In the last couple of days both the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Farm Sanctuary have issued press releases praising Massachusetts state legislators for introducing a bill that would prevent veal crates for calves, battery cages for egg-laying hens and gestation crates for breeding pigs. I like both of these organizations so it is a bit odd that while they see it as a step forward, I see it as a kick to the nuts of the animal rights movement.
While getting rid of veal crates, battery cages and gestation crates may give animals a slightly less cruel life before they get slaughtered, it does absolutely nothing to save animals. If anything this adds to the post-vegetarian foodie delusion that there is such a thing as humane meat. It is hard for me to support a piece of animal welfare legislation that does not seem to lead to animal rights or the abolition of meat. I know it seems weird to be against lending praise to something designed to help animals but think about it, raising a calf for veal is one of the most inhumane things I can think of even without a crate. If they were getting rid of veal all together then it would be something I could get behind.
Despite my obvious difference in philosophy, that was actually not my biggest objection to the praise given. All these legislators have done is propose a bill, lets hold their pats on the back until they actually get something signed into law. Especially, since as far as I can tell an identical bill was proposed in Massachusetts two years ago in house bill H815. Since that bill was referred to the committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture for a study, it seems to have been forgotten. It doesn't appear that there was much effort put forth to propose a bill the same as one proposed two years ago, I think we can save our praise for when something actually gets accomplished. We don't need to stroke the egos of politicians because they know how to copy and paste.