Last year Jon Stossel had a whole TV show on how, if only we would farm endangered species then they wouldn’t be endangered any more. Look, see how logical he is? See how he can think outside the box in a libertarian/free market sort of way? Isn’t that clever. Now he has a new item concerning lion meat.
To facilitate the bile milking process, the bears are commonly kept in extraction cages, also known as crush cages, that measure around 2.6 feet x 4.4 feet x 6.5 feet (79 cm x 130 cm x 200 cm) for an animal that weighs between 110 to 260 pounds (50 to 120 kg). While this allows for easier access to the abdomen, it also prevents the bears from being able to stand upright, or in some cases move at all. Living for 10-12 years under such circumstances results in severe mental stress and muscle atrophy. In two model Chinese bile farms, HSUS reports that the bears are moved to the crush cages for milking, but the rest of the time live in a cage large enough to stand and turn around.
Mr. Stossel – this is no joke. Look at that picture and tell me that is a bear. That is a crushed, broken down, beaten, barely living being. You should be ashamed of yourself for even suggesting that “farming animals” will save them. [tangent - please donate to a great organization that helps these bears: Animals Asia]
By the way – just how many versions of chickens are out there anymore…? Pretty much the one that has so much white meat that they can’t stand up by the time they are adults. And by adult I mean 3 months. The famous White Leghorn for eggs and the cornish cross for meat:
Many pastured poultry producers see the Cornish crosses as having weak legs, excessive rates of heart attacks, a high incidence of congestive heart failure (ascites), poor foraging ability, poor heat tolerance, and other liabilities when raised on pasture. While most producers value their rapid growth, others find it unnaturally fast. In most pasture-based production systems, Cornish crosses usually produce a five-pound bird in eight weeks. Keeping the birds longer than eight weeks and allowing them to get larger can contribute to even greater leg problems.
Bison? Per Stossel:
The American bison are the best example. A hundred years ago, they were on the verge of extinction. They were hunted almost to extinction because no one owned them. It was the Tragedy of the Commons . No one owned the bison, so no one had an incentive to protect them.
First off – Native Americans did what they could to keep folks from killing all the bison. They were outnumbered and out gunned.
Why do bison work as capturees? Because 1) ranchers give them a lot of room and leave them alone. 2) they are herd animals that with enough room won’t bust down fences.
How about tigers? They’re like lions.
There are currently more tigers in captivity than in the wild. That should be fantastic according to Stossel.
The world’s entire surviving wild tiger population is somewhere between 3,600 and 3,200, conservationists believe.
In China, there are now close to 10,000 tigers on farms, says Ms Mills, while other estimates suggest the number may be around 5,000.
“These are speed-breeding factory farms,” Conservation International’s tiger specialist says.
According to her research, farm tigresses produce cubs at about three times or more their natural rate, bearing up to three litters a year. Cubs are often taken away from their mothers before they are properly weaned.
These cubs, she says, are usually made to suckle from other animals, such as pigs or dogs – their “wet nurse surrogates” – so that the tigresses can produce more young.
“The part [of the farm] which people rarely see is basically a winery in which the skeletons of grown tigers are cleaned and put into vats of wine,” says Ms Mills.
Isn’t this fun? Isn’t this exactly how we want wild animals to be in the future?
Interestingly Marc Bekoff had a column out the other day differentiating between welfarists (those who are fine with humans using animals for food/education/entertainment etc as long as they are well taken care of) vs rightists (those who think that animals should have some inalienable rights).
There are obviously numbers people who are somewhere in between including myself but there may need to be a special category for those who think as long as the heart is pumping on the animal, we have saved it from extinction and they define that as good.
I’m obviously exaggerating here and I am certain Stossel does not recommend that “farmed” animals be treated like the bile bears and instead imagines them all treated like the bison. That is not how humanity works Jon. That is certainly not how the free market works either.
(cross posted at About Animals)