Autistic animal researcher Temple Grandin works to find humane, non-frightening ways for animals, such as cattle, chickens and pigs, to be slaughtered. Along with the “hormone free,” “cage free” and “antibiotic free” labels on meat that are now found in grocery stores, we may soon see a new one: “pain free.”

Unlike the work of Grandin, the newest research is based on animals that are genetically modified so that they cannot feel pain. We could identify and remove the areas in the animals’ brains that feel pain or we could alter the DNA of breeding stock so that they would produce pain free animals. Scientists have discovered that mice without a specific gene are less sensitive to certain types of pain. But without the ability to sense pain, would farm animals die in accidents before they were ready for slaughter?

Around the world, we eat around 300 million tons of meat every year. This amount has increased 50% since the 1960s, probably because meat is expensive and economies have gotten richer (this may change during the current worldwide recession).

In New Scientist, Ewen Callaway quotes philosopher Adam Shriver as saying, “I’m offering a solution where you could still eat meat but avoid animal suffering.”

There are no farms in the desert, but there are lots of stars and hopefully some UFOs as well. On October 16-18 we might even experience a time shift! Come join us!

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