ANIMAL ADVOCACY DURING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

By Henry Lininger*   Many animal advocates opposed the election of Donald Trump.  The Humane Society called a Trump presidency “a threat to animals everywhere.” Kathleen Parker, a columnist for the Washington Post, warned of Trump’s “anti-animal animus.” The reality is more nuanced. While Trump seems likely to roll back some legal protections for animals, the change in administration might also create new opportunities for animal advocates. First, the bad news. The Trump administration seems less interested than its predecessors in enforcing animal cruelty laws. For example, on Thursday, February 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture abruptly took down its webpage publicizing investigations of animal abuse. This move seems to signal a less zealous approach to enforcement by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The new stance is not surprising given Trump’s earlier tolerance of animal cruelty by Ringling Brothers’ Circus. A second cause for concern is the Trump administration’s goal of empowering states to regulate wildlife currently covered by the Endangered Species Act. Several state officials have declared that they would reduce populations of wolves and other predators if permitted to do so by the federal government. On January 17, a federal judge blocked the state of [read more]

The Price is Wrong

The price is wrong! Bob Barker, you know it! The price—the dollars and cents we pay when we buy animal products—is really wrong.  Meat, eggs, milk, cheese, and all other sorts of animal foods that so many Americans buy so regularly are, in general, shockingly less expensive than market trends would predict. The sorcery of factory farming, fueled by agribusiness subsidies, churns out astonishingly cheap meat.  In Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer writes: “In the past fifty years, as factory farming spread from poultry to beef, dairy and pork producers, the average cost of a new house increased nearly 1,500%; new cars climbed more than 1,400 %; but the price of milk is up only 350%, and eggs and chicken meat haven’t even doubled.  Taking inflation in account, animal protein costs less today than at any time in history.” So animal protein costs less today than at any time in history, but eating animal protein costs more today than at any time in history.  The price Americans pay for eating animal protein—in terms of personal health, public health, environmental and ecological health, the health and safety of factory farm workers, and our moral health—is more expensive than ever. As to [read more]