We all should have the right to food and full bellies; avoiding starvation ought to be a basic human right. However, the state of Maine just took an approach to protecting food supplies in a way that animal lovers are worried could be deeply cruel and harmful. Last month, residents of Maine voted to approve a new amendment to the state’s Constitution, dubbed the “right to food” amendment. However, contrary to what its name suggests, the amendment does not guarantee funding or any other government resources to prevent hunger, malnutrition, or starvation for Mainers. Instead, it could open the door to horrific animal abuse.
The vaguely-worded Constitutional amendment focuses on defending Mainers’ abilities to feed themselves, stating that individuals have the right to raise and consume “the food of their own choosing” however they want. While it stipulates that Mainers must not steal, poach, trespass, or “abuse” land, it never mentions the need to protect animals from extreme cruelty, or to practice humane butchering. Now, someone inhumanely butchering an animal could theoretically claim “Well, it’s simply my right.” This can’t be the way to go about solving hunger. Ask voters in Maine to update their “right to food” amendment and strengthen protections for animal welfare!