Tag Archives: Chickens

If We Can’t Advocate for Animals Now, When?

One of the most common “arguments” animal-eaters use against vegans is that we should be putting humans problems first, as if we can’t simultaneously care for humans and animals or that speaking up on behalf of animals must mean we don’t care about the suffering our own species. These are long-held assumptions that are not only false but are indicative of two things in our society: 1) we don’t value animals very much and 2) we don’t want to believe that we might be part of the problem when it comes to how animals are treated.  Continue reading

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What is an Animal’s Life Worth?

I’m grateful to have other vegans in my life.  It might sound silly but you need support as a vegan. Knowing what animals endure at any given moment and not being able to talk about it with most people can make for some lonely days. Surrounded by constant reminders and references to animals mostly in their deceased form makes for a strange setting once you learn to see them as whole beings.  You need to be able to exhale once and awhile, and to be around others who understand the truth of how animals are treated.

Some animals, like dogs and cats, are beloved by their keepers, housed by loving owners who spend whatever they need to for their pets to be healthy, safe and happy.   Other dogs and cats are discarded if they don’t behave, or fail to meet an expectation they are likely not even aware has been placed upon them. Continue reading

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Our Contrary Relationship with Animals

A recent story came out of Florida where, on May 3 of this year, a landscaper who was mowing lawns on behalf of a company came across a mother duck and her 11 ducklings and deliberately ran over nine of her babies with the lawnmower leaving their body parts, “scattered all over the lawn.”  He was charged with nine counts of animal cruelty and is currently in jail on $27,000 bail.

At least two residents ran out to stop him and naturally they were shaken by what they had seen.  One resident was interviewed in what looked like her backyard, visibly upset by what she had witnessed.   As she sat in a chair recounting to the reporter what had happened, I couldn’t help but notice the stainless steel barbeque prominently displayed in the background.  Here was a woman who actively tried to prevent cruelty and bloodshed and was horrified by the landscaper’s senseless actions.  Yet I wondered: if she found out that millions of baby male chicks are killed in a similar way every year by a large grinding blade in a high-pressured macerator all because they are male and lack the capacity to breed, would she react the same way?  More to the point, would she actively do something to prevent it by refusing to eat chicken? Continue reading

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Taking Food Advertisers To Task

Well, hurrah!  The Internet has returned to our household after a 12-day absence and I’m glad to be back online.  Considering that ninety percent of the Canadian population has and/or uses the Internet, you’d think we’d have the whole “Internet Service Provider” part down too but, no. We suck at building infrastructure and this recent experience with Bell and Primus Canada made me long for the days of ink wells and parchment paper.  Nevertheless, it’s fixed now and I can finally stop going outside or heading to bed early just for something to do and return to watching cat videos into the wee hours while eating chips from a bag as nature intended.

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Frances Moore Lappé, author of many books but perhaps most famous for her book, Diet for a Small Planet, describes how she felt when first learning about U.S. agriculture in late 1969: “Like the little boy in the fairy tale who cries out, ‘The emperor has no clothes!’” After realizing that, “over half the harvested acreage goes to feed livestock and only a tiny fraction of it gets returned to us in meat on our plate,” she, “could barely believe what I was learning, because it flew so totally in the face of conventional wisdom.”   Continue reading

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This past weekend Julian and I had the privilege of spending four days at an animal sanctuary in Woodstock, New York. This year marked a few milestones for us – our 5-year wedding anniversary, we both turned 40, I joined Julian and went vegan – and we wanted to do something special to celebrate. We decided on Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary because it was co-founded by Jenny Brown and her book, The Lucky Ones, was one of the first books I’d ever read about farm animals after deciding to try a plant-based diet.  A friend bought it for me and it was only after reading it that I really understood what a sanctuary was.  It’s not a zoo (petting or otherwise), it’s not an aquarium and it’s not a museum where animals are on display for the amusement and study of human visitors. A sanctuary is a safe and sacred refuge where animals get to live out their lives in peace, liberated and free from the threat of slaughter, confinement, forced breeding and the general misery of factory farms.  Their only “job” is to live as they were meant to, roaming the grounds while foraging for food, sleeping, playing, and getting some well-deserved nuzzles from fellow animals and humans. A sanctuary is their home and I felt very different walking those grounds: I was there for them and not the other way around. Continue reading

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