(Re: “Agassiz dairy farmer speaks out against pig protest,” AHO, May 2, 2019)
I am writing in response to the article written about the protest at a local pig farm. I have no knowledge regarding PETA’s involvement in this protest but I am familiar with their work. PETA is well known for a kind of in-your-face protest that typically upsets the people or organization they are investigating. Many people have accused PETA of trespassing, using fake film footage and wrongly accusing individuals and businesses. PETA is generally despised by those involved in meat production and, in fact, anyone who indicates they support the animal rights movement, whether with PETA or not, attracts the ire of those involved in such industries. There is a vast schism between those who raise animals destined for the slaughter house and those who are vegetarian. Sadly, we are a very long way from reconciling these disparate beliefs.
That said, to say there have been no incidents of animal abuse in agricultural environments is patently, and obviously incorrect. To categorize PETA as simply a vigilante group is also incorrect. Much of their work has resulted in extremely positive changes. In the not too distant past it was impossible to purchase cosmetic and cleaning products that were not tested on animals. Happily, the cruelty-free options are gaining in popularity and availability. They have also advocated strongly for more humane treatment of animals used in the testing of pharmaceuticals whether they are over the counter products or those purchased with a prescription. PETA has also borne witness to the desperately sad consequences of using animals in psychological tests that are too gruesome to include in this letter.
For some people, myself included, the foregoing good works speak for themselves. This year marks my 50th year of not eating meat and in my perfect world there would be no animal factory meat production of any kind. But reality must prevail. While I do not agree with PETA’s sometimes heav-handed tactics, I for one am glad they are out there. It has not been that many years since Queen Victoria started the RSPCA after seeing how some carriage horses were being mistreated. We are a very long way from a universal understanding that animals are sentient beings, just as we are. While I do not support any form of violence or vigilantism, I do support many activities of the animal rights movement.
-Robbin Jeffereys, Harrison Mills