I really liked reviewing the information that was provided in Chapter 5: Down on the Farm, Geographies of Animal parts. In a few of my classes we have been discussing the distinction between human and non-human as well as what should be permitted when considering animal rights and why. To apply these principles to a situation that affects everyone, we commonly talk about agriculture animals and their living condition. Chapter 5 reviews many points that we have previously discussed but also brought up many points that are helpful to consider.
The chapter briefly discussed how milking cows may have problems entering automatic milking systems because they physically cannot fit. Another reason they gave for the cows not going into the machine was because they are bullied by other cows that are dominant to them. For me this revealed the hierarchal family grouping between cows that I was unaware of. I have never had interactions with cow really besides driving by them in pastures. Knowing this gave me even more compassion for cows than it had before. This is because in my other class we read the book Next Of Kin by Foutes. This book largely discusses the language barrier between humans and chimpanzees but also reveals that strong family ties that chimps have with one another. The chimp’s capacity to form strong and distinct relationships with one another was another feature to add to why they can such human qualities. To hear that cows also form social relationships aids that idea that cows must be able to live amongst one another to maintain a healthy mental state.
For the people that are aware of what is happening behind closed doors they begin to ask more and more for grass fed livestock. Following the notion that animals are healthier and taste better if they have the ability to eat grasses and live outdoors. Unfortunately the farmers that aim for grass fed livestock must fall subject to the high standards of the American Grassfed Association and have a hard time running a successful business if they cannot be located in areas of higher demand. It doesn’t make much sense to me that the farmer that are worker hard to provide a beef from a happier and healthier cow much undergo such rigorous mandates while factory farms have minimal requirements to be met.