Animal Rights Group Hopes to Turn Poultry Farmers into Plant Growers
By Alex Robinson
Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.
The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.
"My anger toward him got replaced with the realization that he felt as trapped as the chickens," says Garcés, who is the president of animal rights group Mercy for Animals.
Ever since then, Garcés has been thinking about how she could work with farmers, rather than against them. In order to solve the problems of factory farming, she couldn't simply advocate to take away the livelihood of poultry farmers. She would need to offer a sustainable alternative.
This week, her organization, Mercy for Animals, is launching a new project called the Transfarmation Project which looks to transition poultry farmers into plant-based farmers.
Most chicken farmers work under contract with large poultry companies, and many agree to take on considerable debt to do so. Advocates say that farmers often find themselves unable to pay off unsurmountable levels of debt, as they are on the hook for required upgrades and for when their livestock is devastated by disease. Groups that represent poultry farmers have argued that their contracts are too restrictive and that poultry companies often use unfair pay systems.
As an example for how farmers can transition, Mercy for Animals points to Mike Weaver, a former contract poultry farmer in West Virginia. Two years ago, Weaver decided he had had enough of raising chickens for Pilgrim's Pride and converted his barns into a hemp-growing operation. Weaver was able to pay off his debt, and he stresses the importance of doing so to farmers who want to get out of poultry farming.
"It's really easy when you get that chicken check to go buy a new pickup truck, or something for the kids, a piece of land or whatever suits your fancy," he says. "But the best advice I could give them is to get out from under that debt. Get that paid off so you're not a slave to the poultry company. Then you can decide what you want to do."
Through the Transfarmation Project, Mercy for Animals is hoping to create a network of farmers, innovators, engineers and advocates to tackle how they can help farmers leave poultry farming behind. The project aims to start by holding an incubator with a group of thinkers in the start of 2020. Then, Garcés says the group will run pilot projects with five to ten farmers.
It's unclear what will stop other farmers from simply taking the place of those that transition out of contract poultry farming, but Garcés says that's one of the problems the group will have to think through.
"I worry if we're just taking out what the industry would see as the squeaky wheels," she says.
Mercy for Animals is looking for poultry farmers who would be interested in participating in the project, and it hopes to connect with them through its website, www.TheTransfarmationProject.org.
Reposted with permission from Modern Farmer.
- This Ocean Farmer Grows Food That Cleans up Pollution - EcoWatch ›
- Cuba's Urban Farming Shows Way to Avoid Hunger ›
- 'Watershed' Bill Making Animal Cruelty a Federal Crime ›
As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.
- FDA Approves First In-Home Test for Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- When Should You Get a COVID-19 or Antibody Test? - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Plans to End Federal Funding for COVID-19 Testing Sites ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Trump Insider Embeds Climate Denial Into Agency Reports ... ›
- Climate Denier Is Named to Leadership Role at NOAA - EcoWatch ›
New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.
Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.
The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.
- Renewable Energy Could Power the World by 2050 - EcoWatch ›
- Net Zero U.S. by 2050? House Dems Unveil Sweeping Climate ... ›
- Delayed Senate Energy Bill Promotes LNG Exports, 'Clean Coal ... ›