Sunless Hell
Matthew Scully
Special for the Republic

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Arizona voters will be asked this fall to weigh in on a ballot measure called the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act, which is now in the signature-gathering stage but, by November, is certain to be one of our livelier election-year debates.

The initiative, modeled on a reform passed by Florida voters, would prohibit the factory-farming practice of confining pigs and veal calves in crates so small that the animals cannot even turn around or extend their limbs.

Factory farming, in general, is no one's favorite subject, and the details here are particularly unpleasant to think about: masses of creatures enduring lives of unrelieved confinement and deprivation. But if you're in need of reasons to sign the petitions and vote for the initiative, they are easy to find, and our discomfort with the subject is a good place to start.

Known in the trade as "intensive confinement" or "mass confinement," it sounds pretty rough. And as we're seeing already, pork producers and the PR firms in their hire do not take well to criticism of what they regard as "standard practice."
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Prepare yourself to hear, in the coming months, these arguments and similar rubbish from industry lobbyists, their shill veterinarians, and anyone else they can trot out to make something pernicious and contemptible seem decent and praiseworthy. Then in the quiet of the voting booth ask yourself why any creature of God, however humble, should be made to endure the dark, lonely, tortured existence of the factory farm, and what kind of people build their fortunes upon such misery.

The answer will send an unequivocal message, to factory farmers here and to all concerned, that unbridled arrogance, bad faith, and rank cruelty are not Arizona values.

Matthew Scully worked for Arizona governors Mecham, Mofford, and Symington. A former special assistant and deputy director of speechwriting for President Bush, he is the author of "Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy."

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full story: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/0219scully0219.html