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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 5/28/11

Interested in Veganism?

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Message Suzana Megles

I have been meaning to share with oped readers who care about animals a wonderful blog which Janet of California clued me onto a couple of weeks ago.  It is
Daily I receive concise happenings re the vegan world written by Erik Marcus.  Don't know much about him, but I like his blog promoting vegan views and news. Today's offerings:
   *  Map of Farmed Animal Abuse
   *  Zuckerberg Will Only Eat What He Kills
   *  Washington State Dairy Princess is Lactose Intolerant
   *  The Farmarazzi Slideshow
   *  Felony Cruelty Charges Filed Against E6 Cattle Workers
   *  Carrot Curry Soup
   *  Canadian City Debates Shark Fin Ban
   *  Minnesota's Ag-Gag Bill Dies 

The offerings are generally concise and often provide a link for more information.  The two that grabbed me today were:  Felony Cruelty Charges Against E6 Cattle Workers and Minnesota's Ag-Gag Bill Dies.  This is news which makes me realize that people who care are really making a difference.  

Re the E6 cattle abuse brought to light by a Mercy for Animals, undercover video, felony arrest warrants were issued for five employees of E6 Cattle.  The farm's owner and its foreman have both been charged with Class A misdemeanors.  As Erik noted - this is welcome news, especially since many local district attorneys are unwilling to press
serious charges as a result of undercover cruelty investigations. He also noted that slowly but surely, agribusiness is losing its ability to treat farm animals however it likes with impunity.

Akin to this blog is the wonderful news that of the original three Ag-Gag bills, Florida's died a few weeks ago and now Minnesota's bill has bit the dust as well. Hopefully, Iowa legislators will follow in these two enlightened states' footsteps.   Surprisingly, at least to me, a legislator in New York has introduced a similar bill as the current ones are falling
by the wayside.  If wisdom prevails, it too will never see the light of day.

I read all of the links found on Erik's blog today. They make me feel that indeed I am a member of the ever growing vegan community though I have been a vegan since 1983.  However, I  know that for some people trying to make a transition from no meat, dairy, and eggs can be a very difficult one, so I would counsel anyone trying to make this compassionate and healthy move to first try instead to become vegetarian or give up meat a few times during the week.  Succeeding at that, you may one day find the next step a piece of cake (made with vegan milk, and vegan egg replacer).

Today I also read a sad reminder from the HSUS regarding the inhumane treatment of pigs at Smithfield, one of the largest producers of pork.   I think anyone reading it may find giving up bacon, ham, or pork chops a lot easier.

At one time way back when- in the late 1970s, Saturday was bacon and eggs day for me, a nun friend, and Peaches, my beautiful sheltie mix.  But after reading Swedish writer Astrid Lundgren's imaginary account of God accepting an invitation to visit Sweden's pig farms, I realized that I needed to do some diet changing.

As Astrid wrote - instead of God being taken to a Swedish pig farm, He was escorted to a Swedish slaughterhouse where He saw some pigs improperly being stunned and thrown into a large hot water vat filled with dead pigs and those trying to swim for their lives,emitting blood-curdling distressed squeals all the while.  Ingrid had God speak out in
anger and disgust, saying how terribly His pigs were being treated.  Yes, I got the message - loud and clear.  There would be no more Saturday bacon and egg breakfasts for us anymore.  Yes, I did feel bad for Peaches, my dog.  I think though she would have understood if she knew my reasoning.   

The HSUS released these findings from an undercover investigation that documented the inhumane treatment of female breeding pigs and piglets at a Smithfield-owned facility in Waverly, Virginia.  These were his findings after a month working there:

*Female breeding pigs were crammed inside "gestation crates" so small the animals could barely move for virtually their entire lives. The animals engaged in stereotypic behaviours such as biting the bars of crates, indicating poor well-being in the extreme confinement conditions.  Some had bitten their bars so incessantly that blood from their mouths coated
the fronts of their crates.  The breeding pigs also suffered injuries from sharp crate protrustions and open  pressure sores that developed from their unyielding confinement.

*The investigator never saw a veterinarian at the operation.  A barn manager told the investigator to ignore a pig with a basketball-sized abscess on her neck, and then cut the abscess open with an unsterilized razor.

*Employees jabbed a lame pig's neck and back with gate rods to force her to move.

*Three times, the investigator informed employees that a pig was thrown into a dumpster alive.  The animal had been shot in the forehead with a captive bolt gun, which is designed to render an animal unconscious and was thrown in the dumpster still alive and breathing.

*Employees mishandled piglets and tossed them into carts.

*Some piglets prematurely born in gestation crates fell through the slats into the manure pits.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS made these remarks re the treatment of pigs by Smithfield:   "If this is the best that Smithfield can do, it is evident that there are terrible problems in the nation's pig industry.  It is indefensible for Smithfield to allow its sows to linger in crates barely larger than their bodies for months on end."

I hope reading the above will be for you what Ingrid's pig slaughterhouse story was for me.

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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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