31 cows killed in crash after semi-truck hits elk in eastern Idaho

[The poor cows were probably about to be slaughtered anyway. And no mention of the elk, who surely died. But since the cows “belonged” to some human, they were the focus of the anthropocentric article.]


https://komonews.com/news/local/31-cows-killed-in-crash-after-semi-truck-hits-elk-in-eastern-idaho

by CBS2 News StaffFriday, February 5th 2021AA

Idaho State Police. (CBS2)

Idaho State Police. (CBS2)

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GEORGETOWN, Idaho (CBS2) — More than two dozen cows were killed in an early morning crash in eastern Idaho.

Idaho State Police says a 29-year-old Parma man was driving east on Highway 30 Friday when his semi hauling 90 cattle hit an elk on the road and he ended up losing control. The semi rolled off the left shoulder.

ISP says 31 cows died at the scene. The driver was wearing a seatbelt.

STUDY FINDS THAT COWS TALK AND SHOW COMPASSION JUST LIKE HUMANS

Study Finds that Cows Talk and Show Compassion Just Like Humans

https://www.powerofpositivity.com/cows-talk-show-compassion/?fbclid=IwAR2FEVkAajO6DHVnDph1tMBONmRnYgj45OD2_oPjd9-K1o4-lyimynoKIGM

cows talk

When we think of compassionate, intelligent creatures, cows normally don’t come to mind.

However, cows actually communicate how they feel to one another through their moos, according to a new study. The animals have individual vocal characteristics and change their pitch based on the emotion they’re feeling, according to research at the University of Sydney.

Alexandra Green, a Ph.D. student at the university and the study’s lead author, said:

“Cows are gregarious, social animals. In one sense it isn’t surprising they assert their individual identity throughout their life.”

She said it’s the first time they’ve been able to study voices to obtain evidence of this trait.
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THE STUDIES ON THE COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN COWS

Studying a herd of 18 Holstein-Friesian heifers over the course of five months, Alexandra found that the cows gave individual voice cues in different positive and negative situations. This behavior helps them communicate with the herd and express excitement, arousal, engagement, or distress.

Talking about the animals she studied, Ms. Green said:

“They have all got very distinct voices. Even without looking at them in the herd, I can tell which one is making a noise just based on her voice.”

She would record and study their “moos” to analyze their moods in various situations within the herd.

“It all relates back to their emotions and what they are feeling at the time,” she said.
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adorable photos
Check out these adorable pics of babies and pets.

Previous research has discovered that cow moms and babies use their voices to communicate individuality.

However, this new study shows how cows keep their individual moos throughout their lives, even if they’re talking to themselves. The study found that the animals would speak to each other during mating periods, while waiting for or being denied food, and when being kept separate from one another.

The research analyzed 333 cow vocalizations and has been published in Scientific Reports.Friendship knows no shapes or sizes!https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.432.0_en.html#goog_253590483Volume 90% 

“Ali’s research is truly inspired. It is like she is building a Google translate for cows,” said Cameron Clark, an associate professor at the university.

Ms. Green said she hoped this study would encourage farmers to “tune into the emotional state of their cattle, improving animal welfare.”

cows
Here are 16 vegan tofu recipes to try.

ANIMAL COMMUNICATIONS

Studies have shown that animals communicate with one another in similar ways to humans, taking turns in conversations. This is beneficial in the animal kingdom to communicate needs, such as where food sources are at or if the herd needs to move locations. It can also help animals communicate about an incoming threat so they can respond accordingly.
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FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT COWS COMMUNICATING

This research shows that animals are intelligent, sentient beings and deserve our respect. Vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise as people are waking up to how eliminating meat from our diets can positively impact health as well as show compassion to other living beings. Also, cows contribute greatly to greenhouse gas emissions, producing 37% of methane emissions resulting from human activity. One study showed that one cow, on average, produces between 70-120 kg of methane a year.

This is significant because across the globe, there are around 1.5 billion cattle. Many scientists are coming together to talk about how a plant-based diet could greatly help to slow down climate change.

Can dairy adapt to climate change?

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20201208-climate-change-can-dairy-farming-become-sustainable

(Image credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Farmers like Hannah Edwards feel a strong obligation to protect the environment, but their thoughts on climate action are not always so clear cut (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

By Emily Kasriel8th December 2020Amid polarised debate, Emily Kasriel asks how dairy farmers see the role of their industry in climate change – and finds a mixture of doubt, denial and commitment to change.

“Nothing beats the feeling when you see a cow take its first breath, after battling to get it to breathe. I milk each cow twice a day every single day of the year, so they know I want the best for them,” says Hannah Edwards, standing proudly in the midst of the herd of Holstein cows she’s tended for the last 11 years. They are grazing on her favourite hillside, high up on the farm with a commanding view of peaks and valleys. “I love coming up here. On a clear day, you can see for miles. That’s Wales, Lake Bala is over there, and there you can see Snowdonia.” 

With a growing public awareness of the importance of consuming less dairy to meet tough climate change targets, I’ve come to meet Hannah to try and understand how family dairy farmers see climate change. After climbing into her tall green wellies, I drive with her and her Labrador, Marley, to the farm where she works, spread across the border between Wales and Shropshire in the west of England. I want to test whether a communication approach called deep listening could help understand better the attitudes of dairy farmers to the environment and climate change.

Media representations of the climate change narrative have become increasingly polarised, with each side of the discussion represented by partisan outlets as a caricature. But behind these stereotypes are the nuanced stories of how people’s life experiences contribute to their worldview. By having these conversations, perhaps there is common ground that will get us closer to sustainable change.

Where better to start than dairy: in 2015, the industry’s emissions equivalent to more than 1,700 million tonnes of CO2 made up 3.4% of the world’s total of almost 50,000 million tonnes that year. That makes dairy’s contribution close to that from aviation and shipping combined (which are 1.9% and 1.7% respectively).Dairy farming is Hannah Edwards' profession and vocation – and the welfare of the herd is always her primary concern (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Dairy farming is Hannah Edwards’ profession and vocation – and the welfare of the herd is always her primary concern (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Not long after I arrive at the farm, Hannah, armed with a thick super-sized blue apron and a razor-sharp focus, announces it is time to enter the parlour, where she milks the 140 cows, in a true state of flow. Wrapped in blue gloves, her hands dance in swift parallel moves as they reach diagonally up and then across as she wipes each teat with a disinfecting cloth before attaching it on to the milk sucking equipment. Amid the flurry of muscle action I can feel Hannah’s calm aura of awareness, watching the millilitres on the glass vials track the bubbly white liquid while she reads each cows’ emotional state to pick up on any illness or mood requiring more close attention. “They can’t talk to you, just have to look out for different emotions,” she says. “Their eyes become bulgy when they are scared. It’s really teamwork, cows and farmers working together to produce milk.”

Between 2005 and 2015, the dairy cattle industry’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 18% as demand for milk grows

The following morning, Hannah and I sit in blistering sunshine on a picnic bench in her family garden alongside her mother Ruth and brother David. “The cows don’t like the heat,” Hannah says. “They won’t sit down as the ground is too hot. Their feet get tender; they get abscesses that cause them to go lame.”

Together, the family reflects on the changing weather and climate patterns they have witnessed. “I remember we used to get frost when we were kids, but we don’t get it anymore,” says David. “We don’t get those nice crisp mornings.” Ruth recalls that when she first came to the farm, the cherry blossom tree would bloom in May. “Now it’s April,” she says. “The climate does seem to be different over the years. We don’t seem to get proper seasons anymore.” 

Hannah’s opinions about climate change prove complex over the course of our conversations. “Obviously climate change is happening,” she says. “Greenhouse gases are helped by humans, isn’t it. Part of it is a natural process, like when the Ice Age ended. But it is speeded up, there’s no doubt about that.” And what about the role of farmers? “Farmers have an extra responsibility to take care both of the environment and of emissions,” she says.

But at other moments, Hannah quickly moves the subject away from dairy farming’s contribution. “There are more people, so you need more animals to feed everyone. The bottom line is that we are overpopulated,” she says. “It’s not just this country – there are more people all over the world.” Greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy industry are rising as demand for milk grows globally (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy industry are rising as demand for milk grows globally (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Overall, a quarter of global emissions come from food. The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) calculated that between 2005 and 2015, the dairy cattle industry’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 18% as demand for milk grows.

These gases – mainly methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide – are produced at different stages of dairy farming. Methane, the most potent of these greenhouse gases, is first produced as the cow digests its food. Then, as the manure is managed on the farm, methane as well as nitrous oxides are also emitted.

These gases all contribute to global warming. “Carbon dioxide has relatively weak warming effects, but its effects are permanent, lasting hundreds of thousands of years,” says Tara Garnett, who researches greenhouse gas emissions from food at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford. “A tonne of methane has a far stronger warming effect, but its effect disperses rapidly – in about a decade.”

I sense a conflict between the family’s shared worldview – a deep love and connection with the environment – and to the possibility that dairy farming could be harming the planet

But for Hannah, there is a level of distrust in such facts. “With regard to scientific information, you hope that it’s true,” she says. “But there’s a little bit of me that is quite sceptical. Are they just scaremongering, and forcing us to do things that they want to do?” 

As I listen to Hannah and her family, I try to be completely present, using deep listening. I focus on their words, but also try to sense the meaning behind them to better understand their world view. The theory behind deep listening, first explored by psychologist Carl Rogers in the 1950s, is that you convey the attitude that “I respect your thoughts, and even if I don’t agree with them I know that they are valid for you”. When a speaker feels they are being deeply heard they are more likely to convey a richer, more authentic narrative.

I sense a conflict between the family’s shared worldview – a deep love and connection with the environment and the animals they tend – and to the possibility that dairy farming could be harming the planet. “I think [climate change] is a lot to do with cars and aeroplanes,” says Hannah’s brother David. “I don’t think it’s anything to do with farming as we look after the wildlife and the environment… We are not out to damage things.” The experience and family history of being dairy farmers is critical to the family’s identity, so an idea that appears to threaten that heart-felt identity is hard to embrace

Hannah’s love for the cows, and desire to do everything she can for animal welfare, is the prism through which she sees the world, including climate change

I come to understand that Hannah’s love for the cows, and desire to do everything she can for animal welfare, is the prism through which she sees the world, including climate change. Whenever we talk about a potential measure to reduce carbon footprint or methane emissions, her immediate thoughts are whether the cows will benefit. Philip Davies argues that farmers often feel "voiceless and weighted down" (Credit: John Quintero)

Philip Davies argues that farmers often feel “voiceless and weighted down” (Credit: John Quintero)

After we reach the main farmhouse, her Labrador Marley leads us to Hannah’s boss, Philip Davies, who denies that climate change is happening.  

“Climate change is the biggest load of tosh. It’s lies beyond lies,” he says, leaning his arm on the corner of his concrete cowshed, scanning his pregnant cows lying down on the straw inside. “When I was at school not far from here, some of the boys ordered Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. When the books arrived, the headmaster, who used to deliver the post to us boys every morning, would throw them into your porridge. I feel the same about climate change.”

Philip is a tall man who stands erect with piercing blue eyes; he has been a dairy farmer for more than five decades. “I was born a dairy farmer milking a cow when I was six or seven. I remember that first cow, Sylvia, in that farm just down the road, and my father and grandfather before him,” he says. Each precious cow in his herd has a number, but also a name. Mabel, Beryl, Megan, Antoinette, Estelle: names that have echoed through the family herd since the 1950s. Last year, Philip and his three brothers invited 150 neighbours, friends and those they do business with to a marquee to share a meal of meat pies, and bread and butter pudding, listening to stories of their grandparents to celebrate the century their family has been milking cows.

As I hear more from Philip about his experience of farming, a pattern begins to emerge of periodic catastrophes that have shaped his history. “I remember foot-and-mouth disease in the late 1960s,” he recalls. “I was at school, it was the start of October, and I went to play sports. I could see fires all the way from Manchester with the cows burning.” Philip then tells me about the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) outbreak – better known as “mad cow disease” – when he lost 30 cows overall. He vividly remembers the day the vet condemned three of his cows in one day, putting them down in his yard. “It was a tragedy,” he says. After BSE, there has come a drive to reduce tuberculosis levels in cattle. “It changed from something we lived with to a massive issue,” he says, his voice filled with frustration and sadness.

Farmers are the most optimistic people I know, but scratch under the surface, we are carrying disappointment and anger – Philip Davies

Philip feels that cattle farmers have a raw deal. “It’s toughest on the youngsters like Hannah.” Philip is keenly aware of how hard Hannah works, not only with the cows but also in masterminding all the paperwork. He says he would love her to have a more secure future in dairy farming, in which the price of milk would reflect the extraordinary hours and hard toil she pours into the job.The deep listening technique can be an insightful way to learn more about someone's views, even if you disagree with them (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

The deep listening technique can be an insightful way to learn more about someone’s views, even if you disagree with them (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

On the second day of my trip to the farm, I awake early to walk in the surrounding fields, to try and make sense of Philip’s outlook – one that rejects humanity’s huge contribution to the warming of the planet as well as the significant emissions caused by dairy farming. The dry yellow corn is thigh high, and the morning mist hangs heavy, prescient of another intensely hot day. The wide landscape gives me a sense of perspective, and an insight into Philip’s “deep story”. I sense the pride he feels about the intensity of his lifetime of labour alongside a disappointment about the lack of respect that such toil is given and a fear when he looks to the future. 

Philip is uncertain whether he can sell his cows and retire in the coming years without his farm being clean of tuberculosis. He feels powerless that he’s forced to send cows who test positive for tuberculosis to be slaughtered, when he has no faith in the validity of the test, though research shows that the rate of false positives for a skin test is around one in 5,000. While on the surface tuberculosis tests have nothing to do with the evidence for climate change, I sense a wider distrust of scientific authority connecting the two.

“We feel voiceless and weighted down,” Philip says. “Farmers are the most optimistic people I know, but scratch under the surface, we are carrying disappointment and anger. We’ve been silenced by everyone pointing the fingers at us. ‘You naughty people, you are ruining the planet.'”

Two days after this conversation, Philip calls me, wanting to tell me about the very first time he felt wrongly accused as a dairy farmer. He remembers sitting round the table with his family listening to the radio in the 1970s and hearing a story about how drinking milk was causing cancer, a story later dismissed as untrue. He conveys the depth of traumatic experiences he has endured and the multiple occasions on which he feels dairy farming, his own calling, had been unjustly targeted. In his eyes, climate change is yet another example of the “faceless men in dark corridors” looking for a scapegoat and seizing on the usual suspect – farmers.

Now that Philip has had time to reflect, I want to know how he found our conversation.”It was refreshingly honest,” he replies. “I just felt that you were actually listening. You hadn’t got an agenda and came with a clean piece of paper. That was very noticeable.”Increasingly extreme weather has been noticeable in the Shropshire countryside and has been making the jobs of dairy farmers harder (John Quintero/BBC)

Increasingly extreme weather has been noticeable in the Shropshire countryside and has been making the jobs of dairy farmers harder (John Quintero/BBC)

On the final evening of my visit, Philip, Hannah and I eat together in the garden of the local 17th-Century pub, a focus for the community. Philip has brought reams of the farm’s paperwork, proudly pointing to a figure of 7,520 litres, the average quantity of milk produced per cow over the year. It’s a high number but less than what cows on intensive farms are producing, according to the University of Oxford’s Garnett. “We don’t push the cows – forcing them to produce more milk,” says Hannah. “We don’t think it’s good for them.”

Hannah feels that the small-scale dairy herds in her family and among those closest to her aren’t really the big greenhouse gas contributors. “When people complain about dairy farmers, they are probably thinking about the way people farm in the US, much more intensively with little regard for the land.”

How does the science stack up on small scale versus intensive dairy farming when it comes to climate change? I turn to Taro Takahashi, a sustainable livestock systems researcher at the Cabot Institute for the Environment, University of Bristol.

“While less intensive farming is generally better for animal welfare and in many cases also beneficial to local ecosystems, its carbon footprint is almost always greater per litre of milk compared to more intensive farming,” says Takahashi. “This is because much of the methane and nitrous oxide emissions attributable to a cow would happen regardless of how much milk they produce. If the cow produces more milk, the emissions per litre declines.” At the same time, Taro points me to a recent study which suggests the intensive approach is only more beneficial if it is linked to more wilderness being spared the plough

Despite Philip’s denying climate change, the dedication to the welfare of the cows that he shares with Hannah does in fact align with one evidence-based recommendation for lowering greenhouse gas emissions from the dairy industry. Improving animal health monitoring and preventing illness is one of the 15 top measures identified by the management consultancy McKinsey to reduce farming emissions. With fewer calves dying young and less sickness, less methane and other emissions are released per litre of milk.Hannah, Philip and Ben may have differing views on climate change, but they have a sense of duty to the environment in common (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Hannah, Philip and Ben may have differing views on climate change, but they have a sense of duty to the environment in common (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Lorraine Whitmarsh, director of the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations at the University of Bath, studies the challenges of communicating the reality of climate change. It gets tougher when climate change messages are threatening to our values, lifestyles or political ideology. She tells me we are motivated to agree only with the parts of the climate change narrative that align with our livelihoods or core beliefs, denying our responsibilities if the implications of accepting them would be challenging for us. This is a psychological behaviour termed “motivated reasoning”, and it keeps us on the lookout for facts or opinions that reinforce our values and beliefs. I recall Hannah, who is strongly rooted in her community, telling me proudly about the positive impact on the environment of buying more locally produced food.

And, working alongside motivated reasoning, there is another psychological behaviour that acts to help us ignore or dismiss information that threatens our values and beliefs: “confirmation bias”. So, for example, Philip ignores the evidence for significant global warming from human activity, but is finely tuned to stories revealing mistakes by climate scientists.

How can we encourage a more constructive discussion with people who either deny anthropogenic climate change or their own contributions to it? Whitmarsh points to the importance of understanding someone’s values and identity. Her research in the UK demonstrates the effectiveness of narratives emphasising saving energy and reducing waste to reach people less concerned and more sceptical about climate change. Meanwhile, research led by Carla Jeffries of the University of Queensland, Australia, suggests that framing climate change action as showing consideration for others, or improving economic or technological development, can have more impact with climate deniers than focusing on avoiding climate risk. Whitmarsh also tells me we are also more likely to trust climate change messaging if it comes from someone within our own community. For Ben Davies, adapting the dairy industry to reduce its emissions is a top priority (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

For Ben Davies, adapting the dairy industry to reduce its emissions is a top priority (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Back on the farm, Hannah receives a call from Philip, who wants to introduce me to his youngest brother, Peter, who owns 220 cows, the other half of the original family herd. Given that Philip is convinced the Earth is not heating up and he’s keen that I meet his brother, I anticipate that I’ll hear a similar perspective. But that’s not quite the case.

There’s a definite change in the climate – and it’s making our job a lot harder – Peter Davies

Hannah and I sit at a table in Peter’s lovingly tended garden at the edge of his fields, alongside his son Ben, 29, who works full-time with him on the farm.  

“There’s a definite change in the climate – and it’s making our job a lot harder,” says Peter. His son Ben agrees that the weather is getting hotter and more extreme. “Being in the country, outdoors all day, you notice things more,” says Ben. “You see the change in weather patterns and with the rivers – you can see flooding and damage and what’s it doing.”

Father and son lead us round the back of the garden to the huge steel and concrete shed they have built to house the cows in separate cubicles, alongside a steel fibreglass tower that stores manure. The cows spend all winter in the shed on rubber mats, and the manure flows down with gravity into a channel. The manure then gets pumped into the tower, where it is ready to be injected into the soil as fertiliser in spring and late summer. Using this stored manure means there is less need for synthetic fertilisers, reducing costs as well as the carbon footprint of fertilising the fields. Injecting manure in this way also reduces emissions of ammonia, which can damage ecosystems and break down into nitrous oxides (a greenhouse gas).

Before moving to this system, the cows were kept on hay and mucked out every three weeks. “This new cubicle system, it’s a lot less work, with far less waste,” says Ben.

I think there is a strong need for more action, we are going too slowly – Ben Davies

I have a sense from Peter and Ben that rather than feeling like victims of the changing climate, their understanding of the bigger picture has given them a sense of agency, a desire to adapt and a willingness to take risks to do so. Peter, spurred on by Ben, has recently made these significant investments, amounting to some £400,000 ($530,000), to make their farm more efficient and reduce its climate and environmental impact. “Ben is the driving force,” Peter says. “It’s people between 25-35 years old, in their prime. You need to let them get on with it when they are at their most persuasive.”

I’m curious about how Ben came to have these insights into climate change and learn about the adaptations needed to reduce the farm’s methane and carbon footprint. “I learned on the internet. I’m self-taught, and then I taught it to others in the pub,” Ben replies.

More than just reducing his own footprint, Ben is in favour of larger policy changes, such as farms needing to meet environmental targets before they are allowed to expand. “I think there is a strong need for more action, we are going too slowly,” he says. Peter agrees: “We’ve got to change.”  Ben Davies and his father Peter have invested substantial sums in emissions-reducing technologies on their farm (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Ben Davies and his father Peter have invested substantial sums in emissions-reducing technologies on their farm (Credit: John Quintero/BBC)

Among this small group of Shropshire farmers, the views on dairy and climate cover much of the spectrum of debate. So how do they make sense of each others’ differing views on climate?

“My uncle Philip is one of the old generation,” Ben says. “He will be retiring soon. I don’t think you can win over people. It’s more about our generation making an impact.” 

Given his knowledge and commitment to reducing climate change, how does Ben respond to critics who argue that we may have to stop eating meat and dairy entirely to make a significant dent in emissions? He pauses. “I think it’s a small minority, who are trying to ruin our future and a business that our family has tried to develop over 100 years. Come to my farm and have a look,” he says. “I can show you what we are doing to reduce our emissions footprint, and all the infrastructure we are investing so heavily in.”

When it’s time to leave, I ask Hannah if hearing from Peter and Ben has changed her perspective. She harbours dreams of renting her own dairy farm with a small herd and setting up an ice cream business. If she is able to realise her ambitions, would she take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

“I suppose you would have to see the figures, but if we could catch the rainwater to wash the milking parlours and got wind turbines and solar panels to supply electricity, it wouldn’t affect us farmers,” she says. “If there was a way to do our bit and our country did start making steps to improve our emissions, maybe other countries would follow.” But her doubts seem to catch up with her quickly. “But maybe Philip is right? We don’t know who is right and wrong – we don’t know the facts.”

Where Hannah remains unsure about dairy farming’s climate impact, there is another certainty that she will always come back to: her guiding principle.

“Cows are the most important thing. That’s the way I look at it. As long as the cows are happy, we are happy.” 

PETA Billboard to Honor Cows Killed in Truck Crash

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Memorial Will Encourage People to Help Keep Animals out of Transport Vehicles by Going Vegan

For Immediate Release:
November 18, 2020

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Cortlandville, N.Y. – In honor of the five cows who were killed when a truck carrying them overturned on I-81 on Friday, PETA plans to place a billboard near the crash site proclaiming, “See the Individual. Go Vegan.

“These gentle cows endured a terrifying death on the highway, and those who survived were presumably taken to slaughter,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA’s ad encourages anyone disturbed by the thought of animals suffering on the side of the road or facing the slaughterhouse knife to go vegan.”

The truck was transporting Holstein cows, the breed most often used by the dairy industry, in which workers artificially inseminate cows (rape them by inserting an arm into the rectum and a metal rod into the vagina) and tear calves away from their loving mothers within a day of birth. They ship male calves off to be slaughtered for veal, while females endure the same fate as their mothers: repeated forced pregnancies until their bodies break down and they’re slaughtered for cheap meat.

PETA notes that there have been at least 71 crashes this year involving trucks carrying animals used for food. Each person who goes vegan saves the lives of nearly 200 cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals every year and helps prevent future pandemics: Confining and killing animals for food has been linked to SARS, swine flu, bird flu, and COVID-19, and the meat industry has allowed slaughterhouse workers to face a nearly unchecked spread of the novel coronavirus.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

It’s time to shut down industrial animal farming

It's time to shut down industrial animal farming
© Getty Images

While governments act aggressively to save lives, stop any further spread of COVID-19, and reopen their economies, let’s not wait to prevent the next virus. More will come. Pandemics are picking up their pace. Thankfully, prevention is entirely possible — especially now that behavior change is on the table.

All it takes is a willingness to reconsider how we consume, trade, and treat animals. Big ask? Maybe. But everything should be on the table when hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake.

Here’s the opportunity: If we stop packing animals into crowded, confined areas — to be slaughtered for protein or parts — and if we stop cutting down and endangering their habitat, we can avoid infectious, animal-borne diseases like COVID-19, SARS, the swine flu, and more. (For these reasons, and more, Goldman Sachs now says livestock commodities are looking as ‘precarious as oil’ and U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker are calling for a ban on factory farms.)

That’s right. No more lockdowns. No more makeshift morgues. No more market crashes.

It’s that simple. If we want to save human lives and prevent mass casualties from COVID-like catastrophes, all we have to do is rethink and reconfigure our relationship with the animal world.

Now that social distancing is a common practice among most populations, to prevent the transmission of the virus, that’s now what animals need to be able to do, too. But in nature. We’ve already altered 75 percent of their land habitat and two-thirds of their marine habitat. That has to stop, now.

A failure to do so — or worse, by locking them up in factory farms in Waco, Texas, and wet markets in Wuhan, China — makes it all the more likely that another deadly pathogen, which should’ve stayed in nature, gets passed to humans.

While presidents and governors will prefer to emphasize that the next deadly virus is controllable primarily through better detection, monitoring and quick response — which is, of course, essential, too — the only real way to truly safeguard society is to stop the industrial and factory farming of animals.

Here’s how bad it’s become: globally, concentrated animal feeding operations — or CAFOs — account for 72 percent of the poultry we consume, 42 percent of eggs, and 55 percent of pork production. In the United States, over 50,000 facilities classify as CAFOs, with another 250,000 industrial-scale facilities just below that classification.

How many animals are confined in these crowded and virus-friendly conditions? In the U.S., that’s 9 billion chickens, 250 million turkeys, 113 million pigs, and 33 million cows — annually.

That’s almost 10 billion ways to start a virus — in just one year in the U.S. alone. And we know that America’s pigs, as just one example, here — most of which are farmed in industrial facilities without fresh air or sunlight — can kill thousands of Americans with a simple swine-flu virus. Over 12,000 Americans died from H1N1 in 2009 — and remember that was from factory farms in the United States.

Seemingly, no federal guidelines are governing how these animals are used and abused. And many U.S. states are trying to punish those who speak out against these cruel factory farms, which is why Animal Legal Defense Fund, and others, are providing these animals fair representation in court. It’s good someone is. A failure to protect these animals results in a failure to protect our health.

Compounding these health concerns, of course, is industrial animal farming’s heavy use of antibiotics, which ends up leaving humans — who consumed antibiotic-laden animal products — all the more vulnerable to bacteria during a pandemic. The result of all of this? People are more susceptible to attack from a diseased, factory-farmed animal.

And if health reasons weren’t sufficient to win the hearts and minds, perhaps economics will. Industrial animal farming is the least efficient and most expensive way to provide protein to humans. It’s two-three times as valuable as plant-based proteins and incredibly inefficient use of cropland, grains, and water for animal consumption (akin to have multiple middle-managers in a supply chain). Turn those crops into direct plant-protein providers for humans — a much more efficient plant-to-mouth supply chain — and we could easily, and nutritiously feed our growing population — as many as 10 billion by 2050.

That’s the opportunity here. And sure, we could also talk about all of the environmental problems associated with industrial animal farming, which include toxic waste, dangerous and deadly pesticide use, and excessive and exorbitant greenhouse gas emissions that come from animal products. Beef protein’s carbon footprint, for example, is 150 times as high as the same amount of plant protein. But if that hasn’t yet motivated people to switch off their factory-farmed animal food, perhaps the prospect of another pandemic will.

All of this seems way too risky to continue. And until we leave this practice behind, putting animals in unhealthy, crowded and immune-compromised positions — as we are doing globally with our factory farms, wet markets, and more — will continue to put us in similarly immune-compromised positions and kill tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of people, each time these pandemics pop up. It’s time to do better. It’s time to save human lives. It’s time to shut down industrial animal farming.

Michael Honda is a former Member of Congress Honda now serves on the board of local Silicon Valley startups and is working on the legislative campaign to repeal the Alien Enemy Act of 1798. Michael Shank is a former congressional staffer and adjunct faculty at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs.

Study Finds that Cows Talk and Show Compassion Just Like Humans

STUDY FINDS THAT COWS TALK AND SHOW COMPASSION JUST LIKE HUMANS

cows talk

When we think of compassionate, intelligent creatures, cows normally don’t come to mind.

However, cows actually communicate how they feel to one another through their moos, according to a new study. The animals have individual vocal characteristics and change their pitch based on the emotion they’re feeling, according to research at the University of Sydney.

Alexandra Green, a Ph.D. student at the university and the study’s lead author, said:

“Cows are gregarious, social animals. In one sense it isn’t surprising they assert their individual identity throughout their life.”

She said it’s the first time they’ve been able to study voices to obtain evidence of this trait.

THE STUDIES ON THE COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN COWS

Studying a herd of 18 Holstein-Friesian heifers over the course of five months, Alexandra found that the cows gave individual voice cues in different positive and negative situations. This behavior helps them communicate with the herd and express excitement, arousal, engagement, or distress.

Talking about the animals she studied, Ms. Green said:

“They have all got very distinct voices. Even without looking at them in the herd, I can tell which one is making a noise just based on her voice.”

She would record and study their “moos” to analyze their moods in various situations within the herd.

“It all relates back to their emotions and what they are feeling at the time,” she said.

adorable photos
Check out these adorable pics of babies and pets.

Previous research has discovered that cow moms and babies use their voices to communicate individuality.

However, this new study shows how cows keep their individual moos throughout their lives, even if they’re talking to themselves. The study found that the animals would speak to each other during mating periods, while waiting for or being denied food, and when being kept separate from one another.

The research analyzed 333 cow vocalizations and has been published in Scientific Reports.

“Ali’s research is truly inspired. It is like she is building a Google translate for cows,” said Cameron Clark, an associate professor at the university.

Ms. Green said she hoped this study would encourage farmers to “tune into the emotional state of their cattle, improving animal welfare.”

cows
Here are 16 vegan tofu recipes to try.

ANIMAL COMMUNICATIONS

Studies have shown that animals communicate with one another in similar ways to humans, taking turns in conversations. This is beneficial in the animal kingdom to communicate needs, such as where food sources are at or if the herd needs to move locations. It can also help animals communicate about an incoming threat so they can respond accordingly.

FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT COWS COMMUNICATING

This research shows that animals are intelligent, sentient beings and deserve our respect. Vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise as people are waking up to how eliminating meat from our diets can positively impact health as well as show compassion to other living beings. Also, cows contribute greatly to greenhouse gas emissions, producing 37% of methane emissions resulting from human activity. One study showed that one cow, on average, produces between 70-120 kg of methane a year.

This is significant because across the globe, there are around 1.5 billion cattle. Many scientists are coming together to talk about how a plant-based diet could greatly help to slow down climate change.

Study: Climate impact of butter 3.5 times greater than plant-based spreads


https://www.businessgreen.com/news/4012376/study-climate-impact-butter-times-plant-spreads

The climate impact of butter is higher in large part due cow's methane-heavy farts
The climate impact of butter is higher in large part due cow’s methane-heavy farts

Cow’s methane-heavy burps and farts blamed for CO2 associated with butter in study commissioned by margarine maker Upfield

The climate impact of consumer diets has yet again fallen under the spotlight, after research this week concluded butter is 3.5 times more harmful to the environment on average than margarine and plant-based spreads, due in large part to cows’ methane emissions.

The study was commissioned by global margarine maker Upfield – responsible for plant-based brands including Flora, Rama and Blue Band – in another sign of how firms are seeking to promote the climate credentials of their products to increasingly eco-conscious consumers.

It asked scientists to carry out a large-scale life cycle assessment looking at the production, transport, sale, and use of 212 plant-based spreads and margarines sold across 21 European and North American markets, and then compare their greenhouse gas emissions to the impact of 21 dairy butters.

The results found the average CO2 impact for every kilogram of plant-based spread and margarine produced was around 3.3kg, compared to 12.1kg of CO2 equivalent for dairy-based products, making emissions from butter around 3.5 times higher.

The bulk of emissions associated with butter occur during milk production, according to the study, which found enteric emissions from cows – aka methane from burping and farting – made up 39 per cent of greenhouse gases from dairy-based spreads.

It means that just one 250g of butter results in the equivalent of 1kg of cow emissions, the study estimated, with methane a particularly potent greenhouse gas which is around 80 times more powerful than CO2 at trapping heat, and responsible for around a quarter of global warming.

Every one of the 212 plant-based spreads analysed fared much better in the study in terms of carbon impact, with associated emissions ranging from less than 1kg to almost 7kg, whereas butter products generated between over 8kg to nearly 17kg of CO2 for every kilogram produced.

Beyond emissions too, the life cycle assessment – the largest of its type to date, according to Upfield – concluded that margarines and plant-based spreads consistently had lower impacts than butter in terms of climate, water and land.

Cattle feed production including cow burps, farts, and manure management “contributed significantly to climate change impacts, with a higher impact than most other factors”, the study found. Some farming groups have argued that new diet supplements and other technologies can serve to curb methane emissions from cattle, but the industry is still regarded as a large and growing source of emissions.

Sally Smith, head of sustainability at Upfield, said the study highlighted the need for a “fundamental transformation of our food system” in order to tackle climate change, arguing that people in western countries needed to cut down on their meat and dairy intake.

She also argued it was important for firms to help consumers to understand the impact of their food choices on the planet. “It is our responsibility as a forward-thinking company to understand and act to address the impact of our plant-based products on the environment,” said Smith. “A shift to regenerative agricultural practices will be key for both arable and dairy farmers. Robust lifecycle assessments help ensure that our approach is data driven and grounded on the latest scientific evidence.”