Over 175 organizations and individuals have signed an endorsement letter in support of a groundbreaking piece of animal protection legislation. These advocates come from a wide range of backgrounds, including animal welfare, public health, labor, environmental, religious, and agricultural.
On February 2 the Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act (IAA), a powerful piece of federal legislation aimed at reforming the U.S. food system, was introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Sen. Cory Booker, who introduced the bill in the Senate, stated:
The Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act would place the liability for disasters where it belongs—on the corporations and industrial operators who profit the most from factory farming and ensure farmed animals are not subjugated to cruel and inhumane practices.
The diversity of groups endorsing the IAA shows how far-reaching the negative impacts of industrial animal agriculture really are. The legislation would help push the responsibility of addressing these problems back onto the system that created them in a variety of ways. These include requiring factory farms to cover the costs of preparing for and responding to disaster events and enforcing new protections for workers.
The legislation also seeks to address some of the cruelest practices in the meat industry, such as mass on-farm killing of animals, inhumane slaughter of animals too weak or sick to stand, and animal transport.
The IAA would restrict the use of certain particularly inhumane methods of “depopulation,” the mass on-farm killing of animals. Killing methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) include ventilation shutdown, which involves killing all the animals in a barn by turning off the ventilation system and often increasing the heat. This horrible death can take up to two hours. Use of water-based foam is another AVMA-approved killing method. A barn is filled with thick foam that covers the birds and causes them to suffocate over several agonizing minutes.
Each year, more than half a million pigs arrive at U.S. slaughterhouses too sick or injured to stand. Downed pigs may be “saved for last” at the slaughterhouse and are often left lying in waste for hours. The IAA addresses this by banning unlawful slaughter practices involving nonambulatory—or “downed”—farmed animals.
Currently, billions of farmed animals a year are packed into poorly ventilated, crowded trucks and driven from factory farms to slaughterhouses without food, water, bedding, or relief from extreme weather conditions. The IAA would help protect farmed animals during their journeys to slaughter by shortening the amount of time they can be transported without being unloaded for rest from 28 to eight hours over a 10-year period and setting new standards for current transport over eight hours.
Although the bill has a long way to go before it becomes law, this progress is thanks to animal advocates like you who refuse to stop fighting for change. Take action today by urging your representatives to support the IAA.
Cover Photo Credit: Gabriela Penela / We Animals Media