This is What Farms Should Look Like?

On a recent trip to Holland, I was traveling by train from Amsterdam to The Hague. I saw something that we rarely ever see anymore in the U.S. I felt a sense of peace and calm that initially I took for granted. Then I realized what it was. I was seeing animals roaming freely on beautiful green pastures. It was mostly cows and sheep gently grazing on grass, soaking up the sun and fresh air. What a beautiful sight.

This is what farms should look like, but you would have to travel far in the U.S. to see farms like these. Small farmers are being put out of business by large corporations that run factory farms. Some of these are foreign owned. They are large institutions that treat farm animals as units of production with absolutely no regard for their sentience and ability to feel emotions. I’ve written about this before so I won’t go into more detail. Compare the idyllic image above to the factory farm of today:

The animals are housed in windowless, filthy sheds where they live their whole lives in darkness. Not only is it unhealthy (and extremely abusive) to the animals, but it is killing the environment surrounding it. People who live by are developing lung diseases,  asthma and other serious diseases. Nothing will change, however, until people find out that about this, but Big Ag ensures that we don’t with their misleading marketing practices.

These corporations are making huge profits. The only way we can stop these egregious abuses is to decrease demand for the products.

Battery Cages

More than 300 million egg laying hens are abused every year in order to produce eggs. The abuse comes from the battery cages they are forced to live in for nearly two years.

They are so intensely confined in cages no bigger than a sheet of paper. The hens are shoved in with up to 10 other hens, causing their skeletal systems to become so weak that their spinal cords deteriorate and they become paralyzed. Many die from dehydration and the living birds are then forced to stand on the rotting carcasses for the duration of their lives.

Standing or rubbing against wire cages destroys their skin and feather, and their claws can grow around the bars where they’re trapped. They have to tear their skin to escape.

Beaks are cut off with a burning hot blade with no painkillers. The pain is so great that many of them don’t eat or drink for several weeks.

Cage-free systems aren’t much better. These hens can hardly lift a wing and they walk around in ammonia so strong it makes your eyes sting. They never see the outside or sunlight, or breathe fresh air.

Male chicks are killed upon hatching – 200 million of each year because they are of no use to an egg farm

None of them can engage in natural behaviors such as dustbathing or nesting. They are slaughtered at two years of age, which is less than half their normal lifespan. They sent off on truck with no food or water to be killed.

This is no life for any animal. How do factory farms get away with this? Because the animals are units of production. They are classified as food rather than sentient animals.

Please do not eat eggs. There is no way to stop this horrific abuse other than to stop demand.

Many of the factory farm owners are large corporations in China, btw.

Alaska’s Wildlife No Longer Protected

On March 21, 2017  the Senate voted down S. J. R. 18 by a vote of 52 to 47. While it was a close vote, it was split down party lines with democrats voting nay, and republicans voting yea. It is surprising that not one republican stood up against this cruel bill. Somehow, they believe that tracking animals from planes, shooting mothers and cubs in their dens, and snaring and baiting these innocent animals that are completely defenseless, is a sport. It isn’t even for subsistence. It is for a trophy.

I give heartfelt thanks to our Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy who did oppose it. They are men of compassion.

It is hard not to feel defeated about all this. Many people called their Senators, wrote letters, phonebanked and put a lot of effort into educating others about this. In our defeat we have to remember that we are on the right side of history. Freedom has never been granted to oppressed groups willingly. It has always come with a fight.

Those of us who are on the side of protecting animals will not give up. We have lost this battle to lawmakers who have no conscience about animals, but we can still fight back. Our power is our ability to vote them out of office.

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” – Robert Green Ingersoll

Senator Cory Booker is a Rock Star in the Animal World!

The Senate bill  S. J.R. 18 is coming up for a vote very soon. It is the bill that will destroy refuges for animals in Alaska and allow trophy hunters to kill bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens while hibernating. It’s hard to believe that this could go through. New Jersey Senator, Cory Booker, tweeted and posted on Facebook a heartfelt message about this, urging people to call their Senators and ask them to vote no.

Here it is:  http://www.facebook.com/corybooker/videos/vb.36872302227/10156643251437228/?type=3&theater

We need more compassionate people like Senator Booker. As he says so well, animals are going to lose this fight unless we all speak up. Please call your Senators and tell them to vote no.

Alaska’s Wildlife Refuges Under Attack

Until last week, hibernating bears with their cubs, and wolves and their pups in Alaska were protected by a U.S.  Fish and Wildlife  Service (FWS) rule from being hunted and trapped with steel-jawed leghold traps and neck wire snares. Now, thanks to a former board member of the NRA and licensed trapper,  Rep. Don Young of Alaska, those protections no longer exist. Congress passed H.J. Res. 69 that will now allow some of the worst wildlife management practices in a century.

Now hunters can shoot shoot bears from airplanes, land and water,  trap them using inhumane and cruel snares, and kill wolf pups in their dens.

Apparently, the State of Alaska had trophy hunters and state agents kill grizzly bears, black bears and wolves in order to create more moose and caribou for hunters to shoot. The NRA and Safari Club are powerful lobbies. This happened even though a 2016 poll showed that Alaskans oppose denning of wolves by more than a 2-1 margin.  Furthermore, more than a dozen wildlife biologists from Alaska wrote letters to Congress opposing this terrible resolution.

The debate is now going to the Senate. If you agree that this is a travesty for these innocent, defenseless animals, you can help by calling your Senator and asking him/her to oppose   S. J. Res. 18 asap.  Click  here for your Senator’s name.  If it is helpful, here is some text you may want to use:

“Please oppose Senators Sullivan and Murkowski’s Joint Resolution 18 which would revoke the FWS rule protecting wildlife on Alaska national wildlife refuges from cruel hunting methods.”

What is the USDA Hiding?

The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) upholds the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act, and with that mandate, protect millions of animals nationwide through inspections, enforcement and education.  In an unprecedented move last week, it took down all information on its’ website without any notice to anyone. These databases and public records are necessary to ensure that animals are not cruelly treated or abused.

The only way now to access this information now is through sending a bureaucratic, time-consuming written Freedom of Information Act request.  This step makes it very challenging to anyone who wants to investigate whether animals are being properly cared for. This action, in effect, now protects animal abusers. I have personally investigated records and found several puppy mill breeders with repeat offenses. Now, they and others can continue to abuse with impunity.

Your and my tax dollars pay for this organization and it is an outrage that such an action has been taken. It smacks of totalitarianism. I have called my politicians and aired  my anger with them asking them to demand the restoration of this information. If you feel the same, please call your politicians and tell them.  Please also sign this petition.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takaction/304/134-376

 

Trump and De-Regulation

As a business person I appreciate the drive to de-regulate. Businesses are the engines of growth in our economy and it is important to ensure that there is an environment where they can thrive. This translates to high employment and better living standards for all. The problem now, though, is that in our President’s thrust for de-regulation, many things have gone on hold and are likely to be rolled back. One of them is the protection against Horse Soring.

Horse Soring is one of the most cruel abuses against horses in the name of profit. It includes placing shards of glass, nails and burning chemicals such as acid in the hoofs of Tennessee walking horses, and related breeds, to cause them to lift their legs high in an unnatural gait, called The Big Lick. The horses are then forced them to walk on four-inch stacks while chains bang against their sores to them to exaggerate their steps in front of judges of the shows.

Congress, in 1970, passed the Horse Protection Act in an attempt to outlaw this barbaric practice, but there were so many loopholes that it didn’t protect them. The HSUS, and veterinarian organizations everywhere, have been fighting this practice since the 1950s.

Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration

In 2010 the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a two-year study that exposed how trainers in the industry evade detection and continue to use horrific practices to attain the Big Lick. It concluded that stiffer penalties were necessary for offenders and an overhaul of the USDA’s regulations were necessary. The self-policing system in place clearly did not work. There was enormous bi-partisan support in the House and the Senate.

As a result of bureaucratic bungling, the Office of the Federal Register failed to publish the rule in a timely manner  and the rule got swept up in a broader Trump administration policy to freeze any rulemaking actions still in progress.  The USDA has now withdrawn this rulemaking action and the horse abusers are free to continue the abuses. This rule would have saved the horse by eliminating the failed system of industry self-policing.

This is a good example of why waving a wand of de-regulation does not work in every instance. There are too many unscrupulous animal abusers who can only be stopped by enacting laws to prevent their actions. If you agree, please call your Senator to let him/her know that you want Horse Soring stopped and to support any rules that would make this  happen. These beautiful creatures need us to protect them. Click here to find your Senator’s contact information to make a quick call:  Senator List

 

Humans Are Not Meant to Eat Meat

All too often I hear meat eaters try to justify their cruel eating habit by saying that humans are meant to eat meat. The latest excuse was that humans are at the top of the food chain. This is merely an extension of the egotistical belief set that humans are superior to any other animals on this earth. It simply isn’t true.

I came across an informative article on the Celestial Healing website (www.celestrialhealing.net) that gives plenty of reasons why humans are not meant to eat meat. I could not do it justice by paraphrasing so I am replicating it here. It’s lengthy, but worth the read:

Say No To Eating Meat

Although some historians and anthropologists say that man is historically omnivorous, our anatomical equipment ­ teeth, jaws, and digestive system favors a fleshless diet. The American Dietetic Association notes that “most of mankind for most of human history has lived on vegetarian or near-vegetarian diets.”

And much of the world still lives that way. Even on most industrialized countries, the love affair with meat is less than a hundred years old. It started with the refrigerator car and the twentieth-century consumer society. But even with the twentieth century, man’s body hasn’t adapted to eating meat. The prominent Swedish scientist Karl von Linne states, “Man’s structure, external and internal, compared with that of the other animals, shows that fruit and succulent vegetables constitute his natural food.” The chart below compares the anatomy of man with that of carnivorous and herbivorous animals.

When you look at the comparison between herbivores and humans, we compare much more closely to herbivores than meat eating animals. Humans are clearly not designed to digest and ingest meat.

Meat-eaters: have claws
Herbivores: no claws
Humans: no claws

Meat-eaters: have no skin pores and perspire through the tongue
Herbivores: perspire through skin pores
Humans: perspire through skin pores

Meat-eaters: have sharp front teeth for tearing, with no flat molar teeth for grinding
Herbivores: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding
Humans: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding

Meat-eaters: have intestinal tract that is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass through quickly
Herbivores: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.
Humans: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.

Meat-eaters: have strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat
Herbivores: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater
Humans: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater

Meat-eaters: salivary glands in mouth not needed to pre-digest grains and fruits.
Herbivores: well-developed salivary glands which are necessary to pre-digest grains and fruits
Humans: well-developed salivary glands, which are necessary to pre-digest, grains and fruits

Meat-eaters: have acid saliva with no enzyme ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Herbivores: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Humans: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Based on a chart by A.D. Andrews, Fit Food for Men, (Chicago: American Hygiene Society, 1970)

chsiteveg

Clearly if humans were meant to eat meat we wouldn’t have so many crucial ingestive/digestive similarities with animals that are herbivores.

Many people ask me, “If we weren’t supposed to eat meat than why do we?”. It is because we are conditioned to eat meat. Also, the ADA (American Dietetic Association) tells us that “most of mankind for most of human history has lived on a vegetarian or Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.”

A popular statement that meat eaters say is; “In the wild, animals kill other animals for food. It’s a part of nature.” First of all, we are not in the wild. Secondly, we can easily live without eating meat and killing. We all would be healthier this way. Finally, as I have already shown, we weren’t meant to eat meat. Meat putrefies within 4 hours after consumption and the remnants cling to the walls of the intestines for 14-21 days. If a person is suffering from constipation the rotting meat can stay in the intestines for months or years. Furthermore, the saliva in humans is more alkaline, whereas in the case of flesh-eating or preying animals, it is clearly acidic. The alkaline saliva does not act properly on meat.

The final point I would like to make on how we as humans were not meant to eat meat is this; all omnivorous and carnivorous animals eat their meat raw. When a lion kills an herbivore for food, it tears right into the stomach area to eat the organs that are filled with blood (nutrients). While eating the stomach, liver, intestine, etc., the lion laps the blood in the process of eating the dead animal’s flesh. Even bears that are omnivores eat salmon raw. However, eating raw bloody meat disgust us as humans. This is why we must cook it and season it to buffer the taste of the flesh.

If a deer is burned in a forest fire a carnivorous animal will NOT eat its flesh. Even circus lions have to be feed raw meat so that they will not starve to death. If humans were truly meant to eat meat then we would eat all of our meat raw and bloody. The thought of eating such meat makes one’s stomach turn. This is my point on how we as humans are conditioned to believe that animal flesh is good for us and that we were meant to consume it for survival and health purposes. If we are true carnivores or omnivores we would eat animal flesh raw and bloody. Cooking our meat and seasoning it with salt, ketchup, mayo, mustard or tabasco sauce disguise the awful taste of flesh. This is the only way we as humans would eat meat because we refuse to eat it raw and bloody like real carnivores.

Overall advantages of vegetarianism
You can reap a lot of benefits by being a vegetarian and people have become more aware of the health benefits of being a vegetarian. Animal rights issues is only one of the reasons why people decide to go on a vegetarian diet. People are beginning to care more about the environment. However, the main reason why most people go on vegetarian diet is due to the health benefits.

Meat is not good for you as it clogs your thinking. This is especially true if you eat red meat; white meat has less fat compared to red meat. Excessive intake of fats into your body can result in having a high level of cholesterol. If you think that not eating meat is going to make you look scrawny or unhealthy please think again. Just imagine that cows, goats, gorillas, elephants, rhinoceroses and so on are all vegetarians (herbivores) but look at how tough these animals are. They also have a longer life span compared to the carnivores (meat eating animals).

If you look at the chicken and vulture (carnivores), these animals eat just about everything and notice how unhealthy these animals look. The Chinese believe that the chi or life force in your body is less when you consume meat and so do the Indians with their ancient yogic principles [their life force was called prana].

The great Tai Chi masters of China were adept at preserving their chi. Even though some of the masters were not vegetarians they still had a balanced diet. It has now been scientifically proven that a balanced vegetarian diet is better compared to a diet that is taken with meat.

There are a lot of misconceptions about being a vegetarian; protein is one of the main topics of debate as a lot of people think that you can only get protein from meat. Vegetarians get a lot of protein when they eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. What vegetarians don’t get is the excess protein of the traditional American diet. This type of diet leads to liver toxicity, kidney overload and mineral deficiency diseases.

A lot of people also think that a vegetarian diet is not a balanced diet. Vegetarian diets have a proportion of three macro nutrients which are complex carbohydrates, protein and fat. Vegetarian food sources (plants) tend to be higher sources of most micro nutrients. Another myth that needs to be clarified is the so-called lack of calcium among vegetarians. Many vegetables especially green leafy ones have a good supply of calcium. The truth is that vegetarians suffer less from osteoporosis (a deficiency of calcium that leads to weak bones).

It is not my intention to force people to become vegetarians. However, vegetarianism is my answer to complete health and wellness. The three issues to consider in regard to vegetarianism are: spiritual, mental and physical (nutritional).

The spiritually aspiring person attempts to work on his/her self. The purpose of spiritual growth is to move away from the animal nature into the more human nature that God intended for us to have. Meat eating inhibits this. The same science that attempts to ignore the existence of a force higher than man also proved that aggression levels are much higher in meat eaters than non-meat eaters! The animal instincts become more powerful every time you eat meat. Another spiritual aspect of being a meat eater is when one must question the necessity and method of killing animals. However, everyone has their own morals to which they must determine for themselves. It is not the purpose of my dissertation to force a specific moral behavior on anyone. Most spiritual people believe in auras. Kirilian photography shows us that a force field still remains around dead or amputated flesh. You adopt that animal aura when you eat it’s dead flesh. Fruits and vegetables have a higher vibration al aura than animal products.

“You are what you eat”, is a slogan that I love to use to show the mental aspect of vegetarianism. When animals are slaughtered, fear and aggression enzymes are shot into their muscle tissue. They remain in the meat until the consumer ingests the flesh and adapts the same emotions. Fruits and vegetables do not have emotions; therefore, when they are picked they do not release any emotional cells prior to digestion. The enzymes within fruits and vegetables supply the body with sufficient nutrients that will always uphold a healthy state of mind.

Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients; the very thing the body needs to live a long disease and pain free life. The same cannot be said for meat. Nutritionally, the alkaline-based digestive system of humans will not properly break down substantial acid substances of meat.

Colon cancer is rampant! This is caused by the slow evacuation and putrefaction of meat in the colon. Lifelong vegetarians never suffer from such an illness. Many meat eaters believe that meat is the sole source of protein. However, the quality of this protein is so poor that little of it can ever be utilized by humans. This is due to its incomplete combination of amino acids [the building blocks of protein]. Studies show that the average American gets five times the amount of protein needed. It is a common medical fact that excess protein is dangerous. The prime danger of excess meat consumption is uric acid (the waste product produced in the process of digesting protein). Uric acid attacks the kidneys and breaks down the kidney cells called nephrons. This condition is called nephritis; the prime cause of it is overburdening the kidneys. More usable protein is found in one tablespoon of tofu or soybeans than the average serving of meat!

Have you ever seen what happens to a piece of meat that stays in the sun for three days? Meat can stay in the warmth of the intestine for at least four to five days until it is digested. It does nothing but wait for passage. Often, it usually stays there for much longer. Medical doctors have found traces of undigested meat remaining in the colon for up to several months. Colonic therapists always see meat passing through people who have been vegetarians for several years, thus indicating that meat remains undigested there for a long time. Occasionally this has been documented in twenty-year vegetarians!

Some vegetarians claim they are more satisfied after they eat. The reason for this is that there are fewer ketones (protein-digestive substances) formed when vegetable protein is digested. For many, ketones cause a trace amount of nausea which one normally interprets as a decreased desire for food due to this uncomfortable and slight degree of queasiness. Although the body calls for more food, the taste buds tolerate less. This is the danger of the popular high-protein diet substances on the market. This abnormally high level of ketones is called ketosis and refers to the state of starvation that the body incurs due to the inability of the appetite to call for nutrition. Most Americans who eat the wrong type of carbohydrates never recognize the high amount of complex carbohydrates required to overthrow this condition. Keep in mind that when the blood ketone level are too high it results in abnormally acidic blood called acidosis.

Tigers or lions who eat meat have an acid-based digestive systems. Our Hydrochloric Acid isn’t strong enough to fully digest meat. Also, their intestines measures about five feet long, not twisted and turned, layer over layer, compacted into a small area like the human intestine [which is twenty feet long].

Meats are frozen for a long period of times. Some meats (especially poultry) are frozen up to two years. Cold temperatures do not kill all species of bacteria. Worse than this, as it is shipped and stored, most frozen meat is thawed and refrozen many times. This is almost unavoidable.

Meat eaters suffer more frequently from various types of food poisoning than vegetarian. Statistics show that every American has had food poisoning at least once. When you’ve felt ill, had diarrhea or were just a little sick to your stomach, no doubt you had not the slightest idea that you had been poisoned by scavengers living off the dead carcass you just ate.

Meat is costly and it is the most wasteful source of resources. When one removes meat from his or her diet a whole new world of eating opens up. Cooking and preparing vegetarian style is no more time consuming than cooking meat. It costs less than half as much to eat vegetarian as it does to eat meat. There are excellent, nutritious, and easy to prepare vegetarian dishes that are Italian, Chinese, Indian, Mid-Eastern, French, Spanish, etc.

Additionally, one can enjoy many other foods that he or she has never tasted because of the meat craze. Most consumers have eaten no more than five or six varieties of beans and legumes. This is less than 10% of what is available.

In my opinion, there are far more benefits to becoming a vegetarian then there are staying a meat eater. Due to the fact that I was raised on meat, I have experienced both worlds. As a meat eater I was constantly sick, tired, and overweight. As a vegetarian, I am healthy, full of energy and maintaining a perfect weight. I love being a vegetarian and it shows. Because I wish the best for myself, it’s just second nature to want the best for others. From my past experience and research, going vegetarian is the best thing anyone can do for their mind, body and spirit.

What is Milk?

The dairy industry is desperate. Their sales have declined by 7% in 2015 and they are expected to decline by double digits in the next three years. The reason? People are learning that plant-based alternatives are far healthier. That’s very good news for the animals.

Dairy companies are not going down without a fight though. They have asked their  congressional representatives to complain to the Commissioner of the FDA about the use of the term “milk” by the plant-based competitors.  They have asked that the FDA use its “legal authority to investigate and take appropriate action against the manufacturers of the misbranded products”.

The same thing happened with Hellman’s Mayonnaise.  Hampton Creek, a producer of “Just Mayo” that makes an egg-free mayonnaise, became the defendant in a lawsuit by   Hellman’s to ban them from using the term “mayo”. They lost.

The dairy industry receives plenty of subsidies funded by taxpayers. Those subsidies are used to enslave and abuse animals for their milk, shortening their lives by more than three-quarters, and then discarding them once their bodies are used up. They are no more than products on an assembly line.

More progressive companies watch consumer trends closely. Rather than try to protect their outmoded practices, they apply their creativity and turn it into innovations. Ben & Jerry’s is one such company that has begun a line of non-dairy ice cream that is delicious. Beyond Meat is another one that has created a plant-based burger with 20g of protein. It’s 100% vegan and is winning over the die-hard burger eaters.

I would rather give my money to businesses that promote health, sustain the environment and leave animals to enjoy their lives as they should. Wouldn’t you?

img_0879

 

Another plant-based mayo product that is delicious.

 

Oxymoron – Eco-Terrorism

Will Potter is an investigative journalist who got arrested for simply leaving pamphlets on doorsagainst animal testing. There was no violence or  harassment. He just wanted to do something positive to save animals. The charges were dropped, but he was visited by two FBI agents a couple of weeks later. They threatened that if he didn’t spy on other protest groups for them, then he would be on a domestic terrorist list.

cattesting

He poignantly asks, after his fear abated, How could animal rights and environmental activists, who have never injured anyone, become the FBI’s number one domestic terrorism threat?

A few years later Potter was asked to testify in Congress about his reporting and told of people risking their lives to protect forests, save whales from being harpooned and protesters climbing over barbed wire to save beagles from testing. These brave people were incredibly effective in their efforts. So much so, that opponents made up a new name to vilify them: Eco-terrorists.

Companies such as the Glaxo Smith Kline, National Pork Producers Council, National Chicken Council, Pfizer and United Egg Producers got behind the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and turned activism into terrorism if it caused a loss of profits. Few people had heard of this law. In fact, less than 1% of lawmakers were in Congress when it passed.

Supporters of this law say it is necessary for the extremists. Many companies in multiple countries are now making it illegal to photograph or document animal cruelty on their properties. (I’ve written about these “Ag-Gag Laws” in earlier blogs.)

How is it extreme to document cruelty so that animals can be free to live without pain? How could saving lives possibly be considered terrorism? This is a blatant misuse of power.

Defenders of animal testing will say that this is necessary to further science. That is a lie, pure and simple. Software programs are far superior for testing drugs and chemicals.

These companies that perpetrate animal abuses are not going to police themselves. The only way these voiceless animals have any chance of being protected is through the efforts of undercover investigators and the journalists who expose them. Criminalizing this is not only a serious infringement on our freedoms, but a green light for sustained egregious abuse.

Potter has written articles in the Chicago Tribune exposing the cruelty that led to public outcry. He is now on the counter-terrorism watch list, having his speeches and articles monitored. As he says, these tactics are meant to instill fear and silence dissent. Fortunately, he won’t back down. (see his interesting TED talk).

I applaud Will Potter and hope that he continues to write about all this. We need more people like him who will speak up against violence and cruelty, and refuse to be intimidated.