I don’t even know where to start. Where does one even begin. Is this humanity as we know it? Is cruelty and brutality just part of who we are? How does a person do that to an animal? Or a human as demonstrated by this new “game” amongst kids where they walk by a stranger and hit them hard enough to render them unconscious just because of a dare. It is mind-boggling. The animals sicken me far more, as they are defenseless and voiceless. When I walk amongst the animals here and envision what their lives were like before they arrived here I often wonder what they must think. Not to anthropomorphize, but they do understand we are not here to cause them harm. Their capacity for change is staggering. To go from cowering and anxious to accepting and quiet all in a matter of months. If only humans had the same capacity. Rarely do we see the horse that cannot come around. They are few and far between. Horses can suffer horrible abuse and violence only to learn to trust again. There is nothing more rewarding than watching that transformation. The curiosity that draws them to us. Desperate for a leader and protector. Despite all the humans that hurt them along the way. I see in Ted’s eyes that flicker of worry. The split second of white around his eye shows me life hasn’t always been perfect for him. I see the moment when he decides to come to me anyway even though his instincts tell him people aren’t always kind. I love that he comes anyway. It happens often with horses. They let us off the hook for all our failures, our lapses in judgment
The individuals in the video are different. Those workers have fallen clear into depraved indifference and torture. They aren’t angry and losing their tempers. They seem to take pleasure in the aggression they are displaying. It is so over the top. Not an occasional lapse of judgement. This is just beyond words. I have seen workers fall into strange aggressive behaviors with one horse they find not to their liking. Usually it is in a large barn and it is easy to miss the issue. If they are caught they find some excuse. I can only imagine when groups of employees start feeding off each other. It seems a recipe for disaster. The unimaginable becomes the day to day reality. If it was one or two instances that is awful enough but these unimaginable treatments seem to be the working norm there. This plant is not alone. Take a minute to wander Youtube and hundreds of thousands of undercover videos are available. This depraved disgusting behavior can be found everywhere. From the veal calves being bludgeoned with pick axes at the TX farm to the downed cows being moved with skidsteers while still alive. This behavior is rampant in factory farming. Big Ag has moved to make the shooting of undercover video illegal. without these videos animals have no voice. As terrible as these videos are and as gut wrenching as they are to watch they do give these poor souls a voice. In light of this video circulating today WalMart has dropped its contract with this pork producer. Unfortunately this just illustrates we as a society and our needs are vastly outpacing our ability to produce product. In this case pork. Each year we consume more and the farms must expand to produce enough. Farmers used to produce small quantities, raising them as if they were family. How can we expect humility and compassion when the farmer is now under the gun to produce vast quantities as cheaply as possible? Now instead of 40 hogs it is 40,000 +. They become a nameless byproduct of this race to produce fast enough to stock the Walmart freezers. I don’t know that there is a way to factory farm humanely. No animal does well packed into massive warehouses. Disease and abnormal behavior run rampant. They cull hard to keep both in check. It is a never-ending process of killing. It doesn’t matter to their caretakers as these animals are “dead” anyway. It is only a matter of time. That line gets blurred. The torment begins. How can people be expected to work in those conditions and not crumble beneath the inhumanity of it all. How can we expect them to have respect for an animal when the factory farming system has no respect for any of them to begin with. It isn’t a pig in that gestation crate it is just a breeder to make more pork until the day she can no longer produce. When that day comes she becomes sausage, as a farm once told me, they use everything but the squeal. She was dead the day she was born into this. They don’t care. If she doesn’t survive there are hundreds of thousands more to fill her gestational crate. and so the never-ending process goes on. The workers are burned out and poorly paid. They quickly devolve into this behavior we see on video. It is sickening. It doesn’t take much to bring out the very worst in any person. Clearly illustrated by Zimbardo’s Prison Experiment. These farm workers had all the power and they wielded it like a club (literally). I don’t blame the workers on this video. I blame a broken system and a unsaitable need for our society to consume more and more. This is not the end of this. It is only the beginning.