Stop Letting Cows and Sheep Suffer During Heat Waves

Target: Thomas J. Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Require all farmers to provide their animals with access to proper shade.

All animals need sunlight. That’s why hens and chickens grown on battery-farms with no outdoor access are given supplementary vitamin pills, to help encourage bone growth and kill bad bacteria. The importance of shade is, however, often underestimated on factory farms and other animal housing institutions. This is especially important now, in the wake of global warming, when heat waves are becoming more extreme, longer-lasting, and more frequent than ever.

Many farmers have been accused of not providing their animals with enough or adequate shade, leaving them to suffer in the hot, relentless sun. After prolonged exposure to extreme heat, farm animals–just like us–lose their ability to regulate their bodily conditions, and are prone to heat stress. Animals, like cows and sheep, are particularly vulnerable to excess heat, and in many cases can suffer heatstroke, which is often fatal. There are many cost-effective ways to provide animals with shade–farmers can install a shed, grow trees, even put up some cardboard.

There are multiple laws that suggest livestock, like dairy cows, should be given access to shade. However, it is only a suggestion and there is no current legislation requiring this basic necessity. Sign this petition to demand the USDA make the provision of shade for farm animals a mandatory measure.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

Access to shade is a basic necessity that all farm animals–just like us humans–need. In the midst of frequent and extreme heat waves–brought on by global warming–it is now more crucial than ever that livestock animals be given proper shade to take refuge from the unbearable heat of the sun. Unfortunately, this is not the case on many farms, and farmers tend to underestimate the necessity of simple shade. Farm animals, like cows and sheep, are specifically susceptible to excess heat, and animals left to suffer in the hot for too long are at risk of heat stress or, even worse, heat stroke. There are cost-effective solutions to this problem–farmers can build sheds, grow trees, or even put up some cardboard for animals to lay under.

Though several laws suggest that livestock should have access to shade, these laws only suggest as much, and there is no legislation actually enforcing this important welfare standard. We are asking you, Mr. Vilsack, to push for legislation that would require farmers to provide their animals with shade during the hot, summer months.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Dave Hitchborne


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