The state of legal protection
Although most states have laws protecting dogs and cats from neglect, malicious cruelty and abandonment, animals raised for
food are essentially exempt from similar protections because of presumed reasonable economic interests and cultural norms.12
In 1958 Congress passed the Humane Slaughter Act to ensure that animals used for food were slaughtered humanely. Yet chickens
and turkeys, which constitute more than 90 percent of animals killed for food, are exempted from protection under this act.
The Animal Welfare Act, enacted in 1966, excludes all animals used in agriculture from government protection. As it stands
now, those with an economic interest in raising animals for food dictate standards of acceptable care. The recent proliferation
of legislation in agricultural states to ban the photographing and videotaping of animals on farms reveals how determined
the agriculture industry is to conceal present methods of animal handling from the public.13
In May 2003, a Gallup poll demonstrated that 75 percent of Americans want to see federal legislation enacted that would ensure
the well-being of farm animals.2 It's clear that when the public is informed about the methods by which animals are raised and slaughtered, their response
is one of compassion. Nine states have passed laws via ballot initiative in the past decade mandating the eradication of certain
extreme confinement methods (see the list on p. 42).
States that have banned extreme confinement methods