Posts Tagged ‘factory farming’

“as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings”

October 16th, 2010 No comments

(Luke 13:34, Mat 23:37)

The background sound for the Virtual Battery Cage came from the undercover video “Inside an Egg Factory Farm” from Compassion Over Killing.  Turn the sound off this one (bottom right corner) before you watch the one below.

If you care about animal welfare, please consider this perspective on “humane” egg production, from the Faces of Free Range Farming, presented by Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary who asks these two questions:

1. What happens to ALL of the male chicks – not just few token roosters – but ALL of them?  Here’s a Hint. More here.

2. What happens to the hens when they are no longer laying enough eggs for this facility to be profitable?

What are you actually paying for at the grocery store?  Take a look at the state of “organic” and egg labeling generally from these links:

–  the Cornucopia Institute

–  the Humane Society

“Changes Along Your Journey”

July 19th, 2010 No comments

One of the most unbelievable (as in how can you say that) things that comes up in discussions about vegetarianism, animal rights, etc. is that those are only concerns of urban elites (whatever that’s supposed to actually mean) who “don’t know anything about” animal agriculture and farming etc.   I have animal agriculture on both sides of my family – my father was a ‘hog man’ and my husband comes from a family based around  his grandfather’s small dairy operation.  They can’t run the actual dairy anymore but his grandfather still trucks cattle to slaughter.  My brother and sister in-law have worked in slaughter houses.   I don’t talk about any of that here.

I’m happy, however, point to other people who “know some things” and who are talking about it.  I just found this full documentary about Howard Lyman, author of Mad Cowbow: The Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Wont Eat Meat.  I’ve pointed to him before and have to highly recommend this film – it’s in 6 parts here on youtube.  Check it out.  Here’s part one, click though to see all 6.

“How else are you gonna do it?”  That’s from the end of part 4.

One answer is, of course, is that we don’t actually have to do it in the first place.  You can get the farming, the dignity of producing food, the closeness to nature without being involved in the hideousness (that is the totality if not just the end game) of most types of animal agriculture.  We can get the good without the bad.   But we have to want it to be that way.  And we have to act, vote, shop, and eat like we give a damn.

Bearing Witness

May 26th, 2010 No comments

Ohio dairy farm.

Mercy For Animals is doing great work – give if you can.

Think about what you see here.

The deplorable conditions uncovered at Conklin Dairy Farms highlight the reality that animal agriculture is incapable of self-regulation and that meaningful federal and state laws must be implemented and strengthened to prevent egregious cruelty to farmed animals.

Although many of the abuses documented at Conklin Dairy Farms are sadistic in nature, numerous MFA undercover investigations at dairy farmspig farmsegg farmshatcheries and slaughterhouses have revealed that violence and abuse to farmed animals – whether malicious or institutionalized – runs rampant nationwide.

Compassionate consumers can end their direct financial support of farmed animal abuse by rejecting dairy, and other animal products, and adopting a vegan diet.

The Day I Agreed with Glenn Beck

October 29th, 2009 No comments

I’m not  in the Fox demographic.  Not exactly a stunning statement, I know.  This is the day however that Glenn Beck and I actually agree on something.  There’s been a good bit of coverage lately on the agriculture/environment relationship, with this and this for example.  This is not a new thing but it’s news to some people.  Anyhoo.  The point is that it wasn’t news to Al Gore when he was making his movie An Inconvenient Truth either.  Al Gore makes a movie about climate change, takes it around the world, makes all kinds of people aware of the issue, wins a Nobel for the thing … all without ever uttering a single word about something that is currently actually having more effect on the global climate (considering all the factors in play with contemporary animal agriculture) than planes, trains, and automobiles.  Meat.  The original report came out the same year as his movie.  I cannot fault him for not including the material in the movie – movies take time to make.  But he never said anything about it after the report came out, nor does he seem to mention it, even now … even with all the subsequent work that’s been done (just google it or start with some of the articles on the Resources page).  So … rant on Glenn Beck … a lot of people agree with you that Al Gore needs to put down his cheeseburgers if he really believes anything he says about climate change (which I know Beck doesn’t).

I obviously think we all need to step away from the cheeseburgers – and it’s not because of the ‘green’ reasons, but they certainly don’t make the case for animal cruelty and exploitation centered lives any more rational, or moral for that matter.  I can understand why people who are concerned about climate change are more attracted to the idea that all we have to change is the kind of light bulbs we buy … it’s so much easier  … in fact it’s almost like not having to change at all … which is, of course, very convenient.

I’m not even going there on the vegetarianism is indoctrination thing.  If by “indoctrination” he means the common sense of the word, “teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically” and he (or anyone for that matter) wants to talk about rational, critical arguments for food choices I’m all about having that conversation.  That would, however, depend on us agreeing to the nature of rational and critical arguments and the only thing Beck and I agree on is apparently AG and his real or symbolic cheeseburgers.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

July 28th, 2009 No comments

“The nations raged,
but your wrath has come,
and the time for judging the dead,
for rewarding your servants, the prophets
and saints and all who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”” (Rev 11:18 NRSVS)

… “and for destroying those who destroy the earth” …

Read more…

Bill Maher, Michael Pollan, Food Inc.

June 1st, 2009 No comments

Bill Maher interviews Michael Pollen about his new book, In Defense of Food, in his 5/29 show.  Pollen isn’t exactly a vegetarian but … as they say, if they’re not against you, they’re with you. (In the time since I originally posted this I’ve learned how much Pollen actually falls into the “against you” category.  Even so I suppose I would still write the next sentence.) I don’t care where the information comes from at this point as long as people start hearing it.  The best part comes at 2:50 … about the rate / amount of change in our diets in the last 50 years compared to our entire history.  Go Bill.  (if the video gets pulled you might try bill maher’s site?)  Anyway it was a great show.

Now that the movie is out … see it for yourself.  Food Inc.

While you’re at it … there’s also Earthlings.

Swine Flu, CAFOs – with Updates

May 2nd, 2009 No comments

Updates at the bottom.

Closer to confirming the flu’s origin in US Hog Farms.  Why not – we started the CAFO model.

And from one of the articles referenced in that one …

H3N2 — the letters denote specific gene variants that code for replication-enhancing enzymes — is the name of a hybrid first identified in North Carolina in 1998, the tail end of a decade which saw the state’s hog production rise from two million to 10 million, even as the number of farms dropped. H3N2 originated in a relatively benign swine flu strain first identified in 1918, but had absorbed new genes from bird and human flus.

My family’s farm was literally right next to a chicken CAFO.  Ok, that’s not so much interesting as it his heavy.  This bug was originally thought to be  a mutant version of swine/avian flu.   All our employees were Mexican and traveled back and forth from our place to wherever they lived in Mexico to see their families.  What the hell, for all I know this whole thing could have started at our farm.  What a thought.  Not that we’re the only hog farm that is right next to a chicken farm, whose employees are mostly Mexican migrant workers … but still.  It started somewhere and the nature of CAFOs make them bug evolving nightmares.

This model is wrong … on so many levels.

Updates (5/3)

Video clip  (5/4)

Traced to North Carolina (5/5)

Officially Declared a Pandemic by the WHO (6/11)

Swine Flu, Part Deux

April 29th, 2009 No comments

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m happy about any reduction in meat eating.  I’m happy that many people are learning about CAFO’s because of swine flu who otherwise would never have known, or cared for that matter.  I’m not happy about fear mongering, the threat of real pandemics, or human illness though.  I hope this thing plays out in such a way that we can move beyond the panic and get down to looking more seriously at how CAFO’s are breeding grounds for new bugs, viral and bacterial alike (antibiotic resistance is something that is being acknowledged as an issue in terms of CAFO’s already), this isn’t the first scare and it certainly won’t be the last if we don’t change the system that’s currently in place – which begins with our appetite for flesh.  

Here’s a interesting site – Food and Water Watch.  It has interactive maps of CAFO’s, information about industrial food production, etc.    And an article from the HSUS on factory farming & swine flu.

Another connection that might be of interest regarding a nasty little bug called Pfiesteria, here and here.

Swine Flu and Factory Farming

April 28th, 2009 No comments

I was trying to link to relevant articles but there are getting to be too many.  The whole world is now having to look at CAFO’s and the other white meat.

  • This is my favorite so far on the (potential) link between CAFO’s and the current problem.  Nature Biting Back
  • I can’t help but include this one though – it’s one of my all time favorites.  Pork’s Dirty Secret (from 2006)

Of course there are also some links to older articles (not just now because of the flu outbreak) at the bottom of the resources page.

Death on the Factory Farm

March 19th, 2009 No comments

Awesome new undercover video from HBO.  This is so redemptive for me personally to be able to see this – on HBO no less.

The excuse about needing to eat meat to live is already in the trash bin of history.  We don’t need it.  Other cultures have thrived for hundreds (thousands) of years without being meat-centered but we’re so culturally isolated we think that is some suspicious lefty propaganda  – especially when it comes to how embedded the notion of cowboy culture is to our ideas of food.  Work that through in your mind  – cowboy culture … pastoralist society (herders) … animal domestication … which gave us the technology of selective breeding … which led to the concept of selective killing in order to engineer the pure breed (some males get to live and breed while all the rest get castrated or killed or um … sacrificed).  Let that work on you for a while.  The technology of racism began with animal domestication.  (see Mason, “Unnatural Order”, or Patterson,  “Eternal Treblinka” for an overview) Jesus talks about ‘as you do to the least of these you do to me’ … what we need to see is that all the evil we do to humanity gets worked out first on the animal kingdom.  That’s where we practice it, refine it, engineer it.  Milan Kundera refers to this as the fundamental debacle;

“True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”

This past Easter my pastor linked to a discussion of embryo cloning, making the point that Easter is relevant to everything.  On that he and I agree.  The part that frustrates me though is that it makes me wonder where the outrage is over the cloning, genetic engineering of animals (and plants for that matter) that has been going on for a while now.   Talk about creepy … we are literally gaining the wherewithal to create life, not just reproduce but actually tinker with the very fabric of the biological universe, to remake it in our own image.  We’re tinkering with genetics because we’re busted.  Tragic irony, meet fatal flaw.

I’ll do another post that talks about this in more detail, but for now suffice to to say that we’re good at exactly what we practice, refine, and engineer on animals … mass killing, objectification, commodification, brutality, genetic engineering, extermination.   For example.  And then we get all upset when we realize we’re doing it to ourselves, too.  Hello?  Anyone?  Bueller?

All this massive cruelty and degradation of life, environmental destruction …  all for what?  We just have to tinker.  Blessing and a curse.

“The mastery of nature is vainly believed to be an adequate substitute for self mastery.” ~ R. Niebuhr