Posts Tagged ‘factory farming’

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

Supreme Beings and a Sense of Entitlement

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul? ~ Jesus of Nazareth, Mark 8:36 NIV

It is said that God has created man in his own image. But it may be that humankind has created God in the image of humankind. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the most pernicious attitudes encountered is the sense of entitlement.  According to the DSM IV-R (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the fifth criterion of Narcissistic Personality Disorder states:

has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

Entitlement and Narcissism

Other characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include a a grandiose sense of self-importance (expects to be recognized as superior), interpersonally exploitative, lacking empathy, and demonstrating arrogant or haughty behavior towards others. There are other criteria as well, but these are relevant to our relationship with the animal kingdom.

I have been told by people who believe in a Supreme Being that animals are not allowed in the tent: they do not qualify for the “treat others as you wish to be treated,” or ” do not do anything to another you do not want done to yourself.” Somehow, they believe a Being may be supremely kind and benevolent to them and yet horribly cruel and insensitive to every other living being. This impacts not only animals, but other human animals as well —  whoever is The Other is outside the tent and unworthy of consideration.  Not long ago, people who thought they were good religious folks were refusing to let The Other human into the actual tent – they were not allowed in the restaurant or in the church because of the color of their skin.  There always seems to be The Other — currently  it is the homosexual in many fundamentalist faiths.  How could anyone believe that a very kind benevolent Being gave the world and all its animals to humans so they (only the few favored, special people) were entitled to destroy, consume, and obliterate every other species while billions upon billions of human and nonhuman animals suffer and die needlessly every single day? And yet think nothing of destroying the very creation whose creator they worship? Animals were given emotions like fear, terror, joy, just so they could become a corpse on a plate? Does it make sense a benevolent Being would subject them to that kind of torment just for someone’s palate, for their pleasure?!  If you are narcissistic, then you can believe it.

But it was no Supreme Being, it was YOU, Mankind, who perverted the natural order of things, (and me, too, because I am part of Mankind after all) who domesticated these animals into flesh factories so you could get them to grow flesh quickly, so quickly that their young developing bodies cannot support their frames, often leading to broken bones.  The tender young beaks which were so obviously designed to peck and the little perfect claws designed to scratch and the legs designed to run– mankind decided they had a better design in mind (talk about hubris!) Or the little snout meant to root out food, or the gentle small milk sac meant to feed their own young, now so grossly enlarged they look like a woman whose breasts are surgically altered for the porn industry, with engorged mammary glands that appear so tender and painful and encrusted udders from so much use and abuse, and all this while the cow is just a sweet young thing. And aftewards, there is the abattoir to face, all that terror and mechanized, depersonalized death, no one caring what that cow is feeling, no comfort for her, just turn her into steak so much of her body can be tossed down a garbage dsiposal because there are so many more like her to buy that there is no need to actually value even her corpse, her death.

So mankind began changing the game plan, injecting hormones and antibiotics and modifying genetics to pervert the natural order. How much respect can you have for a Supreme Being if you change everything in their game plan and destroy their earth? And then there are all those perfectly formed one day old chicks, those little yellow cheeping angels of creation, so often used as the basis for stuffed animals and baby’s room decor, so harmless and sweet, chirping so their mother knows where they are…lets toss them down the chute to the industrial mascerator and be done with them, because we have such respect for the natural order of things, for the creation we were given, for life itself.

Responsibility or Exploitaton?

There is no humane slaughter; the advent of factory farming is just a bad system made uglier. But this sense of entitlement, that the whole thing is here for MY use, for MY pleasure, means every single bit of living entity is fair game. A rainforest? Plow it down, I want  a new palm oil grove, there are bars of soap and candy bars that demand it, kill off the animals, who cares? (But the rainforest is the lungs of the planet and the destruction means…….) Sell the animals to the exotic animal dealers, see it is win-win!  Drill, baby, drill. Make the locals pay for water and make it illegal to save rainwater! Invade, injure, destroy; keep the masses involved with meaningless rhetoric so they won’t notice what is going on behind the curtain.  Because what is going on behind the curtain is very, very disturbing.  It is the rapid deconstruction of millions of years of gentle growth and change, the permanent end to Life As We Knew It. And it cannot happen without an overblown sense of entitlement. Without it, we would reinstitute a sense of the sacred.  Without it, we would begin to value life in all its forms. Without it, we would consider ourselves part of life, and not the recipient thereof, requiring a sense of consideration before we walk into the habitat of another, whether in the rainforest or the ocean. Without it, we would consider the responsibility to others, not the exploitation of them.




Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

After hearing much, both positive and negative, about Jonathan Safran Foer’s recent book, Eating Animals, I was delighted to finally get the opportunity to read this acclaimed book.  Foer is a gifted writer who grabs your attention and keeps you engaged. He uses several creative methods to illustrate his points, such as using five pages of printed letters to represent the number of animals used for food by the average American in their lifetime (21,000 animals) — would anyone want to be responsible for that many deaths? But Foer also goes on to document what he uncovered in years of investigation about the brutality of turning living, breathing, feeling beings into a macabre disassembly line of death. He uncovers the cruelty in the system, the sick and diseased animals that are forced to live bleak lives in their own filth. He clearly sees the depersonalization that must exist for humans to turn nonhumans into units of profit. He understands the rivers of blood that are let flow daily to assuage the global demand for flesh, a demand that is increasing.

Foer is a talented writer. He is creative and does an admirable job of gathering a large array of material. It is difficult not to be in awe of his writing, so artfully has he crafted this book. Honestly, I was riveted throughout the reading, even when I was disappointed in the attitude he espoused. As a writer, Jonathan Safran Foer is a unique talent. I admire that immensely.

Yet somehow, with all of that, there is much that Foer misses. He seems to romance the happy meat farms where men, still objectifying animals for profit, do so with less cruelty than factory farms. But in the end, there is still a major deception at work here, and some of it is self-deception as well.  This is evident within the words of turkey farmer Frank Reese, who relates that his birds look at him as if he is betraying them when he sends them off.  The birds are right; he is. He is doing it and trying to feel good about it because their brief childhoods were less toxic than they would have been in other facilities (but still fall far short of what their life could have been had they not been commodities). Of course, those other facilities are nothing short of institutionalized horror, plain and simple, so that isn’t much of a recommendation. He pretends to love his birds; he obviously enjoys their company. But in the end, he betrays them and sends them off to a horrible end, of which he spares himself the sight. He is still trafficking in death for profit, no matter how hard Foer tries to paint him with angelic imagery.

Here is what Foer’s books misses and questions he never asks:

Is it okay to use animals for human purposes as long as they are not abjectly cruelly used and killed? Does the animal himself have any right to exist? Is there any intrinsic value to the animal? Who determines if humans are the only beings of worth, and how can that be when we are the worst, cruelest, most selfish and destructive beings on the planet?

(more…)

Cheep Shot

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

  • Chickens are some of the most undefended creatures on the planet
  • Humane Slaughter laws do not include chickens
  • Jesus compared the attributes of a mother hen (Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34).
  • The Talmud uses the courtesy of a rooster to suggest how a man should behave towards his wife.

Podcast:

Chickens normally live from 8 to 11 years, with the oldest recorded chicken living 16 years. Yet in modern industrial production methods, male chicks only survive a single day, when they are sent down a chute to an industrial grinder or suffocated.  Birds raised for meat are also killed as young children, only 42 days old. But due to special breeding, their poor young bodies grow beyond the ability of their bones and internal organs to support them.  They take a step or two, then fall down.  They get so stressed in the overcrowded conditions in which they live that they self-mutilate and often peck one another, so their beaks get cut off to limit the damage, without any anesthetic. Their beaks are filled with sensitive nerves so they can find their food; their claws are designed for scratching in the dirt. But these birds never touch dirt and never see the sun. They are kept in enclosed warehouses, in the dark, until they are slaughtered. Then they are caught by grown men who have to empty the ammonia-soaked shed quickly to get them on the trucks. Many arrive with lesions, bruises, and broken legs.   The birds are given so many antibiotics that the bacteria become resistant. One woman who raised chickens, Carole Morison, (see Food, Inc.) reported that she became allergic to antibiotics.

Recently there has been a big push for free-range  or cage-free eggs, but there is no range and they are not free.  Cage-free only means that the birds are overcrowded into ammonia-soaked sheds that are filthy, dusty, and toxic.  They are usually slaughtered while children, at about a year.  Once they are removed from the shed, usually at night, they are transported on trucks without temperature control to their death.  Many die enroute due to hip dislocation and heart attacks; most have high levels of stress hormones in their bloodstream at the time of slaughter.

Disrespect for these animals is seen in the cheap price of their lives.  Next time you hear someone called “chicken,”  realize that this may in effect be unknowingly a compliment.  Gentle, fierce, courteous, protective and family-oriented, they are much more than “nuggets ” or “wings.”  Humans have much to learn from the other animal species.

Problems with Transportation of Chickens (COK)

Peter Singer – iTune University

Jordan Wyatt – Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals

Dan Cudahy – Unpopular Vegan Essays

AR Zone

Ben by The Jacksons on iTunes