We believe it is vitally important for people to connect with living, happy animals who have been rescued from commercial farming. Seeing these animals in a sanctuary environment allows people to understand the animals’ true natures and to observe them as individuals who lead rich and complex lives, when permitted to thrive. In short, witnessing animals in a sanctuary setting “re-sensitizes” and “reprograms” our minds. In the process, we rediscover the wonder and empathy we had for animals as children, before we were taught not to care.
Humans are social animals. We want to fit in. We thrive in groups. We learn from and inspire each other. And because of this highly social nature, we can also just as adamantly ostracize and oppress those who choose not to conform to social norms. In fact, in many cultures around the world, it is a “sin” or at least an unforgivable betrayal to act against some social or cultural norm, even when it goes against what one knows in his heart and mind is wrong.
Lucinda, our latest rescue found last month on the brink of starvation, has been rehabilitating at the home of one of our rescue heroines, Melissa Summer Pena. Lucinda’s getting stronger and healthier each day, and as she progresses, her personality is really starting to blossom. She’s taken quite a fondness for Melissa, following her all around the house and talking to her all the while. And she’s even taken to one of Melissa’s dogs, Travis!
How does one regulate a U.S. industry that kills 300 chickens per second and some 10 billion animals per year and still keep the prices of meat cheap? By not regulating it. Instead, let the meat industry largely regulate itself. Cut back on the number of USDA inspectors. Speed up the kill lines. Ignore calls to reform the archaic Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 (which used purposely vague language to allow for loopholes). Pass ag gag laws that punish whistleblowers. And, force inspectors who report flagrant and repeated violations of humane handling and slaughter to shut up or quit. This is how the USDA and other key U.S. regulatory agencies protect and indemnify a multi-million dollar meat industry that profits on the suffering of animals.
The dairy industry has most people believing that cow’s milk, and the cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream and other products derived from it, are “natural” for us to consume. But if they are indeed so natural, then why does the dairy industry have to use such extremely unnatural practices to extract the mammary gland secretions from cows? Check out our list of 14 bizarre, cruel and extremely unnatural practices used even by the allegedly “humane” dairy farms.
I’m so pleased to be able to bring you Free from Harm’s very first edition of Free Press, FFH’s new quarterly digital and print newsletter! Free Press is intended to highlight some of the more noteworthy and popular articles from our website and to provide a snapshot of the diverse content coming in from our growing community of talented writers, journalists, photographers and artists.
One of my secret pleasures as a boy was to sit for hours poring over my father’s collection of photography books. There, in The Family of Man, Days to Remember, and others, I saw disclosed the strange and varied wonder of the human condition, at least as it appeared to professional photojournalists at mid-century: children in Bombay lifting their smiling faces to the rain, Jackie Robinson, “first Negro in major league baseball,” the first television. There were also many disturbing pictures of grief, tragedy, and violence, indelible images of mob slayings and suicides, terrible industrial accidents and “the war in Indo-China.”
“The misery of egg-laying birds has been well-documented, but what about the life of chickens bred for eating?” Andrew Purvis, “Pecking Order,” The Guardian, Sept. 23, 2006. view full post »
Most Americans think that making dogs suffer for food is wrong, yet they’ve given little to no thought about paying someone to do this to other animals that are at least if not more conscious than dogs. Why is that? I think the answer is culture. Culture shapes society’s belief systems over time so that eventually we stop questioning whether these beliefs make sense or not and just do as culture and tradition tell us.
This video from Dr. John McDougall provides a clear explanation of how and why dairy products are thought to trigger type 1 diabetes in children and young adults, in addition to allergies, asthma, and other autoimmune diseases. Dairy consumption not only causes completely unnecessary suffering and death for millions of cows every year in the U.S. alone, but it’s also harmful for the humans who consume it.
Some of you may recall that our wonderful hen Sweet Pea needed to have exploratory surgery in March to determine the cause of a large and growing mass in her abdomen. Fortunately it was not a tumor, but the news was nevertheless sobering. An egg had ruptured through her oviduct and into her abdomen. Her liver was very enlarged and damaged and masses of fatty tissue were forming around it — a condition called fatty liver disease. Weeks after the surgery, the swelling and redness began to come back and worsen. Yesterday we took her back the vet again. Learn more about Sweet Pea’s condition and how you can help.
As a psychotherapist, I occasionally come across professionals who and organizations that research and promote empathy, compassion altruism. I eagerly read about their efforts in the hope that their work will include our relationship with all animals, human and nonhuman. So far, I have found their focus to be on human-to-human relationships only. I decided to write to people, doing this research and at different organizations, to encourage them to see the necessity of including all sentient beings, human and non-human, when understanding and promoting empathy, compassion and altruism. Unfortunately, I don’t expect much of a response, but we have to keep knocking at the door of people’s conscious.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the oldest and foremost authority on diet and nutrition in the U.S.) and the American Academy of Pediatrics both endorse vegan diets for children — even infants and toddlers. Nearly twenty-five years ago, Dr. Benjamin Spock, one of the most influential pediatricians of all time, made a radical revision to the seventh edition of his globally best-selling book, long considered the Bible of child-rearing: The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care. In that edition, he recommended that children be raised on a vegan diet.
There’s a lot of buzz in the animal protection movement about a new chicken intelligence study that, once again, maintains that chickens are even more intelligent than we once thought. Not surprising, of course, considering the absolutely abysmal and distorted perception our society perpetuates about chickens today. And yet the attitude of surprise that surrounds such studies and the reaction to them reveals a very powerful cultural distortion in itself — that chickens are essentially stupid.