Wednesday, April 4, 2007
Hayom sh'nay yamim baomer
On Passover, we remember that we were once enslaved and think about those who are denied their freedom today. Animals raised for food certainly fall into that category. About 95 percent of the 300 million egg-laying hens in the U.S. are confined to "battery cages" that are so tiny that each of the approximately seven birds crammed inside can't even stretch a single wing. In order for their muscles to stay weak and tender for humans' taste preferences, calves raised for veal are confined to narrow veal crates where they can't turn around or move more than a step or two forward or backward. When they're pregnant and nursing, mother pigs are confined to gestation crates and farrowing stalls where their movement is severely restricted. And while it may be harder to empathize with them, fish feel pain just like all animals do; fish raised on fish farms (more than 30 percent of all the sea animals consumed each year) are confined to conditions with extremely high "stocking densities"—a picture is worth 1,000 words.