LOPEZ: What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church have to do with a chicken dinner?
CAMOSY: More than you might think! The Catechism does claim that animals may be used for food and clothing, but with two important qualifiers. First, we can only cause animals to suffer and die if we “need” to. Second, using the language of justice, the Church teaches that we “owe” animals kindness. Given the horrific conditions in which chickens, pigs, turkeys, and other animals are raised and slaughtered, when we cooperate with factory farms by buying their meat, we also make a mockery of our duty to treat animals with kindness. Consider, for instance, that the lives of chickens in such farms are miserable, short, and often terribly painful. They spend most of their pitiful lives in almost complete darkness and in only about one-half of a square foot of living space. So they reach full size and move to slaughter quickly, many chickens are now genetically altered so they feel constant hunger and eat as much as they can, as quickly as possible. Rather than formally cooperate with such evil, we should refuse to buy meat from these farms — especially if we respect Catholic teaching on our duty to treat animals with kindness.
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