The family farm began disappearing from American life with the great Depression and drought of the 1930s. Farmers found it impossible to earn a living raising crops and animals, so they began migrating to cities. In the process, the whole of American life changed in so many ways.
Old MacDonald of lore gave up his barn, his fields and his country home and in swooped corporations, and with them came factory farming. The new “business” model stripped farming from its traditional roots in animal husbandry and created animal gulags where cows and pigs and chickens–and all the other creatures who had spent their days rummaging around family farms–became dollar signs. Now, instead of lounging around in open fields or picking worms out of the farm yards, animals and birds were caged and abused in horrific chambers. Factory farming had taken hold–and we were told it was all done to make food less expensive. Forget ethics, forget the torment and torture these farm critters endured. Pass the bacon and eggs and don’t look closely at how factory farms are run.
But some people looked and were sickened. Slowly, there has come a demand that farm animals be treated with respect and not as mere digits on corporation ledgers.
The story of factory farming has been exposed in many books and articles, but until Old MacDonald has no farm . . . ee-i-anymore was published, there was nothing written to tell the story to youngsters in a way that exposed them to the reality of factory farming without traumatizing them.
It may be too late to bring Old MacDonald back to his farm, but it is never too late to demand that animals be respected and treated ethically and that children learn about the world that will one day be theirs to hold and change.
Until later. . .