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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.
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.
Bubba is a 13 year old Nubian wether (castrated male goat) who lives at New Moon Farm Goat Rescue & Sanctuary. Before coming to the rescue he was attacked by dogs, which injured his hind legs. He walks more slowly than the rest, but he still gets around. Bubba is too sweet for words. No one can resist his charm!
When I went vegan in August of 2008, I was compelled to also help “farm” animals in a direct, “hands-on” way. I was so fortunate to discover New Moon Farm right near my house. I think the animals benefit me more than I help them! I encourage everyone to get involved with your local animal sanctuary.
Things That Make Me Go “Huh?”
EXHIBIT A: DAIRY RELIEF
While working with an elderly woman for therapy at the skilled nursing facility, I noticed this empty packet on her breakfast tray. It would appear that my patient is lactose intolerant, which means she produces insufficient levels of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose (milk sugar) into glucose and galactose.
This chewable tablet is taken for the purpose of being able to consume lactose– i.e. dairy products– without incurring the symptoms of lactose intolerance: abdominal bloating, cramps, gas, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
What is milk? Food for babies.
Once solid food is introduced, it’s the natural progression for mammals to wean off momma’s milk. People do it. Cows do it. Goats and sheep do it.
It’s natural to stop drinking milk after infancy (including the early toddler years). It’s normal to stop producing lactase, because you shouldn’t need lactase if you won’t be consuming lactose.
If you produce the lactace enzyme beyond the typical age of weaning, it’s called lactase persistence. Worldwide, lactace persistence is the exception, not the rule.
I grew up thinking it was normal to drink milk from cows. This is because I was indoctrinated by my dairy-consuming culture to think this way. I never questioned it because it was all that I knew. It never occurred to me that humans drinking cow’s milk is actually quite bizarre.
Alas, the dairy industry is a propaganda machine. So is Big Pharma.
Who concocted the idea that lactose intolerance– a normal biological process– should be considered a medical condition? Dairy producers? Drug companies? Both?
Brilliant, huh? Dairy producers are happy because they can keeping pushing dairy products on people. And pharmaceutical companies are more than happy to supply people with just the right pill to “pop.”
Dear Lactose Intolerant People,
THINK about it. You don’t need dairy products. Milk from a cow (or a goat or a sheep or any other animal) is not a dietary necessity for humans. If your body is telling you that you cannot properly digest lactose, then LISTEN and STOP. It really is that simple. And, not only are dairy products not necessary, but they are actually implicated in a variety of preventable human diseases.
There are also significant ethical problems with dairy, whether produced by small or large scale operations, and whether produced by conventional or organic dairies.
I haven’t consumed animal milk for nearly 4 years. Weaning off animal milk is much easier than you might think. Once you take dairy out of your diet, you might just say “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
I am happy to help anyone who needs help weaning off dairy. Contact me.
In closing, taking a pill– Dairy Relief– to digest a substance that is completely unnecessary in the human diet just makes me want to go “Huh?”
Milk a bean, milk a grain, milk a nut, milk a seed, milk a drupe (yes, a drupe!), but please don’t milk an animal. When people consume milk from lactating animals, the first thing you should ponder is what is baby cow– baby goat– baby sheep– drinking? What happens to the baby animals? What happens to momma cow– momma goat– momma sheep when her overworked reproductive system stops being “profitable”? The bad news is that the answers aren’t pretty.
The good news is that non-dairy milk options are plentiful. It’s easier than you might think to wean off animal milk. There is no nutritional need for animal milk in the human diet!
Go to the non-dairy milk section of your local store and you’ll notice an ever-increasing array of plant milks: Soy milk, rice milk, oat milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, hemp milk, coconut milk..even flax milk! There are different brands of each type of milk. There are different varieties within the types of plant milks..like plain, vanilla, chocolate, unsweetened, fortified. If you don’t like one, try another. Find your favorite!
Holiday flavors (YUM!) – Pumpkin Spice, Chocolate Peppermint, Nog
Make your “own” milk: it’s easy to do and you needn’t endure a long pregnancy and painful delivery. It’s also less expensive than packaged milk and more eco-friendly. Personally, I don’t like the aftertaste of packaged almond milks but I love homemade almond milk. I encourage you to make your own nut and rice milks. Here’s how I do it…
First, make sure you have a batch of cooked short grain brown rice on hand. I make up a batch and freeze portions in 1/2 cup glass jam jars. One cup (dried) rice will make enough for 7 batches of milk.
You must use short grain rice! You don’t want your milk to have a gritty sediment, do you? What’s the difference between long and short grains? The answer is in the percentage of the starches amylose and amylopectin. (I first learned about them from chef Alton Brown…thanks, A.B.!)
Long grain rice has a higher percentage of amylose. Amylose makes the rice cook up dry, firm and separate. Amylose is insoluble in water. Rice milk made from long grains has more of a “gritty” sediment. The resulting milk is more watery, less creamy = not good!
Short grain rice has a higher percentage of amylopectin. It releases starch when cooking, resulting in a moist, soft and sticky grain. The resulting milk will be creamy without a gritty sediment = good!
On to the nuts…pick your favorite raw nut. I like to use Brazil nuts, but sometimes I mix it up and use cashews, almonds, or hazelnuts.
Nut Rice Milk (my own creation):
Soak 1/3 cup raw nuts and 2 pitted dates into 4 cups water for 4-8 hours. Blend the water, nuts and dates with 1/2 cup cooked short grain rice and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a VitaMix blender or other “sporty” blender. (I don’t know if it would work with a wimpy blender!) Frothy, healthy, affordable and delicious! I don’t strain my milk. I simply shake, then pour.
My personal favorite is mixing my homemade nut rice milk with packaged soy milk in a 50-50 ratio. That’s just me! You do what you gotta do…as long as you leave the animals alone!