25 August 2010

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “A Hen’s Space to Roost” (Week in Review, Aug. 15):

We are glad to see an article describing the intensive confinement of egg-laying chickens, but we disagree when it says that animal advocates and consumers are “driving big changes” in the treatment of chickens.

Thus far, the state ballot initiatives and agreements that will expand space for chickens (as well as for gestating pigs and veal calves) are really very minor. At most, chickens will be guaranteed room to spread their wings. They will still lack the freedom to engage in natural behaviors like foraging and nesting. Most will never know sunlight, breezes, plants or soil.

At our farm sanctuary, we see how much chickens rescued from factory farms delight in these experiences. Like humans, animals have a right to enjoy life.

Bill Crain
Ellen Crain
Poughquag, N.Y., Aug. 15, 2010

The writers are co-founders of Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary.

20 August 2010

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “A Hen’s Space to Roost” (Week in Review, Aug. 15):

I have one very simple piece of advice for consumers interested in higher-quality eggs from humanely treated chickens: stop buying eggs at the grocery store. I distribute locally produced, free-range eggs from my home to a small group of friends, but these kinds of eggs are widely available through farmers’ markets at prices that range from $2 to $3.50 a dozen.

The eggs we eat come from chickens that spend their days outside, scratching and eating grubs. In addition to allowing me to feel good about eating the fruits of their labor, they are the most delicious eggs—with shockingly rich, bright-yellow yolks—that have ever graced my lips. I’ll never go back.

Josh Miner
La Crosse, Wis., Aug. 15, 2010

The writer is farm-to-school coordinator for the La Crosse County Health Department and a former W. K. Kellogg food and society policy fellow.

11 August 2010

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Disgusting but Not Illegal” (editorial, Aug. 2): We disagree with your contention that the First Amendment protects animal “crush” videos.

In United States v. Stevens, the Supreme Court last year overturned a 1999 law banning depictions of animal cruelty on the grounds of overbreadth. The justices were legitimately concerned that the law could impede valid speech. But they explicitly reserved judgment on a statute narrowly tailored to crush videos.

These videos, the subject of House legislation and of a bill that we plan to introduce, are beyond “disgusting”—and go beyond conventional conceptions of animal cruelty. They depict truly extreme forms of animal cruelty—often involving young women torturing small animals—and are created for the prurient interest of a small sick segment of society.

While all 50 states and the District of Columbia have animal cruelty laws, the anonymity of the perpetrators in the videos severely frustrates enforcement efforts, so we need to ban the sale of these videos.

We share your opposition to tinkering with the First Amendment. And the Supreme Court’s decision is a reminder of the importance of narrowly tailoring this legislation, but it has not determined that these crush videos constitute protected speech. We believe our new legislation will pass constitutional muster.

Jon Kyl
Jeff Merkley
Richard Burr
Washington, Aug. 5, 2010

The writers are United States senators.

01 August 2010


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