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Belgium Bans Cruel Ritual Slaughter Still Allowed in the US

By       Message Martha Rosenberg       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   54 comments

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No, animal welfare is not religious bigotry


Animals are not stunned during ritual slaughter
Animals are not stunned during ritual slaughter
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Another country has banned the cruel practice of ritual slaughterkosher slaughter, sanctioned by Jewish law and halal slaughter, sanctioned by Islamic law. In both practices, cattle, sheep, goats and poultry have their throats cut while they are fully conscious and capable of experiencing great fear and pain.

Starting in 2019, Belgium will no longer grant exemptions from humane slaughter laws (that require an animal be stunned before it is killed) for ritual slaughter, joining Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Slovenia which also outlaw the practice.

Other European countries are considering tightened slaughter laws. The Netherlands, for example, has considered a law that states that no more animals can be killed for kosher and halal meat than "necessary to meet the actual need of the religious communities present in the Netherlands" and that if an animal is not "insensitive to pain" within 40 seconds of slaughter, it must be put out of its misery and shot.

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The US Humane Methods of Slaughter Act

In the US, humane slaughter, requiring that an animal be stunned before it is killed, became the law of the land (the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act) a year after a disturbing film of hog slaughter was shown to Congress in 1957. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the act and remarked that "if I depended on my mail, I would think humane slaughter is the only thing anyone is interested in."

The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act was opposed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) who last year allowed US slaughterhouses to kill 175 chickens per minute, up from 140 birds per minutea move that greatly pleased industry. Even without the increased speeds, chicken kill lines in the US move so fast that 700,000 chickens a year miss the stunner (to render them insensitive to pain) and are boiled alive.

In 1978, former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) introduced amendments to strengthen the Act, which had originally only applied to suppliers of meat to the federal government. Also added were methods for enforcement.

Still, the US allows ritual slaughterreligious exemptions to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Actand according to one USDA administrator I spoke to, regulation can be almost non-existent. One halal slaughter facility, says the administrator, was not visited by a religious figure for six years, though a visit is required every year.

Ritual Slaughter is Falsely Believed to be More Humane

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It is ironic that many believe ritual slaughter to be "more humane" than traditional slaughter when it is just the opposite. In 2004, undercover video at the Agriprocessors' kosher slaughterhouse surfaced, showing cows that did not die from having their throats cut but got up and thrashed around in heartbreaking agony. The video led to a USDA investigation that reported many violations of animal cruelty laws at the plant. (US President Trump commuted the sentence of an Agriprocessors' owner for financial wrongdoing late last year.) The undercover activists who shot the video were later identified as Hannah and Philip Schein, a married couple who keep kosher themselves, dispelling charges that their motives were anti-Semitic.

When the grisly video surfaced, a coalition of rabbis and kosher certifying agencies in the United States was quick to defend the images. "After the animal has been rendered insensible, it is entirely possible that it may still display certain reflexive actions, including those shown in images portrayed in the video," they wrote on a kosher-certification website.

"These reflexive actions should not be mistaken for signs of consciousness or pain, and they do not affect the kosher status of the slaughtered animal's meat. There may be exceptional circumstances when, due to the closing of jugular veins or a carotid artery after the shechita cut, or due to the non-complete severance of an artery or vein, the animal may rise up on its legs and walk around. Cases when animals show such signs of life after the slaughter process are extremely rare, and even such an event would not invalidate the shechita if the trachea and esophagus were severed in the shechita cut."

Animal Expert Weighs In

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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It is shocking that so many call the desire to spare animals extreme suffering from ritual slaughter

"bigotry."

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 2:15:14 PM

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Reply to Martha Rosenberg:   New Content

Kudos to Temple, thanks for the informative article.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 4:46:47 PM

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Reply to Daniel Geery:   New Content

Thank you

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 8:31:11 PM

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Reply to Martha Rosenberg:   New Content

I believe that to be kosher, three out of four (animals' carotids, trachea and esophagus) have to be cut with one strike. This is a fast death.

Guillotine looks cruel but may be quite a fast and easy way to die.

How are animals usually stunned?

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 7:15:22 PM

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

Mammals are stunned with a stun gun or bolt through the head. Poultry go through "electrical stunning" as they go thru the kill line



Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 8:41:09 PM

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Reply to Martha Rosenberg:   New Content

And somehow you believe that bolt through the head is more humane than single cut across the neck.

I believe that there is a discussion whether guillotine or electric chair are more humane.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 2:45:20 PM

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Reply to Martha Rosenberg:   New Content

I think a bolt through the head constitutes a bit more than stunning.


Submitted on Friday, Jan 25, 2019 at 1:11:20 PM

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I have my doubts that any method of mass slaughter can be more humane than the next. In all of them, the animals are handled as a mass (not individually), usually by automated equipment, in order to "efficiently" process the huge numbers.

Even when working "as intended", things go wrong, and atrocities result. I will not go into detail about those.

I also thought that chickens, in particular, were not pre-stunned. I've seen documentaries on how they're hauled, kicking and screaming, past a neck slitter stationed on the line. Maybe that has changed since I saw that, I don't know.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 8:05:20 PM

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Reply to Devil's Advocate:   New Content

You are right about the cruelty of chicken slaughter but ritual slaughter is by definition cruel whereas traditional slaughter is supposed to be humane (tho it often isn't). With ritual slaughter, death is often prolonged and, when done for holidays, conducted by amateurs and in public which horrifies children and animal lovers. People who are against animal cruelty are not religious bigots.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 8:48:42 PM

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Reply to Martha Rosenberg:   New Content

You claim a number of wrong things.

Slaughter in public? No.

Amateurs do it but rarely. Most often they engage professional butchers.

And death is not "often prolonged"?

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 3:35:41 PM

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

Can you read? Article describes the prolonged deaths at Agriprocessors. Have you never traveled overseas? Public slaughter is common

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Reply to Martha Rosenberg:   New Content

You misrepresent the truth.

From your link in the article:

"An animal rights organization secretly recorded a video last month in the slaughterhouse of a kosher meatpacking plant in Iowa and presented it to the Department of Agriculture, claiming it showed inhumane practices in the killing of cattle.

The brief video, about four minutes long, was recorded on Aug. 13 without the knowledge of managers in the Postville, Iowa, plant of Agriprocessors , the nation's largest kosher meatpacker, by a representative of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals , according to Hannah Schein, investigations specialist for the group, known as PETA.

She said the video showed three instances in which Agriprocessors workers made unauthorized hacking cuts in the necks of still-conscious animals.

Department of Agriculture officials confirmed Thursday that they had examined the PETA video and said inspectors from the department's Food Safety Inspection Service based at the plant had subsequently witnessed at least one similar violation.

But the inspectors determined the violations were "not egregious," said the inspection service spokeswoman, Amanda Eamich. She said the plant was currently in full compliance with humane slaughter regulations."

I am from Bosnia, Muslims sacrifice there, I never saw it in public (unless you count a person's backyard as "public place").

Strange that you apparently don't like that Muslims accept kosher food as halal.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 7:51:01 PM

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Reply to Devil's Advocate:   New Content

I doubt that it is different in any way from what you stated.

I seldom eat meat as I don't trust what may be in it.

Of course due to my current budget, I couldn't afford meat even if I wanted it.

My Civil Service Retirement was pretty pathetic when I first started receiving it. But after it was lowered, it is now even more pathetic.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 11:23:12 PM

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Reply to Devil's Advocate:   New Content

Also saw a documentary (What the Health) where baby chicks who are born male and can't be used for producing eggs are pushed live into a snipper. Made me into a vegan two years ago and I was a huge carnivore.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 7:33:54 AM

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Reply to Brenda Schouten-Beckett:   New Content

This is very important but not the reason to become vegan. Rather, we have to prevent the inhumane practices of corporations that care only about the profit.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 2:47:01 PM

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Reply to Devil's Advocate:   New Content

When you are right you are right.

In ritual slaughtering the animals are handled individually.

Not a guarantee of humane treatment but a good step.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 2:48:46 PM

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Maybe we can start dropping stun bombs on people before we drop the boomier bombs.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 8:28:58 PM

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Macabre but true. Animal suffering and people suffering are not either/or--they both matter.

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I don't believe there is such a thing as humane slaughter. I've slaughtered hundreds of creatures to eat. Don't kid yourself, anything smarter than chickens know, and I think chickens simply don't have the intelligence to care. We must stop ALL killing of animals, except where it helps the animals, and even then do it with respect, regret, and understanding. The reasons are legion, but here are two. First: To buy a few more years we must reduce the biosphere dedicated to supporting humans by stopping all animal eating. Second: As a society we must eliminate as much killing as possible, because every year our growing numbers force us to huddle closer together. We must choose to become either sheep or rabid dogs, and it's better to make that choice early. Maybe we will save humanity instead, but we should assume we won't.

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I totally agree with you, but humans are way too stupid to go along with your idea. Most humans can't see beyond their own selfish needs.

The only thing that makes me different is that my mother raised me to care about others. She was a unique lady.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 23, 2019 at 11:29:44 PM

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Well said

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 12:56:37 AM

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If we don't eat animals we will still slaughter them.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 2:50:13 PM

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Thanks Martha!


"'If a religious practice specified beating a child would it prevail?' asked one animal rights activist."


Well, sadly, there have been a number of occasions where a child was beaten to death or to grave injury... these incidents seem to occur strangely often in Fundamental Christian families who quote the biblical "spare the rod and spoil the child," which leads one to suspect that there is plenty of child beating going on in these communities that doesn't get discovered because the child simply didn't die.


And in the Amish community, it is well documented that a large percentage of the girls, as young as 2 or 3, are regularly raped by older brothers, fathers and other males. They are told that it is their religious duty to forgive. And then they get raped again. This is a major reason why the Amish community is so closed, and probably why they don't want telephones - so no one can call 911.


And then there is legal and religious genital mutilation of male babies in this country, also often done without any kind of "stunning" or pain killer, and which is, imo, a barbaric rite which probably can have repercussions for a lifetime.


So sadly, I think a lot of abuse of children is allowed in the name of religion, or at least under the cover of it. And the abuse of both children and animals needs to stop. I suspect that when this country is not predominantly run by patriarchal consciousness, some of these compassionate changes will happen.


PS- the actual meaning of "spare the rod and spoil the child" is not what most people believe. The rod spoken of here is the shepherd's rod. And the shepherd does not use the rod to beat the sheep! It is used to gently guide their heads in the direction that they should be taking....

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 12:47:08 AM

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You are right!

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 12:55:49 AM

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Reply to Meryl Ann Butler:   New Content

Thank you, my sister, for this superb comment.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 7:26:13 AM

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Reply to Meryl Ann Butler:   New Content

You are as kind as usual but may be quite wrong.

I think a lot of what you quote is hearsay, especially the girls in Amish community being more frequently raped than elsewhere.

And you should not call circumcision "genital mutilation". A piece of skin is not a genital. It is highly unlikely to leave consequences long term.

Also, when done right it might hurt as much as giving local anesthesia, I guess.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 2:55:53 PM

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All beings love their life and fear death. Try swatting flies. I have been in local Chinese markets where fish and foul are sold live and slaughtered right there. A duck in a cage was clearly frantic knowing is cousin just got killed. A woman pulled a fish out of a tank. The fish was squirming to get free. It looked up at the human holding the hammer. It said, 'please don't kill me. '

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 3:21:51 AM

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Reply to Eric Arnow:   New Content

Exaggerated but with good intention.

Sadly, we have to kill in this world, unavoidable.

We should do it with as little suffering as possible.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 3:13:30 PM

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Reply to Eric Arnow:   New Content

You are exactly right. How can people now see this?

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 10:27:10 PM

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SHESHU BABU

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Cruel animal slaughter serves no other purpose than ' sadistic ' satisfaction. Meat can be eaten even without killing animals with cruelty by just striking with minimum pain and suffering. The ritual is archaic and should not be given permission as far as possible

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 6:41:12 AM

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David William Pear

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As for "humane killing", compared to how horrible their lives are; the conditions in which they are raise; death is probably a relief from months of tremendous suffering.

From all points of view, consuming meat is unhealthy, bad for the environment, cruel to animals and expensive. It is a tremendous waste of resources that could better be used to feed starving people with vegetation.

In a rational world, humans would eat whole grains, beans, squash, greens, and garden-type vegetable, and forego meat altogether.

P.S. Most humans do not eat carnivores. And carnivores do not eat other carnivores. Think about it.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 7:00:40 AM

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Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

You claim a number of unproven things widely accepted by some here.

There is an argument that only carnivores could develop intelligence the way we did.

There is empiric evidence that omnivores "come on top" in every community (pigs are good example).

Gorillas are supposedly kind, (mostly?) herbivores and never "moved on" to civilization. Is that just a coincidence?

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 3:11:54 PM

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

"Gorillas are supposedly kind".

Yes, there is a definite link between eating meat and violent behavior.

Humans are an evolutionary mistake, and their behavior is so violent that they will be extinct within the next few centuries, if not sooner.

While humans have only been around for 200,000 years, the dinosaurs which were mostly herbivores were one of the most successful civilizations for 250 Million years.

Human intelligence is way over rated as contributing to civilizing. The most civilized people in the world are indigenous subsistence farmers, hunters and gatherers. They are also the happiest and most satisfied with their high quality of life.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 25, 2019 at 1:09:07 AM

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Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

You are like most idealists, my friend, just unaware of the world.

"Gatherers" gather anything that they can eat. And kill any way they can.

Kosher was the most significant humane step there.

Ants have been around much, much longer and some eat meat and other beings (I believe most do).

Dinosaurs were not a civilization. And many were carnivores.

Submitted on Sunday, Jan 27, 2019 at 4:01:34 PM

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Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

Can't argue with any of that!

Submitted on Friday, Jan 25, 2019 at 12:50:36 AM

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It is late as I am reading this. But all I can say is all of this makes me sick to my stomach. Do you know of anyone who does not like or love dogs? I don't. Imagine what it would be like to find out dogs were being slaughtered in pain and hearing them cry out in agony as they drip their blood. Animals are animals. Dogs are animals. We humans are animals too. But we have a brain to know better. It is time for humans to go. It makes me glad global sizzling will get us all. I just wish it would get just us and not other life as well...

I am just plain fed up with everything...

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 9:51:23 AM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

As I have said before: humans are an evolutionary mistake that will be corrected, probably by their own hand. Human history is but a flash in the pan of the history of the planet, about 200,000 years. Dinosaurs roamed the earth for over 200 Million years, a much more successful civilization humans. The sun will last another 5 billion years. Nature will survive.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 2:32:22 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

Of course, my friend, you are quite wrong.

Humans seem to be (among?) the only beings (here on Earth) concerned about the suffering of others, as seen and documented above.

That is why we will survive, for a while.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 3:02:22 PM

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Reply to David William Pear:   New Content

Thanks David. See my comment to BFalcon below. It will give you an idea of my state of mind when I wrote the comment.

Dinosaurs hung around for a long time. I mean, 200 million years is pretty darn long. My theory is they made it possible for themselves to last so long because, while they had a mighty big footprint, it wasn't one of carbon. And, there would have been no slaughtering of each other. Most were herbivores.

Makes sense to me. :)

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 9:39:36 PM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

Your claim is as ridiculous as David's.

Of course some dinosaurs ate other dinosaurs, that is the only way there would be enough plants for eating.

Submitted on Sunday, Jan 27, 2019 at 3:54:27 PM

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

Well, I am not up to speed I guess on dinosaurs. But before I wrote my comment I checked, at least most were herbivores. I guess the "t Rexs" were not herbivores.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 at 6:58:05 AM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

"Most" is misleading.

Most African wildlife is herbivores.

Those who eat them have to be less numerous, naturally.

The "circle of life" is always closed.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 at 10:25:29 PM

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

Ok, I give in, you win. But just so you know, my theory that I stated in my comment about why dinosaurs lasted 200 million years, I just made up on the spot as I started to write my comment, i.e., there wasn't a whole hell of a lot of research and thought put into what I said. It just sounded like a great theory to me as I was writing, so I went with it. Apparently it didn't fool you, but I tried. :)

Submitted on Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019 at 11:14:55 PM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

You are obviously kind and mean well.

But the world is what it is.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019 at 8:02:55 PM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

First, nobody here advocates "slaughtering .... cry in agony".

What is discussed is how it can be done humanely. And it can be done reasonably well.

As far as avoiding killing other beings in this world, as some advocate, it is a utopia.

We have to kill and will, including rats and mice who eat our grains.

So let us be humane and reasonable, kind and rational.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 3:05:43 PM

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Reply to BFalcon:   New Content

I know, nobody here advocates "slaughtering .... cry in agony." You are right, but I wasn't really talking to people here. As I said it was late when I wrote that comment. I probably should not have read the article just before I was about to go to sleep. It put me in a bad mood, the same one I woke up with this morning.

This is just one thing. But I meant it when I said I am just plain fed up with everything...

Btw, my mood has improved some. :)

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 24, 2019 at 9:20:57 PM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

Well, it looks like you're smiling. :)

Submitted on Friday, Jan 25, 2019 at 12:52:16 AM

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Reply to Devil's Advocate:   New Content

Thank you. I guess I was smiling when my sister took the picture about three years ago. I do still smile. But it seems the more I learn, not as much. By the way, you have a nice smile. Looks like you are blushing. :)

Submitted on Friday, Jan 25, 2019 at 1:07:33 AM

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Reply to David Watts:   New Content

I see I am repeating myself. Anyway, I've become more dyslexia and absent minded, especially when writing off the cuff, so to speak.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 25, 2019 at 1:19:54 AM

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It seems that no-one is complaining about cutting or biting off baby boys foreskins. Perhaps the sick people doing this should be pre-stunned.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 25, 2019 at 12:26:15 PM

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Reply to Peter Franzen:   New Content

That is a totally different issue that should be explore. But not either/or with animal cruelty

Submitted on Monday, Jan 28, 2019 at 12:40:46 AM

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No form of animal slaughter is humane but banning slaughter without pre-stunning is a step in the right direction. More importantly laws should be implemented to ban the inhumane rearing and caging of animals in factory farms. Of course such laws would affect the profits of major corporations and therefore are unlikely to see the light of day.


Submitted on Friday, Jan 25, 2019 at 1:20:45 PM

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Reply to Tom Woodie:   New Content

How about cultures that allow honor killings? Stone adulterers? How about cultures that kill albinos because they think they are evil?

Submitted on Monday, Jan 28, 2019 at 12:43:05 AM

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According to a "House of Cards" character, the man who made the best barbecue ribs in the world, the way to dispatch a pig you intend to eat is as follows: You get a good full bowl of the pigs favorite sloppy slop and put it down in front of the animal, and the moment it becomes engrossed in its eating, BANG! right through the head with a shotgun. It dies happy and the meat is better.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 25, 2019 at 7:01:07 PM

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