Just when I thought I knew all the common, standard industry practices in dairy farming, I find something even more bizarre and cruel. The sound in this video is said to be “turned off” since it is for “trade show purposes” but one wonders if the sound of the cows confined to stalls and having their udders torched would reveal how unpleasant this experience is for the animals. The claim that the cows feel no pain from having a flame in contact with their sensitive udders is “udderly” ridiculous. We share the same kind of pain receptors with cows.
“Animal agriculturalists, chefs, and consumers desperately want to believe the myth that animal products labeled organic, humane, and sustainable are morally and ecologically defensible. They promote the washings as cover for their beliefs. They choose not to see the abusive and unsustainable nature of meat, dairy, and eggs. They pledge allegiance to an adjustment to factory farming, nothing more.”
Lee Hall, the Vice President of Legal Affairs at Friends of Animals, provides a great answer to the question, why care about animal rights? Hall’s clip is part of series called Exploring Rights for Animals by Gooseberry Productions. Hall is the author of On Their Own Terms, Capers in the Churchyard: Animal Rights Advocacy in the Age of Terror and Dining with Friends: The Art of North American Vegan Cuisine. You can follow her on twitter at VeganMeans or visit the Friends of Animals vegan website by the same name.
When a Facebook friend of mine Corvus Strigiform sent me this photo he took of caged ducks in a transport truck, I immediately thought of Suzanna, the Pekin duck I saved a few years ago from slaughter. And I realized that Corvus had provided me with a strong visual counterpart of the fate I spared Suzanna who now lives in a sanctuary near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Chickens will readily form an emotional attachment with us. It’s not a question of “can they” but of “can we reciprocate?” Sleepy Doris, pictured here, looks up into my eyes for reassurance and recognition, just like a dog. Stroke her back and she has the reassurance she needs and will go back to nuzzling up against your side.
For me, it was important that the book taught about being vegan through compassion, not fear, and not anger. There’s enough negative emotions like that in the world, and I didn’t want to contribute to it. Parents seemed to like the message the book portrays. It educates the concept of being a vegan, without pushing “being a vegan” on people.
The town of Glenview, IL has a tax-paying resident who has stood up for what she believes is the right thing to do for the animals at Wagner Farm (a public working farm in Glenview) for 12 years now, even while confronting a relentless barrage of criticism, ridicule and even villianization for standing her ground, defending the animals and attempting to save their lives from slaughter. Even against these great odds, Debby Rubenstein, president of Wagner Farm Rescue Fund, has managed to rescue 82 animals from Wagner Farm and find them forever-homes where they can live out the rest of their lives.
“Why do you think people should not eat meat?” That was one of the many questions I was asked during a recent interview. My initial response was that in order to eat meat we must believe in a set of absurdities about animals that I outlined in an earlier article. But there is another way to respond to this question that occurred to me after the interview was over. While I would typically avoid answering a question with another question, in this case it seems appropriate. My response might be, “With all the great reasons to choose a plant-based diet, what keeps you from considering this for yourself?” Or “If we can live healthy lives without harming or killing animals, why wouldn’t we?
As I prepared for an interview today, I couldn’t help but think about one question the journalist asked me in advance of the interview. After talking to people that I referred her to, she asked if there were people who I knew that were not supportive of my views or those of Free from Harm, animal rights or veganism. Apparently others she works with thought this was important for a balanced article.
Spend enough time reading about the quotidian tribulations of poultry proprietors and you quickly learn about the centrality of violence in chicken ownership. In point of fact the chickens, so long as they are pumping out eggs with sufficient speed, are typically treated with a measure of decency, but woe to any creature that comes between a chicken owner and her precious eggs.
You cannot “make” someone feel guilty. Guilt is an emotional response that emerges from someone’s own personal sense of right and wrong. You are not responsible for the emotions of others simply by putting truthful information out there for people to consider. You are not the bad person because the information you provided caused someone else to feel guilt. Never carry another person’s guilt. It does not belong to you.
Whole Foods Market’s new “Earthling” marketing campaign is a great example of how corporate brands create modern myths from age-old legends that continue to inspire awe in us. “We are Earthlings” reinforces fantasy over reality about how animals live today on modern farms and, predictably, only depicts scenes of friendly and caring interactions between “Earthlings” and the animals in their care.
We recently introduced you to Rayann, the new Wagner Farm milking cow, in an earlier post. Since then Debby Rubenstein has been keeping an eye on her and reporting back to us on what her daily life is like there. As you could quickly deduce from this photo, she’s pretty depressed. It’s now 11 days that she has been confined to a tiny stall with a muddy floor that is prone to flooding and a window overlooking the other cows grazing on pasture with whom she has been denied interaction.
Laura thought she saw some feathers sticking out of a truck as she drove past an unmarked building on her way back from a meeting on March 27th. So she pulled into the drive and approached the truck to find this scene of turkeys in cages. Laura snapped a few photos and was quickly approached by someone who worked at the plant who asked her why she was taking photos.
After reading a string of comments on LinkedIn today, I now realize why I don’t get that involved in nutrition debates. What I have found is that diehard nutrition people are focused on nutrition only and make arguments in an ecological and ethical vacuum, that is, without considering how food choices impact animals and the planet. The citing of studies and claims on both sides could go on and on, as it often does. There is no end. And that’s what frustrates me so.
Rayann, a new arrival at Wagner Farm, should be the happiest dairy cow in the world. After all, Wagner Farm, a self-professed model for human and locavore farming, is as good as it gets for dairy cows. So why does Rannan look like her spirit has been broken? Could it be that her calf was taken away from her just days ago? Could it be that she is lonely, confined to a tiny stall with a window overlooking all the other cows on pasture? Could it be that she doesn’t want to be milked with milking machinery and thus puts up a fight every time they try to drag her out of the stall?
For ethical vegans, the guiding principle that distinguishes them from others is that animals have a certain set of basic interests that should be protected for the same reason that basic human interests should be protected. In other words, being a member of another species is not a valid reason to deny animals their basic interests in staying alive, avoiding pain, seeking pleasure and having sovereignty over their bodies. As a vegetarian, I never even confronted this ethical issue, let alone had I any intelligent way of responding to those who held the common view that animals are just here to serve our own trivial interests.
In the latest labeling scandal to rock the foodie world, an Oakland-based restaurant is enduring a Yelp-inspired pile-on for failing to reveal that trace amounts of compassion were discovered in its homemade sausage. The eatery, Olde Depot, is widely known for its delicious vegan sausages. However, its reputation did not precede it for a carnivorously-inclined cohort whose palates were unknowingly violated by the bitter taint of compassion.