Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) Speaks Out
On Monday, July 9th, 2001, Senator Robert C. Byrd delivered a powerful pro-animal speech on the Senate floor. Senator Byrd, who is President Pro Tem of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, began by denouncing the California driver who recently threw another driver’s dog onto a highway where the dog was run over and killed. The Senator proceeded to condemn our society’s horrible treatment of farmed animals, importantly linking individual acts of random cruelty like that of the driver to our systemic institutionalized abuse of billions of animals. Immediately following his speech, Senator Byrd amended the Supplemental Appropriations bill to provide an extra $3 million for enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Slaughter Act (from which birds are excluded). Here is the crux of Senator Byrd’s compelling speech:
“Mr. President, I am concerned that cruelty toward our faithful friend, the dog, may be reflective of an overall trend toward animal cruelty. . . . Our inhumane treatment of livestock is becoming widespread and more and more barbaric. Six-hundred-pound hogs—they were pigs at one time—raised in 2-foot-wide metal cages called gestation crates, in which the poor beasts are unable to turn around or lie down in natural positions, and in this way they live for months at a time. On profit-driven factory farms, veal calves are confined to dark wooden crates so small that they are prevented from lying down or scratching themselves. These creatures feel; they know pain. They suffer pain just as we humans suffer pain. Egg-laying hens are confined to battery cages. Unable to spread their wings, they are reduced to nothing more than an egg-laying machine.
Thank Senator Byrd for his impassioned speech on behalf of
chickens and other farmed animals and for declaring that farmed
animals “suffer pain just as we humans suffer pain,” and that the
USDA has “the authority and the capability to take action to
reduce the disgusting cruelty” we inflict on farmed animals.
Urge Senator Byrd to introduce a Senate Bill that would
include poultry under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Point
out that although birds represent 98% of animals slaughtered in
USDA-inspected slaughter plants each year, every day more than 25
million chickens, turkeys, and ducks are slaughtered inhumanely
without any federal laws to protect them.
In a separate letter (address only one issue per letter to Members of Congress, keeping each letter short, polite, and on point), urge Senator Byrd to introduce a Senate Bill that would ban battery hen cages by 2012, allowing the United States to join Europe in promoting “a new era of humanity for hens.” Write:The Honorable Robert C. Byrd
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510