With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

I love this sweet sow on the Wright family farm. She is one of the fortunate few sows permitted to breathe fresh air and walk with the earth beneath her feet and the sun shining on her back. Photo by Marlene Halverson/AWI"With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility"
--Uncle Ben to Peter Parker in Spider-Man

With the June 30 release of Spider-Man 2, the Animal Welfare Institute proudly recognizes actor Rosemary Harris-Peter Parker's "Aunt May" - for her deep commitment to relieving the suffering of animals confined on factory farms. Ms. Harris, a Broadway legend and winner of a Tony, an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for her work on stage, television and in film, was a close friend of AWI's founding President, Christine Stevens, and her husband, former AWI Treasurer, Roger Stevens. A Broadway producer and Kennedy Center Chairman, Roger produced a number of the plays in which Ms. Harris starred. Recently, Ms. Harris and her husband, North Carolina author John Ehle, accompanied AWI staff to several farms raising pigs according to AWI's pig husbandry standards, which she strongly supports. She expressed her appreciation to the farmers for their willingness to raise pigs in ways that permit them to live more natural lives. Speaking in a video that AWI prepared for the Waterkeeper Summit on Sustainable Agriculture held in New Bern, North Carolina, Ms. Harris eloquently expressed her concerns for the welfare of one of the most severely and widely abused of all animals-breeding sows:

"What concerns me and moves me more than anything is the plight of the animals in these factory farms....Particularly, the predicament of the sows who are incarcerated in their crates for the duration of their pathetic lives. After all, they are mothers and not production units and machines. Please pause and think about the animals who are causing, through no fault of their own, the horrendous environmental problems that we are suffering now. Insist on products from animals raised on animal-friendly family farms. Not only for the sake of the animals but because all our troubles are rooted in the way that we raise the animals now-denied the light of day and the basic needs of movement and motherhood."

AWI is delighted to acknowledge such a distinguished and compassionate actor.

You Can Make a Difference

As a consumer you have great power. Please heed Ms. Harris' plea: be a conscientious buyer. If you purchase animal products, choose those of family farmers who raise animals with respect. For example, Niman Ranch (www.nimanranch.com) requires that farmers, from whom it buys pigs, adhere to AWI's husbandry protocols from breeding to market.