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Posts Tagged ‘animal agriculture and the environment’

Barnivore – This website can help you determine which beers/wines/alcohols are vegan and which aren’t.

The Recycled Retriever – Here you can find eco-friendly gear for your fur-kids.

The Discerning Brute – “food, fashion & etiquette for the ethically handsome man”; a website that shows men they can still be fashionable and vegan!

The Girlie Girl Army – “your guide to glamazon living”; a website featuring eco-friendly news, food & fashion for women.

A Scent of Scandal – Buy 100% soy wax candles.  There are a few scents for which part of proceeds even benefit Farm Sanctuary.

Sanctuary Tails – This is a blog written by some of the people who care for animals at Farm Sanctuary. They talk about animal cruelty issues, but also profile rescued animals – my favorite part.  There are some very touching stories, and it’s so nice to read about animals being well cared for when it seems like all you ever hear are horror stories.

I hope you enjoy these sites as much as I do!

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A while back PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) offered $1 million to any company or person who could come up with a cost effective way to produce cloned meat on a large scale, the goal being that people could still satisfy their meat cravings, but that animals wouldn’t have to be slaughtered for that purpose.

Well, it looks like we’re getting closer and closer to being able to produce “meat with no feet”.  “The Washington D.C. research firm New Harvest is just one group developing the technology to actually clone meat cells without the need, expense, or health concerns of raising entire legions of beasts to slaughter.” If we could produce cloned meat in controlled environments, it could mean amazing things for our environment, human health, and for the animals that people currently eat.   In this country alone, we raise about 10 billion animals each year for food.  Those 10 billion animals have a profound effect on the environment during their lives, but that could all be avoided with cloned meat.  More importantly, those animals suffer greatly during their short lives, only to end up at a slaughter house where they will be killed for food.  They experience pain and fear just like you and I would, and they want to live just as much as we do. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could?  I mean, I’d prefer if humans just stopped eating animals out of their own morality, but second best would be if they ate meat that didn’t come from a tormented soul, but rather from a petri dish!

So, would I eat meat with no feet? Would other vegans and vegetarians?  If I knew that the meat was humane and safe, I wouldn’t have a problem with it ethically at all.  The thing is, I think I’ve lost my taste for meat now. I know I have, actually.  So I’m not sure I’d go back to eating it even if I knew no one had to die to produce it, but that’s mostly just out of personal preference now — I wouldn’t have a problem with anyone else eating it.

What do think? Is it too weird?  Would you support this research?  If you are vegan or vegetarian, would you want to eat this meat? If you’re an omnivore, would you make the switch?

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For a blog that’s about factory farming and animal rights, I realize I haven’t said much about one of the biggest anti-factory farming campaigns going on right now: Yes on Proposition 2 in California.  If passed, Proposition 2 would end the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small the animals can’t even turn around, lie down or extend their limbs.  This would apply specifically to hens used in egg production, calves raised for veal, and sows during pregnancy.  Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Oregon have passed similar laws, but if Californians vote yes on Prop 2 on November 4th, the ripple effect across the entire country could be substantial.

I guess I’m not sure why I haven’t said all that much about Prop 2.  Part of it is that it seems like such a no brainer to me that I can’t believe there are so many organizations and individuals who aren’t supporting it. I mean, honestly: requiring that animals can stand up, lie down, turn around, and extend their limbs is really kind of asking for the bare, bare, bare minimum.  And yet there’s so much opposition?  Who are these people anyway??  Oh look, here’s who they are–click here.  You can see all the lovely organizations who oppose this legislation, and also learn more about instances where they’ve been in legal trouble for animal cruelty and/or environmental offenses.

Anyway, the HSUS came out with a new ‘Yes on Prop 2’ Commercial.  Check it out & send it to everyone you know in CA.  This ballot initiative is important, and I will be sorely disappointed if it doesn’t pass!

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You need to go watch this awesome video, courtesy of Non-violence United. It’s about the environmental impact of eating meat and dairy products vs. going vegan; the global food shortage; your health; and the human/non-human animal disconnect.  It’s 11 minutes out of your day and more information than you can shake a stick at!

No disturbing images (ok, there are a couple of dead sea-life, but aside from that…), no anger or aggression – just information! Check it out now and see how you can help the people, the planet, and the animals.

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I found this article and had to share it. Sorry I’ve been a little MIA lately – I was in a wedding this weekend up in my hometown. Doggy pictures forthcoming…

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I know I just wrote a post about being a joyful vegan, and while I really, really do plan to be as joyful as possible, when I hear that a dairy operation (it’s not a FARM, that’s for sure) in northern Minnesota caused local residents to evacuate their homes over the weekend due to unhealthy levels of hydrogen sulfide, I don’t feel very joyful. In fact, I feel pretty angry. When will the people who operate these dairies finally own up to how incredibly awful these facilities are – for the animals involved, the people who live nearby, the workers, and the environment?? This isn’t rocket science – it’s just common sense (trust me, I cannot do rocket science).

So, as I said, the people living near this facility actually had to EVACUATE their homes to avoid the negative health effects of breathing in the toxins, such as irritation to the eyes, nose, or throat, headaches, difficulty breathing, and if high enough, neurological and brain damage. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Brain damage! Especially in children! Apparently the residents have been complaining for years, and nothing gets done about it. Before I get in to talking about how the animals must be suffering, let’s talk about workers for a minute:

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), farm workers are risking their lives every time they enter a manure pit. The…atmosphere which can develop in a manure pit has claimed many lives.” The manure pits are so dangerous because of the gases produced by the animals during digestion:

  • Methane
  • Hydrogen sulfide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Ammonia

The accumulation of these gases within the confined space of the manure pit can produce an oxygen-deficient, toxic, and/or explosive environment. Doesn’t that sound like a nice place to work? Check it out:

Modern Dairy Barn

I’ll never complain about my desk job again. Ever.

Worker deaths are real: in August of 1992, a 43-year-old dairy farm owner and his 23-year-old son died from asphyxiation after entering a manure pit; in July of 2007, 4 workers at a Virginia farm died of asphyxiation when they entered a manure pit. There is case after case after case just like that – sad, unnecessary, preventable deaths.

So, now let’s imagine what the animals are going through. Stuck indoors all day, every day, living in close quarters, standing in their own manure, unable to eat a natural diet of grass, these poor cows are impregnated year after year, and deprived of raising their babies so that humans can steal their milk. Just imagine how horrible that must be. Now imagine being pumped up with growth hormones so that you produce 10 times as much milk as you should, being milked for hours a day for several years, and then being sent to slaughter when you’re no longer “productive”.

How does any of this sound like a good thing? These money hungry corporate farms are destroying the land, polluting our water, forcing people out of their homes, creating unsafe workplaces, and torturing animals. And it’s all for profit. How these people can look at themselves in the mirror at night is beyond me. Maybe when you make all that money you can afford a special mirror that convinces you you’re not a terrible person no matter how many people and animals you hurt. I really can’t imagine how you could live with yourself otherwise.

Ok. Now it’s time to go back to being joyful. I swear.

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Not long ago I went to a presentation called “From Farm to Fork: The Environmental Impacts of Animal Agriculture” held at the Bell Museum in Minneapolis. The featured speaker was Gowri Koneswaran, Director of Animal Agricultural Impacts at the Humane Society of the United States. It was a great presentation.

During the first half of her talk, she discussed the conditions on factory farms; namely, she detailed the cruel practices that cause unspeakable pain and suffering to the animals who live on these farms. She showed photographs of egg-laying chickens crammed 6 to a battery cage, with no room to spread their wings, nest, or practice any of their natural behaviors. battery cages

There were pictures of sows forced into gestational crates so small that they could not even turn around, calves in veal crates, and animals living in their own filth because they have no other option.

Gestation crate

These were all issues I have read about and been disturbed by before.

The second half of the presentation, however, was about the environmental impacts of animal agriculture. I was floored by some of the data. This site has a great map of the United States showing where factory farms are located (the Midwest is the worst!), and how much pollution has resulted because of them. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, “the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.” And while that alone is troubling, animal agriculture is also responsible for a huge percentage of the much more harmful greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide, most of which comes from animal manure. After sitting through this presentation, I thought to myself, “what am I waiting for? Why don’t I just commit to being vegan?” So I did. Everything I had heard and read about seemed to all point in that direction and I really couldn’t argue with it anymore.

If you want to read more about the environmental impacts of animal agriculture, I recommend checking out Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, which you can find here. It’s like 400 pages, so I haven’t read it all, but you can go through the table of contents and pick out chapters you are interested in and read those. That’s what I did, because, man, 400 pages??

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