Mixed feelings , this is going to focus on honesty in reporting and what happens when "advocates" choose to embellish there videos to push an agenda. This doesn't in my eyes help there case, it ends up hurting the animals more in the long run, and hurts everyone in the long run. Honestly here is why , over 90% of the "farm expose" videos I've seen have been WAY less then honest about what your actually looking at. If they want to go after something. Go after the three story pig "plant" in MO, and the actual factory chicken farms like the ones that stack and restrain the chickens 6 to a 2' by 2' cage.
The "downed cow forklift videos are far from honest, as were the ones being released the claimed they were killing chickens with foam for human consumption. I've seen several videos and posts in the last 24 hours that were not what they were advertised as.
The "whole pig to hot dog video"
#1 those pigs were dead already,
#2 the first 4 minutes was a video of whole animals getting sent to a waste renderer, that were not for human consumption,
#3 the second part of the video was using footage from the "how it's made" sausage episode...
Chicken killed by Foam to your plate.
The article with the chicken coop foaming was a disinfecting process on birds that had an incurable highly contagious zooitonic illness. The foam was approved to be used as an emergency measure to mass kill infected birds, and to keep humans as far away as possible to ensure bio-security. The fact I can debunk is those animals could not be, and were not used for human consumption like some sources were claiming. I can't defend this practice, although I understand the importance of controlling a pandemic, think of this as a chicken catalyst Zombie Apocalypse. I still feel bad that the birds have to die this way, although it is not meant to be used in any but the most extreme circumstances, and any farm that would need to deploy such methods is already taking a HUGE loss on income in the thousands from having to destroy that much of their stock then replace it. I can use it as an example of an approved government regulation for "disease control" and as an example of why I feel government regulations aren't necessarily the answer.
The were pictures of a cow labeled "look growth hormones did this".Mastitis isn't caused by hormones, it's a bacteria infection. Yes it's scary looking but it is treatable in about 98% of the cases , and it's something that all mammals (including humans) in milk CAN get.
" Mastitis is the inflammation of the mammary gland and udder tissue, and is a major endemic disease of
dairy cattle. It usually occurs as an immune response to bacterial invasion of the teat canal by variety of bacterial sources present on the farm, and can also occur as a result of chemical, mechanical, or thermal injury to the cow's udder.
Milk-secreting tissues and various ducts throughout the udder can be damaged by bacterial toxins, and sometimes permanent damage to the udder occurs. Severe acute cases can be fatal, but even in cows that recover there may be consequences for the rest of the lactation and subsequent lactations.
The illness is in most respects a very complex disease, affected by a variety of factors: it can be present in a herd subclinical, where few, if any, symptoms are present in most cows. Practices such as close
attention to milking hygiene, the culling of chronically-infected cows, good housing management and effective dairy cattle nutrition to promote good cow health are essential in helping to control herd mastitis levels.
Mastitis is most often transmitted by contact with the milking machine, and through contaminated hands or other materials, in housing, bedding and other equipment."
The cow being moved by a forklift/skid-loader video
Cows if they are down for an extended period of time will die. You are not lifting a 1200+ lb animal without help from heavy equipment. A farmer may let them lay their for up to 48 hours to give them a chance to get up on their own, and if they can't get up after that you HAVE to use the heavy machinery. What happens to a cow left "down" ? First they loose circulation in the legs , then their remans stop working, then they die. http://dairycarrie.com/2013/12/09/cowabuse/
What i'm saying is if you are going to "exposing cruelty" make sure your actually doing the detective work and, working with the local AC, and state Ag. If they won't work with you, then do the leg work to run for those offices and be the change. While your at it , actually examine the practice, learn what your actually looking at and WHY the practice exists.
Some of what Animal Rights Activists show you as cruelty is actually required, necessary , and often times ISN'T actually cruel.
Lots of practices shown on videos in the long run are healthier for the animals and safer for everyone involved. Other videos are of things that are just part of farm life. Like having to help pull babies, and the reasons why they do get taken from mom at a young age, it's not exactly what the Animal Rights people tell you it is. I do not agree with just shooting video to push a "no meat" agenda and holding onto the video and allowing the practice to continue. I'm not saying true cruelty doesn't happen, it does. In most of the cases it was with specific employees that if the videographer had reported to the superiors immediately the abusers would of been fired, immediately. Instead they let it keep happening to get more footage to suit an agenda. I have a huge problem with that. If you see something, say something! If you do nothing you should be charged as an accomplice. Unless your a hired detective or part of an official investigation, you have to at least run it up the flag pole. The "under cover" videographers took a JOB on those farms, when you take a JOB it becomes your contractual responsibility to point out red flags . If you do and you get fired or asked to keep hush, then go to the authorities. You have to remember it is not in a rancher's or farmer's best interest to loose money on abused, sick and dyeing animals that got in that condition becuse they have an abusive or dishonest farm hand.
A break down of one of the many activist editorials by a dairy farmer: or "honestly is NOT an activists first policy" http://dairycarrie.com/2012/04/26/animalrightsvide/
Other points Educate yourself, do us all a favor and fight the USDA regulations that make it impossible to have small intimate farming operations, you know the regulations that FORCE the factory farm environments. Because you need to invest over $3 million just to get all the equipment to have a "commercial" farm. Seriously even a small goat dairy is required by law to have MINIM 300 gallon holding vats for pasteurization. As you can see this isn't practical when you have less then 150 animals. The regulations are often oppressive and not really necessarily helping the animals or small farmers.
How about offering public tours?
The better farms and Co-ops do , Places like Fair Oaks Farm in northern Indiana have a very transparent tour. But they also have the money and ability to set up safe touring environments that allow bio-security so that people can see but not touch to keep there cows safe. Many Farms will welcome people to come by by appointment. Not every day is a "safe day", and kidding/calving/lambing season is not the best time to invite germs on to the farm when you can't reasonably quarantine your guests . Some places that do not allow visitors do so to protect their animals, so not allowing visitors doesn't necessarily mean they are being mean to the animals. It can mean that the Farmer is more conscious of bio-security and wants to limit the possibility of cross contamination.
I'm all for farming education.
The issue with government regulation actions is what they choose to regulate is often wrong. Because they have no practical contact with the farmer or the animals and more regulation that based on emotion is often wrong.. I would say it's NOT lack of regulation it is 'lack of enforcement".
I do not like the labels "humane" and "organic" because they aren't honest.
What Organic actually Means:
Organic simply means the animals were raised on feed or land that has never been treated with herbicides or chemicals, and that the animals have never received any antibiotics. Now here is the rub with that ....
#1 most farmers who raise conventionally, do NOT feed medicated feed 100% of the time, it's only when there animals are sick. Medicated feed is expensive. ( their are always exceptions to the rule and it's usually the exceptions and extremes that people base opinions on, which is silly) ok..
#2 In order to be certified Organic your pasture has to have sat for at least 5 years with no animals or chemicals, of any type on it.
#3 Every animal you own can have NEVER of been treated with antibiotics. So the question to the farmers who have very tight profit margins to begin with is:
- Do I treat a sick cow with what I know will fix it and have to get rid of that cow?
- Do I just let it suffer because the herbal treatments aren't working ?
- Do I shoot it, over what is a curable illness if I use conventional methods ?
Seriously that's is what Organic farming forces. Also you'll notice I said "no chemicals", there is no" humane" requirement. You can get a certified organic label and have every animal raised in a feed lot on concrete.
We should talk about regulations already in place for antibiotics. Their are regulations for withdraw time for both milking and slaughter for all animals on ANY farm that get antibiotic treatments . Withdraw times vary from 7 days from last dosage with Penicillin , to over 100+ days with much stronger anti-bionics. In other words milk and meat is tested regularly for antibiotics, ALL milk and meat , and animals must be cleared before they can be added to the food supply.
"Humane" ok, this is a rough one.
This like many words now it has taken on a marketing buzz word type meaning. What It should cover is animals are Feed appropriately, kept in good condition, treated by a vet at appropriate times , and given correct and appropriate access to shelter and water.
What is Humane? Lets discuss typical farming Practices and how they are performed and WHY. On a large or even small farm it is more humane to Castrate a bull calf, and dehorn your herd, and occasionally (or depending on the breed, often) take the babies away . Lets give some real world examples of why.
Animals with horns are dangerous. Yes, I know their are exceptions to every rule. But how many of you have had to deal with a goat trying to break your wrist with her horns EVERY morning when your just trying to feed her? That goat got mean being the only horned goat here, she would more then just "play butt" . It got to the point that Helga would use her horns to pick up the other pregnant goats by there udders, and take running stabs at them. Tie her horns around their necks or legs, cause them pain or try to snap legs, and attack my dogs. She sent my older girl mini schnauzer flying a good two feet.
Helga had three options, Adult dehorning which I opted against as a last resort because there is a time that is best to do it and it is when they are babies, being made into stew, and I had recipes lined up after she kept trying to break the hand that fed her, or go live on a sheep farm. Helga is overjoyed being a "guard goat" with a flock of 60 and I see her almost daily.
My good farmer friend recently had to dehorn all her jersey cows this summer. There were 5 in the herd , and she tried to just leave them be. BUT, one cow started getting Ornery, and she came to feed them one morning and they had fought, and 6 cows had large puncture wounds in their sides from cows stabbing each other. Bulls are dehorned for safety, for breeding polled is preferred because it means genetically they do not make horns.
De-sexing, Castration, Banding
Castration happens for several reasons,
#1 it calms the bulls,
#2 it's used as part of a good breeding program.
#3 cattle recover within 3 days .
A few weeks ago, I helped my friend work her cattle, we rounded up 60 head ,and put them in a shoot. This is something that happens as needed, but 90% of a cows life on her farm is spent frolicking in the field (01% of this herds life was spent breaking into a hay barn). Anyway , Working included running each animal into the shoot, dosing it with Ivermectin, which is a wormer/parasite control, winter brings mites and you don't want your cows to be uncomfortable, Banding the bull calf's, and one needed to be dehorned. But that is just part of making sure the cows were healthy. Once all were done they went back out to pasture, the banded calves are a little sore but none of them fell down or cried. They were uncomfortable for a few days, but with in 4 days they were running and playing in the field like always.
HSUS and PeTA recommend Banding on all livestock , that shows just how out of touch they are. Banding is not always the best choice for every animal. So HSUS and PeTA recommend it, YET they then try to ban it or discourage it for cattle which honestly are one of only 2 animals that really handle it well.
Goats , sheep and pigs you are better "cutting" while they are young. I can now say I have some experiences with this . The little piggy that just went to market was one I helped castrate when he came to the farm. To shed some light on this procedure, they protest FAR more from being restrained then they do getting there balls removed. Pig is restrained on it's back, antiseptic rinse , and occasionally a local pain killer are applied to the site,. two quick incisions are made over the "sack" area, and the testicles are pulled out. It is recommended that you NEVER CUT the cords , tearing them out is safer more hygienic and allows the site to heal faster. As soon as you finish doing the final antiseptic flush and release them they trot off and eat there hay or feed like nothing happened. Mike Rowe had a similar experience, and also tells why banding other small ruminants isn't like calves, and also why farmers usually know best. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-udsIV4Hmc
Also the whole notion of animals and Anesthesia ( news flash for Peta , and AR people.... Anesthesia in rumen animals has a VERY high probability of killing them, that is WHY it is not used for de-sexing. Occasionally a local is applied as needed but you do NOT want to put a ruminating animal under unless it is absolutely necessary for MAJOR surgery)
There is a group, that has insane regulations based purely on emotion that of course the general public finds awesome.. But they are not practical. Regulations and certifications passed by people who sit comfortably on a board and distanced from the boots on the ground work rarely make good regulations. They want humane certs to include never castrating a bull, never dehorning.
http://bovidiva.com/2012/08/31/humane-becomes-synonymous-with-agenda-driven-marketing/ <- decent read disagree with a lot of the others post for my own reasons , but this one is a fairly good shake. To those of you who don't know me . I want the truth, not just an agenda, I tend to walk a fine line because of that and will give both sides a fair shake before drawing a opinion.
Babies being stolen from their mom!?
Not exactly, Let me tell you a story of what happens when you don't get to a calf fast enough. Most cows give birth in fields or calving pens with other cows. Pregnant hormonal or just asshole cows steal babies.
I sadly witnessed this earlier this year. Mom gave birth to a pretty jersey heifer . Unfortunately one of the other cows, a defunct Jersey that was never able to settle (get pregnant) or produce milk, stole the little calf. This lead to three things:
- For the first 24 hours of babies life it prevented mom from being able to nurse the baby properly.
- It upset mom, since she was constantly fighting off this rouge cow , this lead to her milk not dropping properly since stressed cows do not produce milk.
- It ended up leading to the calf's eventual demise due to a lack of the life giving antibodies in moms colostrum that MUST be absorbed during those first hours.
Other times farmers will tell you of having to grab newborn abandoned calves off of frozen earth where mom left them to die. bring them home work them all night and hopefully be-able to save them as bottle babies.
Calves left on mom are more susceptible to getting killed and eaten by wild dogs, loose dogs, wolves or Coyote.
If you bottle rasie a baby you know for sure it is getting enough milk and care. Some cows this year weren't producing enough to feed the baby. This can happen with goats too. Going threw the process of milking out mom to bottle feed a calf does give you more insight into the state of the cow.
Their are many other variables , but here is a good overview of life on a dairy farm during calving.
Finally Dairy Carrie's take on the AG gag laws , which I do agree with .. and she echos a lot of what I stated previously.
I hope that filled in some holes on farming, and debunked a few things that have been floating around.