The following is a response to this blog entry: http://www.farmgirlfollies.com/2011/06/makin-bacon-with-tender-loving-care-8523.html
“There is a difference between food animals and pets.”
Not from the animals’ standpoint. Both want to live. Both want to exercise their minds and their bodies. Both make friends. Both have the capacity for fear and happiness, for suffering and contentment. Both desire and deserve mercy and freedom from human-imposed violence.
“Food animals are respectfully handled and carefully managed. Their needs are always top of mind whether it’s the middle of winter or the oppressive heat of summer.”
No, they’re not. Hens are bred to grossly overproduce eggs, which robs their bodies of nutrients and raises the risk of painful prolapse and reproductive cancers. Calves born on dairies are denied nursing at their mothers’ side – the most important bond in their lives. Chickens and turkeys are bred to be so top-heavy that most develop lameness problems, and some collapse or die of heart attacks. Chickens and turkeys are also not covered by the already-weak and under-enforced Humane Slaughter Act; thus they may be fully conscious as they bleed to death, upside down.
Farmed animals are castrated, de-horned, and subject to other mutilations without painkillers.
When farmed animals are no longer turning a profit, they’re destroyed. Most are killed very young; e.g., chickens at only a few weeks old. Almost none make it to middle age. Most are denied growing up with their mothers, or are pulled away long before they would be independent.
At every stage of life, farmed animals are treated in ways that would result in cruelty charges if done to pets.
“Have you ever watched curious cows sniffing their caretaker or leaning into a good scratch on the head? Have you ever seen a porky pig take a walk with his owner and then watched as it reclined in the grass beside her?”
Yes. I have also seen cows on family farms sent to slaughter because they weren’t gaining enough weight or because they could not get pregnant. I have seen newborn calves stolen from their mothers and wheeled to isolated stalls, where the calves cannot run around or engage in social bonding activities. I have seen breeder turkeys flailing desperately, held down by one man while another forcibly injects see into her. These are all standard practices defended by animal agriculture.
The fact that you know that farmed animals seek pleasure and comfort is all the more reason not to kill them, or to break up their families, or to breed them to grossly overproduce flesh, eggs, and milk.
“The more you like/love/respect your animals — any animals, the better care they will receive.”
If you respect animals, you will not kill them as soon as profitable.
“That’s why farmers like my father-in-law know their cows by name and address them as such during milking.”
As much as the cows may like being addressed by name, what they want much more is a) to care for their calves, b) to produce a normal amount of milk, which means enough for a calf every two years, like their wild brethren have done for millions of years, c) to live to old age and not be slaughtered as young adults.
“It’s why my dad is able to walk up to (most) calves in the pasture shortly after birth. He treats their mamas well and they’ve learned to trust him.”
He betrays that trust when he kills them. And again, the babies want to be with their mamas. Just like you want to be with your dad. On sanctuaries, where we also call animals by their names, if a cow, sheep, goat, or any other animals arrives pregnant, usually the babies and the mothers become lifetime companions. This is denied on animal farms. Farmed animals also make lifetime friends; this is cut short on animal farms.
Respect means respect for animals’ most fervent desires: to be with their friends and family, to not have bodies that are artificially in overproduction, and to live their normal life spans. You may want to think you respect animals, but you’re lying to yourself to make yourself feel good about the unnecessary violence you inflict on them.
If you really want to be honest – and really show respect for animals – you have to stop using them as disposable assets. You have to get out of animal “farming” – which is really a mass-killing operation, mostly of very young animals – and into real farming – of crops – or into another field altogether which is not based on avoidable harm to others, year after year.
Another option is to turn the animal farm into an animal sanctuary, where rescued animals are able to live their lives and not be killed for profit, where animals can make lifetime friends. At a sanctuary, not only will you call the power company, but you’ll take 10-year old sick chickens inside, and pay for a cart for a lame goat who she can walk again. You’ll learn what love and respect for animals really is. You’ll never, ever betray their trust.
Check out https://life.indiegogo.com/…/rowdy-girl-sanctuary-save…. Here is someone who woke up after years of being involved in ranching. She realized that ranching and respecting were violently at odds with one another. She has seen the light. So can you.
Cheri Ezell-Vandersluis, a former dairy goat farmer, now runs a sanctuary. She saw the light – she realized that animals deserved real respect, not pretend respect before we put them on a truck and send them to horrific slaughterhouses. Read her story here: http://www.humanemyth.org/cheriezell.htm
Cattle rancher Howard Lyman realized that raising and killing animals is unethical, environmentally unsound, and not very good for your health. He is now vegan and a leading animal advocate, and he’s never turning back. Here’s his web page: http://www.madcowboy.com. It’s full of eye-opening information.
You have many years to make a positive difference for animals. Step one is stop trying to defend the indefensible. This may cause some heartburn with your family at first, but share these materials, and the truth, with them, and they may eventually come around. Step 2 – stop eating them. There are literally 50 million plant-based recipes on the net, and it’s simple to create animal-free meals that are as tasty, healthy, and diverse as whatever you’re eating now – and you won’t have to lie to yourself about how your potatoes, kale, lentils, or tempeh bacon was killed.
“even though he became somewhat of a pet, she’s aware of his true purpose. To provide sustenance.”
His purpose, from his point of view, is to live, to enjoy life, to seek comfort and friendship, to play, to eat good food and sleep in comfortable straw. You are not giving him purpose; he already has purpose, and you’re destroying it.
He is not providing sustenance. We can actually feed more people by growing plants. In this country, we are not short on calories. Not one person is being kept alive by this pig. You’re ending his life for greed and habit. That’s profoundly, sadly wrong.
You have the power to stop supporting this needless violence, and to live by the golden rule, whenever you want to. Remember these life lessons: It’s wrong to inflict avoidable harm on innocent others, and compassion is better than violence. That’s our purpose.
Author: Gary L. (farm sanctuary volunteer & rabbit rescuer)
There is a difference between food animals and pets.
And it’s not about quality of care. Food animals are respectfully handled and carefully managed. Their needs are always top of mind whether it’s the middle of winter or the oppressive heat of summer.
It’s about emotional attachment.
Pets may sleep on the bed, recline with us on the couch or chase our frisbees. Pets meet us at the stall door, rub against our ankles or wag us into a state of happiness. Then again … have you ever watched curious cows sniffing their caretaker or leaning into a good scratch on the head? Have you ever seen a porky pig take a walk with his owner and then watched as it reclined in the grass beside her?
Some might think that’s a big problem. I say it’s healthy.
The more you like/love/respect your animals — any animals, the better care they will receive. That’s why farmers like my father-in-law know their cows by name and address them as such during milking.
It’s why my dad is able to walk up to (most) calves in the pasture shortly after birth. He treats their mamas well and they’ve learned to trust him. He cares for them and protects them from harm. And that’s why — when the electric went out the other day — he called up the power company. He wasn’t upset because his lights were out or the refrigerator was off. The cows couldn’t get water and that was the only thing on his mind.
This porker is on her mind, too.
He’s the first thing she checks on when her feet hit the floor in the morning. She’s been studying her pig book a lot. Not because she wants to do well at 4-H judging (though that’s on her mind), but because she wants to know more about the animal in her care. She feeds him, checks that he has fresh water, cleans his pen, and last night … bathed him. After a leisurely stroll around the yard, of course.
The fair is in July. I’m expecting some tears at the end of the week … and I’m glad.
It’s a sign that she cares … that she respects her animal … and that even though he became somewhat of a pet, she’s aware of his true purpose. To provide sustenance.
And that is a healthy, realistic point of view.