Cruelty to the animals we eat

February 22, 2011

As an animal activist, I was thrilled that Baltimore City chose to try the case against two teenagers accused of setting fire to a dog, and the fact that the public was so up-in-arms about what happened to poor Phoenix ("Strong response to dog's burning," Feb. 20). 

Phoenix was heinously tortured and suffered in a way no living creature — human or animal — should have to. Luckily, there are laws against such crimes, and it seems those laws will be getting tougher.

Unfortunately, there are animals for whom there is hardly any regard for their abuse and torture, and barely any laws to protect them. I am referring to the 10 billion animals in the United States alone that are raised just to be killed and eaten.

Their suffering is hidden by public view for very obvious reasons.  They are forced to live in dirty, cramped pens or cages, untreated if sick, denied any basic respect for their natural instincts, and then shackled upside down to have their blood drained after their throats are slit. 

After watching stockyard and slaughterhouse footage of this abuse, I am shocked at how this is done to animals that are no different in terms of feeling pleasure and pain than the animals with whom we share our homes and love like children. 

I am just asking people who cared about the plight of poor Phoenix to consider what is behind the meat on their plate, and to widen their circle of compassion to include not just cats and dogs but all animals that deserve a life free of suffering.

Jamie Cohen, Baltimore

The writer is coordinator of the Baltimore Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals.

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