April 24, 2024

Letter to the Editor: What’s it to you?

Randy Feenstra, one of our more enlightened brethren, is stating unequivocally, that California liberals have no right to tell Iowa farmers they can’t raise their livestock in a sadistic manner. Apparently what happened in California, the majority of the people in a referendum passed a requirement that pork or chicken can’t be sold in the State if the hogs and chickens are raised in a sadistic fashion which apparently many are because it’s the most profitable manner in which to raise them.

The allegations are that many hogs are confined in crates where they can not turn around or possibly even lie down — they can’t move. The pork industry association claims that few US hog producers would then be able to sell pork in California without significant capital investment. All I can say about this is, “Go Randy!” Money matters, hog treatment doesn’t. After all, Randy is correct when he says that humane treatment of the animals we eat is a liberal fantasy and just won’t fly here in Iowa. Here we know what is important — profit. If some sow has to suffer for it, so be it, it can’t be helped and west coast liberals should mind their own business.

Unfortunately, west coast liberals are minding their own business, a fact that Randy seems to miss. What Californians are saying to us here in Iowa is that we have decided that we don’t want your product. They aren’t telling us we can’t raise our livestock in a sadistic manner, they are simply telling us they want no part of it. Pretty simple really. Do what you want, just don’t involve us. Apparently Randy believes Californians can not tell us how to raise hogs and chickens, but we can tell Californians what they can buy and eat. That’s one thing you have to give Randy — consistency.

Now if we are to define liberals as people who, one, do not want fellow creatures raised in a sadistic manner, or two, are against profiting from it, I’ll have to admit I’m with the liberals on this one. We, here in Iowa, have passed numerous laws in the past few years making it a crime to mistreat pets, which to my understanding are animals. How is it then, that hog producers and chicken producers are exempt from these laws. If you treat a non-human critter in a sadistic manner as a crime, it doesn’t seem particularly appropriate that such treatment can’t be considered criminal if it is a farm business. Our legislature has even passed laws making it a crime investigating such activities. Making a profit doesn’t seem to me as something that should be the deciding factor in what is criminal and what is just business.

We have gone so far as to be outraged by puppy mills. How can this be? Puppy mills, people in the business of raising dogs for sale, are no different than hog producers and chicken producers except for one salient fact — they are not considered farmers. So how is it that we are outraged by the treatment of puppies; after all it is a profitable enterprise — it is a business just like hogs and chickens. So let’s just get over it — if these puppies are treated sadistically and then killed if not sold, it’s just business just like raising hogs and chickens.

We need a little consistency here (as usual): either treating animals sadistically is criminal or it isn’t. So forget about California; let’s decide for ourselves how we want to proceed. Iowa for Iowans is what I say.

Richard E. H. Phelps II Mingo