Westport Tenant Farm is a disgrace to humanity


By Sebastian Moronta Blanco, Staff Writer

Just a few miles away in Westport, Massachusetts, a local tenant farm was discovered to have been mistreating over 1,400 animals over the past several years. The animals were removed from the land last summer by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The property has been under investigation for acts of animal cruelty in the past, however recent outrage has sparked over the discovery that health officials were aware of the horrifying conditions of the farm a full 15 months before anyone stepped in to handle the situation.

Timothy King, the Town Administrator, shared a report containing details of a visit to the property by Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources animal inspector Glenn Harris. The report also contained evidence that members of two Facebook protest groups have been sharing letters from Animal Control Officer Donna Lambert, warning officials about the farm.

The report on Harris’s visit stated that “There were numerous activities and conditions that could be deemed as serious nuisances on the site, yet the conditions were not deemed serious enough to be mentioned in the Board of Health Meeting Minutes on May 4 or May 18, 2015. There is no record of any follow-up.”

Some of the deplorable conditions on the property included dead and neglected animals, a rat infestation, and condemned structures to name a few.

A gross negligence by the town officials in this situation is obvious. The town administrator also shared the information that he completed an investigation of how the authorities handled the issue and explored concerns of wrongdoing, however he said the results could not go public, as there are personnel issues involved.

The conditions of the farm have been the subject of mass protest in the area, and the ASPCA described the farm as one of the worst cases of animal cruelty they had ever encountered in the Northeast.

Animal rights have been a prevalent issue over the past few decades, and on-lookers can agree that legal protection for animals is growing across the country, or so describes the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in a report published in 2015 that ranks states on animal protection laws. 

According to the report, “In reviewing the results from ALDF’s ‘Ranking Reports’ over the past five years, more than three quarters of all states and territories experienced a significant improvement in their animal protection laws.”

The advancement of the protection of animals throughout the planet is extremely important and should be at the forefront of our society’s national discussions, and I believe so for a very specific reason.

I will share with you all, I am not a spiritual man. I have no allegiance to a higher power or greater force, except only to science. I try to live my life and interact with my surroundings through the lens of science and I look at humanity differently than I’d say the average person does.

To me, humanity isn’t significant in terms of our destiny or purpose for being.

Instead, I see humanity as just one species of many, coexisting on a single planet and competing for dominance. This competition, while vastly in our favor, hasn’t ended and will never end, so long as the planet and the universe exist. So, just as a panther has no obligation to the well-being of an antelope, just as a bacterial virus has no obligation to the well-being of it’s unfortunate host, I feel as though humanity has no obligation to the well-being of the animals we surround ourselves with.

Let me be clear: I in no way condone the acts perpetrated at this farm nor do I condone any acts that harm or mistreat animals in any way. Keep reading and I promise it’ll make sense.

While we are nothing more than another species on this planet, what I think is most important to keep in mind is that we are an ever-evolving species.

Darwin told us that this happens through mutations in our genetic code, but a species as advanced as ours can influence that evolution, conditioning itself to improvement.

Turning on any channel of the news these days can paint a pretty grim picture of humanity, consumed with rage and hatred fueling divides between our fellow man.

I believe protecting animals and protecting the environment is the perfect vessel to cast out our innate aggression and hate.

The more we work to protect our environment and the creatures within, the more we condition ourselves to naturally treat our surroundings with respect and kindness. A world that treats a home well can learn to love the people who live in it.

I support the advancement of animal rights because doing so will make us, as an entire species, better people.

Photo Courtesy: Animal Rescue League of Boston


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