By Jess Chipkin


Welcome to our blog, Greener Pastures.

This blog is a platform for Crate Free Illinois volunteers to speak out about animals condemned to life on CAFOs (Concentrated Animals Feeding Operations). Or, as we like to call them, animal factories.

Americans shower their pets with love and affection. We have comprehensive animal welfare laws to protect domestic animals. But sadly, except in a few states, there are no laws protecting animals raised for food. Food animals are the most exploited and least protected group of animals on the planet. As a result, they endure mistreatment in ways that are hard to even imagine.

Sadly, the mistreatment of animals in industrialized agriculture is acceptable behavior to most Americans. If we did to dogs and cats what we do sows and chickens, we’d be fined for animal cruelty. Can you imagine the outrage if new born kittens were ground up alive? Well, that’s the fate of male chicks in the egg industry. Imagine the rage if a pet cockatiel had a tube thrust in its mouth and was force fed until its liver grew painfully and disproportionately large? Enjoy your Foie Gras! And what would happen if we confined dogs to tiny metal cages so small they couldn’t turn around for their entire lives? That’s the life of a sow so Americans can consume massive amounts of cheap bacon.

If we treated domestic animals this way the outrage would be viral. Yet these abuses happen to thousands of animals every day … and it’s all legal.  This is business as usual in your typical animal factory and every time some unknowing (or uncaring) person goes to the supermarket and buys a package of bacon they become part of the problem.

Think a minute about the Yulin Dog Festival. Horrifying, right? While we will never be able to emotionally connect to hogs and chickens the way we do to dogs, isn’t it also tragic to see a frightened baby chick riding on a conveyer belt into the mouth of a gigantic meat grinder?

It’s time to stand up and speak out for food animals … especially if you are a meat eater! Let’s work to make sure that these animals live decent lives and have only one bad day because, in the end, there is really no difference between a dog, a pig, a chicken or a cat.


About the author: Jess Chipkin is the founder and president of Crate Free Illinois. In her day job she is a public relations consultant and writer. She is a long time horse lover and the proud owner of a Lipizzan horse named Shaman. She, herself, is owned by her parrot, Ezra.


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