Lemhouse: Animals are suffering and workers are in jeopardy
The Farm System Reform Act (S. 3221/H.R. 6718) would immensely improve our food production in the United States by addressing the countless issues that embody factory farming.
The majority of our animal products come from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and factory farms.
Despite the seemingly picturesque images that are used on food labels from these types of farms, the reality is much less palatable. Factory farm animals are kept in confined spaces that prevent them from carrying out their natural behaviors, sometimes even going as far as preventing the animal from being able to fully turn around.
In addition to the suffering of animals, factory farms subject their employees to dangerous working conditions.
While having to endure hazardous working conditions has always been the case for factory farm employees, this fact has been highlighted by the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Employees are forced to continue working in conditions that don't allow them to social distance, have adequate personal protective equipment or access sick leave despite the numerous COVID-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses.
The Farm System Reform Act would address all of these issues and promote a transition from factory farming to more sustainable forms of agriculture. This shift would benefit small-scale local farmers and allow them to be successful in ways they never could be when having to compete with CAFOs that emphasize high-speed turnout instead of sustainable practices.
By supporting the Farm System Reform Act, you can help promote animal welfare, employee safety and a focus on more local and sustainable practices.
Please join me in contacting U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley and urging them to cosponsor the Farm System Reform Act (S. 3221/H.R. 6718).
Paige Lemhouse is a Beaverton resident.
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