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Life Arts

A Dashed Hope

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From flickr.com/photos/28444599@N00/13906619783/: #vegan bacon cheeseburger
#vegan bacon cheeseburger
(image by eleaticstranger)
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You, like many of us, probably have piles of papers in different places. Some of this old paperwork may contain our thoughts and some the thoughts of others we find on the internet or e-mail. Regarding such, I am a believer that information is easily forgotten and often needs a second or third look. But, how wise is it to accumulate a 'mountain' of paper? I am beginning to realize that it is time for me to start whittling this mountain down. In the process, I will find out what my thoughts were some years back. I will also find out what was happening to me and to the world back then as well.

For instance, this particular letter caught my attention, written five years ago, when I was already becoming disillusioned with our new president -- Barack Obama. So much so, that on June 5, 2009 (only a few months into his presidency), I sent him the letter knowing full well the likelihood of it being read by him was slim to none.

I understand that from the thousands of letters received by his office daily, only ten or so land on his desk to be personally read by the President. However, as they say, nothing ventured nothing gained. I had to make the effort. Here is my letter:

"Dear President Obama,

I have been in animal rights for over 30 years. I was very impressed with so many of your speeches I felt that at last we might have a compassionate president. However, after seeing you on TV stopping in a hamburger store to treat the White House staff, I am now not so sure. It even made me think of Oprah who knew that KFC chickens are cruelly caged and often slaughtered horribly, and yet she sponsored a KFC chicken dinner giveaway.

Regarding your hamburger "treat" for white house staff, I wish that you would visit a slaughterhouse. I have been told that some of the cows go through the slaughtering line ALIVE because of the mad pace which prevents some of them from being properly stunned. On a CARE2 post it showed a picture of a dead calf who had been struggling to get out of his mother as she was being slaughtered.

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As for the treatment of cows generally, we should be ashamed of ourselves. Today most of them are incarcerated in factory farms. No more fresh air, no more intermingling with other cows. Now they are standing in lines day in, day out being milked two or three time daily -- never having anything coming close to a happy existence which every living being, including cows should experience. Their calves are taken away at birth. The male calves are put into tiny cages where they can't turn around, and I imagine they invariably go stir crazy before being slaughtered for veal.

I wish that you had stopped for veggie burgers instead. Vegetarianism is considered the new Prius by a CARE2 writer. We consume way too much beef and then we say we are concerned about Global Warning? Haven't we heard that cows release a lot of methane gas into the air, even more so than coal-burning furnaces and gas guzzling cars?

And, we are also told that the carbon footprint of vegetarians is much smaller than that of meat eaters. So, if you want to decrease greenhouse gases, if you want to decrease cow suffering, if you want to be healthier, a reduction in meat eating will accomplish all three. Seeing you stop for hamburgers, I immediately thought that this president doesn't care about the environment, animal suffering or his health. He joins all the other recent presidents in this respect as well."

Then, I found and read in my old paperwork that Congress considers people like me eco-terrorists if we go out to protest animal cruelty at places of farm animal suffering. The ONLY congressman wise and brave enough to say no to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) was Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He may have also been a lone voice to say no to the Iraq War. What a guy!

People like us who care about animal suffering should never have been lumped in with the small minority of animal liberators. This is an effrontery to all decent people who work within the law to alleviate animal suffering.

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BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE ACT

I was glad that Kate Sheppard in 2012 wrote in Mother Jones an article on this subject. Her post was entitled "Are Animal Rights Activists Terrorists?" The whole article was worth reading but, in the interest of space, I think the first paragraph suffices to give us an adequate idea about what the Act is about:

"In 2006 Congress quietly passed the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a sweeping new law that classified many forms of animal rights campaigning as TERRORISM. Now the law's critics have taken to the courts to try to kill it. In a case filed last week, five activists argue that AETA violates their rights by criminalizing constitutionally protected actions."

I don't believe the critics were successful in squelching this clearly biased and unfair law.

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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
 

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