As farm animal advocates, one of the most powerful tools we have comes in the form of video images. Recognizing the power of pictures, an Israeli organization called Anonymous for Animal Rights recently caused quite a stir after it installed a hidden camera in a battery cage facility at an undisclosed location. Streaming a live web-feed of chickens crammed into tiny cages, the group hopes that by shedding light on the suffering of farm animals they might encourage legal reform in Israel.
While federal law and regulation in the U.S. attempts to prohibit certain abusive practices at slaughterhouses, sadly, the reality falls desperately short of those intentions. Numerous undercover investigations by animal protection organizations demonstrate that farm animal cruelty all too often goes unpunished. To view some of the powerful investigative footage Farm Sanctuary has gathered over the years, including our new Thanksgiving’s Toll on Turkeys compilation of turkey factory farming footage, visit our Youtube channel.
Now, government officials are considering the use of video surveillance in agriculture facilities to reduce animal suffering and worker-inflicted cruelty. The Food Safety Inspection Service recently issued proposed guidance encouraging slaughter facilities to install cameras in order to expand oversight. However, despite their own acknowledgment that animal handling violations are difficult to document with only few inspectors on the ground, the agency neglected to make video monitoring a requirement.
With billions of farm animals forced through production lines in the U.S. each year, it’s impossible to ensure that each individual animal is spared from the most egregious abuse. That’s why we’re speaking up to ask officials to make video monitoring at slaughterhouses not merely a recommendation, but a requirement. I hope you will join us in contacting the USDA so we can help ensure that the cruelty occurring behind slaughterhouse doors no longer goes unseen.