TRACTOR SUPPLY:CRUELER THAN EVER TO BABY CHICKS

6 March 2021

Tractor Supply’s animal cruelty must be challenged.

https://upc-online.org/diet/210306_tractor_supply-crueler_than_ever_to_baby_chicks.html

Key West hen with chicks

Photo by Davida G. Breier. Tractor Supply chicks never experience the comfort and care of their own mother hen. They’re nothing but things for this company to make money from.

Dear Friends,

Since posting Protect Baby Chicks & Ducklings: Sign & Share Petition and Ducklings & Baby Chicks are NOT Easter Toys! Take Action! in late February, we’ve received emails from Tractor Supply visitors describing an increase in the cruelty of this company’s local stores, as summarized in the following email to United Poultry Concerns, March 5, 2021:

“I am not sure to whom I should file a complaint. Perhaps you can point me in the right direction. I went to Tractor Supply to pick up sunflower seeds and to my horror I saw baby chicks for sale in a new display that houses the chicks of different breeds stacked on top of each other and they are walking on wire mesh! It was very disturbing and quite different from how they were housed last year. There is no place for them to rest/sleep comfortably and they looked very stressed. Thank you very much for reading my email. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. I am a certified veterinary technician and understand farming and keeping chickens. This new setup at Tractor Supply is inhumane.”

What Can I Do?

  • Sign and share our Change.org petition to Tractor Supply, which includes direct contact information for the company CEO Hal Lawton. Sign & Share.
  • Contact Mr. Lawton and tell him what you saw at your local store. Tell him the situation is inhumane and that you will not shop at Tractor Supply until it is rectified.
  • Speak to the local store manager and urge that the store provide proper bedding, sheltered resting areas and other comforts for these suffering chicks.
  • Post a comment. Each Tractor Supply store appears to have its own local Facebook page where it is advertising baby chicks for sale.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper(s) about this inhumane situation.
  • Alert your local humane society and urge them to intervene with the local Tractor Supply to help these chicks.

Tractor Supply and other farm supply stores are notoriously neglectful and indifferent toward the chicks and ducklings they display and sell each spring in thousands of local stores. This new way of keeping these baby birds, in stacked drawers on wire mesh, exceeds even the traditional inhumaneness. In addition, these stores are teaching customers by their example that such inhumane treatment is acceptable, thus encouraging buyers to imitate the abuse.

Sign the Petition

Thank you for taking action.
United Poultry Concerns

WHAT I WITNESSED INVESTIGATING FACTORY FARMS DURING THE PANDEMIC

WHAT I WITNESSED INVESTIGATING FACTORY FARMS DURING THE PANDEMIC
 By: Clément Martz  |   Reading time: 6 minutes
Out of all the countries, why did you choose Sweden? We are one of the countries with the highest animal welfare standards in the world,” the police officer asked while I was being interrogated after photographing the conditions inside a pig farm. “Is keeping pigs indoors, unable to see the daylight, crowded in tight dirty stalls while standing in their own excrement until they are sent to slaughter at 6 months of age considered high welfare standards?” I replied.
In the last year, I have been to countless Swedish farms, documenting these so-called “high welfare standards” during the pandemic. What I have witnessed and documented shows me that the way these animals are being treated is an immediate concern. Their conditions are shocking and seeing them for myself was an urgent wake-up call.

COVID-19 has affected farmed animals across the globe. Although the virus has largely been transmitted between humans, animals raised for food have still felt the consequences. 

From animals being buried and burnt alive to slowed operations in slaughterhouses and worsening conditions in the West, millions of farmed animals are also victims of this pandemic.

In Sweden like most other countries in the world, factory-farmed animals are raised for food in confined and overcrowded conditions. According to the Swedish Board of Agriculture, Sweden has 63,000 farms and over 50 percent of Swedish farms have animal production. 

Each year, Sweden produces:2.6 million pigs100 million chickens8 million egg-laying hens290,000 tonnes (over 319,600 US tons) of cow’s milk
INVESTIGATING FARMS AROUND THE WORLD 

Animal agriculture keeps hidden the daily treatment of farmed animals. Hearing—and seeing—directly from undercover investigators what they have witnessed inside factory farms is a powerful eye-opener. Here at Sentient Media, we’re making sure their stories are told:The Forgotten Victims of Factory Farming: Lex Rigby, Head of Investigations at UK nonprofit Viva!, writes that fish farming is “the world’s fastest-growing food production sector, generating over half of the fish filling our supermarket shelves.”

“As with land-based factory farms, conditions on fish farms cannot easily replicate the complexities of an animal’s natural environment—leading to increasing concerns regarding their welfare,” writes Rigby.

Later this month, Rigby will join Pulitzer Prize winner Ian Urbina and undercover investigator Pete Paxton to talk about the impacts of industrial fishing in our next Sentient Session: Reporting Life at Sea. Learn more and register here.
 What a Dairy Farm Really Looks Like: “I remember their eyelashes,” writes Natalie Blanton, recalling the calves she met in childhood in Utah, growing up around “idyllic” dairy farms—and the realizations that led her to stop consuming dairy.

“As I matured, and after enough games of hide-and-go-seek among these rows of sheds housing tiny young calves,  I started to piece together a more sinister cycle taking place. It was a gradual tugging on threads of understanding, an unraveling of a dark truth behind those happy cows on those happy milk cartons,” she writes. 
 Stepping Out From Behind the Camera: After many years spent documenting factory farming, Gemunu de Silva now leads Tracks Investigations, an organization with over 250 investigations under its belt. 

“For such a staple of the animal advocacy world, Gem and Tracks have flown surprisingly under the radar. But that is by design. Up until this year, Gem avoided doing press, leaving it to the NGOs to draw the media’s attention to the cruelties his investigations exposed. It is only as the pandemic has forced a hiatus on the majority of Tracks’ projects that Gem has begun telling the stories of his decades-long career,” writes Claire Hamlett. 
 Helping Others Expose Animal Abuse: Now leading the investigations department at Animal Outlook, Erin Wing was once an investigator too, drawn to taking action for farmed animals after experiencing trauma and abuse herself. She shares what she saw inside factory farms, including a dairy farm where, she writes, “I reached the limit of what I could endure.”

“There, brutal violence was a daily occurrence. The last effort that I felt I owed to the animals before retiring from the field for good was holding out at Dick Van Dam Dairy for a few more weeks so I could rescue a newborn calf named Samuel. I found comfort in the fact that we escaped the dark world of factory farming together,” writes Wing.
Read more from Sentient Media.

Factory farming and global health

about 19 hours agoShare to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to Email App

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/factory-farming-and-global-health-1.4497323

Sir, – Industrial animal farming, more commonly known as factory farming, has, according to the UN, caused the majority of infectious diseases in humans in the past decade.

In Russia, scientists have detected the first case of transmission of the H5N8 strain of avian flu to humans and have alerted the World Health Organisation. Scientists isolated the strain’s genetic material from seven workers at a poultry farm in southern Russia. The workers did not suffer any serious health consequences. While the highly contagious strain is lethal for birds, it has never before been reported to have spread to humans.

Humans can get infected with avian and swine influenza viruses, such as bird flu subtypes A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) and swine-flu subtypes such as A(H1N1). The more widely known strain of avian influenza is the H1N1, which is responsible for all the major flu outbreaks, like the 1918 Spanish flu and the 2009 swine-flu outbreak. The H5N8 is a sub-type of the influenza A virus that causes flu-like symptoms in birds and mammals. In recent months, outbreaks of the H5N8 strain have been reported in Russia, Europe, China, the Middle East and north Africa but only ever in poultry – until, that is, this latest news from Russia.

There is a timebomb called climate change with which we are all familiar. There is another, less talked-about timebomb that is ticking just as loudly, factory farming. Yet no government that I know of, anywhere in the world, is listening to it. Why is this? – Yours, etc,

GERRY BOLAND,

Keadue,

Co Roscommon.

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.” 

The Next Pandemic Could Come From an American Factory Farm

https://www.vice.com/en/article/g5bjjb/the-next-pandemic-could-come-from-an-american-factory-farm

“If you have several thousand hogs packed in together and they’re all genetically largely the same, that selects for the most virulent pathogens.”VKBy Valerie KipnisJHBy Joe HillDecember 11, 2020, 1:40pm

In the dead of night, four animal rights activists prepare to break into an industrial-scale pig farm in central California. They write lawyers’ phone numbers on their bodies with a Sharpie, their cell phones are locked away in signal-blocking cases to protect them from being tracked. After a 30-minute trek through almond groves under moonlight, they arrive at the pigpens and take out their gear: hazmat suits, N95 masks, flashlights. ADVERTISEMENT

They’re here to collect nasal and fecal samples to find the source of the next potential global pandemic. 

These activists are part of Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, a global grassroots network fighting for animal rights with some pretty intense tactics. The group gained notoriety for breaking into America’s industrial farms and publishing graphic footage of animal cruelty online, but the coronavirus pandemic has given them a whole new cause. 

Now, rather than just filming conditions in farms, they’re testing the animals for signs of the next zoonotic virus—viruses like COVID-19, H1N1, the bird flu, and others that jump from animals to humans, and which have killed more than 2 million people around the globe since 1991.

“The reality is the fact that these places, these unnecessary disease factories are existing; that is where the risk comes from,” Lewis Bernier, the team’s leader, told VICE News. “We have been warning about the threat of pathogens from animal agriculture, and from pig farms especially, for many years now.” 

Industrial-scale farming is a system of agriculture that produces low-cost, uniformly-packaged foods, like pork—the kind you see in most supermarkets across the country. The highly efficient and lucrative system originated in the United States but is now used worldwide. But this infrastructure is also a near-perfect breeding ground for novel viruses, of which at least 60 percent are zoonotic.ADVERTISEMENT

“If I wanted to design a means to select for the most dangerous pathogens imaginable, I would probably do it along the lines of how hog farms are actually operated now,” said Robert Wallace, author of “Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19” and “Big Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Influenza, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science.” “If you have several thousand hogs packed in together and they’re all genetically largely the same, that selects for the most virulent pathogens that are possible.” 

It’s happened before: In the late 1990s, chicken coops in East Asia and Southeast Asia fostered the evolution of the bird flu, which still infects humans to this day. In 2009, H1N1, or the swine flu, was traced back to a factory farm in North Carolina. The bug is estimated to have killed up to half a million people worldwide. And according to Wallace, there are at least a dozen more emergent and re-emergent farm and foodborne pathogens circulating around the world. 

Wallace argues that the industrial farming model, which puts genetically similar livestock into tight quarters, is the perfect habitat for viruses to evolve, mutate, and multiply. And pigs, which can catch and pass viruses from birds and humans, pose an especially daunting risk to America’s meat supply.   

“As we continue to grow out at this scale, we only increase the likelihood that such an event [a pandemic] will happen,” Wallace said.ADVERTISEMENT

Much like other parts of America’s agribusiness, the $23.4 billion pork industryis growing and consolidating at a staggering rate. Since 1980, the number of U.S. hog farms has dropped by nearly 90 percent, while the total number of hogs has increased by more than 50 percent since 1997.

In 1997, the average U.S. hog farm was home to 3,600 pigs, but by 2012, the last year figures were available, that number had grown to 6,100 pigs, according to Food and Water Watch

As pig farms have gotten bigger, recent successive administrations have rolled back regulations and safeguards designed to help prevent viruses from emerging. In 2019 alone, under the Trump administration, at least four major rules were proposed or finalized–the Meat and Poultry Labeling rule, the Uninspected Inedible Meat Products rule, the Livestock Carcass Labeling rule, and the Hog Carcass Cleaning rule. 

“The public health situation went down quite a lot when the Trump administration came in,” said Dr. Pat Basu, the former chief veterinarian for the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, who left the USDA soon after in protest. 

Then, in late 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture approved the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System—a voluntary program that would effectively shift the responsibility of physically checking and sorting meat from USDA-qualified inspectors to plant workers, whose training would be at the discretion of plant owners. The USDA claimed that the new process would save the industry almost $8.7 million a year. ADVERTISEMENT

If plant workers caught a bad hog carcass, they could flag that to federal inspectors, who would still be in plants but just on a lesser scale. The new rule would also lift the maximum cap on line speeds, or how quickly meat was processed. The combination of faster-moving lines and less-trained workers sorting bad meat alarmed consumer advocates and food safety groups. 


“Their goal was to reduce 40 percent of the inspection force,” Dr. Basu said. “I was afraid of the FSIS [Food Safety Inspection Service] handing over the inspection—the laws that govern it, mandate it—to the industry. And I thought that was a disaster waiting to happen.” 

But representatives from America’s largest pork lobbying group, the National Pig Producers Council (NPPC), believe that the new changes all stand to improve the industry. 

“I think the intent of the new swine inspection system is really not less people but using the people that you have in a smarter, better way to tasks that they’ve identified that really have big food safety impacts,” said Dr. Dan Kovich, veterinarian and the NPPC’s director of Science and Technology. “There’s virtually no other food that’s under continuous inspection like meat and poultry is.”


Back in California, the DxE activists took nasal swabs and fecal samples from five hogs and mailed them to a laboratory at UCDavis. Days later, the lab results came back. They showed traces of Proteus bacteria as well as E-coli, but nothing akin to a viral pathogen that could be the cause of the next pandemic. For Lewis, this didn’t come as much of a surprise. In previous raids, he said he found more-concerning pathogens, like Porcine Deltacoronavirus and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“So this really is a tiny sample size,” Lewis told us. “Negative results are not a pass. It doesn’t let us know that this is not happening there. And especially because, we, as private individuals, only have the resources to test for a few diseases every time we run these samples.” 

When asked if this was all worth it––the raids, the legal risks, the testing, the lackluster results––Lewis was quick to answer. 

“I think it is worth it to do the testing, because when we find results, it’s even more damning because our sample sizes are so small. But I also think that this is not a solution. I do not think that me and my four person team going into these facilities is going to prevent the next pandemic. The only way to do that is to shut down the system of industrial animal agriculture.”

I’m a former poultry farmer. The meatpacking industry has failed workers during the pandemic and I’m not surprised by the deadly consequences.

Craig Watts , Opinion Contributor Dec 6, 2020, 7:02 AM

poultry plant
Plant workers produce lean, finely textured beef (LFTB) at the Beef Products Inc (BPI) facility in South Sioux City, Nebraska, November 19, 2012. 

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for America’s food workers, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the meatpacking industry.

USA Today reported last month that executives at the Triumph Foods meatpacking plant in St. Joseph, Missouri, lobbied government officials to keep the plant open at the height of the Spring coronavirus outbreak, a delay that led to hundreds of workers getting sick and at least two deaths. 

In Iowa, not only did Tyson Food executives keep their factory open, but they also allegedly made bets on how many of their workers would contract the virus. 

These are the latest examples of callous worker treatment by meatpackers – and of a failure of public agencies tasked with overseeing them. While this may be shocking to the general public, it isn’t surprising for those of us in the industry. I was a contract farmer for one of the biggest poultry companies in the US for 24 years. To me, this looks like standard operating procedure.

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Par for the course

Nationally, more than 49,000 meatpacking plant workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and 253 have died.

Along with nursing homes and prisons, meat and poultry plants were the leading source of virus outbreaks in the spring. Workers on the processing line reported no way to social distance, no PPE, and no time to even cover a cough. But rather than quickly close the plants to control the outbreaks and establish safety measures, meatpacking companies dragged their feet. 

Shortly after the largest plants did finally close, an executive order from President Donald Trump deemed them “essential” and allowed them to re-open, but with no mandate for worker protections.

I first talked with poultry plant workers about a decade ago, when I was still raising chickens. They told me what they had been promised in the job and that the conditions were definitely not as advertised; about intimidation and pressure to keep their heads down; about being treated as expendable. https://da86ada8d59bc85c8f3de0a397b4d628.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

This year, I’ve heard meatpacking workers, many of them immigrants and refugees, describe being afraid of the virus but even more afraid of speaking up. Speaking up could cost their job, and then how would they feed their family?

Take out my $500,000 mortgage on now-empty chicken houses, and we’ve got the same story.

Corporate Control

I wanted to raise chickens and raise a family, that was all. I signed a contract with a major poultry company in 1992 and built those houses. The company hooked me by promising that after ten years, my mortgage would be satisfied and I could really make money raising birds. As it turned out, getting the barns paid off in ten years was a pipe dream. Every year, there was some new technology they wanted me to invest in, and the understanding was that if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t get more birds.

The company controlled everything: they sent the feed, told me what medicines to give. Sometimes they delivered flocks of sick birds and I wasn’t allowed to make real changes to improve their health. If I complained, I might not get another flock. I needed the birds to pay the mortgage, so I was stuck.https://da86ada8d59bc85c8f3de0a397b4d628.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

In 2014, I finally did speak up about how the contract required me to treat the birds. The company tried to intimidate and discredit me, showing up on my farm for audits at all hours. I finally quit in 2016, but clearly this was bigger than me.

I got involved with Rural Advancement Fund International-USA (RAFI-USA) and other groups advocating for common sense regulations for the meat and poultry industry so the power wasn’t 100% in the hands of the companies. However, the meatpackers fought tooth and nail against any little thing to change the status quo, and they kept winning. Under the Trump Administration, the federal Grain Inspectors, Packers, and Stockyards Administration, the  agency tasked with protecting contract farmers, was essentially eliminated when it was merged with another department in 2017.

I have seen again and again that when it comes to the big meatpacking companies, both federal and state oversight bodies act like customer service agencies instead of regulatory agencies. Customer service to the meatpackers, that is, not to the farmers or workers.

And here we are again. In October, a memo came out showing that meat industry lobby groups wrote parts of Trump’s executive order to re-open the plants. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper backed off a pledge to release guidance for meatpacking plants due to industry pressure. Groups in Iowa have sued the state’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) saying the agency has not protected workers in several industries including meatpacking. The list goes on.

Meatpacking plant workers and farmers are both deemed “essential” in the pandemic. Why do we keep being treated instead as expendable, not only by the companies we work for, but by the very government agencies that are supposed to protect us?

Craig Watts is a former contract poultry farmer, who works part time as a farmer advocate at Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA (RAFI-USA).

This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author(s).

Despite Perdue’s High Welfare Standards, Some Chickens Can’t Survive 45 Days

Kelly Guerin / We Animals

By: Jennifer Mishler
Reading Time: 5 minutes

As a filmmaker for We Animals Media (WAM), Kelly Guerin has traveled to farms and slaughterhouses around the world to document the life and death of the farmed animals confined inside.

Most poultry farms look the same, says Guerin, easily recognized by their long barns with fluorescent lighting and the noise of whirring fans. But this chicken farm is the first she’s gained access to in the United States—where chickens account for 95 percent of the land animals killed for food each year—and, as she puts it, is “the first with a company name I recognized, who sends chickens to very familiar restaurants.”

This time, a farmer invited her in, wanting to talk openly about being caught up in the supply chain of Perdue Farms.

The farm, owned by Rudy Howell, contracts exclusively with Perdue which slaughters 700 million chickens each year making it the country’s fourth-largest poultry producer.

“[Perdue] calls themselves a family farm, but they’re a corporate farm. They have control over everything out here,” he said.

On Perdue’s website, they proudly claim, “We give our chickens room to roam.” In February, Perdue reported having met its goal of 25 percent of its chicken supplier farms meeting “free-range” standards, which still allow crowded barns as long as there is a way for birds to access the outdoors, however limited.

On the farm, Guerin witnessed what rapid growth in chickens actually looks like and why animal protection groups are pushing to end the practice.

Along with confined environments and overweight birds, culling is a daily reality inside factory farms that, before COVID-19, often went unseen. Perdue is no exception.

As Guerin toured Howell’s farm, she was shown how sick and dying young birds are killed. Farmers often use a method called cervical dislocation, in which a chicken’s head is stretched away from the body, as the bird is decapitated by hand. According to Perdue and the rest of the poultry industry, this is considered an acceptable way for farmed chickens to be killed.

In fact, a reminder to cull animals daily was listed on signs provided by Perdue and posted on the doors of the barn during Guerin’s tour.
The Rise of Factory Farmed Chicken
In the late 1920s, chickens became the first large-scale farmed animals, bred and raised indoors for egg production. The 1948 Chicken of Tomorrow Contest, marked the start of significant investment in the world of poultry production. What was then a 3 billion dollar industry with chickens bred for “plumper thighs” has now grown into a $48.3 billion dollar industry, where chickens are bred for rapid growth leading to the conditions we see today:  CHICKENS ARE THE MOST FACTORY-FARMED LAND ANIMAL ON EARTH. But they didn’t use to be. According to PEW Trusts, in 1950, more than 1.6 million farms grew chickens for American consumers. By 2007, 98 percent of those farms were gone, and Americans were eating even more chicken. Broiler sales jumped by 8 billion birds (1,400%), meaning nearly all of them were raised on a factory farm. 

The U.S. chicken market is now largely controlled by four companies—Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s (JBS), Sanderson Farms, and Perdue Foods—all of which own and operate large-scale chicken farms. In 2019, Tyson Foods slaughtered 45 million chickens per week within 183 facilities. Being one of the top meat producers in the United States means that production cycles must be fast, animals must be bred in large quantities, and the slaughtering process must be continuous, leading to the increased potential for severe animal suffering and workplace injuries.

Organizations including Animal Outlook and PETA have conducted investigations at Tyson suppliers and processors unveiling severe abuse, neglect, and physiological issues as a result of selective breeding. One worker told an undercover investigator for PETA that, “Yesterday, I ain’t gonna lie, man, I straight up broke one’s back…I hurt an innocent chicken because the other chickens made me mad.”
 U.S. CHICKEN PRODUCTION IS BOOMING. For lack of more elegant phrasing, people want cheap chicken and they want a lot of it. Producers know this, and they’ve shaped their supply chains to accompany the booming demand. Fifty years ago, chickens became the first animals to be farmed at a large-scale. At the time, scientists believed there would be no way to continue feeding animal products to a rapidly growing human population without farming animals more efficiently. So they stuck animals in barns, crammed them in cages, and turned the farm into a well-oiled machine.

Today, roughly 25 million chickens are killed for food each day in the U.S. alone. To document the undisputed cruelty within modern chicken farms, Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals produced Undercover: Stories from a Former Investigator. This short film documents former undercover investigator, Geoff Regier, and his time handling chickens on more than 50 farms and one processing plant for Maple Lodge Farms in Ontario, Canada.

“You stop seeing suffering. You stop seeing individuals. Animal dying alone on the floor becomes just a mess to be cleaned up. Otherwise good people, people with families and senses of humor are doing terrible things to animals because that’s how the system is set up,” Regier states.
 CHICKEN PRODUCERS IN THE U.S. SET GLOBAL STANDARDS FOR ANIMAL WELFARE. Over the past 10 years, large-scale farming practices honed in the U.S. have spilled over into Europe. And in an attempt to meet the steadily rising global demand for chicken, Europe’s poultry production centers have become overrun with factory farms. Although European farms with more than 5,000 broilers barely represent 1 percent of the total number of broiler farms in the EU, they account for more than nine in 10 broiler chickens.

Every year, more than 60 billion chickens live and die on factory farms around the world. They spend their lives crowded into industrial feeding operations where they barely have enough room to flap their wings. Many suffocate and die due to overcrowding. Then, over the course of just 40 days, they reach full size.

After the birds’ accelerated growing period—which can cause heart disease, lethargy, and lameness—they are sent to slaughter. Factory farmed chickens live their lives confined, without access to sunlight, for less than six weeks before they are killed, sent to be processed, and sold by the world’s largest fast-food companies.
Guerin saw some young chicks who had just arrived from the hatchery and already “could only take a few steps and then plop down. They had their legs splayed out beneath them.” Some tried and were unable to walk away as she got closer. “They would be laying there, breathing heavily, eyes closed,” she says.

“These animals have been bred to grow so fast that their hearts and legs can hardly keep up with the pressure from their bulking bodies,” says WAM founder Jo-Anne McArthur. “To some, death comes quickly. Others wither slowly away.”

If factory farming has become the new normal for chickens, and even the highest animal welfare standards aren’t enough, should companies like Perdue be able to claim that they are committed to animal care?  

Read the full story here
Our next session will leave you with the tools you need to develop your personal brand and develop your social profile.

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Covering COVID-19
With the worst global pandemic we’ve seen in over a century, it’s more important than ever to make sure the truth is reported in its entirety, not just what’s convenient.

Help us share the facts during these uncertain times and make sure the world knows our species cannot survive if we continue our exploitation of the planet and nonhuman animals.
Kelly Guerin / We Animals
Despite Perdue’s High Welfare Standards, Some Chickens Can’t Survive 45 Days
By: Jennifer Mishler
Reading Time: 5 minutes

As a filmmaker for We Animals Media (WAM), Kelly Guerin has traveled to farms and slaughterhouses around the world to document the life and death of the farmed animals confined inside.

Most poultry farms look the same, says Guerin, easily recognized by their long barns with fluorescent lighting and the noise of whirring fans. But this chicken farm is the first she’s gained access to in the United States—where chickens account for 95 percent of the land animals killed for food each year—and, as she puts it, is “the first with a company name I recognized, who sends chickens to very familiar restaurants.”

This time, a farmer invited her in, wanting to talk openly about being caught up in the supply chain of Perdue Farms.

The farm, owned by Rudy Howell, contracts exclusively with Perdue which slaughters 700 million chickens each year making it the country’s fourth-largest poultry producer.

“[Perdue] calls themselves a family farm, but they’re a corporate farm. They have control over everything out here,” he said.

On Perdue’s website, they proudly claim, “We give our chickens room to roam.” In February, Perdue reported having met its goal of 25 percent of its chicken supplier farms meeting “free-range” standards, which still allow crowded barns as long as there is a way for birds to access the outdoors, however limited.

On the farm, Guerin witnessed what rapid growth in chickens actually looks like and why animal protection groups are pushing to end the practice.

Along with confined environments and overweight birds, culling is a daily reality inside factory farms that, before COVID-19, often went unseen. Perdue is no exception.

As Guerin toured Howell’s farm, she was shown how sick and dying young birds are killed. Farmers often use a method called cervical dislocation, in which a chicken’s head is stretched away from the body, as the bird is decapitated by hand. According to Perdue and the rest of the poultry industry, this is considered an acceptable way for farmed chickens to be killed.

In fact, a reminder to cull animals daily was listed on signs provided by Perdue and posted on the doors of the barn during Guerin’s tour.
The Rise of Factory Farmed Chicken
In the late 1920s, chickens became the first large-scale farmed animals, bred and raised indoors for egg production. The 1948 Chicken of Tomorrow Contest, marked the start of significant investment in the world of poultry production. What was then a 3 billion dollar industry with chickens bred for “plumper thighs” has now grown into a $48.3 billion dollar industry, where chickens are bred for rapid growth leading to the conditions we see today:  CHICKENS ARE THE MOST FACTORY-FARMED LAND ANIMAL ON EARTH. But they didn’t use to be. According to PEW Trusts, in 1950, more than 1.6 million farms grew chickens for American consumers. By 2007, 98 percent of those farms were gone, and Americans were eating even more chicken. Broiler sales jumped by 8 billion birds (1,400%), meaning nearly all of them were raised on a factory farm. 

The U.S. chicken market is now largely controlled by four companies—Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s (JBS), Sanderson Farms, and Perdue Foods—all of which own and operate large-scale chicken farms. In 2019, Tyson Foods slaughtered 45 million chickens per week within 183 facilities. Being one of the top meat producers in the United States means that production cycles must be fast, animals must be bred in large quantities, and the slaughtering process must be continuous, leading to the increased potential for severe animal suffering and workplace injuries.

Organizations including Animal Outlook and PETA have conducted investigations at Tyson suppliers and processors unveiling severe abuse, neglect, and physiological issues as a result of selective breeding. One worker told an undercover investigator for PETA that, “Yesterday, I ain’t gonna lie, man, I straight up broke one’s back…I hurt an innocent chicken because the other chickens made me mad.”
 
U.S. CHICKEN PRODUCTION IS BOOMING. For lack of more elegant phrasing, people want cheap chicken and they want a lot of it. Producers know this, and they’ve shaped their supply chains to accompany the booming demand. Fifty years ago, chickens became the first animals to be farmed at a large-scale. At the time, scientists believed there would be no way to continue feeding animal products to a rapidly growing human population without farming animals more efficiently. So they stuck animals in barns, crammed them in cages, and turned the farm into a well-oiled machine.

Today, roughly 25 million chickens are killed for food each day in the U.S. alone. To document the undisputed cruelty within modern chicken farms, Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals produced Undercover: Stories from a Former Investigator. This short film documents former undercover investigator, Geoff Regier, and his time handling chickens on more than 50 farms and one processing plant for Maple Lodge Farms in Ontario, Canada.

“You stop seeing suffering. You stop seeing individuals. Animal dying alone on the floor becomes just a mess to be cleaned up. Otherwise good people, people with families and senses of humor are doing terrible things to animals because that’s how the system is set up,” Regier states.
 
CHICKEN PRODUCERS IN THE U.S. SET GLOBAL STANDARDS FOR ANIMAL WELFARE. Over the past 10 years, large-scale farming practices honed in the U.S. have spilled over into Europe. And in an attempt to meet the steadily rising global demand for chicken, Europe’s poultry production centers have become overrun with factory farms. Although European farms with more than 5,000 broilers barely represent 1 percent of the total number of broiler farms in the EU, they account for more than nine in 10 broiler chickens.

Every year, more than 60 billion chickens live and die on factory farms around the world. They spend their lives crowded into industrial feeding operations where they barely have enough room to flap their wings. Many suffocate and die due to overcrowding. Then, over the course of just 40 days, they reach full size.

After the birds’ accelerated growing period—which can cause heart disease, lethargy, and lameness—they are sent to slaughter. Factory farmed chickens live their lives confined, without access to sunlight, for less than six weeks before they are killed, sent to be processed, and sold by the world’s largest fast-food companies.
Guerin saw some young chicks who had just arrived from the hatchery and already “could only take a few steps and then plop down. They had their legs splayed out beneath them.” Some tried and were unable to walk away as she got closer. “They would be laying there, breathing heavily, eyes closed,” she says.

“These animals have been bred to grow so fast that their hearts and legs can hardly keep up with the pressure from their bulking bodies,” says WAM founder Jo-Anne McArthur. “To some, death comes quickly. Others wither slowly away.”

If factory farming has become the new normal for chickens, and even the highest animal welfare standards aren’t enough, should companies like Perdue be able to claim that they are committed to animal care?  

Read the full story here

Our next session will leave you with the tools you need to develop your personal brand and develop your social profile.

New York Times bestselling author and top web influencer Neil Patel, vegan influencer and producer of The Invisible Vegan Jasmine Leyva, and social media influencer John Oberg will teach you how to harness the power of social media.

Limited tickets available—secure your spot now.
Covering COVID-19
With the worst global pandemic we’ve seen in over a century, it’s more important than ever to make sure the truth is reported in its entirety, not just what’s convenient.

Help us share the facts during these uncertain times and make sure the world knows our species cannot survive if we continue our exploitation of the planet and nonhuman animals.

Why Are Cows Meat, Pigs Pork, Turkeys Turkey, and Tunas Tuna?


Marc Bekoff Ph.D.

Animal Emotions https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/202006/why-are-cows-meat-pigs-pork-turkeys-turkey-and-tunas-tuna

A 12-year-old asked, after his mother told him animals don’t have feelings.

Posted Jun 24, 2020

Names and labels used for “food animals” are psychological ploys to distance people from their meals and reduce cognitive dissonance.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a 12-year-old boy (Erwin) who was concerned and confused about the names and labels that are used to refer to so-called “food animals.” He asked, “Why are cows meat, pigs pork, turkeys turkey, and tunas tuna?” The COVID-19 pandemic is calling attention to the lives and plight of a wide variety of nonhuman animals. He had read about the horrific conditions at pork-producing meatpacking plants and, while he knew that what we call pork had previously been a sentient pig, he hadn’t really thought much about it.I reminded him that the meat and pork industries are more appropriately called the cow and pig industries, that a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich is really a pig, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, and that the real question at hand is “Who’s for dinner?” rather than “What’s for dinner”? A few other email exchanges showed me he clearly understood what I was writing. 

Erwin also mentioned that when he asked his mother this same question, she casually told him that animals don’t really have emotions or feelings, and “These words are used are for marketing and people don’t want to come to terms with the fact they are eating a cow or a pig.” Erwin wondered, rightfully, why birds, fish, and invertebrates who are eaten usually called by name, for who they are—chicken, turkey, goose, tuna, halibut, lobster—and wanted to know more about the names and labels that are used to refer to nonhumans who are regular features on countless humans’ meal plans. He also wondered why lamb chops are a popular food item, and I couldn’t say much about it given that it’s well known that sheep are fully sentient beings just like cows, pigs, and other mammalian “food animals,” but I was pleased he asked. I once asked a hunter why deer meat is called venison, but people freely talk about elk steaks. He said something like, “Many people don’t want to face the fact they’re eating a cute deer like Bambi.” 

Why are cows meat, pigs pork, sausage or bacon, chimpanzees bushmeat, turkeys turkey, chickens chicken, tunas tuna, and lobsters lobster?

Of course, there are many other examples of misleading speciesist names and labels used to refer to “food animals.” Indeed, they have become global memes. In my emails to Erwin I mentioned a few things that are easy to summarize. I began by writing that his mother was right on the mark—most people don’t want to know they’re eating cows or pigs, but don’t really think about who they’re eating when birds, fish, or some invertebrates are on the menu. Numerous people think that animals whose species’ identities aren’t hidden or disguised aren’t really sentient or emotional and they’re all the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth, given what solid science has shown us about birds, fish, and numerous invertebrates.2,3 We also know that mammals, birds, and fish don’t like being caged and brutally abused in ways that defy any compassion or empathy at all, that birds and fish don’t necessarily suffer less than mammals, and that they have unique personalities. Animal sentience isn’t science fiction and animal suffering isn’t an enigma

 Tito White, with permission

Walter, a rescued turkey, at Luvin’ Arms Animal SanctuarySource: Tito White, with permission

I also mentioned that the words and labels that are used are very effective psychological ploys that distance people from their meals and reduce cognitive dissonance for those who fully know—or should know—who they’re consuming, but want to forget about it. He fully understood what I meant. Also, some people know the animals suffer and still can’t stop themselves from eating them—eating misery—and can’t resolve the “meat paradox” by not doing what they well know causes pain, suffering, and death. 

The 3 Ds that influence meal plans: How denying and distancing work to reduce dissonance.

I went on to tell Erwin that his mother was incorrect in saying that nonhumans don’t have emotions or feelings. I wondered if she really meant this or if it was her way of denying and distancing herself from who she was eating. As incredible as it sounds, there still are people who deny that nonhumans are sentient and emotional beings. They’re clearly stuck in the darkest of dark ages and maintain that we don’t really know if other animals have emotions. These denialists go on to falsely and inanely claim that there’s no science to support the idea that other animals are sentient and emotional beings, so therefore they’re not. I won’t belabor the crude logic here, but it really does exist. For example, recently, The Ontario Federation of Agriculture made this absurd claim, despite clear scientific evidence that numerous nonhumans have rich and deep emotional lives.I told Erwin that the real question at hand is why emotions have evolved, not if they have evolved, and that they matter very much to the individuals experiencing them. article continues after advertisement

I also explained to Erwin that the vast majority of “food animals” produced by massive industries are numbered, rather than named. This is another way for people to distance themselves from who the animals—each and every individual—truly are. Animals on sanctuaries, such as turkey Walter (above), are invariably named, and this helps to establish close and enduring relationships and recognize every single one as the unique individual they are. Of course, unnamed animals aren’t less sentient than named individuals. All should be referred to as “who,” rather than “it,” “which,” or “that.”

Finally, I mentioned to Erwin that many people who choose to unmind “food animals” and falsely rob them of their emotional lives don’t hesitate to attribute rich and active minds and a wide variety of emotions to companion animals with whom they share their homes. Uminding is a ruse by which some people claim certain animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, and others who wind up on humans’ plates are dumb and don’t have feelings, and this ploy allows them to eat and otherwise use and abuse them without a care in the world. While many people don’t like to admit it, in terms of harms, pain, suffering, and death, dogs and cats don’t really suffer more than individuals who find themselves on humans’ meal plans. When people ask me how can I work in China helping to rescue moon bears from the bear bile industry knowing that people there eat dogs and cats, I usually respond by politely saying something like, “Well, I live in the United States where people eat cows, pigs, sheep, and other fully sentient animals, and I dislike both practices. What’s the difference?”

While it may sound strange or heartless, there really isn’t a difference between eating traditional “food animals” and companion animals, because they’re all sentient and deeply suffer on the long and pain-filled journey on their way to peoples’ plates.Along these lines, in her book Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, Melanie Joy “explores the many ways we numb ourselves and disconnect from our natural empathy for farmed animals.” She came up with the term carnism “to describe the belief system that has conditioned us to eat certain animals and not others.”

Youngsters offer hope and we must listen carefully to them.

I’m pleased that Erwin wrote to me. He raised a lot of issues, many of which he was unaware were so salient, current, and on the minds of numerous people. I’m also happy that he understood what I wrote to him, or came to understand it after a few exchanges. Along the way, his mother thanked me and said she was revising her ways of thinking about animal sentience and animal emotions. I was pleased that she and Erwin could have further conversations about who we eat, how they’re labeled, and why. I thanked her and noted it was a win-win for all.article continues after advertisementhttps://4a194d60cc7be2e2f602ef76b092b970.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

I’ve written a number of other essays motivated by great questions from curious youngsters.6 These discussions give me hope. We really need to listen carefully to what they’re are saying and asking. We must do the very best we can to leave future generations a more compassionate and friendlier world in which humane education and peaceful coexistence are high on the agenda.

China’s Wet Markets, America’s Factory Farming

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/chinas-wet-markets-americas-factory-farming-both-violate-moral-common-sense/
Customers select seafood at a wet market in Dandong, Liaoning Province, China, in 2017. (Philip Wen/Reuters)

They’re more alike than not in their violations of moral common sense.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE

Although no government is better than China’s at making troublesome people disappear, a strange leniency has been accorded vendors at the country’s live-animal meat markets, who by most accounts gave us the pandemic and yet, reports the Daily Mail, have lately been allowed to set up shop again. China’s coronavirus lockdown is over, authorities have encouraged celebrations of “victory,” and citizens may once again go about their food shopping amid the cries and mayhem of animal slaughter. Ahh, back to normal life!In these parts, we’re told, you’re not really celebrating unless there’s bat, pangolin, cat, or dog meat on the table — the latter, notes the Daily Mail, “a traditional ‘warming’ winter dish.”  Reporter George Knowles, writing late last month, provides one of the milder accounts of scenes that will quickly exhaust anyone’s supply of culturally sensitive euphemisms, describing one of the markets — also known as “wet markets,” where both live and dead animals are on offer — in China’s southwestern city of Guilin: “Terrified dogs and cats crammed into rusty cages. Bats and scorpions offered for sale as traditional medicine. Rabbits and ducks slaughtered and skinned side by side on a stone floor covered with blood, filth, and animal remains.”

If you’re up for a few further details, we have travel writer Paula Froelich, in a recent New York Post column, recalling how in the Asian live-animal markets she has visited the doomed creatures “stare back at you.” When their turn comes, she writes,

the animals that have not yet been dispatched by the butcher’s knife make desperate bids to escape by climbing on top of each other and flopping or jumping out of their containers (to no avail). At least in the wet areas [where marine creatures are sold], the animals don’t make a sound. The screams from mammals and fowl are unbearable and heartbreaking.

The People’s Republic has supposedly banned the exotic-meat trade, and one major city, Shenzhen, has proscribed dog and cat meat as well. In reality, observes a second Daily Mail correspondent, anonymously reporting from the city of Dongguan, “the markets have gone back to operating in exactly the same way as they did before coronavirus.” Nothing has changed, except in one feature: “The only difference is that security guards try to stop anyone taking pictures, which would never have happened before.”

Lest we hope too much for some post-pandemic stirring of conscience, consider the Chinese government’s idea of a palliative for those suffering from the coronavirus. As the crisis spread, apparently some fast-thinking experts in “traditional medicine” at China’s National Health Commission turned to an ancient remedy known as Tan Re Qing, adding it to their official list of recommended treatments. The potion consists chiefly of bile extracted from bears. The more fortunate of these bears are shot in the wild for use of their gallbladders. The others, across China and Southeast Asia, are captured and “farmed” by the thousands, in a process that involves their interminable, year-after-year confinement in fit-to-size cages, interrupted only by the agonies of having the bile drained. Do an image search on “bear bile farming” sometime when you’re ready to be reminded of what hellish animal torments only human stupidity, arrogance, and selfishness could devise.

If one abomination could yield an antidote for the consequences of another, Tan Re Qing would surely be just the thing to treat a virus loosed in the pathogenic filth and blood-spilling of Wuhan’s live market. There’s actually a synthetic alternative to the bile acids, but Tradition can be everything in these matters, and devotees insist that the substance must come from a bear, even as real medical science rates the whole concoction at somewhere between needless and worthless. President Xi Jinping has promoted such traditional medicines as a “treasure of Chinese civilization.” In this case, the keys to the treasure open small, squalid cages in dark rooms, where the suffering of innocent creatures goes completely disregarded. And perhaps right there, in the willfulness and hardness of heart of all such practices, is the source of the trouble that started in China.

Already, in the Western media, chronologies of the pandemic have taken to passing over details of the live-animal markets, which have caused viral outbreaks before and would all warrant proper judgment in any case. News coverage picks up the story with the Chinese government’s cover-up of early coronavirus cases and its silencing of the heroic Wuhan doctors and nurses who tried to warn us. To brush past the live markets in fear of seeming “xenophobic,” “racist,” or unduly judgmental of other people and other ways is, however, to lose sight of perhaps the most crucial fact of all. We don’t know the endpoint of this catastrophe, but we are pretty certain that its precise point of origin was what Dr. Anthony Fauci politely calls “that unusual human–animal interface” of the live markets, which he says should all be shut down immediately — presumably including the markets quietly tolerated in our own country. In other words, the plague began with savage cruelty to animals.

Discussion of the live-animal markets is another of those points where moral common sense encounters the slavishly politically correct, though it’s not as if we’re dealing here with Asia’s most sensitive types anyway. No Western critic need worry about hurting the feelings or reputations of people who maximize the pain and stress of dogs in the belief that this freshens the flavor of the meat, and who then kill them at the market as the other dogs watch. Customers of such people aren’t likely to feel the sting of our disapproval either.

About the many customers and suppliers in Asia, and especially in China, of exotic fare, endless ancient remedies, and carvings and trinkets made of ivory, the best that can be said is that these men and women are no more representative of their nations than are the riffraff running the meat markets. Their demands and appetites have caused a merciless pillaging of wildlife across the earth — everything that moves a “living resource,” no creature rare or stealthy enough to escape their gluttony or vanity. Of late even donkeys, such peaceable and unoffending creatures, have been rounded up by the millions in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America for shipment and slaughter, all to satisfy demand for yet another of China’s traditional-medicine manias.

Easy to blame for all of this is the government of China. Authorities took forever, for example, to enforce prohibitions on ivory carving, despite an unquestioned competence in carrying out swift crackdowns. And in general, at every level, the government tends to tolerate a culture of cruelty, or else to actively promote it at the prodding of lucrative industries, both legal and illicit. But the problem runs deeper than that, even as many younger Chinese, to their enormous credit, have tried to organize against the ivory trade, the wet markets, and other depravities in their midst.

In the treatment of animals and in safeguarding human health, there are elementary standards to which all must answer. The challenge to clear thinking, as Melissa Chen writes in Spectator USA,

is to avoid falling into the trap of cultural relativism. It’s perfectly appropriate to criticize China’s rampant consumption of exotic animals, lack of hygiene standards and otherwise risky behavior that puts people at risk for zoonotic infections. Until these entrenched behaviors based on cultural or magical beliefs are divorced from Chinese culture, wet wildlife markets will linger as time-bombs ready to set off the next pandemic.

Acknowledging that Western societies have every moral reason to condemn the barbarism and recklessness of the live-animal markets only invites, however, a tougher question: Do we have the moral standing? And if any of us are guilty of blind cultural prejudice or of a smug sense of superiority toward Chinese practices, a moment’s serious thought will quickly set us straight.

When the Daily Mail describes how Chinese guards at the live-animal market now “try to stop anyone from taking pictures,” who does that remind us of? How about our own livestock companies, whose entire mode of operation these days is systematic concealment by efforts to criminalize the taking of pictures in or around their factory farms and slaughterhouses? The foulest live-animal-market slayer in China, Vietnam, Laos, or elsewhere would be entitled to ask what our big corporations are afraid the public might see in photographic evidence, or what’s really the difference between his trade and theirs except walls, machinery, and public-relations departments.

If you watch online videos of the wet markets, likewise, it’s striking how the meat shoppers just go on browsing, haggling, chatting, and even laughing, some with their children along. Were it not for the horrors and whimpers in the background, the scene could be a pleasant morning at anyone’s local farmer’s market. As the camera follows them from counter to counter, you keep thinking What’s wrong with these people? — except that it’s not so easy, rationally, to find comparisons that work in our favor.

No, we in the Western world don’t get involved while grim-faced primitives execute and skin animals for meat. We have companies with people of similar temperament to handle everything for us. And there’s none of that “staring back” that the Post’s Paula Froelich describes, because, in general, we keep the sadness and desperation of those creatures as deeply suppressed from conscious thought as possible. An etiquette of denial pushes the subject away, leaving it all for others to bear. Addressing a shareholders’ meeting of Tyson Foods in 2006, one worker from a slaughterhouse in Sioux City, Iowa, unburdened himself: “The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them — beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care.”

Following the only consistent rule in both live-animal markets and industrial livestock agriculture — that the most basic animal needs are always to be subordinated to the most trivial human desires — this process yields the meats that people crave so much, old favorites like bacon, veal, steak, and lamb that customers must have, no matter how these are obtained. When the pleasures of food become an inordinate desire, forcing demands without need or limit and regardless of the moral consequences, there’s a word for that, and the fault is always easier to see in foreigners with more free-roaming tastes in flesh. But listen carefully to how these foods or other accustomed fare are spoken of in our culture, and the mindset of certain Asians — those ravenous, inflexible folks who will let nothing hinder their next serving of pangolin scales or winter dish of dog — no longer seems a world away.

We in the West don’t eat pangolins, turtles, civets, peacocks, monkeys, horses, foxes, and wolf cubs — that’s all a plus. But for the animals we do eat, we have sprawling, toxic, industrial “mass-confinement” farms that look like concentration camps. National “herds” and “flocks” that all would expire in their misery but for a massive use of antibiotics, among other techniques, to maintain their existence amid squalor and disease — an infectious “time bomb” closer to home as bacterial and viral pathogens gain in resistance. And a whole array of other standard practices like the “intensive confinement” of pigs, in gestation cages that look borrowed from Asia’s bear-bile farms; the bulldozing of lame “downer cows”; and “maceration” of unwanted chicks, billions routinely tossed into grinders. All of which leave us very badly compromised as any model in the decent treatment of animals.

Such influence as we have, in fact, is usually nothing to be proud of. It made for a perfect partnership when, for instance, one of the most disreputable of all our factory-farming companies, Smithfield Foods, was acquired in 2013 by a Chinese firm, in keeping with some state-run, five-year plan of the People’s Republic to refine agricultural techniques and drive up meat production. Now, thanks to American innovation, Smithfield-style, the Chinese can be just as rotten to farm animals as we are — and just as sickly from buying into the worst elements of the Western diet.

In China and Southeast Asia, they have still not received our divine revelation in the West that human beings shall not eat or inflict extreme abuse on dogs but that all atrocities to pigs are as nothing. They’re moving in our culinary direction, however, and more than half the world’s factory-farmed pigs are now in China and neighboring countries. In the swine-fever contagion spreading across that region right now — addressed as usual by mass cullings: gassing tens of millions of pigs or burying them alive — our industrial animal-agriculture system is leaving its mark, while providing yet further evidence that factory farms are all pandemic risks themselves.

How many diseases, cullings, burial pits, and bans on photographing these places even at their wretched best will we need before realizing that the entire system is profoundly in error, at times even wicked, and that nothing good can ever come of it? Perhaps the live-animal markets of China, with all the danger and ruin they have spread, will help us to see those awful scenes as what they are, just variants of unnatural, unnecessary, and unworthy practices that every society and culture would be better off without.

Plagues, as we’re all discovering, have a way of prompting us to take stock of our lives and to remember what really matters. If, while we’re at, we begin to feel in this time of confinement and fear a little more regard for the lives of animals, a little more compassion, that would be at least one good sign for a post-pandemic world.

MATTHEW SCULLY is the author of DOMINION: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy. A former literary editor of National Review and senior speechwriter to President George W. Bush, he lives in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

What Parents Need to Know About Factory Animal Farms

https://www.ecowatch.com/factory-animal-farms-2637282001.html

What Parents Need to Know About Factory Animal Farms
By Ketura Persellin

You probably care a lot about how your fruits and vegetables are grown. You
may not think as much about where your family’s animal protein comes from,
but the conditions in which most meat, poultry and even dairy is produced
may give you and your kids pause — even those most likely to clamor for yet
another burger or hot dog.

Americans eat a lot of meat and poultry — 27 billion pounds of beef were
produced last year alone, most of it in “factory farms
<https://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/interactive-graphic/confined-feedlots/>.”
All those animals produce lots of manure — quite literally tons of it. The
775 animal operations in the Maumee Basin of Western Lake Erie alone
produce 5.5 million tons of manure each year. The coastal plain of North
Carolina has 1,500 factory farms that produce as much as 4 billion gallons
of wet swine waste and 400,000 tons of dry poultry waste.

The mountains of waste smell terrible, but the stench is far from the worst
problem it creates. Bacteria
<https://www.ewg.org/release/study-fecal-bacteria-nc-hog-farms-infects-nearby-homes>,
such as from hog feces
<https://www.ewg.org/release/study-fecal-bacteria-nc-hog-farms-infects-nearby-homes>,
can get into the homes and lawns of neighbors and endanger their physical
and mental health. And the problem is getting worse
<https://www.ewg.org/agmag/2019/03/manure-unregulated-factory-farms-fuels-lake-erie-s-toxic-algae-blooms>.
From 2005 to 2018, the amount of manure produced in the Maumee Basin rose
by more than 40 percent.

All that waste has to go somewhere. Manure from large-scale animal farms
runs off into groundwater, lakes, rivers and streams. It pollutes drinking
water, hurts air quality and triggers tremendous stress for local
residents. That may be one reason life expectancy
<https://corporate.dukehealth.org/news-listing/nc-residents-living-near-large-hog-farms-have-elevated-disease-death-risks>
in
North Carolina communities near hog farms is particularly low, even after
adjusting for other socioeconomic factors.

Kids may love poop jokes, but the production and consumption of animal
protein is no laughing matter. You and your children might find the
conditions the animals that you eat are raised in outrageous and disgusting
— perhaps enough to drive even the most enthusiastic carnivore into the
ranks of committed vegans. The animals live in crowded, dirty conditions
often infested with flies and rodents. The water they drink or that’s used
to wash down the facility can get contaminated with any number of these
pollutants.

Here are a few other things to consider – and point out to the kids when
they clamor for yet another burger, hot dog or order of chicken McNuggets:

– Not all meat is produced in a factory farm. By buying certain kinds of
meat, you can avoid supporting a great deal of the harm of factory farms.
Look <https://www.ewg.org/research/labeldecoder/> for grass-fed,
pasture-raised or “free range” meat in lean cuts that have no antibiotics
or hormones and are certified organic. Check out EWG’s label decoder
<https://www.ewg.org/research/labeldecoder/> for help.

– It’s not just livestock raised for meat that’s raised in
industrial-scale animal operations — dairy cows are too. So if you’re not a
fan of large-scale animal production, you’ll may want to change your dairy
consumption habits, too. Buying organic milk, cheese and other dairy
products will be better for your family’s health and for the environment.

– Crowded living conditions in factory farms make animals sick, which
has driven the overuse of antibiotics for livestock. This has led to the
development of strains of bacteria in animals and humans that are
resistant <https://www.ewg.org/research/superbugs/> to life-saving
medicine — the last thing most parents want.

– Manure runoff contains chemicals that algae feed on, such as nitrates
and phosphorus. They’re responsible for the toxic algae blooms that
pollute <https://www.ewg.org/interactive-maps/toxicalgalblooms/> many
lakes and rivers (and sometimes make them off limits for swimming and
fishing). If you’ve seen “Do Not Swim” signs recently at the beach or your
area lake, or greenish scum floating on the water’s surface, you’re often
looking at the direct consequence of industrial-scale animal production.

– Factory farms aren’t going away any time soon. The amount of red meat
and poultry consumed in the U.S. fell after the Great Recession of 2008 but
rebounded and was projected to reach 222.2 pounds
<https://www.globalagriculture.org/whats-new/news/en/32921.html> per
person per year in 2018. It’s expected to go up in the rest of the world,
too. Dairy consumption in this country is also on the rise. Your family can
do its part to avoid adding to the problem. For starters, consider going
meatless <https://www.meatlessmonday.com/> (and without dairy) once a
week.

*If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they
went. (Will Rogers)*

*the wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. he is in front
of it – axel munthe*

*”Never doubt that a small group of dedicated citizens can change the
world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead*

*Until every cage is empty. Until every animal is free*