WILL 2008 mark the beginning of the end for the U.S. meat industry? The escalating costs of corn and soybeans caused by harvest shortfalls, rising global demand and government-mandated ethanol production are forcing widespread cutbacks in the number of animals raised for food. So does the current credit crunch.
A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts recommends a phase-out of intensive confinement, which would force additional cutbacks.
For the animals and caring consumers, such cuts are long overdue. The 10 billion animals killed for food in the U.S. each year have no life. They are caged and crowded, deprived and drugged, manhandled and mutilated. At the slaughterhouse, they may be scalded, bled, skinned and dismembered while still conscious. Although 93 percent of consumers condemn such abuses, no state or federal law prevents them.