As the election looms, a candidate's position on laws governing the treatment of animals has become a weighty issue for many voters.
In observance of World Farm Animals Day on Oct. 2, animal, consumer and environmental protection groups will hold vigils at the national and all 50 state capitols to memorialize the suffering of animals raised for food, and expose the devastating health and environmental impacts of animal agriculture.
The focus of this year's World Farm Animals Day is on raising candidates' awareness of, and demanding reforms to factory farming practices.
According to a 1995 survey conducted by Opinion Research Group of Princeton, 93 percent of Americans oppose farm animal suffering. A 1999 Peter Hart Research poll found that 85 percent of Americans oppose raising farm animals in tight confinement.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that animals experience many of the emotions that we do, including joy, affection, sadness, sorrow and pain.
Candidates for public office would be wise to pay attention to the words of the late Mahatma Gandhi, the world's foremost moral leader and champion of humane farming, whose birthday is honored on World Farm Animals Day. Gandhi said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
Frank Lewis, Augusta