By Jean Paul Olmsted
We live in a world repeat with profound misery. As Buddha learned, we cannot hide from it; it will find each and everyone one of us. Suffering, like most things in life, is not distributed equally; some get more than their share and others less. While efforts to alleviate the pain of others can have a beneficial effect on our own psyches and sense of well-being, the sheer magnitude of the task can have a wearing effect on even the strongest among us.
However, amidst all the sadness which confronts those of us who have focused our energies on the welfare of animals, especially farm animals, we need to keep one thing in mind: The tide of history is on our side. This is not an opinion. It is an incontrovertible fact. No matter how powerful the special interests allayed against us, that tide cannot and will not be stopped. Anything that stands in its way will ultimately be washed away. Our job is simply to help push this process forward.
We all know that many countries, including Canada and even nine states within our union, have taken steps to improve the lives of farm animals. Now, thanks to greater awareness (our mission), American consumers — fully 95% feel animals ought to be treated well –– are demanding more responsible stewardship of these creatures.
More and more companies, large and small, are acceding to the demands of the public: Wal-Mart and COSTCO will soon be using only cage free eggs in their private brands. Subway is joining Wendy’s, Denny’s, Golden Corral, Cracker Barrel, Whataburger, Sonic and Ruby Tuesday in switching to cage-free eggs. Unilever, one of the world’s largest food companies, is working to eliminate the cruel killing of male chicks at hatcheries. Nestlé has announced an industry-leading animal welfare program that will eliminate inhumane practices, including the drugging and breeding chickens so heavy and so fast that they suffer crippling injuries and performing of unnecessary operations on animals (cutting tails, horns, testicles, etc.) without adequate pain relief. And both McDonalds and Wendy’s are phasing out the use of pork products from pigs raised in gestation crates. Even the unconscionable use of tens of millions of animals in research labs is slowly decreasing as non animal techniques are increasingly being used to tackle research problems.
More to our specific mission: K-Mart, COSTCO, Nestlé, Safeway, Sobeys, among many other smaller players, are adopting anti-gestation crate policies.
So, while our work necessitates awareness of the horrors farm animals face every single day of their lives, our efforts are not in vain. In the distance, we can see the light of a better day shining brighter and brighter.
About the Author: Jean Paul Olmsted is both a political and animal welfare activist who resides in California. He is a long time friend and advisor to Crate Free Illinois and a member of its Board of Directors.