and now i want to talk about the other side of the farming thing
Carol · Jul. 5, 2009
i don't know much about either side of the farming of animals thing...i know what i have seen over the past few years, with the meat birds fallen off the truck that died within months because they simply grew too big, i learned in the past couple of weeks about the plight of bull calves...a sad and shameful consequence of our society consuming the milk of their mothers.
i also know in speaking with the vets and knowing some of the farmers personally...the farming industry is not an evil monster. it is what it is because of what we the consumer think it needs...cheap meat...cheap, convenient milk. ethical farmers are going to have a really hard time competing financially with the commercial operations. do you remember back in the '80's, the thousands of generational family farms in the states wiped into nonexistence because they could not compete commercially with the big corporate farms?
willy nelson and "farm aid" spawned the movement to save the family farm...and that meant the family farm moving into commercialism in order to compete in the market in order to survive.
the dairy farmers are not just passively sending off a million bull calves, each year to slaughter. it is a huge time and financial investment for them to impregnate a cow...and produce a live and healthy calf. they need the calf for the milk they farm and a live born heifer can be grown to join the herd of future producers.
a bull calf like todd or a free martin sterile heifer like emily...are a sad disappointment...it costs money to shoot them humanely and have their bodies removed...they certainly can't afford to keep them and invest even more time and money to grow them up for nothing.
so where do they go? they go to auction and bring in less than $15 combined but at least there was no other cost attached to them except the gas to get them there, the cost of invitro fertilization and nine months of hopeful waiting.
the dairy industry is close in research to removing male sperms altogether. soon only female sperm will reach their cows...no more useless bull calves born..just the milk producing heifers. less wasted time, less wasted lives.
if everyone in the world stops eating meat, stops using dairy products...soon there will be no more animal farming industry..more fields for grain and soya products...more people will actually be fed.
but no more cows, chickens, ducks, pigs either because they won't be needed anymore....and that makes me sad..because i adore these farm creatures that are born to be consumed.
not that i believe we will ever reach the day of no animals consumed for food...as a species we are too selfish, too pedatory...to stop altogether.
so what do we do?
can farmed animals have a respected and valued life? can we alter our consumer expectations to promote for them a decent life? can we change the gov't CFIA rules that allows for a more humane closer to home, less brutal slaughter?
can we provide some kind of dignified retirement sanctuary care for the lifelong producers of our wants and needs?
this issue is not just a simplified personal choice of whether or not to eat meat or drink milk or wear leather ...it is a complex moral and ethical concern with far and wide reaching effects....and i am not even close to knowing even the basics of them.
i don't know what the answers are..i am not even sure i know the real questions...and i don't even know if there are any real answers out there.
i just know what i want right now...which is for the whole process to not be so necessarily money driven and reluctantly unfeeling.
and i want a real live and functioning farm animal sanctuary here in BC...i want a place where the farm animals personally have an opportunity to speak for themselves.
so this is what i am wondering....what action on my part, on the part of saints...can take a positive step forward in making things a bit better for farmed animals out there?
and so once again..i am thinking.