No Tolerance for Cruelty

by Jim Robertson

Just as the abolitionists had an agenda to see an end to human slavery or the suffragettes had an agenda to see that women get the right to vote and are treated as equals, there is a vegan/animal rights agenda to see that non-humans are free from exploitation and abuse.

It’s not that we expect to give animals “human rights” or the literal right to vote (people seem to have a hard enough time with those hanging chads), but their interests should be considered whenever our actions affect them. At the very least our fellow animals deserve to be free from forced insemination, mutilation, and concentration-camp-like confinement throughout life and in the cattle-cars on their way to an early, horrific death at the slaughterhouse.

To those who say “I respect your decision to eat vegan. Now it’s time for you to respect the rest of our rights to eat what we want!!!” This situation is similar to an abolitionist being told by a slave owner that he respects the right not to have slaves, so the abolitionist should respect the right to keep people enslaved.

Veganism is in no way comparable to a religion, any more than abolitionism or the women‘s rights movement were religions.

In both of those cases, as with veganism/animal rights, the proponents of those progressive causes were desperately trying to convince people that it is wrong to consider others as mere property. And as with those other movements, people involved with wanting to end the property status of animals adhere to many different religions or none at all.

Most vegans are keenly aware that we all evolved from the same animal origins and realize that we have more similarities than differences. And as far as the idea that vegans want to see everyone convert to veganism–well, ultimately that’s true, in the same way that abolitionists wanted everyone to free their slaves or suffragettes wanted everyone to see that women deserved equal rights.

Some say that we should have tolerance for those who choose to eat meat in the same way that they have tolerance for us choosing not to eat meat. But it should be obvious that there is a major difference between tolerating the consumption of food that is the result of animal suffering, and tolerating the food choices of those who do not consume sentient beings.

Intolerant is what the Japanese accused non-whaling nations of being towards them and their “right” to harpoon, butcher and eat whales and dolphins. The Koreans who literally torture dogs to death and boil cats alive in the belief that doing so makes them taste better and/or improves their medicinal value, call you intolerant when you oppose their cruel customs. Some Europeans have accused animal advocates of intolerance for working to end their practice of force-feeding geese and ducks for fois grais, or to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

In this country people like to think that the animals they buy in restaurants or in cellophane packaging have been treated well and killed humanely, because after all, this is a civilized country. Unfortunately, animals forced to live on factory farms would not think of our culture as civilized any more than dogs and cats would in Korea, or dolphins off the coast of Japan, or ducks, geese and horses in France.

The fact is you can’t house and slaughter 350,000,000 turkeys and 9,000.000.000 pigs, cows, chickens, sheep and other animals per year in a manner that would even remotely pass for humane.

No one should be expected to tolerate cruelty to animals who are capable of suffering any more than they should be expected to tolerate cruelty to humans.

Turkeys – Who Are They, and Why Should We Care?

Turkeys – Who Are They, and Why Should We Care?

By Karen Davis, PhD, President of United Poultry Concerns

This article was originally published on Independent Media Institute’s
EcoWatch, November 19, 2018
<https://go.ind.media/webmail/546932/286201367/9137f77f3a46bc4317a5f70473f7d186fc463786df10f782af2de0b0fc3905a3>
.

We adopted Amelia as a young turkey into our sanctuary from a local farmer.
She
lived with us for five years until her legs gave out and we had to call our
veterinarian to put her to rest surrounded by her friends in the yard. Until
then she hung out happily with the chickens and ducks, and when people
visited,
she’d fan out her white tail feathers and stroll amiably beside them.

Amelia chose a leafy spot to lay her eggs in, and there she would sit
quietly in
the spring and early summer. Evenings, she loved being outside with the
ducks,
poking around until the last glimmer of sinking sunlight. At last, she and
they
would amble into their house and join the chickens who were perched for the
night.

I believe Amelia would have made a wonderful mother, but our sanctuary
policy
does not allow bringing new birds into the world from which ours is a
refuge.
That said, it helps to know that turkeys are excellent mothers and that in
nature, the young birds, known as poults, stay close to her for nearly half
a
year. In nature, when the maternal family is on the move and one of her
poults
peeps his or her distress, the mother bird clucks reassuringly, and if the
peeping persists, she rushes to comfort her little one.

When her poults grow tired and cold, they tell her so, and she crouches to
warm
and comfort them under her great, enveloping wings. If, when traveling as a
unit
through the woods and fields, a youngster happens to stray, intent on his
own
pursuit, on discovering that he is alone, the poult straightens up, looks
keenly
about, listens intently, and calls anxiously to his mother. Biologists call
this
a “lost call” – the call of the frightened young turkey upon perceiving
that he
is alone. When the mother bird answers her errant youngster’s searching
cry, he
calls back to her in relief, opens up his wings, flaps them joyfully, and
runs
to rejoin his family.

In nature, baby turkeys start talking to their mother while they are still
inside their eggs nestled with their brothers and sisters in the deep
warmth of
her feathers. They know her and her voice and each other long before they
hatch.
Whenever I think of turkeys in the mechanical incubators and the
beak-mutilation
“servicing” rooms, and all the horrors that follow, I imagine the lost
calls of
all the turkeys that will never be answered. For them, there will never be a
joyous flapping of wings or a family reunited and on the move in the wooded
places they so love to explore.

Sanctuary workers like myself who’ve come to know turkeys bred for the meat
industry know that these birds have not lost their ancestral desire to
perch,
mate, walk, run, and be sociable – and even to swim. We know that their
inability to mate properly does not result from a loss of desire to do so,
but
from human-caused disabilities, including the fact that their claws and
much of
their beaks were cut off or burned off at the hatchery, making it hard for
them
to hold on to anything. Like Amelia, they’re susceptible to painful
degenerative
leg disorders that limit their spontaneous activity and cause them to age
long
before their natural 15-year lifespan.

Turkeys are emotional birds whose moods can be seen in their demeanor and
in the
pulsing colors of their faces, which turn blue, purple or red depending on
what
they are feeling. An emotional behavior in turkeys is the “great wake” a
group
will hold over a fallen companion in the natural world and on factory farms.
When, as frequently happens on factory farms, a bird has a convulsive heart
attack, several others will surround their dead companion and suddenly die
themselves, suggesting a sensibility toward one another that should awaken
us to
how terribly we treat them, and make us stop.

Observers have marveled at the great speed of sound transplantation from one
bird to another within a flock at a moment’s danger, and the pronounced
degree
of simultaneous gobbling of adult male turkeys in proximity to one another.
One
bird having begun, the others follow him so quickly that the human ear
cannot
figure which bird launched the chorus or caused it to cease.

Turkeys love to play and have fun. In *Illumination in the Flatwoods: A
Season*
*with the Wild Turkey*, naturalist Joe Hutto describes how on August
mornings his
three-month-old turkeys, on seeing him, would drop down from their roosting
limbs where they had sat ‘softly chattering” in the dawn, “stretch their
wings
and do their strange little dance, a joyful happy dance, expressing an
exuberance.”

A witness who chanced upon an evening dance of adult turkeys wrote of
hearing
them calling. No, he said, they were not calling strayed members of their
flock.
They were just having “a twilight frolic before going to roost. They kept
dashing at one another in mock anger, stridently calling all the while. . .
.
Their notes were bold and clear.”

For about five minutes, according to this witness, the turkeys “played on
the
brown pine-straw floor of the forest, then as if at a signal, they assumed a
sudden stealth and stole off in the glimmering shadows.”

We once had two female turkeys in our sanctuary, Mila and Priscilla. Though
the
same age of a few months old, they were very different from each other.
Mila was
gentle and pacific, whereas Priscilla was moody with emotional burdens
including
anger. When Priscilla got into her angry mood, her head pulsed purple
colors and
her yelps sounded a warning as she glared at my husband and me with combat
in
her demeanor, ready to charge and perhaps bite us.

What stopped her was Mila, Perking up her head at the signals, Mila would
enter
directly into the path between Priscilla and us, and block her. She would
tread
back and forth in front of Priscilla, uttering soft pleading yelps as if
beseeching her not to charge. Sure enough, Priscilla would gradually calm
down
in response to the peacemaker’s inhibiting signals.

Turkeys come into the nation’s consciousness as caricatures and corpses at
Thanksgiving, and then they’re forgotten until the next year rolls around.
Yet
turkeys are being slaughtered every single day of the year, much more often
than
for Thanksgiving alone, for which 45 million birds die. For thousands of
turkeys
– 242.5 thousand were slaughtered in 2017 in the United States, according
to the
National Turkey Federation – every single day is “Thanksgiving,” a
never-ending
harvest of horror.

Instead of calling Thanksgiving “Turkey Day,” let’s make it a turkey-free
day
and show our thanks by making peace with our feathered friends.

___________________________

Source of Annual U.S. Turkey Slaughter Statistics: National Turkey
Federation <http://www.eatturkey.com/why-turkey/stats>.

*Karen Davis, Ph.D <https://www.upc-online.org/karenbio.htm>. is the
president and founder of United Poultry Concerns, a*
*nonprofit organization and sanctuary for chickens in Virginia that
promotes the*
*compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. Karen is the
author of*
*More Than A Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality
<
https://www.upc-online.org/turkeys/more_than_a_meal.pdf>, Prisoned
<
https://www.amazon.com/Prisoned-Chickens-Poisoned-Eggs-Industry-ebook/dp/B00HZVA9XA/>*
*Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry
<
https://www.amazon.com/Prisoned-Chickens-Poisoned-Eggs-Industry-ebook/dp/B00HZVA9XA/>,
and The
<
https://www.amazon.com/Holocaust-Henmaids-Tale-Comparing-Atrocities-ebook/dp/B004W9C5B2/>*
*Holocaust and the Henmaid’s Tale: A Case for Comparing Atrocities
<
https://www.amazon.com/Holocaust-Henmaids-Tale-Comparing-Atrocities-ebook/dp/B004W9C5B2/>.
She has been*
*inducted into the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame for Outstanding*
*Contributions to Animal Liberation.*


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/turkeys/181119_turkeys-who_are_they_and_why_should_we_care.html

New Exploration of the Ethical Boycott of Animal Products 

To coincide with World Vegan Month, the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics has published a new book exploring why people give up meat and dairy.
<https://gallery.mailchimp.com/e8078cc8a96065221b73d9ab6/images/8326ba85-1398-417e-be7f-df40866f41cb.jpg>
The protest against meat eating may turn out to be one of the most significant movements of our age. In terms of our relations with animals, it is difficult to think of a more urgent moral problem than the fate of billions of animals killed for human consumption.

Ethical Vegetarianism and Veganism outlines three principal considerations that lead people to modify their diet. The first concerns the morality of killing sentient beings when it isn’t strictly necessary, the second concerns the abuse and cruelty that animals often endure during farming, and the third explores the human and environmental costs, including animal agriculture and climate change.

The book argues that vegetarians and vegans are not only protesters, but also moral pioneers. It provides 25 chapters which stimulate further thought, exchange, and reflection on the morality of eating meat.

A rich array of philosophical, religious, historical, cultural, and practical challenge our assumptions about animals, and how we should relate to them.

Published by Routledge, the book provides global perspectives and insights from 11 countries: US, UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Israel, Austria, the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa, and Sweden.

The volume is edited by the directors of the Centre, Andrew Linzey and Clair Linzey. They comment: “The aim of the Centre has always been to pioneer ethical perspectives on animals through academic research, teaching, and publication, and this is our contribution to what has now become a world-wide movement for moral change.”

Please recommend the book to your university or college library.

Further information (including special discounts on hardback, paperback, and eBook versions) is available <https://oxfordanimalethics.us6.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e8078cc8a96065221b73d9ab6&id=8df0755a87&e=8cb4ff7382> here.

To request a review copy, see <https://oxfordanimalethics.us6.list-manage.com/track/click?u=e8078cc8a96065221b73d9ab6&id=93b34642e0&e=8cb4ff7382> here.

Andrew Linzey is the director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. He has written or edited twenty books, including Animal Theology and Why Animal Suffering Matters.

Clair Linzey is the deputy director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and co-editor of the Palgrave Handbook of Practical Animal Ethics and The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Animal Ethics.

Copyright © 2018 Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, All rights reserved.

Remembering Dear Turkeys – Two Short Videos Show Different Worlds

*The Sheds Were Already Empty*

Thanksgiving Tragedy: A Visit to a Turkey Farm
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI7Sf0HxWmM>

A group of UPC activists in Northern California wanted to go to a turkey
farm a
few days before Thanksgiving to pay their respects to the birds destined for
slaughter. When they arrived, they were heartbroken to find they were too
late,
the sheds were empty, and there was nothing but a sprinkling of white
feathers
and silence. Please watch and share this important video and witness the
reality
of this heart wrenching holiday:

__________________

*UPC Hosts Happy Thanksgiving for Turkeys: CBS Channel 9 Eyewitness News
(1994)*

UPC Thanksgiving Dinner for Turkeys
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX5hYIaR7cY>

Forty people attended a festive Thanksgiving celebration at UPC in honor of
Wanda and Willow, two rescued factory farm turkey hens adopted from Farm
Sanctuary. Washington, DC’s CBS channel 9 provided excellent coverage of our
dinner as did local radio stations and The Potomac Almanac newspaper. Allan
Cate
read aloud to an entranced audience including Wanda, *’Twas the Night
Before*
*THANKSGIVING*, by Dav Pilkey, giving thousands of TV viewers a chance to
see a
turkey enjoying herself in friendly company. PSYeta president Ken Shapiro’s
son,
Joel, contributed a wonderful story about three turkey gobblers who got
away!

As for us –

*”We feasted on veggies *
*With jelly and toast, *
*And everyone was thankful *
*(The turkeys were most!).”*

For more information see: ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
<http://www.upc-online.org/merchandise/humane_child.html#night_before_thanksgiving>


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/turkeys/181121_turkeys-two_short_videos_show_different_worlds.html

Filmmaker Kevin Smith for Adopt a Turkey

Watch Kevin and Harley Quinn Smith for AAT
This viral video has already appeared in media outlets ranging from Page Six to Men’s Health, raising awareness around Adopt a Turkey and the unnecessary slaughter of 46 million turkeys for Thanksgiving alone. The Smiths’ words and our shared vision are inspiring an impassioned dialogue about the health benefits of a vegan diet and the need to break the chain of unhealthy, unsustainable traditions.

Let’s make this Thanksgiving our most successful season in changing hearts and minds while raising vital funds for Farm Sanctuary’s continued rescue, education, and advocacy work on behalf of turkeys and farm animals just like them.

We’re honored to have Kevin and Harley Quinn on our team as spokespersons this year as we are reaching more people than ever with the 33rd annual Adopt a Turkey Project.

Thank you for putting compassion first this Thanksgiving and every day!

Love,

Farm Sanctuary
Harley Quinn Smith for AAT

WE HAVE 12 YEARS TO SAVE — OR LOSE — OUR ONLY HOME

Pull on the seat-belt in your gas-guzzling car, folks, and strap in for the worst ride of our lives.

This fall, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a critical report warning that humans have about 12 years — until 2030 — before global warming reaches a catastrophic level.

The report concludes, frighteningly, that the world can’t allow global temperatures to warm past 1.5 degrees Celsius, or there will quite literally be hell to pay. And unless we take drastic action, we’re already all set to get there.

Consider this your all-hands-on-deck, siren-blaring warning that we need to act comprehensively to mitigate climate change now — or forever hold our peace.

The IPCC predicts an increased risk of devastating climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food, water, security, and economic growth.

As sea levels and global temperatures rise, low-lying communities will disappear and heat-related deaths will increase, along with diseases like dengue fever and malaria. Areas that cease to be inhabitable by humans will fuel an accelerated refugee crisis, while resources like agriculture and crops will be decimated in key areas impacted by climate change.

That’s just a few of the highlights of the Ten Plagues-like punishment we’ll get for endangering our planet. We’re facing a pretty grim future — and that’s even if we manage to cap the rise at 1.5 degrees, which we’re not on track to do.

For those of us who are pretty young like me, our golden years may be anything but.

Before you slip quietly into your doomsday bunker or start praying that someone invents interstellar space travel, there’s an urgent message of hope: We’ve got a little bit of time to save the only home planet we’ve got. And it’s going to take all of us to do it.

While dire, the report also contains some critically useful recommendations.

Governments, companies, indigenous peoples, local communities, and individuals all have a critical role to play to solve this crisis. We can and must act quickly and collaboratively on a local and global scale before it’s too late. Acting alone or failing to cooperate, the IPCC report emphasizes, will fall short.

The Paris Climate Agreement isn’t going to be enough — we need massive, World War Two-level mobilization. The victory will be that we get a living, healthy planet.

The report also highlights the need to consider justice and equity as we consider solutions.

Some nations, like the United States, are leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and other accelerants of climate change. Others contribute less to emissions but are more vulnerable to catastrophic damage. A number of low-lying nations (on whose approval the Paris Agreement depended) will literally be underwater if temperatures rise beyond the IPCC’s limit.

The point being: The countries that have contributed the most to climate change need to contribute the most to fixing it — and to helping those who suffer most to adapt.

What can you do, right here, right now, besides giving up meat, your car, or plastic bags and straws?

Urge your local or state government to commit to 100 percent renewable energy in the next decade. Get your community and your state to ban the use of fracking and other fossil fuel production that will drive us to doomsday that much quicker, not to mention the other dangerous risks to people’s health.

Call on the federal government to implement the recommendations of the IPCC report, and commit to working with the rest of the world to act swiftly.

And if you vote, remember the planet when you do.

The ideal diet to combat climate change: Plant-based diets better for planet, study says

By LISA DRAYER IS A NUTRITIONIST, AN AUTHOR AND A CNN HEALTH AND NUTRITION CONTRIBUTOR.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Fresh fruits and vegetables lie on display at a Spanish producer’s stand at the Fruit Logistica agricultural trade fair on Feb. 8, 2017, in Berlin, Germany.

(CNN) – You may be aware that a plant-based diet can make you healthier by lowering your risk for obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Now, a study suggests there’s another good reason to regularly eat meatless meals. By filling your plate with plant foods instead of animal foods, you can help save the planet.

The study, published last week in the journal Nature, found that as a result of population growth and the continued consumption of Western diets high in red meats and processed foods, the environmental pressures of the food system could increase by up to 90% by 2050, “exceeding key planetary boundaries that define a safe operating space for humanity beyond which Earth’s vital ecosystems could become unstable,” according to study author Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food at the University of Oxford.

“It could lead to dangerous levels of climate change with higher occurrences of extreme weather events, affect the regulatory function of forest ecosystems and biodiversity … and pollute water bodies such that it would lead to more oxygen-depleted dead zones in oceans,” Springmann said.

“If the whole world, which continues to grow, eats more like us, the impacts are staggering, and the planet simply can’t withstand it,” said Sharon Palmer, a registered dietitian nutritionist and plant-based food and sustainability expert in Los Angeles who was not involved in the new research.

Sustaining a healthier planet will require halving the amount of food loss and waste, and improving farming practices and technologies. But it will also require a shift toward more plant-based diets, according to Springmann.

As Palmer noted, “research consistently shows that drastically reducing animal food intake and mostly eating plant foods is one of the most powerful things you can do to reduce your impact on the planet over your lifetime, in terms of energy required, land used, greenhouse gas emissions, water used and pollutants produced.”

How a meat-based diet negatively affects the environment

It might come as a surprise, but Springmann’s study found that the production of animal products generates the majority of food-related greenhouse-gas emissions — specifically, up to 78% of total agricultural emissions.

This, he explained, is due to manure-related emissions, to their “low feed-conversion efficiencies” (meaning cows and other animals are not efficient in converting what they eat into body weight) and to enteric fermentation in ruminants, a process that takes place in a cow’s stomach when it digests food that leads to methane emissions.

The feed-related impacts of animal products also contribute to freshwater use and pressures on cropland, as well as nitrogen and phosphorus application, which over time could lead to dead zones in oceans, low-oxygen areas where few organisms can survive, according to Springmann.

For an example of how animal foods compare with plant-based foods in terms of environmental effects, consider that “beef is more than 100 times as emissions-intensive as legumes,” Springmann said. “This is because a cow needs, on average, 10 kilograms of feed, often from grains, to grow 1 kilogram of body weight, and that feed will have required water, land and fertilizer inputs to grow.”

In addition, cows emit the potent greenhouse gas methane during digestion, which makes cows and other ruminants such as sheep especially high-emitting.

Other animal foods have lower impacts because they don’t produce methane in their stomachs and require less feed than cows, Springmann explained. For example, cows emit about 10 times more greenhouse gases per kilogram of meat than pigs and chickens, which themselves emit about 10 times more than legumes.

Like animals, plants also require inputs from the environment in order to grow, but the magnitude is significantly less, Springmann explained.

“In today’s agricultural system, we grow plants to feed animals, which require all of those resources and inputs: land, water, fossil fuels, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer to grow. And then we feed plants to animals and care for them over their lifetime, while they produce methane and manure,” Palmer said.

Adopting more plant-based diets for ourselves could reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the food system by more than half, according to the Nature study. A mainly plant-based diet could also reduce other environmental impacts, such as those from fertilizers, and save up to quarter use of both farmland and fresh water, according to Springmann.

Palmer explained that “legumes [or pulses], such as beans, lentils and peas are the most sustainable protein source on the planet. They require very small amounts of water to grow, they can grow in harsh, dry climates, they grow in poor nations, providing food security, and they act like a natural fertilizer, capturing nitrogen from the air and fixing it in the soil. Thus, there is less need for synthetic fertilizers. These are the types of protein sources we need to rely upon more often.”

Flexitarian: The healthy compromise for you and the planet

Experts agree that if you are not ready to give up meat entirely, a flexitarian diet, which is predominantly plant-based, can help. This diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and plant-based protein sources including legumes, soybeans and nuts, along with modest amounts of poultry, fish, milk and eggs, and small amounts of red meat.

Vegetarian and vegan diets would result in even lower greenhouse gas emissions, but a flexitarian diet “is the least stringent that is both healthy and would reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough for us to stay within environmental limits,” according to Springmann.

Palmer said that “although vegan diets, followed by vegetarian diets, are linked with the lowest environmental impacts, not everyone is interested in taking on those lifestyles. But everyone can eat more of a flexitarian diet. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up meat completely, but you significantly reduce your intake of it.”

Registered dietitian nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner described it this way: “A flexitarian is really someone who wakes up with the intention of being more vegetarian. It’s different from vegetarian in that there is some flexibility.”

More: https://www.wsls.com/health/the-ideal-diet-to-combat-climate-change

New Film Stars Cattle Farmer Who Gave Cows To Sanctuary And Turned Vegan

He couldn’t live with the guilt of sending sentient individuals to slaughter anymore
A cow on a farm
Wilde say he felt terrible guilt sending cows – who had become his friends – to slaughter (Photo: 73 Cows)

A new film tells the story of a Derbyshire farmer who gave his cows to a sanctuary because he could no longer justify killing sentient individuals.

Short film 73 Cows features cattle former farmer – and vegan – Jay Wilde, who discussed how ‘soul destroying’ his profession was, but how difficult it was to break out of his family farming tradition.

His – and wife Katja’s – story made headlines when he initially revealed that he’d given away the animals and turned to vegetable farming, supported by The Vegan Society.

A betrayal

In the film, Wilde opens up about how he became friends with the animals, then felt as though he was betraying them when he took them to slaughter – what he describes as a ‘terrifying’ experience for the animals.

He also talks about the pressure he – and other farmers experience – being ‘locked into’ the farming tradition, as well as the positive reactions from veggies and vegans when he gave up cattle farming.

He also experienced negativity from locals and other farmers – who branded his facility the ‘funny farm’ (an old-fashioned derogatory reference to a mental health hospital) as a consequence of relinquishing his livestock.

The film is available to watch on Vimeo

An amazing story

Speaking to Plant Based News about the documentary, filmmaker Alex Lockwood said: “I first came across Jay Wilde’s story when my wife showed me an article she’d read about him in the national news.

“The story instantly struck a chord with me. I thought it was such a great subject that I assumed it probably would have already been covered by another filmmaker and so I didn’t do anything about it at first.

“After a few weeks I was still drawn to the story and so contacted Jay and Katja on the off-chance. Luckily, it turned out that they hadn’t yet been approached by any filmmakers other than press and were happy to have me document their story.”

Sharing the story

Lockwood believes the Wildes were open with telling their story as a favor to him, rather than to bring attention to themselves. “Jay and Katja are both incredibly humble people and would never seek out the limelight,” he told PBN.

“In fact, Jay couldn’t even bring himself to watch the film until the Raindance premiere (to my relief, he enjoyed it).

“In my opinion, the more exposure Jay and Katja can get, the better, as they are in the process of transitioning to vegan farming and it’s not without its challenges. What they have done is incredibly brave, and it would be wonderful if they could get as much support as possible to start something amazing.”

Farmer Jay Wilde and his cows
Jay Wilde got to know the animals as individuals (Photo: 73 Cows)

Challenges

Making the film had its challenges: Lockwood had no budget, and financed it himself. There were also issues with bad weather and snow preventing filming, with shoots having to be canceled.

“Also, the cattle couldn’t be released for Spring until the adverse weather conditions we were experiencing had settled and were suitable for the cows and filming, and so our final shoot at the sanctuary was delayed by a few months,” says Lockwood.

“In addition, when the day arrived to release the cows, the truck drivers refused to be filmed due to the stigma attached with taking farm animals to sanctuaries and for fear of repercussions.”

Despite all this, the filmmaker adds that seeing Wilde with the cattle, knowing they were free because of a decision he had taken, made the wait worthwhile.

Farmer Jay Wilde
Farmer Jay Wilde (Photo: 73 Cows)

Vegan?

Lockwood himself says he is vegan ‘for the most part’ but not yet 100 percent there. “To me, being vegan is about taking ongoing steps and continually reminding and educating yourself about the things you consume,” he said.

“Making this film and talking with Jay and Katja about the process of dairy farming has opened my eyes to the reality of how dairy products end up on our shelves.

“If people watch the film and decide that they want to make a change in how they consume animal products then that would be amazing.”

Human conflict and compassion

Ultimately though, the filmmaker says he was initially drawn to the film as it is a ‘great story of human conflict and compassion’.

“Jay is a wonderful subject and ultimately the film has a very uplifting and inspiring message,” he said.

“I really feel that for some people, a tone of this nature is more powerful for inspiring change and questions.”

You can follow the Wildes and their story on Facebook

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/new-film-cattle-farmer-cows-to-sanctuary-turned-vegan?utm_source=sumome&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=sumome_shares