Letter: ‘Nope, I own a farm!’ — a sad response to cruelty

EastBayRI.com ·

To the editor:

Frustrated. That is how we are feeling. It has been a year since we banded together as a group as the result of the Medeiros tenant farm tragedy. An entire year spent fighting for the voiceless. A year spent trying to change our towns’ attitudes and laws about the keeping of farm animals. One year and we still find ourselves having the same conversation over and over with many of our local farmers.

This last Saturday we had set up a table at Lees Market to hand out information about the 1-year Remembrance Ceremony we are holding on July 24. We engaged with many, many wonderful folks who support the humane treatment of farm animals.

Then, there was an encounter with one woman that shook us all. She was walking past our table, looking at our banner and one of our members said ‘hello’ and asked if she would like information about the event. The woman angrily replied: “Nope, I own a farm!”

We were taken aback. Our member said, ‘. . . this is not about being anti-farm . . . ‘ but before she could finish, the woman again stated, this time quite forcefully, “I own a farm!” and stomped away.

When did owning a farm mean that a person could not support abolishing animal cruelty? We simply do not get it. We have never advocated anything that could possibly be considered harmful to our local farmers. All we have ever advocated is an end to cruelty to farm animals. We are not asking that our local farmers build air-conditioned barns or stop raising livestock for slaughter. All we have done is ask that our town work toward ensuring that all farm animals have adequate shelter, a source of clean water and appropriate food and vet care. Period. Is that too much to expect from our local farmers? Why are some so hostile to our cause? We really do not understand.

We wish more of our community farmers would come forward and support this mission. Surely it cannot be that farmers in Westport do not feel that their animals deserve the most basics of care. Why the resistance?

We ask our Ag Com members and Westport farmers to come forward and join with us in stopping animal cruelty in our town. By staying so staunchly on the other side of the issue they make a very sad statement about what they must consider acceptable farming practices in our town.

Our mission is not to hurt our farmers. We exist to protect the animals from those who claim to be farmers but in fact know nothing about good farming practices. So, to all the good, real farmers of Westport we ask, please join with us. Together we could end farm animal abuse by those who have no right calling themselves farmers. Together we can redeem our town and get out from under the shame the Medeiros tenant farm has burdened us with.

Kathy Feininger


The writer is a member of Stop The Insanity, Westport!