[Editor's note: T.S. Eliot's famous 1922 poem "The Waste Land" begins with the phrase, "April is the cruellest month." But for so many non-human animals suffering at the hands of humans around the world, every month in the cruellest. 13.7 Billion Years takes Eliot's famous line as the theme for April, which is "Animal Cruelty Month." For many, it is not an easy topic to digest. But if Homo sapiens is to truly evolve, it must be dealt with now -- and vigorously.]
"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian," said Sir Paul McCartney in a video he made for PETA.
Slaughterhouses don't have glass walls, but thanks to undercover investigations by animal welfare groups like PETA and Mercy for Animals (MFA), have successfully exposed animal cruelty on factory farms by videotaping the horrific conditions of acts of cruelty by farm workers.
Recently, an undercover MFA investigation at E6 Cattle in Texas, which supplies thousands of cows to the dairy industry, revealed shocking instances of animal cruelty, including the killing of calves by bashing in their skulls with hammers and pickaxes. The case is currently under investigation thanks to this footage.
But soon, these undercover agents -- many of whom are traumatized by being witnesses to such egregious acts of evil -- could be be subject to criminal prosecution. Illogical bills to this effect, called "ag-gag" laws (putting the gag on the agriculture industry) are currently making their way through legislatures in Florida, Iowa and Minnesota. If they are passed, heroes like the undercover investigator at E6 Cattle could be subject to fines or jail time.
"In their infinite wisdom the legislatures of Iowa, Minnesota, Florida and others are considering measures that would punish heroic videographers like the one who spent two weeks as an E6 employee, who was clearly traumatized by the experience," said New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman.
"Videotaping at factory farms wouldn’t be necessary if the industry were properly regulated. But it isn’t. And the public knows this; the one poll about the Iowa ag-gag law shows a mere 21 percent of people supporting it. And poll after poll finds that almost everyone believes that even if it costs more, farm animals should be treated humanely."
"These bills are a desperate attempt by agriculture industry giants to prevent consumers from learning the truth about how animals on factory farms suffer and die," said PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews. "Citizens' right to document cruelty to animals -- wherever it occurs -- is crucial in helping local, state, and federal officials enforce anti-cruelty laws."
"Animals raised on factory farm and killed in slaughterhouses endure almost unimaginable suffering," McCartney said. "I hope that once you see the routine cruelty involved in raising, transporting and killing animals for food, you'll join the millions of people who've decided to leave meat off their plates."
Make no mistake, it is difficult to watch footage of animals being tortured and killed. But even you can't bring yourself to watching it, take a moment to think about where your food came from the next time meat is on your plate.
- Sign a PETA petition urging the governors of Iowa, Minnesota and Florida to veto any bill they receive that would ban and criminalize the filming of animals on factory farms
- Sign a Care2 petition urging the Castro County District Attorney to prosecute the criminals at E6 Cattle to the full extent of the law
- Watch the undercover MFA video of E6 Cattle, which was banned on YouTube (WARNING: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE)
- Share the E6 cattle investigation on Facebook
- Follow Sir Paul McCartney's lead and pledge to be veg for 30 days
- Sign a petition urging McDonald's to make their suppliers adopt a less cruel method of slaughtering chickens
- Support PETA's campaign to educate consumers about the cruelty behind McDonald's chicken
- Make a tax-deductible donation to support MFA's vital work to expose and end cruelty to farmed animals
- Learn more about transitioning to a healthy, ethical, animal-friendly and Earth-friendly vegan diet
- Read about the HBO documentary "Death on a Factory Farm"
- Get a free Vegetarian Starter Kit
- Sign up to receive the free Vegetarian Resource Group newsletters, which includes recipes, reviews and free samples
- Take the American Diet Quiz
- See the 4-year-old McDonald's cheeseburger and fries
- Follow 13.7 Billion Years on Twitter
- The Barbarism Behind McDonald's
- A Better Way to Kill a Chicken
- An Examined Diet
- Report from 2050: Too Many Mouths to Feed
- Nasty, Brutish and Short
- Rise of the Herbivores
- You Will Be Your Father's Figure
- Eat the Apple, Play with the Rabbit
- Welcome to America, the Obesogenic Society
- What Chicken McNuggets Are Made Of
- Gordon Gekko's Green Lunch: Not for Wimps
- April 29: Save the Frogs Day
- June 1: Solar Eclipse (2nd of 4 partial solar eclipses in 2011)
- June 5: New York Requiem Ceremony for Earth's Non-human Animals
- June 8: World Oceans Day
- June 15: Lunar Eclipse (1st of 2 total lunar eclipses in 2011)
- July 1: Solar Eclipse (3rd of 4 partial solar eclipses in 2011)
- November 25: Solar Eclipse (4th of 4 partial solar eclipses in 2011)
- December 10: Lunar Eclipse (2nd of 2 total lunar eclipses in 2011)