Animal activists still targeting livestock, dairy producers

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Butler Oaks damage from Irma
Screenshots from Butler Oaks' post-Hurricane Irma video.

By Susan Crowell / Farm and Dairy Editor

Last spring, the horrific wildfires that blazed through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas burned nearly 2,100 square miles. Early estimates were that the fires killed more than 20,000 cattle and pigs.

And Texas officials have yet to know how many thousands of cattle may have died in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, but the counties that sustained damage were home to 1.2 million head of cattle.

Then Irma hit Florida, after pummeling several Caribbean islands. Prior to the storm reaching land, Florida Dairy Farmers, the state’s milk promotion organization, shared an update on how dairy farmers were preparing for the hurricane.

On some farms, cows and calves were moved to reduce the potential for injuries. Generators were checked, not for the homes, but for the milking parlors. “We will run all night with the generator under a load, to provide one final test before we fuel it up for Hurricane Irma,” said Florida dairy farmer Ben Butler on the association’s blog.

He moved his cows from the freestall barn to a pasture away from potential debris. That may seem like it leaves them unprotected, but the No. 1 reason for cattle deaths after Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992 was fallen structures.

Butler farms in Lorida, in Highlands County, south of Orlando. In 2005, a storm took out four of his barns and took years to repair.

When I checked the region’s reports Sept. 12, 95 percent of the county’s residents were without power. Roads were closed, trees were down.

In Okeechobee, Kris Rucks and her family also worked to prepare their dairy for the storm. “Our biggest concern is keeping our employees, their families and our cows as safe as possible,” she’s quoted in the blog post.

I thought of all the livestock owners who work so hard every day to care for their animals, on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Compassionate people who inwardly — if not sometimes outwardly — cry when an animal can’t be saved.

An Extension agent told me about the cattlemen who crossed their lands after the March wildfires, looking for animals. They had to euthanize most of the ones they found, along with wildlife. It was, he said, as gut-wrenching as the fire itself.

And I thought about a report I read from the 2017 Animal Rights National Conference held in Virginia in early August — and got angry.

Everyone has a right to eat as they choose, be they meat-eaters, vegans or vegetarians. But the goal of animal rights activists is not animal welfare but the end of animal agriculture, period. The conference was touted as “dedicated to the vision that animals have the right to be free from all forms of human exploitation.”

It’s as if farmers’ compassion — the misters, the stall mattresses, the feed, the special attention, the fresh straw, the extra scoop of feed or ear scratch — doesn’t matter. It’s exploitation.

“We eat babies,” was the statement of one speaker, Harish Sethu, volunteer director of The Humane League Labs. (A recent Humane League Facebook post declared, “Being an animal lover means leaving them off your plate.”)

Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO of the Animal Agricultural Alliance, says conference speakers made their goals very clear: “ending all forms of animal agriculture, regardless of how well animals are cared for.”

The conference was filled with sessions like how to pressure restaurants to stop selling animal products, targeting millennials and engaging children, using technology (think drones, undercover hidden cameras), and solidifying political alliances.

“Who cares, I am an animal,” said PeTA’s Ingrid Newkirk at the conference. “There’s isn’t a human race and all other races.”

Humane meat is a myth, speakers declared, and that includes livestock farms of all sizes.

There’s more, much more.

Bottom line: While we’re protecting and caring for livestock every day, there’s a huge faction out there who says you are evil and should be stopped. They can disguise their ultimate goal in a variety of tactics, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of “oh, it’s just an animal welfare movement.”

The storm will hit and you could lose everything.

 

 

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24 COMMENTS

    • It makes no since, for you to be commenting on the farm and dairy page or that vegan world coming.
      If deer are left alone in isolated areas they get sick and develop birth defects from inbreeding.
      Cage free is nice but, the neighbors complain when animals get in their yard.
      If you have a sensitive nose it only takes one cow BM to knock you off your feet, especially if your not used to it.
      That’s why so many farms are away from roads. Not that they are abusing the animals. Frankly animals stink. Even when you take care of them! And people don’t like smelling your poop!
      We will not and can not make everyone happy.
      There is nothing wrong with being Vegan or Vegetarian. It just isn’t a lifestyle for everyone.

  1. “Everyone has a right to eat as they choose” sure – The legal right but not the ethical one. To hold a particular few species hostage and enslaved to an antiquated system defies reason. “Meat” and all by-products of non-humans is obsolete. In developed worlds there are many more productive, healthy and compassionate ways to feed ourselves. A world without the burdens and negative impacts of “livestock” are inevitable. Only a matter of time. Mr Puppy is right…. It just can’t happen soon enough!

  2. “While we’re protecting and caring for livestock every day,” You mean the livestock you bring into existence through forcible impregnation and only keep in existence until they’re sufficiently fat for you to make money off of their slaughtered bodies? Wow, what heros.

  3. Farmers cry when the animals they exploit die before they can profit off their death, more like. Claiming to love someone you plan to kill, chop into pieces, and sell by the pound is a symptom of how warped our collective attitudes towards other animals have become. Nothing “humane” happens in a slaughterhouse.

  4. Of all the horrific procedures we have inflicted on the other animals, the dairy industry is the worst. Without going into the gruesome details that begin with the rape of the cows, you people who run these barbaric and shocking industries are psycho and should be in prison for life. Hypocrites worse than the so-called president.

  5. I believe Mr. Grillo might have already shared the following but I felt it was worth repeating; couldn’t have said it better myself!

    “Are we really to believe your assertion about farmers “rescuing” their animals from Harvey and Irma, that the real “victims” are those who artificially breed, exploit and kill baby animals for profit? Are we to hail exploiters as heroes for rescuing their “livestock” because they view them as nothing more than valuable commodities they can’t afford to lose? Are we to conflate real compassion, altruism and empathy with financial self-interest? Everyone knows that these animals have a price tag on their heads and will soon be sent off to slaughter by these same “compassionate rescuers” where they will be shot point blank in the head, have their throats slashed and then have their bodies hacked up into “edible” body parts. You are shamefully and dishonestly propping up an industry built upon violence and killing as some kind of rescue mission.”

  6. Keep up the fight, leaving your comments on articles, blogging, burning up the blogs, and typing anonymous blurbs etc, etc, blah blah ba blah. Animal ag is big business in this country and you’re fighting a losing battle. You’re the fringe. The ridiculous big-mouthed minority. The average American consumer rolls their eyes at you as they enjoy a sandwich at Chik-Fil-A or a juicy cheeseburger. Me, I’ll keep on producing humanely raised beef, lamb, and chicken based on overwhelming demand for my product while you continue to waste your time and energy on a fruitless and silly crusade. Good day to you.

  7. The animals suffer horrific abuse, and animal agriculture destroys the environment and causes many human health problems (so astronomical healthcare costs), so it’s not only about an individual human’s choice of “food” – the choice of consuming animal flesh, dairy, eggs (all of which are unnecessary for human nutrition) affects everyone.

  8. And, as usual, the Animal rights TRASH have arrived!! They scour the media daily for any pro-animal AG article, alarm the goons on their site, and ATTACK!! Name calling, belittling, lieing, and trying to impose their twisted belief on others….for years I have tried to tell fellow animal AG producers NOT to try to reason or make ANY concessions to them-they do NOT give a crap about animals-they want to impose their twisted, sick beliefs on every one!!

  9. Animal use is a nightmare of the past. The truth is here and it’s not going away! The way of the future is freedom for all! Be you human or non human animal!!!

  10. The problem is not ethics or humane treatment. It’s morals these animal activist have none. If they want to see real abuse and slaughter free all domesticated animals into the Free world. Watch them die of starvation. And neglect. These pathetic excuses for humans that think they can control the world should visit a real farm and get over life itself.

  11. Why is it that most of the animal rights folks love to generalize all farmers together? Big mistake but something you are taught to do because it makes an impression on the under-educated.
    All humans have a God given right to choose what we eat just like you do. I can’t force you to eat meat any more than you can force me not to! Choices folks-we all have em like it or not.
    BTW-you all sound like fanatics every time you open your mouths. No reasoning with most of you.

  12. When a wild animal,deer,bear etc gets sick in the wild they die a painful and agonizing death.When a domesticated animal gets sick they get medical attention and most survive.The life expectancy of animals both domestic
    Survive and wild with a few exceptions are about the same.Most animals in the wild survive by killing and eating other animals.

  13. For those animal rightists, do you cry whenever a carrot, beet, or potato or other veggie is ripped mercilessly from the ground so you can say “I don’t eat meat”. Do you weap for every tree that is wacked down before it is allowed to die from old age so that you can live in a house using wood products and use furniture built from wood? Are you horrified when some cultures consume insects? Do you know the origin everything that you purchase to use, wear, or consume to verify that nothing originates from a farm product? Does it bother you that honey bees are used as slave labor to pollinate fruit and nut trees so you can say, “I don’t meat.” Are you still wearing clothes made from fibers, whether obtained from sheared (stolen from) animals or plant fibers? Whether you answer yes or no any of these questions, and still continue to eat veggies, live in a home that has wood in their structure and used wooden furniture, enjoy the taste of fruit and nuts, wear clothes and shoes, then I say you are a hypocrite and a liar. Perhaps you should be prosecuted for that crime.

  14. I was a member of an group devoted to humane treatment of farm animals. The basic outcome of our effort was to get chickens out of cages. We did not intentionally confront the farmer himself. We changed the market structure and made cage-free eggs available so many farmers were able to get back into egg production where previously the large layered facilities were putting them out of business. We received no public appreciation for achieving this. When I was campaigning for this initiative the people that expressed the most support for cage-free chickens to me were former layered chicken farmers. They hated running that type of facility. One of the largest owners of this type of facility in this country testified before the US Congress that he refused to go inside of it himself. The air was too unhealthy.

    When we attempt to rid the industry of layered chicken coops and punish the type of farmer as shown in the Conklin video we are not saying all farmers are wrong. We are attempting to punish the ones who deserve it and let the others have their own reward. The farmers themselves should be punishing people who mistreat animals. I personally am attempting to make that easier. As there is a 1-800 number to report poachers there should a similar published means of reporting agricultural animal abuse. The farmers should welcome this. As it stands today it is becoming difficult since some people regard this as an invasion of the privacy of that which is regarded as an extension of their home.

  15. So the pro-abortion, satan worshipping animal lovers are flamming a farm magazine website! Go back to reddit . Animals have very few legal rights and they taste so good. So I am going to continue to raise and eat them. You animal rights freaks need to go back to your mothers basement. I doubt any of you people have a callus on your hand.

    • Why do you folks figure we don’t have ‘real’ jobs? The vast majority are hard working, tax paying citizens. We just happen to believe in non violence and non exploitation.

  16. Are we really to believe your assertion about farmers “rescuing” their animals from Harvey and Irma, that the real “victims” are those who artificially breed, exploit and kill baby animals for profit? Are we to hail exploiters as heroes for rescuing their “livestock” because they view them as nothing more than valuable commodities they can’t afford to lose? Are we to conflate real compassion, altruism and empathy with financial self-interest? Everyone knows that these animals have a price tag on their heads and will soon be sent off to slaughter by these same “compassionate rescuers” where they will be shot point blank in the head, have their throats slashed and then have their bodies hacked up into “edible” body parts. You are shamefully and dishonestly propping up an industry built upon violence and killing as some kind of rescue mission. Robert Grillo.

  17. Please stop lying to people…you do not ‘protect ‘ and ‘care for’ animals…they are a commodity with which you make money. What do you mean that we are ‘targeting’ livestock and dairy producers. We are certainly showing the wold the truth about what you people do to animals. There is nothing good about raping, raising and killing animals for a living. There is nothing to be proud of in taking babies away from their mothers and stealing her breastmilk. A vegan world IS going to happen as people learn the truth and the majority change their ways. Please, do the right thing and stop exploiting animals to make money…for the animals, for the planet.

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