Prison farms should fo­cus on plant-based, group says

Kingston Whig-Standard - - NEWS -

While the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment is con­sid­er­ing restor­ing the fed­eral prison farm pro­gram, a Kingston­based group is urg­ing the gov­ern­ment to scrap its an­i­mal agri­cul­ture pro­grams and in­stead use more sus­tain­able agri­cul­tural prac­tices and com­pas­sion-based re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive pro­gram­ming.

The coali­tion, Evolve Our Prison Farms, be­lieves that slaugh­ter­houses are “out­dated” and “the wrong path to re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing pris­on­ers.”

The group be­lieves that the com­bi­na­tion of plant-based agri­cul­ture and farm an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary — the per­ma­nent, non-ex­ploitive care of an­i­mals — rep­re­sents a for­ward-think­ing al­ter­na­tive to the dairy and meat op­er­a­tions of the past. Ac­cord­ing to the coali­tion, “Cana­di­ans rec­og­nize the ther­a­peu­tic mer­its of sanc­tu­ary and eco­log­i­cal stew­ard­ship, and the con­flicts in­her­ent in an­i­mal agri­cul­ture as a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive model.”

The coali­tion says that most Cana­di­ans are per­plexed at the thought of pris­on­ers be­ing trained to care for cows while be­ing taught that it is ac­cept­able to harm, co­erce and kill them. Ac­cord­ing to the cam­paign, that cre­ates what so­ci­ol­o­gists call the “care-kill” para­dox, which leads to high rates of moral am­biva­lence, cog­ni­tive dis­so­nance and psy­cho­log­i­cal disor­der among work­ers in an­i­mal-use in­dus­tries.

“It is not the type of work that we should be train­ing in­mates to do,” Amy Fitzger­ald of the Univer­sity of Wind­sor, said in a news re­lease.

Fitzger­ald spe­cial­izes in green crim­i­nol­ogy, vi­o­lence and crit­i­cal an­i­mal stud­ies.

“I there­fore strongly rec­om­mend that an­i­mals only be in­cor­po­rated in cor­rec­tional en­vi­ron­ments in a man­ner that fos­ters em­pa­thy for them [such as an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary pro­grams] and not through an­i­mal agri­cul­ture, which by de­sign serves to ob­jec­tify and trun­cate em­pa­thy,” she said.

A“Save the Herd” petition calling for sanc­tu­ary for Kingston’s “Pen Herd” cows has more than 8,000 sig­na­tures.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the cam­paign, go on­line to www.evolveour­pris­on­farms.ca.

EL­LIOT FER­GU­SON/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

City work­ers erect a 10-me­tre tall Christ­mas tree, a blue spruce, in Springer Mar­ket Square in Kingston on Mon­day, of­fi­cially kick­ing off the hol­i­day sea­son.

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