A Dire Need

"If animals could speak, mankind would weep."

Anthony Douglas

Lambs marked for slaughter desperately try to get back to their mothers. (Photographer Unknown)
Lambs marked for slaughter desperately try to get back to their mothers. (Photographer Unknown)

The numbers are staggering – over 9 billion land animals are slaughtered for food in the U.S. annually, and over 60 billion worldwide. Every animal we factory farm for food, without exception, suffers in unthinkable ways in the brutal and gruesome process of being raised, slaughtered and butchered. There are the atrocities suffered by great apes, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, and other wildlife, hunted for trophies and mutilated for tusks and horns. Poaching is rampant, as is habitat destruction, which is rapidly driving orangutans and other animals to extinction. The last male northern white rhino on Earth died in 2018. Animals are tormented in laboratories; used for entertainment, for clothing, and for marketing; and on and on.

ADP is deeply committed to reducing animal suffering and cruelty, which humans are inflicting with appalling and increasing intensity and breadth. The Voiceless Animal Cruelty Index (VACI) tracks the animal welfare performance of fifty countries selected among the largest producers of farm animal products in the world.

Factors considered include:

  • Recognition of animal sentience
  • The importance of animal protection as a societal value
  • Laws against causing animal suffering and cruelty
  • Protecting animals used in farming and animal research
  • Protecting animals in captivity and in the wild
  • Protecting companion and recreation animals

Of the 50 VACI countries, the U.S. ranks - shockingly - 49th.

There is obviously a great deal of very difficult work to be done, as underscored by our country's standing as more cruel, more inhumane and more abusive than at least 48 other countries. And we're fortunate to have a growing community of remarkable advocates and animal protection charities fighting this institutionalized abject awfulness. In the very fraught process of changing the way society treats and views animals, these advocates face great resistance and seemingly overwhelming obstacles - securing highly-skilled legal services should not be one of them.