Challenging ‘animal ag’
Having spent the past decade urging Purdue University and the other 49 states’ agriculture universities to eliminate their “animal science” programs altogether, I appreciate Rev. Harvey and Ms. Ferry’s challenging some of the worst aspects of “animal agriculture” (“Food Production Must Be Humane,” Feb. 4, 2013).
“Agriculture” means the cultivation of fields — and the 1862 Congress that created our agriculture universities, department of agriculture, and Homestead Act meant it precisely that way. “Animal agriculture” is deception, diverting attention from the inherent injustice of the meat, dairy, fish, and egg industries.
Human beings are natural plant-foraging herbivores who evolved as prey to large cats, reptiles, raptors, and dogs on Africa’s tropical grasslands. Nearly all human suffering, loss, deprivation, and early death come from injustice toward nonhuman animals, from prehistoric weapons-wielding cabals aggrandizing their social status by killing predators to the horrific factory farms established by Purdue and our other agriculture universities.
No human use of other animals is “humane,” which means kind. It is all for humans, not for other animals, and it is bad for humans, too. Using animals is a major factor in human infectious and non-communicable disease, food poisoning, poverty, the loss of homes, global heating, forest destruction, extermination of keystone predators, and species extinctions, occurring now at about three per hour.
Establishing justice as called for in the U.S. Constitution demands that all of our authorities and their institutions stop pretending and start putting our society and our species on an altogether new trajectory, reversing human overpopulation and our species’ life-destroying impacts on the living world. Purdue and our other agriculture universities can help by telling the truth and eliminating programs based on false beliefs about humans and other animals — as the public legitimately expects of educational institutions.
— David Cantor, Executive Director Responsible Policies for Animals