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Protection of Animal Cruelty: Steve King's Inhumane Farm Bill Measure

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's CAFO's vs. Free Range page and our Politics and Democracy page.

In one of the early episodes of "Portlandia," the satirical show that makes fun of all things Portland, Ore., a couple dining out interviews the waitress about their potential chicken dinner.

Specifically, they want to know details of the chicken's diet (sheep's milk, soy and hazelnuts), his free-roaming privileges and roaming area (four acres), whether he had friends and was a happy chicken, and so on. Their server answers patiently, even producing Colin's papers. Colin, that is, the chicken.

So goes the joke on people who get a tad carried away about the quality of life of the animals whose slaughter they ultimately condone and whose flesh they consume. It was, if you'll pardon the expression, delicious.

But the reality side of the factory farm story isn't so tasty. Humane treatment of animals, whether being bred as pets or for display in grocery stores, is a work in progress, the relatively few successes of which are meager testament to our own humanity.

Inasmuch as the way people treat animals reveals their character, the way we mass produce animals for human consumption reveals much about our nation's character. That character is being tested even now on Capitol Hill.  


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