ALEC legislation facilitates the systematic abuse of animals trapped on factory farms, caged in laboratories and surviving in the wild. Because ALEC constituents consider animals as either commodities in their drive for profitable meat production or as hurdles in the development of toxic products, they view the grossly minimal welfare protections currently given to animals as mere obstacles in maximization of the bottom line. Thus, their efforts to reduce animal welfare protections, as well as dismantle the civil liberties of the people that defend them, are fierce.
ALEC has developed model legislation that would:
- Force small communities to accept Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) with horrific track records of animal abuse, in their area. This “Right to Farm” legislation can rump any township or county regulations, eroding local democracy and basically force communities to accept factory farms that abuse animals, and destroy the environment.
- Oppose regulations that would increase cost of animal care on a factory farm, reclassify animal “ownership” to animal “guardianship” or force recovery of any type of non-economic damages for the loss or injury of a pet, or other animal in a veterinary office.
- Classify increasingly effective civil disobedience actions of animal rights activists as terrorism through the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) (www.noaeta.org). More on AETA under Civil Liberties
- Hide egregious acts of animal cruelty that occur daily on factory farms by criminalizing anyone who exposes their wrongdoing. More on “Ag-Gag Bills” under Civil Liberties
The following list of worst offenders represents a just a small glimpse into the cruel world of animal testing and factory farming.
Cargill Inc. – A target of social justice, environmental and animal rights activists alike, Cargill is the nation’s second largest beef processor, third largest turkey processor, and fourth largest pork processor. The animals confined on Cargill’s farms are confined to a life of despair and are regularly pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones, only to be slaughtered using incredibly cruel methods. In late 2000 Cargill had to recall nearly 17 million pounds of turkey products after an outbreak of listeria that was tied to the company’s plant in Waco, Texas. In late 2007 Cargill announced two separate recalls of ground beef totaling nearly 2 million pounds after outbreaks of e.coli poisoning. The recalls included beef that had been treated with carbon monoxide—a controversial process that makes meat look fresher for a longer period. Cargill is a major proponent of “Right to Farm” legislation and the second largest private corporation in the United States, after Koch Industries.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – GSK uses animal testing in its drug research. In it’s company policy on animal testing GSK “…acknowledges that it has a moral responsibility to ensure best practice in the humane treatment of laboratory animals.” In spite of this, GSK’s testing practices are extemely cruel, and the tests themselves completely unnecessary. GSK, along with every other major pharmaceutical company, was a major proponent of the AETA.
Johnson & Johnson – A behemoth in the animal testing industry and a member of ALEC’s corporate board, Johnson and Johnson is responsible for producing the sadistically sweet, Splenda among other cruel products. In 2000, a series of reports were published by Permagon press on the details of animal testing for Splenda at Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). These were particularly nasty experiments carried out on dogs, monkeys, rabbits, rats and mice. A total of 12,800 animals died at HLS for this study. One of the objectives was to observe effects of massive doses of Splenda on animal’s nervous systems. In spite of wide spread evidence of health dangers and concerns, Splenda is widely available for consumption.
Koch Industries – Perhaps the most surprising “agribusiness” donor to ALEC is the most powerful of all: Koch Industries. It turns out that an early part of the Koch empire was the Matador Cattle Company, founded in 1952. To this day, Koch Agriculture Company retains Matador Cattle Company which has about 15,000 cattle. However, in the 1990′s, Koch Beef Company was the nation’s 10th largest cattle feeder, with feedlots that held up to 165,000 cattle. Koch bought a new feedlot in 1996 and, among other things, decided to expand its capacity by adding 20,000 more cows.
Pfizer – Another ALEC corporate board member, Pfizer has been exposed numerous times for funding horrific animal experiments at some of the worst contract research organizations in the world: Huntingdon Life Sciences and Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories.
YUM! Brands – Owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and A&W, YUM! Brands is synonymous with animal cruelty. In their quest to purchase the cheapest meat products possible, YUM! Brands facilitates cruel factory farming methods at all of their suppliers. In separate investigations in 2007, PETA documented Tyson Foods (YUM! contracted supplier) workers urinating in the “live hang” area and on the conveyor belt that carried birds to slaughter. Other abuses included breaking legs and wings, throwing birds against shackles, breaking a chickens back by beating it on a rail, stabbing birds in the neck and shackling birds by the neck instead of the legs. The investigation also documented supervisors who were either directly involved or refused to enforce animal welfare policies.
Other Notable Offenders:
Procter & Gamble