The Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold California’s Proposition 12 does nothing to end the extreme cruelty inherent in today’s factory-farming and slaughter industries. That’s why PETA President Ingrid Newkirk and other PETA members—including one in a pig mask holding a sign—were outside the Supreme Court Building following the announcement of the ruling to remind passersby that “humane meat” does not exist.
Feel-good labels like “crate-free” and “cage-free” are meaningless to the animals who are suffering for their whole lives, condemned to dark and crowded sheds, raised on concrete, and sent to slaughter without ever touching grass or experiencing a natural life.
Even with Prop 12, the cycle of forced breeding, imprisonment, and death will continue for all pigs in the pork industry.
This intensive confinement, loneliness, and deprivation often cause mother pigs to go insane, which manifests in abnormal, neurotic behavior, such as incessantly chewing the air, biting cage bars, and pressing on water bottles. After three or four years, their bodies become exhausted—even though the animals are still quite young—and they’re shipped off to slaughter. Pigs, who scientists agree are very intelligent, sing to their young while nursing and form close relationships with one another. They deserve to be able to express their natural behavior, not be exploited on farms.
Consumers should also be horrified to know that Prop 12 still allows tens of thousands of hens to be crammed into a single shed and does nothing to prevent routine cruelty, such as grinding up live baby chicks in hatcheries.
One study found that up to 86% of hens on “free-range” egg farms may incur broken bones. Chickens are social and like to spend their days together scratching for food, taking dust baths, roosting in trees, and lying in the sun. However, most chickens used for food will never get to enjoy these activities.
Animals suffer in ways almost beyond comprehension in the meat, egg, and dairy industries. On farms, humans confine them to the smallest possible cages or cram them into dark, crowded sheds for their entire miserable lives.
In the past, PETA was attacked for lamenting the immense time and energy that went into campaigning for Prop 12 when the real push should have been for people to simply stop eating animals. While we commend the Supreme Court for blocking the meat industry’s greedy attempt to deny mother pigs, hens, and calves a miserly few inches more space, we remind consumers that millions of animals on farms will still be kept in conditions that prevent them from taking more than a few steps.
The only way to stop the suffering of animals used for food is not to eat them.
We’re at a pivotal moment in pushing for animal protection and animal rights. More than ever, PETA and our supporters must advocate for a world in which animals are never confined on factory farms or butchered in slaughterhouses in the first place. Public attitudes about the treatment of our fellow animals are changing, thanks to relentless campaigning by conscientious people, but there’s still a lot more work to be done.
Remember: The only truly humane meal is a vegan one.
Finding delicious vegan food is easier than ever before. PETA will even help you do it. Our free vegan starter kit is packed full of helpful tips and tasty recipes. It will guide you through the transition to a healthier, happier, and longer life.