Posts Tagged ‘animal agriculture’

The Indecency of Eating Eggs: Industrial Waste

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Photo courtesy of Jordan Wyatt, Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals

Those beautiful, downy little newborn chicks, freshly hatched from their prenatal calcium carbonate home, are amazing beings. They come fully equipped with a most sensitive beak which will allow them to hunt for food, two strong legs with claws for scratching the earth, and a body full of tiny feathers which will eventually grow into beautiful plumage to protect the new little life from the elements. They have the ability to make the most pleasant chirping noises, so their mums may find them if they lose their way. They will have the ability to be aerodynamic, to live peacefully in community, and to be part of a family. They will require little on which to live, just a few things scratched from the earth and a humble kind of shelter. They are born into an hierarchy that may seem archaic through our anthropo-centric lens, but the paternal rooster looks after his flock and finds them food, calling to them, making certain they eat even before he does himself. The mother hen is protective of her brood; they stay close to her for warmth and safety.

The Brief Life of a Hatchling

Because some human decided to steal their eggs and lived to tell of the deed, billions of their brethren are snatched from their natural lifecycle and used in the cruel and profitable egg industry. The babies are hatched into plastic trays, without a mother to help them learn to grow, to talk to them, comfort them, and help them learn their place in the world. They are then put on an industrial conveyer belt, and anyone of them who is suspected of the crime of masculinity is tossed down an industrial chute, to become industrial waste. They are either sent to a mascerator that grinds them from life to lifeless mass, or puts them into a trash box where they slowly suffocate as more and more of their fellow roosterlings are tossed down the same chute. Imagine putting a puppy or a human infant into a wood chipper – this is what is happening to the newborn male chicks in the standard practice of the egg industry. This is happening to some of the most harmless and endearing creatures on earth, little downy beings that are often portrayed in the nurseries of our own infants, symbols of innocence, gentleness, and vulnerability.

The Waste of Industrial Farming

Any practice that includes the use  of others against their will, the theft of the infants of other species, condemnation to either a life in a toxic environment, continual assault on their bodily integrity, slaughter while fully conscious while hanging by their legs, or instant cruel and painful death as a brand new hatchling  –  any such complete disrespect should be condemned for what it is. It is an insult to the natural order and to all things decent.

 

Manipulated by Media

Monday, September 19th, 2011

They may have the media, but we have the truth….

(Army Strong)

I recently heard about the collaboration of media and the Pentagon and realized these ties between media and poltics, media and corporations, media and power, run very deep. Here is a clip from Leonard Lopate about how the US military controls the message in Hollywoood films.

(Leonard Lopate’s Underreported)

Media can indeed be quite manipulative, and this kind of manipulation has proven successful. There are a lot of frustrated vegan advocates who are searching for an effective way to educate the public about speciesism and the plight of animals on this planet. I frequently see the anger seeping out on Facebook threads and in blog posts. Yet most of us, by far, were once consumers of animal products. Something happened and the light was turned on over our head, and illumination changed everything in our lives. It might help us understand those for whom the light never goes on if we understand some of the messages that we hear all the time that reinforce thinking animals are nothing more than commodities. Media is a powerful force. When we get frustrated with other people, keep in mind that many of us grew up hearing these kinds of messages on a daily basis.

(Oscar Meyer. Bordens, McDonalds, Velveeta)

Or more recently:

(Yoplait, Activa, Hillshire Farms)

Each of these ads is selling something more than their products; they are trying to offer strength, health, happiness, and comfort along with the product being sold. Here is one that is offering something else entirely:

(Pepsi)

The overt message is that drinking Pepsi makes you part of the the future, of the NOW generation, but there is another message, too. A young boy dressed and dancing like MJ backs into Michael Jackson himself, his eyes grow large, and suddenly the little boys are dancing with The Jackson Five – Pepsi can make your dreams come true! Skillfully crafted, I am sure that audiovisual delight kept the Pepsi cans dancing right off the shelves.

Dr. Roger Yates, a Professor of Sociology from Dublin and a fellow ARZone administrator, whose excellent blog is found at On Human Nonhuman Relations; along with Jordan Wyatt, Creator and Dictator for Life of the Invercargill Vegan Society and Purveryor Extraordinaire of CoexistingWithNonhumanAnimals, are going to discuss the power of media manipulation. Thank you Roger and Jordan for taking time to be on the show.

Discussion with Dr. Yates and Mr. Wyatt regarding media and the socialization of children

There has never been a better time to advocate for nohuman animals. While the monied interests may hold most of the media hostage, there are still independent media such as podcasts to tell their truth. Thank you for listening and I will see you next time!

Mad Men Theme

Related resources:

On Human-Nonhuman Relations – Dr. Roger Yate

Stanley Sapon and The Species Barrier Maintenance

Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals - Jordan Wyatt

Invercargill Vegan Society

 Leonard Lopate: Hollywood and The Pentagon

Iron Brion (see video clip at bottom of page) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Few Hands

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Billions upon billions of animals are sacrificed every year in a myriad of ways for one reason only: for profit. Their lives are ended in slaughterhouses, or they are imprisoned, are terrified, are separated and forced into a bleak existence, or are fed inappropriate food that causes great pain and distress: or are forced to perform for someone else’s amusement, all for that  singular  purpose.  The bulk of humanity is fed an unhealthy diet, are fed diets of not only animal products but are fed a constant diet of misinformation and deceit. There are pictures of happy cows chatting with one another in green fields and cartoon images of cows, chickens, and lambs. Our children are fed diets of speciesism in every cartoon, movie, and video game that references a typical diet. The bizarre and destructive practice of consuming animals for food, clothing, sport, entertainment or diversion becomes normalized.

A Few Hands Promote Profits, A Few Hands Promote Peace

Yet it is only a few hands that actually benefit from these deceptions. The rest of us are left with a devastated environment, a warming planet, and a sickened soul. We are left with poor health and chronic illnesses that perpetuate the cycle by the use of more animals for research, for medicine, for human replacement body parts. The mountain of dead bones from so many suffering and sacrificed lives continues to grow even as our future and our spirits shrink.  We have become divorced from the natural world, while an ever increasing anxiety, violence, and desperation grows within us.

Meanwhile, it is only a few hands that are beginning now to reach out to one another to form a network of information. These few hands are working to shine a light in the dark corners of animal commodification. They are the ones who hand out leaflets about ending all animal commodification, who are asking for a new vision; who debate; who moderate forums and read the latest books on animal rights. Who adopt animals who would otherwise lose their one chance at life; who rescue animals destined for the death houses; who protest, who create films and documentaries; who write the books; who build the sanctuaries. They are only a few souls amid the several billions of human beings. But they are the visionaries, the ones who refuse to accept the status quo as inevitable, who dare to believe other humans can change as they have changed, and they are helping to start one of the most significant changes in human history, a movement that says no more exploitation, no more speciesism, no sexism, no racism. A few hands reach out for justice for all beings.

There are only a few hands at either end of the spectrum; one group of hands reaches out for a few pieces of gold, the other offers peace. Which one will you grasp?

Wooly Bullies

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

When most of us think of a lamb, we get images of a baby’s room, with mobiles twirling over a crib and fluffy white stuffed animals ready to receive a child’s love.  Or maybe we think of that little white newborn lamb, sweet and innocent, laying in the green grass next to his mother, a vision of innocence and purity.  There are of course many religious images of lambs, too – they represent dependency upon the shepherd, a parable for a human who must trust his god or higher power; or they may represent the innocent who is a sacrifice for the guilty, a more unjust practice than that would be hard to imagine. One thing is for sure – whatever we visualize, we do not visualize the reality for these gentle creatures today.

(Nursery music)

Vegans Do Not Wear Wool!

Many people do not understand why vegans do not use wool, since it is often misperceived as a harmless commodity. But nothing could be further from the truth – this is a cruel, bloody and vicious industry that causes immense suffering and cruelty for the animals.  Sheep have been bred to have especially thick wool to make them more valuable to wool producers, especially breeds like the Merino sheep. But those thick coats also leave the animals prey to fly strike, a situation where the thick folds of their skin harbor infestations of maggots which can eat their flesh in their hindquarters near their points of elimination.  To avoid fly strike, many farmers use a technique called mulesing, in which the sheep are pinned hind quarters up, all four feet together, and a wide strip of their skin is removed without anesthetic by instruments like gardening shears. This leaves a wide, bright red, and most painful raw area where the flies are less likely to strike; it also leaves the sheep in agonizing pain. They are in effect partially skinned alive. While the farmers excuse this practice as being less harmful and painful than the potentially deadly fly strike, the truth is this is a manmade disorder exacerbated by the trait-specific breeding mankind has unleashed on the sheep.

Other cruel practices included punching a hole in the ears of the lambs a few weeks after birth, docking their tails, dehorning them, toothgrinding, and castration. These practices are often done without anesthetic and without sensitivity to the animals.  Then there is shearing in order to steal the lambs’ wool.  Shearers work by volume and therefore cut the lambs quickly, often leaving cuts, nicks and infections in their wake. None of this is pleasant for the animals. For a lamb, the approach of a human often means pain and cruelty; humans are clearly bullies to these young and innocent animals.

(Wooly Bully)

Commodification of Lambs is Widespread

Lambs are used for their meat, their milk, for wool, for their internal organs, for lanolin production and as living drug factories.  As cruel as the wool industry is, it is only one of the several ways lambs are commodified. The internal organs of the lambs are being used for research with an eye towards replacement parts for humans, many of whom have worn out their own organs in part due to eating animals.  So how to resolve their health issue? By using more animals, in an insidious vicious cycle of abuse and speciesism.

Lambs Used for Food

Lambs killed for meat are usually no older than three or four years, when their normal lifespan is nearer twenty years.  Some are sent off to slaughterhouses, the horrors which most of us have seen all too often to dismiss casually. But even more unfortunate are the lambs shipped off in live transport to the Middle East and North Africa. If they survive the voyage over the sea, where they are taken off their normal food and may starve, they are then dragged to unregulated slaughter, where some are dismembered while still fully conscious. The emerging ethnic demand for lambs as a food source has increased the likelihood of very young lambs and smaller lambs sent to slaughter to meet these preferences.

Predators are also frequently killed off if they pose a threat to profits, rendering the sheep as an industry a threat to animals such as kangaroos, coyotes, and wolves as well as the lambs themselves.

(Wooly Bully refrain)

Pharming – Lambs as Living Labs

The hybrid of traditional farming and pharmaceuticals has created a new industry, PH pharming. Lambs used in the PHpharming industry are prepared for blood products and collect the antibodies humans need towards creating antivenom for snake bites and chemical components for certain drugs. Baby lambs are immunized every four weeks for about 18 weeks; they are then bled monthly and their blood is used for rattlesnake antivenom and other pharmaceutical purposes.  The animals are bled from age 1-1/2 years to about 7-1/2 years old and are kept in herds raised specifically for this purpose.

Lambs are used for orthopedic research, spinal cord research, heart valve replacement, ovarian frozen transplant experiments, lung transplantation, and many other types of research to aid human beings in their quest for perennial health and longevity. Chimeras are lambs who have had human stem cells injected into the lamb as a fetus in order to create organs for potential donation to humans waiting organ donors. Lambs are also used as a research model, as a test kit, and as pharmaceutical production units – transgenic animals or pharming. Lambs are currently used in treating emphysema, cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, and thrombosis.

(Wooly Bully)

Entertainment – Lambs used For “Fun”

Mutton busting is a rodeo game for young children from 4 to 7 years old. The young children ride the sheep until they fall off. The children, of course, are well equipped with helmets and padding, but the terrified sheep are on their own. Imagine having a human put on your back surrounded by the same beings yelling and screaming as you run out into the arena. It doesn’t sound like much fun for the children, either, since most just fall off in short order.

Another way sheep are used for entertainment is in sheep fighting, a popular sport in many countries. Usually the sheep are aged between 3 to 7 years. This sport is extremely hard on the animals as their fighting is head-butting. The animals are raised specifically for fighting so one shudders to think how they are prepared for these battles for life.

Young lambs are often subjected to the rigors of petting zoos, where they will become vulnerable to a series of moves, unsafely kept in small enclosures with a variety of children of all ages and sizes.

And let us not forget the recent debacle on Hell’s Kitchen where live lambs were found as if the participants were going to have to slaughter their own lambs, following the live crayfish incident.  Such appearances of animals must be doubly difficult for them psychologically since they have no way to make any sense of it at all. And the truth? It makes no sense at all, truly, that people should find this kind of insensitivity and downright cruelty entertaining. People, buy a video game or go for a walk and leave the animals alone.

(Wooly Bully refrain)

Lambs Used in Making Cosmetics

Lanolin is another commodity that has been created from the use of lambs. It consists of a complex mixture of esters, alcohols, and fatty acids and is used in adhesive tape, printing inks, motor oils, and auto lubrication. Lanolin is also used in cosmetics and in many pharmaceuticals. Virtually all cosmetics and beauty aids, such as lipsticks, mascara, lotions, shampoos, and hair conditioners, contain lanolin except of course, those made by vegan companies.

Lambs Used for Their Skins

Then there are sheep skins which are removed from the carcasses after slaughter. They are treated in a process called tanning and made into a very soft leather which is in high demand. Sheep skin is commonly used for making the chamois cloth that you wash your car with, although non-animals synthetic materials will do the job. A small number of skins are preserved as sold as sheepskins, with the wool still attached, often found as rugs, covers, and throws.

Another insidious use of the lamb comes from Karakul sheep bred for their skin. These lambskins come from the skin of a newborn lamb, 1 to 3 days old. Such newly born lambs have tightly-curled, shiny, black fur. Karakul lambskin is also known as Persian lambskin. This offensive product is typically made into garments, such as coats and skirts, and used as trimming, edging, or lining. The Karakul fur trade accounts for about 12% of the world’s fur business, and means a lot of dead newborns. It is hard to stomach that one species could devise so many ways of kidnapping and murdering the babies of another, yet here we are, kidnapping these young lambs for totally superficial purposes. In today’s world, there is no excuse, because there are so many synthetic options for garments. We do it because we can, we do it because we are bullies.

(Wooly Bully refrain)

Lambs in Dairy Production

Sheep cheeses comprise about 1.3 percent of the world’s cheese production, with increasing demand in the gourmet and ethnic markets. Some of the world’s most famous cheeses were originally made from sheep’s milk: Roquefort, Feta, Ricotta, and Romano. Sheep’s milk is also made into yogurt, butter, and ice cream. The United States is a large importer of sheep milk cheeses. Unfortunately for the lambs involved, they are subject to mastititis and infected udders, loss of their young, short lives and ultimate slaughter, much as are dairy cows.

Lambs as Landscape Management

While sheep have been use for centuries to control unwanted vegetation, grazing as a fee-service is new form of business enterprise. Sheep are known as the best livestock to use to control unwanted vegetation, such as fuel breaks, noxious weeds, and invasive plants.

(Nursery music)

While we may think about a child’s nursery, or present gifts with adorable little lambs embroidered on a baby’s nightie, the truth is that we humans have no respect at all for these precious little beings. To us, they are nothing but blood products, experimental subjects, a plastic wrapped tray of meat, a new fur coat, a bit of sport, a cheap lawnmower, or a new warm sweater. They are yarn, they are lipstick, they are skin cream.

So no, vegans do not wear wool, use any of the other products that come from these animals, do not eat them or wear them or ride on them. We believe that the animals have a right to their own lives, with their own kind, and are more significant as free living animals than they could ever be when reduced to a pot of lotion or vivisected in experiments or worn in winter woolies.  It is time to stop the madness towards other species and leave the animals alone. It is time to stop being such incredible bullies.

~~~~

Creative and quirky vegans to check out: @veganism on Twitter, Snargleplexon on Facebook, and a blog at spacevegans.com – creative but also substantive. Be sure to check out articles such as Sleight of Ham about B12 issue.

Also, check out Wing-It Vegan for wonderful recipes, crafty ideas, and best of all, she even shares her bloopers so you won’t feel too intimidated by her wonderful photos and creations.

Music: Little Lamb by Verne Landon and Wooly Bully by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs

Snargleplexon

Wing-It Vegan

Sheep101

A Single Drop of Water

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Water is projected to become the hottest commodity on the planet in the near future, the one that will be most in demand and shortest in supply. More people currently die from lack of clean water than are killed by all forms of violence, including war. In the industrialized world, many people have turned to bottled water as an option, but regulations for the quality and purity of bottled water are less than those of tap water in many areas. And with bottled water comes a continent of disposable plastics that endangers wildlife and contributes to many deaths for marine animals. Sadly, plastic waste has been found in deep waters in remote areas of the ocean. In Africa, women and children walk over 100 million hours daily just to access water — resulting in less hours spent in school and in other productive work. Water, one of the most basic necessities of life, is already scarce for much of the world.

Animal Agriculture is the Thirstiest Industry on Earth

Animal agriculture is the thirstiest industry on the planet, requiring water to feed the grain which will then be fed to the animals. The animals themselves require water, of course, but the run-off of their waste degrades the waterways, which run into the oceans and creates dead zones from the excessive amounts of nitrogen, zones which appear to be growing ever larger. Then there is the water required in animal operations, whether in factory farming or slaughter facilities, used to clean away the considerable amounts of toxic wastes created by this intensive farming method.  One half of all water used in the U.S. goes to animal agriculture and its demands. One kilogram of beef requires 100,000 liters of water, whereas one kilogram of potatoes requires only 500 liters of water. It takes 4,000 glasses of water to yield one single glass of milk, a return on investment of water resources that is unsustainable.

Become the Needed Change Towards Water Conservation

None of us can become an ocean of change by ourselves. Yet, each of us can only contribute a small portion towards the whole. Collectively, we must create the solution for tomorrow’s problems. Together, we can effect a sea of change, one single drop of water at a time.  Here are some ideas of what you can do:

  • Go vegan. By avoiding all animal products, you will contribute greatly towards water and land conservation, as well as diminishing your carbon footprint and decreasing cruelty and suffering for billions of helpless animals each year.
  • Go to Water.org and join Matt Damon in supporting clean water for people who need it.
  • Drink tap water – you can invest in a filtration system which connects to your tap water or purchase filters and filter your own water. You might find your tap water is just fine – try testing it or sending it to a lab to be sure.
  • Avoid all animal products: food, clothing, cleaning supplies, shampoos, lotions, and a variety of other products use animals and their by-products. As the demand for animal-free products grows, so too will businesses that supply these types of products. Choose clean water by buying animal-free.
  • Talk to other people about our water resources and how the horrendous practices of animal agriculture are destroying them.
  • Watch the film Flow or the film Blue Gold to better understand how the lack of water is impacting the world.

Note: This post is part of Blog Action Day 2010!

Livestock Water Usage – Cornell

An Even More Inconvenient Truth