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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.
In 2010, we were on our way to the Washington coast and we noticed the Blue Angels at Boeing Field during a practice session. We stopped to watch for a while. It was intense to see and hear five jets take off at once!
It’s really unfortunate that Seafair– year after year– seems to be inextricably linked with the Oh Boy! Oberto company. Why?
I discovered on the Miss Madison Unlimited Hydroplane website that:
“The Obertos’ Seattle-based meat products business is the second oldest corporate sponsor in Unlimited racing.”
In case you didn’t know…The Oberto Sausage Company has been in the business of turning sentient animals– cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys– into “jerky,” “pepperoni,” and meat “sticks” since 1918.
Here’s something really interesting (if not at all surprising):
Apparently, the Oberto Sausage Company, in partnership with The National MS Society, Greater Washington Chapter, is also “making outstanding strides towards finding a cure for MS.”
How is a sausage company doing that?
In 2009, they were a corporate sponsor for a 2-day MS Society event “to find a cure for MS.” The company provided Oberto sausages to the 10,000 walkers for lunch.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find it beyond bizarre that anyone would consider it wise to feed anyone interested in any disease’s “cure” SAUSAGES for a fundraiser lunch.
Furthermore, with respect to Multiple Sclerosis specifically, there is ample evidence that a low-fat plant-based diet is an important factor in:
- preventing the onset of MS,
- decreasing symptom severity, and
- slowing the disease’s progression.
I digress. Back to Seafair…
This post was supposed to be about the perpetual “meat pushing” that goes on in mainstream society. Seafair is a case in point: I can’t watch a simple boat race without being literally bombarded by the logo of a company that profits from unnecessarily exploiting and killing animals. (To be clear, they are only in business because people are willing to buy their products.)
Again, it seems beyond bizarre that vegans are the ones constantly being accused of “pushing” a certain kind of diet.
So, there I was watching the “Meatfair” television coverage and I noticed the Twitter feed along the bottom of the television screen. I decided to provide one of the few (if any) anti-meat messages on the television for viewers today:
By the way– here’s that blueberry ice cream, from Lick It! (Contains blueberries, coconut milk, sugar, agave nectar, non-dairy milk and vanilla bean):
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!
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
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.
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)