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Friday May 17, 2013
I’m holding a 3 day old baby goat. He’s absolutely precious! His cry is adorable. Of course, I’m stating the obvious. All babies are cute.
This little guy should be running and jumping and acting hilarious, like normal kids do. But, he’s not doing that because he has 4 deformed legs that won’t even hold the weight of his tiny body. He’s going to need a LOT of help. He still might not make it.
Sadly, babies are born deformed. It happens all the time. Life isn’t fair. In his case, he had 3 other siblings. He was just so cramped in the womb that he didn’t develop normally.
Here’s the problem, though…
This kid is the product of a goat breeder. It just so happens that the breeder is a “first time” breeder, but that doesn’t really matter. A breeder is a breeder. I’m talking about the dairy industry.
As I already mentioned, the mother goat who delivered this kid had 3 other babies. The breeder didn’t think this one would live. She focused her energy on the other three.
A day or two later, the breeder realized that this kid was still alive. He wasn’t going to just die.
The breeder doesn’t have time for bottle feeding. This kid needs bottle feeding every 2-3 hours for at least a week.
The breeder can’t be bothered with a crippled goat. This kid is completely dependent in every way.
What to do? Of course: Call a goat rescue.
Yes, that’s a very good thing to do. I give her that. It’s very good that she sought help. She did the right thing by calling someone who cares about animals, and who has the experience to help.
But here’s the thing…
This kind of passing the buck (no pun intended) is completely unfair to the goat sanctuary owner. I think it really “stinks” that breeders can basically dump their little inconveniences onto the people who run sanctuaries.
I wonder if the breeder offered to pay for any of the costs that the sanctuary owner will obviously incur, to take care of this kid.
What I just described is just one of the many problems I have with small dairy farms.
But, in general, I can’t stomach the dairy industry on any level.
I can’t stomach dairy products because I can’t accept the mentality that it’s okay to bring life into this world just to turn around and take it away.
Dairy breeders for all species (i.e. goats, sheep, cows) depend on continuous pregnancies to keep all that milk flowing.
Dairy breeders on farms of all sizes are in the business of killing unwanted baby animals. This is simply the only way a dairy can make any money. Extra bodies that aren’t producing milk are a drain on the business. There are too many mouths to feed!
- Male babies are killed because they won’t ever produce milk.
- Female babies are killed because their numbers still inevitably become too numerous on the dairy farm. Farms only need a small number of “replacements” for their “old” and “unproductive” mothers. (Retirement = Death).
It’s really quite rare for a baby animal to get the kind of chance that the kid I’m holding in the picture is getting. But, that certainly doesn’t make it okay to continue breeding animals.
Dairy really does make me sick to my stomach.
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
chopped onion (~1/4 to 1/3 cup)
chopped red pepper (~1/4 to 1/3 cup)
1- 15 oz can organic Cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed & drained
1 T tahini
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t capers
1/4 C ground sunflower seeds
1/2 C oat flour (GF)
dash garlic powder
1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 t fennel (crushed with mortar & pestle)
1 t dried basil
1 t Italian seasoning blend
1 T nutritional yeast
Use a small food processor to puree the wet ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine the wet puree with the dry ingredients.
Divide the burger “dough” into 4 balls. Pour a drop of olive oil on your hands to handle it easier. The burger dough will be sticky and soft– don’t panic!! Create 4 patties. You can just drop the ball right onto parchment paper and then flatten into a patty.
Refrigerate the patties on parchment paper for at least 30-60 minutes before cooking. The time will allow the excess moisture to soak into the oats, which will bind the burgers. Trust me!
Cook the patties on medium heat in a saute pan using the oil of your choice (I use coconut oil). It should take about 10 minutes per side. Shake the pan periodically to make sure they aren’t sticking.
Serve these burgers with a dollop of spaghetti sauce. If you want to dress it up more, add vegan cheese, kalamata olives, and fresh basil.
THANK YOU for not eating animals.
On January 18, 2013, I got my second tattoo, by the lovely Savannah Beck at Mordor Tattoo.
My first tattoo was “Vegan,” on the top of my right wrist. The second is “269,” on the inside of my left wrist. I chose to have these vegan tattoos inscribed where they are visible to others every day of the year. The purpose is to facilitate a dialogue with people who may be interested in veganism. My primary motive is to help end the unnecessary exploitation and killing of non-human animals. A secondary motive is to attract like-minded people into my circle of friendship.
Please visit the 269life website to learn more about the global 269 movement.
Here is the powerful 269 mission statement:
“The nameless, faceless victims whose bodies are used to feed us, obviously had desires and feelings before their throats were slit open with cold, calculated brutality. It’s strange, we define ourselves as a “law abiding, moral” society, and yet routinely massacre innocent beings.
The branding of the calf’s number, chosen by the industry to be “269″, is for us, an act of solidarity and immortalization. We hope to be able to raise awareness and empathy towards those, whose cries of terror and pain are only heard by steel bars and the blood stained walls of the slaughterhouses.
We are all equal in our suffering, and if humanity has any chance of surviving and evolving, we must accept that oppression of the weak – whether excused by gender, race or species – lacks any rationality and fundamental sensitivity towards those who may not cry out using our language, but feel pain no less than us.
So we ask: What will happen with the individual numbered “269″?
Is his life not more meaningful than a pointless, sanguinary practice?”
Kebaba is a Middle Eastern restaurant in Bend, Oregon. On Friday I ate there for the first time. When I walked in the door, I was ecstatic to see that the lunch special was vegan , but my excitement was tempered by seeing lamb– baby sheep– on the menu. Of course, there were plenty of other animals on the menu, too.
No– baby sheep are no “better” than any other animal species, but yet I somehow still get a visceral reaction when I see “lamb” on restaurant menus. Is it because I never ate lamb even before I went vegan? Or, is it because I currently volunteer at a goat rescue that also cares for sheep? At any rate, it does bring up a certain question…
Kebaba is located on Newport Avenue.
I chose the spicy tomato eggplant soup with my curried tempeh salad. The soup was outstanding. The salad and pita bread were delicious.
I tried a bite of my sister’s curried lentil soup. It was almost like a puree, which I liked very much.
The “Karnabeet” appetizer (seared cauliflower with lemon tahini sauce) was crazy good. Not only could I live on cooked cauliflower anyway, but I do believe I could drink lemon tahini sauce straight.
This was a great vegan meal. It’s just too bad that the whole restaurant couldn’t be vegan. It could SO easily be!
Little Mountain Park Trails, Mt Vernon – Mountain Biking – October 21, 2012
If you drive on 1-5 near Mt Vernon, Washington, you might pass the “little mountain” on the east side of the highway, without even knowing what delightful trails are up there.
Our first visit to Little Mountain was in September 2009. At the time, we were still new to mountain biking. We went to LM just once, to participate in a work party for trail building along the Sidewinder trail. It was one of those perfect late summer days, when Mt Baker was especially magnificent. I included some pictures from that day in this set of photos.
Click this link to check out the– still ongoing!– work of Jim “JT” Taylor and the Mount Vernon Trail Builders. They’ve been busting their butts for years to create such a great community asset. (Thank you!) I admit that I feel a little bit guilty that we only helped out the one time. We’re still on the e-mail notification list, 3 years later.
Today we finally went back. Our ride took just 2 hours to go up and down all of the “Multi Use” trails. If you live in Mt Vernon, these trails are an ideal location for your after-work workout. Who needs those cardio machines at the gym? For bikes, the singletrack trail surface is generally smooth to somewhat rocky and not too rooty…Very nice! Today the trail offered an additional, “slickish” layer of multi-colored fall leaves.
We parked at the lot between N. Pamela Street and the Silver Arrow Bowmen Archery Range. I felt extremely unsettled there, as I empathized with the animals who fall victim to the arrow. I couldn’t help but think of a certain image that I have in my computer– of a deer shot with an arrow. The arrow entered at the center of her nose and exited at the back of her right jawbone. I shudder as I imagine the suffering endured by that animal. She is not alone.
And– as this vegan’s luck would have it, right from our parked car, I could also see the green building for Andal’s Custom Meats. Those are the folks who were hired to slaughter Barbara’s Cows. Ugh. (Breathe, Elisa.)
Let’s get back on a happy note! At the end of the ride, we stopped in for wine tasting at Carpenter Creek Winery. It’s located right across from where we parked. I recommend the 2011 Signature Series Riesling and the 2009 Viognier.
Now for the pictures. Try to find…
- Camano Island, Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island and the San Juan Islands
- the Skagit River and Skagit Valley
- the (distant) Olympic Mountains
- the City of Mt Vernon
- Mt Baker
- Blanchard and Galbraith Mountains
[Click on an image to enlarge and view in a photo gallery]
Canyon Creek & Damfino Lakes – Mountain Biking – September 29, 2012
Canyon Ridge Trail (#689) was our intended mountain bike ride for the day. Eric had been wanting to check it out because it’s the only trail in the Mt. Baker Ranger District open to mountain bikes. This trail is just a “stone’s throw” from Canada, immediately north of Mt Baker, in Washington State.
On our Green Trails map (#13, Mt Baker), Canyon Ridge is a dotted line trail, which can be code for “bushwhack.” As such, I started the day with an attitude of adventure, thinking that any “good” riding would be a “bonus.”
Little did we know that our adventure would start sooner rather than later. Right at the highway, the Canyon Creek Road (#31) was CLOSED. What?!
We found out from the ranger at the Glacier Public Service Center that the road had actually been closed for 2 years because of a partial road washout. (That shows you how often we frequent the Mt Baker highway!) When we got home, I found this page on the Forest Service website, showing the list of road conditions.
Instead of going elsewhere, we decided to ride up the road to see what was up there. As I have done before, I called this a “Gratitude Saturday.” To me, that means I’m open to how the day will unfold, instead of trying to make it live up to preconceived plans. It also means that I feel particularly content and appreciative of the “little” things. On this day, I loved just being on my bike, with my husband, in the mountains, under the trees, next to the creeks, and among the critters. Bliss
Canyon Creek Road (#31) leaves the Mt Baker Highway 542 at about 900 ft elevation. It terminates at 4200 ft elevation. The trailhead for Canyon Ridge Trail (#689) and Damfino Lakes Trail (#625) is located at road’s end.
We ended up biking the entire 15 mile road…a workout! About the first third was paved. The middle section alternated between pavement and gravel. The final third was gravel. By the time we got to the trailhead, we decided that the destination for the day would be Damfino Lakes rather than Canyon Ridge.
The short, 0.8 mile trail to Damfino Lakes (#625) was in surprisingly decent shape for being essentially cut off from the majority of civilization. (Although we did see motorcycle traffic that day). The trail climbed 400 ft. The lakes were small, but beautiful.
In these pictures, you will see some of the “little” things that I photographed during the day, with gratitude:
- Grey-blue glacial water flowing in the N. Fork Nooksack River
- Peek-a-boo views of the Canyon Creek Valley
- Fields of fireweed in a clearcut (I just had to imagine how intense the color must have been when it was all blooming)
- Old logging signage from the 1950′s
- Canyon Creek as it parallels the road
- Bridges, flowers, mountains, valleys, patches of snow
- Damfino Lakes
- Glimpses of Mt Baker
[Click on an image to enlarge and view in a photo gallery]
Oh, Joy! The circus came to town again in Everett, WA. This was my second year protesting at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. There were a total of 7 shows at the Comcast Arena this year:
- 1 on Thursday 8/23
- 1 on Friday 8/24
- 3 on Saturday 8/25
- 2 on Sunday 8/26
Why do I protest the circus?
Because I don’t think animals belong in the circus, period. Animals are not consenting performers. Animals in the circus are captive slaves. Corporate entities have no right to exploit animals for their own profit. Animals do not exist for the purpose of entertaining people.
It’s frustrating to listen to claims that ignorant people make– that circus animals are “all treated with great love and attention.” I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or bash my head against the wall when I hear that!
“Treatment” is not the issue for me. No degree of welfare regulation will ever make it okay to dominate elephants, big cats and other animals for a life of servitude. These animals deserve the right to live their own lives. Just like “humane meat” is an oxymoron, so is the fantasy concept of a humane animal circus.
- Cruel treatment IS a reality and has been well documented. Check out www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com
- Circus training techniques are inherently abusive.
- The tour schedule and travel logistics alone are inherently cruel.
Think about #3, the tour schedule for a circus animal…
“Circus animals” (elephants, big cats, horses, llamas, and goats) are on the road week after week, month after month, and year after year. Each tour city has multiple show dates. Between shows, the animals travel to the next city.
We are all well aware of how stressful tour schedules can be for human performers in music, right? Yet, even human stage performers don’t go on tour year after year, for their whole lives.
Now that the show in Everett is over, the “Gold Tour” will continue traveling on…
Kent, WA…8/31 – 9/03
Nampa, ID…9/07 – 9/09
Portland, OR…9/13 – 9/16
Billings, MT…9/20 – 9/23
Bismarck, ND…9/28 – 9/30
Des Moines, IA…10/04 – 10/07
Peoria, IL…10/12 – 10/14
Champaign, IL…10/19 – 10/21
Bethlehem, PA…10/25 – 10/28
Wilkes Barre, PA…11/01 – 11/04
Meanwhile, 2 other groups of voluntary human performers and involuntary animal performers are traveling in other parts of the U.S. in the “Blue Tour” and “Red Tour.” It looks like these money-making tours will never end.
This nightmare for animals won’t end unless caring people will make a stand en masse. People everywhere need to show up at the circus arenas in protest– refusing to support, refusing to fund, refusing to attend these barbaric shows.
Read how Ringling Bros. performs some moral gymnastics…attempting to bend, twist and stretch blatant animal cruelty into a benign form of “happy” family entertainment. The following quoted excerpts are from the Animal Care FAQ page of the www.ringling.com website. My questions and comments are indicated by the >>>>
“Ringling Bros. exceeds all federal animal welfare standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Animal Welfare Act.”
>>>> If that is true, then how come Ringling was slapped with the largest penalty in circus history? (Click the link to learn more.)
>>>> View this video of an elephant swaying neurotically. Is this the behavior of a thriving animal? (Footage was taken by a fellow protester at the Everett show.)
“We can’t say it enough: Ringling Bros. loves animals as much as you do!”
>>>> Wrong. Ringling can “say it” all they want, but a lie is still a lie. Actions speak much, much louder than words. Love and exploitation cannot coexist. The only thing that Ringling “loves” is the money that the animals bring.
Only *YOU* can stop the unnecessary exploitation of sentient beings.
My mom sent me this newspaper article in the mail. “Bringing Home the Bacon” was published in the Bend Bulletin on August 5, 2012. The short article was about Central Oregon youth auctioning off their livestock at the Deschutes County Fair.
The article sharply demonstrates how youth in 4-H are quickly taught that money has a higher value than life.
“The kids go home with a big check, more than $5000 for those who raised the biggest, most prized cattle. Most of the cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits and poultry bought by local residents, businesses and civic groups will go to the slaughterhouse and find their way to the dinner table in the coming days and months.”
“Sonna said it’s a bit difficult to part with Gus after spending nearly a year raising him, but the money she’ll make out of the deal makes it a bit easier to accept.”
“I just picture him as a big check.”
I’m glad the 10 year old feels a little better with money in hand. I’d hate to see a child in pain. But, do you think she learned any lessons about trust in this transaction? Gus endured the ultimate breach of trust, for $3.90 per pound.
A 17 year old in the article said,
“You can’t look at them like a dog, like your pet. From the beginning, that’s their purpose in life — they’re just part of the food chain.”
Isn’t it sad that children are brainwashed into thinking that killing and consuming animals is an absolutely necessary part of human nutrition? I haven’t eaten animals for years. I don’t need to. And neither do you.
Like their parents before them, children grow up not ever questioning whether it’s actually justifiable to bring animals into the world, just to turn around and take their lives away a few short months or years later.
We also witness powerful evidence of speciesism:
“…some kids have a tougher time than others letting go of the animals they’ve spent months raising. Much of it depends on the animal — pigs are affectionate and reasonably easy to grow fond of…but sheep…are less intelligent and much easier to view as meat in the making.”
I must ask:
Should our moral obligation toward other living beings really hedge on arbitrary criteria like form, temperament, and intelligence? Don’t dogs, pigs, and sheep possess equal interest in avoiding harm?
Now let’s switch gears. Let’s go forward in time. Children in 4-H grow up. Listen to the words of one such 64 year-old man…
Fred Lundren is the owner and CEO of KCAA AM 1050 radio in Southern California. He is a former cattle rancher who went vegan earlier this year. His interesting interview with Bob Linden can be heard on the June 17, 2012 episode of “Go Vegan With Bob Linden.”
Fred grew up in the 4-H culture. At about 26 minutes into the podcast, Fred recounts his own childhood indoctrination by the 4-H club:
“Well, it’s supposed to teach us to use animals as a product. It’s just designed to do that, and it’s done quite well. But it had an opposite affect on me.
I was actually president of our 4-H club, and an officer in FFA. And, I got a Lone Star farmer degree in Animal Science. So I’ve been there and done that, and raised animals for a living…”
“In 1965 I raised a champion steer at the Austin Livestock Show. And, when I was leading that steer up the ramp to the trailer where it was gonna go to slaughter, it was hesitant, but I convinced it to do so. I took the halter off of it…it walked up into the trailer, and then when it got inside the trailer it turned around and belIowed at me. And that was the moment that I realized what I was doing.”
At 40 minutes:
“…For all my life, I have ignored that episode from my youth when I actually saw the animal respond to me in a knowing way. And, like most people we just block it out. We eat our BBQ, we eat our hamburgers, we eat our steaks. And, as a matter of fact, I was born and raised in what’s known as the sausage capital of Texas: Elgin. And they have 3 sausage factories there. And you can imagine how much beef I’ve eaten in my life.”
“…I had to slaughter one calf in my life…and I will never do that again.”
“When I became a vegan, something changed, not only in my metabolism, but in my way of thinking. Because about a month ago, my wife and daughter ordered a steak. And of course I ate broccoli and beans and peas and everything vegan for the evening. But, in the middle of the night I thought, “you know, I wonder”..and they had some steaks leftover, and they had it in a plastic bag, and I says, “I wonder how that would taste.” And I went to the refrigerator, I looked in the refrigerator and that steak looked like dead flesh to me. It did not look like a steak. And I thought, “My God, I need to call Bob and tell him.””
I think it’s appropriate to end this post with the core principles from 4-H:
Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four Hs in 4-H, and they are the four values members work on through fun and engaging programs.
Head – Managing, Thinking
Heart – Relating, Caring
Hands – Giving, Working
Health – Being, Living
The 4-H Pledge
I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
(Reference: 4-H website)
Mackenzie Dierks, from Pork Checkoff:
“One of the things you touched on was a lactose source, such as whey, and its importance, and also the challenges it can create as a part of the nursery pig diet. Can you expand on that?”
Joel DeRouchery, from Kansas State University:
“Lactose is a very common nutrient that we look at to formulate into starter pig diets. Lactose is the milk sugar, so pigs really like the taste. It’s highly digestible in that transition period from the sow on into weaning. So it’s very typical we have some sort of lactose source from weaning, up until the pigs are about 25 pounds.”
“One thing that’s happened over this last portion of this year is that the lactose price has greatly increased. In fact, spray-dried whey is priced around 75 cents per pound. And if we go back historical, 4 years ago, it was 24 cents per pound.”
It seems that everyone’s getting dairy products except infant cows.
And, it seems that baby animals of various kinds are denied their own milk from their mothers.
Let’s back up a second and review Biology 101…
Cow + Pregnancy = Baby Cow
Cow Lactation = Food for Baby Cow
Pig + Pregnancy = Baby Pig
Pig Lactation = Food for Baby Pig
Human + Pregnancy = Baby Human
Human Lactation = Food for Baby Human
That’s what nature intended.
Now, a step-by-step sequence describing how humans have screwed with nature:
- Humans want Cow Lactation.
- Humans take the Food for Baby Cow from Baby Cow.
- Humans feed Baby Cow a “milk replacer.”
- Humans calculate the economic usefulness of Baby Cow in order to determine his or her ultimate fate.
- Humans want to consume lots of Pig flesh.
- Lots of Pig flesh requires lots of dead Pigs.
- Humans breed lots of Pigs in order to kill lots of Pigs in order to consume lots of Pigs.
- Humans remove baby Pig from mother Pig as early as possible.
- Humans feed baby Pig “milk replacer” from a Cow.
- Humans like to breed, kill and consume one type of animal in order to breed, kill and consume another type of animal.
- Humans like to take what is not rightly theirs to take.
- Humans have zero requirement for (non-human) animal Lactation.
- Humans learn speciesist behaviors based on societal indoctrination.
- Humans are capable of challenging social norms.
It’s time to stop disrespecting nature.
Live vegan and let’s stop the insanity!
Today was bittersweet. I’m happy…It’s my 4th veganniversary!
It’s also a very sad day, because today I lost my best goat friend, Bubba.
Every animal has inherent worth, but Bubba was extra special to me. He was sweet as pie, but in a regal and so very dignified way. Often, I would stand close to him and just savor his presence. He wouldn’t walk away for several minutes. I cherish those memories.
I felt a unique connection with Bubba. I loved to crouch down in front of him, hold his face in my hands and just stare into his eyes. What can I say…I love him just like I love my kitties…past and present.
I’m happy that, from now on, I’ll associate Bubba with my veganniversaries…
It is because I went vegan 4 years ago that I sought out the opportunity to work and play with the animal residents of New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary. I started volunteering at the farm within the first couple months of going vegan because I wanted to help “farm” animals in a direct and tangible way.
I’m sure that the animals at the sanctuary have helped me a lot more than I’ve helped them. When I’m alone with the animals, I’m grounded. The serenity of the barn and the pasture is immensely therapeutic.
If I hadn’t gone vegan, I wouldn’t have known Bubba or any of the other goats, sheep, dogs, cats, horses and donkeys of the farm. I also gained a wonderful human friend there. Veganism has blessed me in a thousand…a million…a gazillion ways.
I’m very sad that I won’t ever stand beside Bubba in the pasture again, but I’m happy that he was infinitely loved and so well cared for. Too many animals are not so lucky. If you really think about it, there is really no difference between the animals who are consumed and the animals who are rescued.
I’m vegan for all of the animals. Until my last breath I will use my voice to help liberate innocent animals from unjust servitude.