Don’t ignore animals’ rights
With dogs barking, chickens cackling and ducks quacking, my town is an animal farm. When I take a morning stroll around the neighborhood, I get to hear all the animal sounds.
A few days after I moved to the country, I prepared fresh-baked rice cakes and went around town to meet the neighbors. As I presented the traditional move-in gift and chatted, the dogs, chickens and ducks that had been wary looked at me with friendly eyes. They seem to think, “Oh, she is a friend. I won’t bark from now on.” The next morning, I met the chickens, dogs and ducks again, but they welcomed me instead of making noises. They are both smart and brave.
I love animals, but I also love meat. Chicken soup and grilled pork belly are my favorites. On a hot rainy day there is nothing like fried chicken and a cold draft beer.
However, I won’t be able to enjoy meat anymore. A few days ago, I read an article on corporate chicken farms online. The environment was simply horrible.
Chickens in the factory farms spend their lives confined in a space size of an A4 sheet. They can’t turn side to side. They eat, sleep, lay eggs and excrete in the tiny space. The beaks of chicks are cut with a device resembling a nail clipper to prevent the chickens from pecking each other. The cages are stacked in layers, so urine and excrement from above flow down to the bottom. Chickens in the lower cages become blind and lose feathers due to nitrogen and ammonia. Normally, a chicken lays 12 to 24 eggs a year, but in factory farming they are forced to lay 250 to 280 eggs. Their bottoms were all red and swollen. After reading the report, I could not eat my dinner.
Dog shelters are supposed to find new owners for stray and unwanted dogs, but some have been accused of failing to provide proper care and not attempting to find homes for the animals.
Still, I am not yet ready to become a total vegetarian. Some may be indifferent to the living conditions of chickens and hogs as long as meat is produced on a large scale and marketed at an affordable price. However, we must keep in mind that the stress the animals suffered could be transferred to our bodies as we consume the meat of abused animals. What good can it do for the body then?
Some might argue that even plants feel pain and stress. However, plants at least don’t wag tails or have friendly faces. We are left with only one solution.
Let’s raise animals humanely, eat meat in moderation and stay healthy.
*The author is a guest columnist of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Eom Eul-soon