Treatment of Livestock

As an academic physician scientist who has devoted over 40 years to clinical and laboratory research with humans and animals, I want to congratulate you for the publication of the article by professor Philip Oliver, "We Can Eat Ribs and Still Be Humane" (Commentary, Feb. 26).

The citizens of Los Angeles, if not the nation, owe Oliver a depth of gratitude and deep appreciation and thanks for so thoughtfully and wisely writing about the inhumane, but certainly unnecessary manner in which the major food animals, calves, pigs and chickens, are "cared for" prior to their slaughter.

He states, "One of the more disturbing ethical aspects of our treatment of food animals is that their lot has gotten worse as ours has gotten better. Modern industrial societies--affluent and better able than traditional societies to protect food animals from cruelty--have exploited them with callous disregard for centuries-old concepts of animal husbandry."

The livestock industry's behavior toward these food animals stands in striking contrast to the increasingly humane manner in which laboratory animals are cared for and utilized in the study of the most serious diseases afflicting humans and other animals. The governmental and institutional regulations that are followed throughout the United States by biomedical scientists stand as a model for the manner in which all animals should be cared for and utilized as we carry out the experimentation that is necessary in the pursuit of the cure of disease and the health of our society and the animals that are in our trust.

I see no reason why those individuals responsible for the care and use of animals for food should not be required to follow similar regulations rather than cruel and inhumane practices and as Oliver concludes, "unrelenting exploitation."


Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

and UCLA School of Medicine

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