdoors. They were almost full-grown when transported to their new home and they were perplexed by the grass under their feet.

"It was an honor to see them go from cramped quarters in small barns out in a snow storm, to playing in the grass in the warm spring breeze. It reminded us that animal liberation doesn't always have to be flashy stunts and expensive campaigns. It can be a couple of friends, a pair of boltcutters, and the determination and creativity to see animals living free."

"A nation's progress can be judged by how they treat their animals." - Gandhi