Weigh public demand vs. activist actions
The November 2009 animal welfare article skirted one point regarding this major controversy. Maybe 12.2 million HSUS members want livestock conditions improved, but they don't represent the other 250 million adults in the United States who want inexpensive meat. I don't think the American public will stand for ground beef at $20 per pound or chicken at $10 per pound. And wait until the fast-food industry lobbyists weigh in. They won't stand for it either.
I consider myself to be a humane veterinarian—I do my best to relieve pain in the companion animals I see and would like to see chickens given more than 144 square inches to live in or farrowing sows in something larger than 2-by-6 ft. stalls. But I would become a vegetarian if a chicken breast cost $6.
Perhaps there is a happy medium, but it will still increase the cost of meat. I think the public should decide in a referendum. They'll ultimately pay the price, and science will likely be ignored anyway.—LORIN D. LAWRENCE, DVM, EBENEZER ANIMAL HOSPITAL, ROCK HILL, S.C.