OK, that was a rhetorical question. Of course improving animal welfare standards will never satisfy an animal rights fanatic. In fact, the idea of improved standards and efficiency is downright frightening to some of the more extreme activists -- after all, addressing welfare concerns has the potential to make consumers more comfortable when it comes to the choice of using animal products. And we can't have that, now, can we*?
So, when I read this article on a swine barn with improved welfare standards and efficiency, I must confess to shaking my head in disbelief upon reading the following comment:
“We built this to satisfy the animal rights people"
Errr... sorry friends, but they're not going to be satisfied. Just not gonna happen.
That being said, whenever science-based agricultural advancements come along that improve welfare standards, efficiency, and environmental impact, it is something that deserves to be championed, as well as broadcast to the public.
Because while it is true that there is nothing animal agriculture can do that will ever satisfy the animal rights crowd (well, short of ceasing to exist), letting the public know when improvements come about and that agriculture is a constantly evolving art and science is essential.
In the wise words of Charlie Arnot:
"We need to first communicate ethics, then science, then economics."
*In fact, we're convinced that the furor from HSUS regarding egg facilities currently being built in the Pacific Northwest has far less to do with animal welfare concerns than fundraising concerns and their vegangelical desire to "ween" people off of eggs. These new facilities simply provide hens with too much space and cleanliness for HSUS to effectively campaign against.