Please Don’t Read this Blog

If you have ever been personally hurt by anything I’ve written here, I’m sorry, but please don’t read this blog.

Even if I’ve invited you or shared a post with you in the past, please don’t read this blog.

Unless you’re seeking information about the injustices of hunting or animal exploitation in general, please don’t read this blog.

If you’re so set in your ways that the things I write about animal rights seem like a personal attack on you, please don’t read this blog. It’ll just make you feel bad.

I have never set out to hurt or attack anyone personally (that’s why I don’t tend to name names). But like people who defend human rights, those who speak in defense of the rights of non-human animals and seek to expose the ongoing atrocities committed against them by human societies, I often have a hard time playing the diplomat.

It’s not that we’re un-American, but once you know what kind of animal suffering is behind the making of an all-meat hot dog, you can’t un-know it.

This blog is not for everyone. Those who are like-minded seem to enjoy it here; those who feel out of place might do better not reading it. (That’s why I don’t spend my time reading hunters’ or cattlemen’s blogs.) I’ve been accused of preaching to the choir. Fair enough, but even a choir of angels needs a pep talk once in a while to remind them that they’re not alone in what they’re going through.

A blog can be likened to a writer’s personal diary made public. Those close to the writer sometimes recognize themselves between the pages. My advice to folks who don’t like what they read here is, simply, stop reading. Speaking for myself, I never start off writing things with the intention of hurting anyone’s feelings. The only intention I ever have is adding my voice to the call to end animal suffering and abuse of the innocents.

Writing can be cathartic and when the words are flowing, I don’t have much control over their direction. They’re often a meditation on an issue that is really important to me. I find it works better than trying to debate with people over these emotional issues, because when things get heated, I tend to get overheated. My circuits fry, and my thoughts don’t flow; they go on overload. Afterward, I end up feeling like “I should have said this,” or “I should have answered to that. “

Unless you really care to know how I think or feel, please don’t read this blog.

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Everything You Do Leaves an Impact, so You Might as Well Be an Ass-teroid

One of hunters’ favorite fallacies these days is some form of the (il)logic that everything you do affects something in some way so you might just as well hunt down big “game.” It’s the same school of thought as, you can never be completely vegan so what’s the point in choosing not to eat animals?

Apparently some folks, with nothing better to do, have been staying up nights wracking their brains to come up with as many ways imaginable that non-hunters, or even vegans, might inadvertently kill animals. Not because these spin-doctors really care about anything except themselves, but because it’s easier to try to break down someone else’s resolve than to look at ones’ own intentional acts of—or collaboration in—cruelty.

After all, nature’s cruel, so you might as well be the cruelest, right? And as long as someone eats who you kill, it’s almost sacred, or something, isn’t it? (But, as PETA put it, “Did the fact that Jeffrey Dahmer ate his victims justify his crimes? What is done with the corpse after a murder doesn’t lessen the victim’s suffering.”)

It’s like saying, you’ll never be Jesus so what’s the point of trying to live the best life you can? Sort of a variation of Lucifer’s “…better to lead in Hell…” credo.

How’s that working out, Satan? Hot enough for you down there?

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Soaring Meat Production Threatens Global Environment, Warns Report

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-08-27/too-much-meat-says-worldwatch-institute

By August 27, 2014

The world is eating too much meat, and that’s bad news for the earth’s forests, arable land, and scarce water. That’s the conclusion of a report released yesterday by the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute.

Global production of meat hit a new high of 308.5 million tons last year, up 1.4 percent, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the report notes. “In response to growing purchasing power, urbanization, and changing diets, meat production has expanded more than fourfold over just the last five decades. Even more startlingly, meat production has grown 25-fold since 1800,” says a news release accompanying the report, entitled “Peak Meat Production Strains Land and Water Resources.”

While average consumption of meat in 2013 reached 42.9 kilograms per capita, many people still consume far less, which means production growth is unlikely to stall soon. People in developing countries are eating less than half the quantity of meat consumed by those in developed nations—33.7 kg. as compared to 75.9 kg., the report points out.

Not surprisingly, Asia, home to the fast-growing, populous countries of China and India, has already become the world’s largest meat-producing region. In 2013, it produced 131.5 million tons of meat, about 43 percent of world output. Europe, by contrast, accounted for 58.5 million tons, North America, 47.2 million, and South America, 39.9 million. “China single-handedly accounted for nearly half of global pig meat production,” the report says.

Raising all that livestock requires lots of land and water. More than two-thirds of all agricultural land is used for animal pasture, with an additional 10 percent used to grow feed grains consumed by meat- and dairy-producing animals. Agriculture overall consumes about 70 percent of the world’s fresh water; a third of it goes to grow feed grain. Particularly resource-intensive is beef production: Raising cattle requires up to five times as much land as that needing to produce pigs or chickens—for the same amount of protein.

“Industrial methods in the livestock sector cut down forests to expand grazing lands and use large quantities of water. Production uses grains (such as corn or soybeans) for animal feed and relies on heavy doses of antibiotics in animals,” writes Worldwatch Institute Senior Researcher Michael Renner. “Limiting these environmental and health impacts requires not only a look at how much meat people eat, but also at the kind of meat that they consume worldwide.”

“Humane Meat” Legitimizes Factory Farming

Somewhere out there someone must be raising ‘food’ animals ‘humanely,’ therefore I’m justified in eating this steak, chicken, egg, pig part, turkey leg, hamburger, sausage, etc., etc., without feeling guilty–there’s always a chance that meat meal was humanely raised and compassionately killed, right?

Wrong!

It’s amazing how many people use some version of this feeble argument in rationalizing their culpability to cruelty, as if ‘humane’ animal farming gives them a license to ‘kill’ (so to speak).

I understand there are some who think the ‘humane meat’ movement will lead to a more compassionate future for factory farmed animals. But the fact is, advocating any form of animal agriculture that results in the breeding and premature death of an animal just legitimizes factory farming to the masses who may not see the subtle difference between a hot dog made with body parts scraped off Farmer John’s bloody-red kill floor or off Farmer Joe’s slightly greener kill floor. Yes, Farmer Joe may be able to keep his slaughterhouse a little tidier, but that’s only because he may ‘process’ fewer animals at a time, not because he truly thinks he’s being ‘compassionate.’

What would it take to provide ‘humane meat’ to everyone who won’t consider giving up their flesh? Robert Grillo answers that question, in this quote from an article entitled, Pasture Raised Eggs: The Humane, Sustainable Fiction:

“As for the scale of such an operation, where does all the land needed to give animals a “natural” farm life come from?, asks author and program director of United Poultry Concerns, Hope Bohanec. “At any given time, there are 100 million head of cattle and 70 million pigs alive in the U.S. Currently, only about 9 percent of all livestock is pasture raised. How would we ever have the land to pasture raise them all? To give all farmed animals the space they need to have even a semblance of a natural life, we would have to destroy millions more acres of wild areas, forests, prairies, and wetlands to accommodate them.”

[This mirrors the situation with open range cattle grazing. Although less than 5% of cows raised and killed for meat are put on the open range, when people see cows out there on National Forest or DNR land, they think their hamburger must have led a nice life out on the range somewhere. Truth is, most cows are raised in overcrowded feed  lots.]
 
“There is not enough land on the planet, or even two planets, to free-range all the billions of pigs, sheep, turkeys, ducks, and chickens. We would need closer to five planet Earths. It simply cannot be done. Free-ranging animals for food can never be more than a specialty market for a few elite buyers.”
 
 
And United Poultry Concerns’ president Karen Davis PhD addresses the notion of Hurting Animals Humanely in her article featured in the Dodo:
 

No one who truly respects animals, respects their dignity, feels with and for them, and wishes them joy in life supports “farming” them, because animal farming is about degrading animals meanly to the level of their genitals and their genes, mutilating their body parts, destroying their family life, controlling every aspect of their lives including culling (killing) them as one pleases when they are deemed not “productive” enough to keep feeding, and ultimately murdering them. 

“How can anyone claiming to respect animals promote a view of them as ‘dinner’?”

 

This quote from a Facebook friend sums the situation up succinctly: “‘Humane’ animal farming is nothing more than the devil putting on a fancy suit. Vegan is the only way”

And, PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk put out a U-tube on the folly of ‘Humane meat’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfUBMKwVl7Q

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This Labor Day, Take Extinction Off the Grill

 

Tofu kebabsLabor Day is one of the top meat-eating days of the year, giving it one of the biggest environmental footprints of any U.S. holiday. The burgers, hotdogs and other meat grilled over the long weekend are responsible for excessive water use, habitat loss and greenhouse gas emissions.

But Labor Day celebrations don’t have to come at the expense of wildlife. The Center’s Take Extinction Off Your Plate campaign launched Extinction-free BBQ this week to help you take extinction off your grill too. The campaign’s website features meat-free, wildlife-friendly recipes contributed by top vegan bloggers and chefs, including Alicia Silverstone (The Kind Diet), Bryant Terry (Afro-Vegan) and Laura Theodore (aka the Jazzy Vegetarian).

The site also features tips on greening your cookout and facts on how meat consumption affects your health and the health of the planet.

Check out Extinction-free BBQ and let us know how you’re protecting wildlife this Labor Day by using the #extinctionfreebbq hashtag on social media.

 

WTF HSUS?

You could say that I am more than a bit peeved at the HSUS these days. Their shameless promotion of meat-eating—especially their sponsoring the hedonistic “Hoofin’ It” event—has me downright pissed off. 

I have to wonder if they can even see above the bullshit they’ve sunk into this time. 

For years I was an ardent supporter of their policies—until they went out of their way to join Whole Foods in perpetuating the myth of “humane” meat. Instead of sticking to their guns and helping to usher in an era of evolution that takes us beyond animal agriculture, they’re bent on reviving the “Old McDonald’s Farm” fantasy.

I live next door to Old McDonald, and I’ve seen how he treats his farm animals. It isn’t pretty.

One of the flesh food purveyors featured in the “Hoofin’ It” event (the ranch that raises bison) waxes poetic about their “product” as though it were a hand-crafted ale or fine wine: “Our bulls are…finished with a natural diet of whole corn, sunflower pellets…” and “are harvested and processed at the prime age of 24-30 months, weighing approximately 1,100 pounds.” 

 

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Prime age for whom? Certainly not for the Bison! Bison don’t even reach maturity until 3 years of age and can live well over 30 years in the wild when allowed to. The bison whose flesh they’re selling are still babies. In the wild, male bison remain with their mothers for at least 3 years before joining in with groups of other bulls. It’s like eating a lamb who is never allowed to grow up to be a sheep. And who the fuck eats a lamb anyway, HSUS? 

The big question is, how does one “humanely” kill (“harvest” or “process”) a 1000 pound, gregarious, empathetic herd animal who relates enough to others to make a habit of mourning over their dead? “Processing” day must be a real sad, morbid, not to mention horrifying day for those waiting in line for their turn to get slaughtered. 

This whole alternative “humane” meat issue reminds me of the popular new micro-brewery that cropped up in the small town of Twisp, WA, where I used to live. Their menu featured grass-fed, organic beef from a local rancher who turned out to be none other than wolf-hater/poacher Bill White. White, along with his son, was responsible for baiting and killing off most of Washington State’s first wolves, the Lookout Pack. (Yes, they’re the same folks who got caught trying to send a bloody wolf hide through the mail to Canada.) 

Is the HSUS being led down the garden path by other (possibly wolf-hater/poacher) ranchers who are eager to sell a higher-priced product to a new generation of starry-eyed foodies who think the sentient animals they’re eating were happy to know they were “sustainably” harvested? 

It was partly because of the wisdom of a few friends working for the HSUS on wildlife issues that my wife and I went vegan 16 years ago. Those friends are still as dedicated to the animal rights cause as ever, but somehow the HSUS as a group must have lost its nerve, its soul and now, its ever-loving mind.

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