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My commute to work shares the path of “chicken trucks” en route to the Draper Valley Farms slaughterhouse. (The sanitized name is “Processing Plant.”) Depending on the time I go into work, I may see a truck carrying live birds to their deaths about once a week. Occasionally, I see live birds in the morning, and then a truck carrying dead birds in the evening…
12/13/11…Today at 8:30 AM I saw the ‘chicken truck’ driving north carrying live birds to this “processing plant.” At 6:00 PM tonight, I saw a “Draper Valley Farms” truck driving south carrying the refrigerated body parts of those same birds. What I want to know is this…
At what time did those beings experience the first pains of “processing?” At what time were the frightened birds grabbed– by the fistful– by men unloading their metal cages? When were they hung upside down on hooks? When did the first one experience broken bones? At what time did they realize they would die? At what time did they hit the electrified bath? When did the first bird miss the automatic throat-slitting machine & go to the scalder alive? At what time did the ‘backup slaughterer’ start his shift? When were the birds’ heads pulled off? Feet & feathers removed? Eviscerated? When did the feces start to spray all over? When did the carcasses commune in the refrigerated water? When were these birds chopped up and packaged in cellophane?
AND…At what time will the delivery truck driver unload the neat little blood-free packages at the back door of the grocery store? At what time will the stocker arrange the stacks of flesh? When will the first customer come to pick through the piles of breasts, thighs or legs? At what time will the grocery patron complain that chicken is just getting too “expensive?”
AND…When will that same grocery patron make the connection that IN these packages were birds who were exploited, abused, hurt and killed for NO good reason. WHEN?? When will he go vegan? When will she go vegan? God, I hope it’s soon.
Chickens killed unnecessarily on 12/26/11…
Chickens killed unnecessarily on 12/27/11…
Chickens killed unnecessarily on January 4, 2012…
For more about these birds, please read Chicken Dinners
Highline Bar – Seattle, Washington
Do you want to tear into a BBQ Pork Sandwich, but you don’t want knives tearing into pigs?
Are you craving some cheesy gooey-ness but you care about cows?
Well…Vegan dreams DO come true!
Highline is a vegan bar/restaurant located in Seattle at 210 Broadway Avenue East. It’s a bit dark and dingy in there, and there’s nothing fancy about the place. This is a bar, after all. The menu is yummy. On a warm, sunny day, it’s nice to sip and eat from the balcony while people-watching. Funny…I always feel like I need more tattoos when I’m in this neighborhood! Here are some things we’ve ordered…
PULLED BBQ HERO – Soy-chicken, sauteed peppers & onions smothered in house made bbq sauce topped w/ coleslaw.
REUBENDER – House-made vegan pastrami w/ russian dressing, smokey provolone cheez sauce & sauerkraut on grilled rye.
FISH & CHIPS - Crispy soy-fish strips (with nori) & french fries w/ tartar & lemon. (You really must try them to believe how good they are!)
BUFFALO NUGGS WITH RANCH
PELE WRAP – Maple teriyaki tempeh w/ pineapple, spinach, cabbage, red onions, miso-sriracha aioli.
THE MELTDOWN – Vegan tuna w/ mozzarella style cheez on grilled bread.
CAPANOTA WRAP – Chunky eggplant capanota, avocado, spinach, sun-dried tomato cream cheez, and vegan cheez curds.
BEER CHEEZ SOUP
Ah…my sweet *elixir. My little happy place. How I look forward to my daily espresso beverage!
- double shot home-brewed Fair Trade, Organic, City or Full City Roast coffee
- teensy bit sweetener
- 1/3 cup soy milk
- 1/3 cup homemade nut rice milk.
I typically use coarse raw sugar, but today I tried Raw Coconut Crystals. I found them at my local food Co-op. Two thumbs up!
*Elixir just sounds right to me. Technically, an elixir is a sweet liquid containing alcohol. But, since espresso is clearly used to “cure one’s ills,” I’m going with it!
Every day that I go to work, I nearly go crazy…and here’s why…
The food. Nursing home food. It’s the same everywhere, so I‘m not picking on my employer. In my 15-year career as an Occupational Therapist, I’ve worked in at least a couple dozen Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF). Hospital food is no different- I’ve worked in plenty of them, too.
The food at all of these places for sick and functionally impaired folks is abysmal. Can we really call it food? Make no mistake- this is a system-wide “healthcare” (i.e.- “keep you sick”) problem. Shall we thank our government and the USDA?
Here is an average diagnosis list for the typical patient I see in rehabilitation every day: HTN (high blood pressure), Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), CAD (coronary artery disease), DM (diabetes), OA (osteoarthritis), and dementia.
Many have a history of CVA (stroke) and/or cancer. Also, recurrent “antibiotic resistant” urinary tract infections are all too common ( MRSA – Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).
This week I met a relatively rare specimen. She’s a “younger” woman (i.e. 70 years old) who fractured her leg while pruning a garden tree. She said to me, “I eat organic. I juice my vegetables. I eat kale.” She was “horrified” (her words) to have been served a hot dog and french fries for dinner on her first evening (with cake for dessert!) I truly felt her pain.
Now, let’s say you were admitted to the SNF with a CABG x 4 (a four-vessel Coronary Artery Bypass Graft) at mid-morning that same day. What did your nurse’s aide bring you for lunch?
“Beef Pot Roast, Baked Potato with Sour Cream, Green Beans and Strawberry Bavarian Cream with Whipped Topping.”
Lunch: beef, white potato, dairy, vegetable, white flour, sugar/HFCS, and oil/trans fats.
Dinner: high-sodium/high-fat/high-Nitrite animal trimmings, fried white potato, refined flour, and refined sugar.
The menu comes from “Dietician Consulting Service.” I guess these would be the Dieticians who promote chronic illness and death? Gee whiz, I must be naive to assume that a Dietician’s JOB is to develop menu plans with good nutrition.
I still have a menu from last summer, when the residents/patients were served grilled cheeseburger, french fries, and a root beer float for lunch, and then 3-cheese macaroni and cheese, peas, dinner roll with margarine, and an ice cream bar for dinner. I kid you not!
Can you believe that the daily meal plans consist primarily of meat, dairy, refined flour, white potatoes, refined sugar, unhealthy fats, and a very little vegetative matter? This is a healthy, balanced diet?
Not according to my lady patient with the lower leg cast. She must go out of her way to secure her own nourishing food. Your new coronary artery graft doesn’t have a prayer. There’s a very good chance you’ll become “vegetative” if you eat these non-nutritive substances.
Got fiber? Nope. Add your pain medications into the mix, and you’ve got some serious constipation. (No problem- you can rely on Milk of Magnesia, enemas, and/or manual fecal extraction.)
Veggies- WHERE ARE YOU?!?
The “Dietician Consulting Service” menu is devoid of nutrient density. It’s critically low in whole fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, beans, whole grains, and nuts/seeds. It’s critically low in fiber, phytochemicals (“phyto” means plant), anti-oxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s disease-promoting and death-promoting.
I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the animals eaten every morning, noon and evening of every day, of every week, for every meal on this menu come from the worst of the very worst of the Hell holes called factory farms.
Now…are you surprised that going to work makes me nearly go crazy?
Monday, May 14, 2012
Today I was rollerblading on a paved trail near my house. The side of the path had been freshly mowed. There, I saw about 5 dead baby possums who must have been killed by the mower. There was no blood, and the bodies were intact. I think they were crushed.
Seeing them made me think about all the animals killed during the production of food crops: field mice, moles, rabbits and others, who unknowingly get in the way of the farm machinery.
Some people like to use the fact that “animals die in the harvesting of plants” as an argument to discredit a vegan’s decision to leave animals off her plate. I respond: Should I go back to eating animals because I can’t help the small mammals who meet their untimely deaths out in the farm fields?
If I can’t help it that a bird got killed by my car while driving, does it mean that I should go back to eating chickens? No. I don’t want to kill either bird: not a sparrow by accident or a chicken on purpose. I want to cause as little harm as humanly possible.
Animals who are killed for food don’t just magically grow big and plump without eating. Animals who are intentionally killed are fed plants first. The two main “animal feed” crops in animal agriculture are corn and soybeans. A high percentage are genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides.
Animals eat plants and then people eat the animals. More animal death is caused by eating animals than by simply eating plants directly. Eat organic, non-GMO plants whenever possible.
What about “grass-fed” animals, you ask? The fact is, grass-fed livestock are rarely 100% grass-fed. Pastured livestock are raised on grassy pastures, but their diet is supplemented with grains, especially in colder climates. Pastured cows, bison, pigs, turkeys and chickens are typically at least partially grain-fed even when they’re called “free-range,” “organic,” “heirloom,” and “heritage.”
In addition, numerous animals– wild horses, badgers, black bears, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, wolves, opossum, raccoons, skunks, beavers, nutrias, porcupines, prairie dogs, black birds, cattle egrets, and starlings– are killed for the purpose of “protecting” ranchers’ interests (i.e. their livestock, their livelihood.)
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services (WS) has been tasked to “help people resolve wildlife damage to a wide variety of resources.” (In this case, “resources” means cattle. The cattle are physically protected up until the time they are slaughtered.) Wildlife Services (WS) uses the following methods of “resolution”: poisoning, trapping, snaring, denning (denning = pouring kerosene into a den, setting fire to it, and burning young animals alive), shooting, and aerial gunning.
Back to my point.
Yes, even in the “best case scenario,” a certain percentage of animals will be killed through not so pain-free methods: Animals are hit by cars, bugs get squashed, critters are unfortunate victims of combine harvesters and lawnmowers, and animals are routinely consumed by other animals.
I highly doubt that people routinely go into grocery stores thinking– while picking up pork chops– “Well I couldn’t save that possum from being killed by the mower, so I might as well be the reason this pig had to die.”
That’s not how it works. People typically select animal products because 1) animal products taste good, 2) people are accustomed to buying animal products, and 3) people may mistakenly believe that animal products are essential to a healthy diet.
I think that people who use the “animals die in the harvesting of plants” line of reasoning are simply looking for an excuse to continue consuming animals without feeling a sense of guilt.
Bottom line: it all comes down to daily choices. We can choose to cause animals unnecessary pain and suffering or we can choose to try our best not to cause harm.
When shopping for food, we can all choose fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. We can strive to choose whole, organic, non-GMO foods. We can all avoid animal products– including, but not limited to– chickens, pigs, cows, fishes, eggs, milk and cheese.
Almond Butter Strawberry Energy Bars
1 box (12.3 oz) Firm Silken Tofu (Mori Nu)
1/2 C vegan brown sugar
1/2 C organic apple juice
2/3 C almond butter
1/4 C EACH: quinoa flour, millet flour, spelt flour, ground oats & rolled oats
1/3 C whole wheat pastry flour
3 T ground flax
2 T fine shred unsweetened coconut
1 T ground walnuts
1/2 t salt
Organic Strawberries – Wash and pat dry. Slice. Use enough to cover the area of a square glass pan. (I didn’t measure.)
In a food processor, puree the “wet” ingredients. Add to the dry ingredients. Spread about half of the mixture in a greased square glass pan. (I like to use coconut oil to grease pans.) Spread the strawberry slices on top.
Spread the rest of the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. I like to use a pastry cutter. Freeze them in a container with a little space between each one.
I take these skiing and mountain biking. Take one out of the freezer in the morning and it’ll be thawed out by the time you’re ready to eat. Enjoy!
I did a home safety assessment for a patient at work today. I went with her & her husband to their rural home that includes a small herd (i.e. <25) of cows raised for meat. Having never been in this particular situation before, I was keenly interested to learn everything I could about the fate of those animals. I watched the cows innocently & peacefully grazing on grass as my patient was more than happy to answer all my questions.
By anyone’s definition, this is about as “humane” as an animal farm can get. The bulls are not castrated, so the breeding is natural. The cows have a lovely green pasture with a beautiful view of trees & mountains in a location w/ a mild climate. A mobile unit comes to the farm to slaughter the animals on site. The animals are killed when not much more than ~18 months (“so that the meat doesn’t get too tough”…and older animals are only “good” for hamburger.) The animal’s body is hauled off to a butcher shop in a nearby city for about a week of aging (she called it “hanging”) & then processing into the various meat cuts.
This will be the last herd that my patient & her husband will have because they are both elderly & it’s getting to be too much work for them. She also admitted that for health reasons everyone in her family is eating less beef so it is clearly not a necessary food source. She clearly has a certain fondness for her animals & yet her speaking tone was matter of fact and clinical.
I found the whole experience quite unsettling. Since going vegan, I have never needed confirmation, but yet being there confirmed in my mind that I am on the right track. If this little family farm is AS good as it gets, I still don’t want any part of it. I looked at the eyes of those animals. I put myself in their situation. I can only come to the conclusion that those animals don’t deserve to be suddenly killed when it is so unnecessary to kill them. It is unnecessary to eat them. And they really are babies…18 months. Cows can live to be 20 years or more if given the chance.
More Q’s I have: What happens when the mobile slaughter unit drives up? What is the process then? I didn’t have time to find out all the answers to every question that I later thought of. What happens when one cow is harmed..killed? When do the other cows know that they, too, will be harmed? I still want to know more. Nevertheless, I reflect on this interaction without tears, without anger. I am disturbed by it because it is so unfair. So unjust. But I am glad that no more animals on this particular farm will be bred just to be killed. I hope that more people will go vegan.
(Written April 5, 2012)