A Turkey In My Garden, by Christine Rose

 

 

Our guest writer, Christine Rose, is Lead Agricultural Campaigner at Greenpeace Aotearoa

 

Turkey-girl was born in the long grass next to our house and after she fledged, visited every year. Eventually she came to stay and made our garden her home. She was smaller and less aggressive, with smaller head wattles, and the iridescent sheen on her back was less vibrant than her brothers. She had a gentle trill and followed us around the garden. By day, she watched me work at my desk through the window. At night, she perched on the fence built to keep the chooks out of my flower beds and left a big pile of guano to feed my plants. The fence didn’t keep her out, and it is hard to grow a garden with a resident turkey, but I didn’t mind. She delighted us, and any visitors.

Initially, people would make inappropriate jokes that she was ready to roast. But many who met her recognised her lovely nature and physical beauty. When the rest of the wild flock were passing in nearby paddocks, we thought she might join them. We were part-hopeful and part-sad at the thought. And we were worried she might have chicks in the garden where she was born. One turkey in the garden is manageable, but five, as we found when she was there with her tribe, are quite hard to handle. She was a welcome and honorary resident on her own. It’s surprising how attached you can get to a turkey-girl over months of company.

Turkeys were released into New Zealand in the 1860s. They are now ‘feral’ across an expanded range, throughout the lowlands of the North Island, the Marlborough Sounds and eastern South Island. Flocks are usually around 10 birds, but in breeding season a male will form and defend a harem of four to five females. They form larger flocks when they are young, though older males are often solitary. The chicks are particularly vulnerable to dogs, cats, ferrets and kahu/harrier hawks. As adults, they are mainly vegetarians/herbivores eating seeds and fruits but also ground invertebrates. The chicks mainly eat insects. The number of turkeys across the country are unknown, though they are a common sight and sound in my part of the world.

Sometimes people ask on local social media pages, ‘who owns the turkeys’, and ‘could they keep them contained’. No one owns a wild turkey, but Turkey-girl seemed to own us.

One morning, as I went to work she was her usual confident self, trying to get into the house as I was leaving. By 10am she was dead. She had that odd, distracted look a chook gets when she’s on her last legs. My kind and loving husband recognised the ominous signs, and sat with her, comforting her gently while she died. He gave her a respectful burial at the back of the garden, which was her home. We miss her still.

(Article first published in Local Matters/Environment)

Jane Goodall signatory to letter calling for end of factory farming

 

by Sandra Kyle, Editor, May Safely Graze

 

I am not vegan because it is a more sustainable solution to the world’s problems.   I am vegan because for me it is a moral baseline.  It is wrong to inflict pain and suffering on other sentient beings.  End of Story.

To be vegan for the animals is also to be vegan for justice.  Veganism recognises that non-human animals have rights, their lives are valuable, and that it is wrong to bring suffering upon their innocent heads and exploit them for our benefit.  Speciesism,  that states it’s fine to ‘love some and eat others’ is clearly unjust, as animals are equally sentient.

Food is the primary reason why we use animals, and it causes the most suffering and destruction of life.  This is especially true in factory farming.  Personally, I campaign for the end of all farming,  not just factory farming.  Every individual matters, not just two-thirds or four-fifths of individuals, and not just those we like, such as our pets and elephants.

However, I am reasonably realistic about the way social change comes about.  This is why I’m heartened to see that high-profile leaders and visionaries put their names to an open letter calling on world leaders at the COP27 climate conference to end factory farming.  In the letter there is no mention of animal rights or wrongs.  The rationale is that intensive animal agriculture threatens our survival because the livestock sector produces more greenhouse gases than transport.   Encouragingly, they are calling for a ‘food transformation,’ that has implications for a vegan future.

As an animal activist who has been inside a broiler farm, and a piggery, and seen the suffering with my own eyes, I am committed to ending the abomination that is factory farming.

We will continue to work towards a world where no animal is made to suffer at our hands, and meanwhile, abolishing the extreme cruelty of factory farming is a huge leap in the right direction.

Read more here

 

 

 

 

 

SAVING BOBBY CALVES IN NEW ZEALAND

Every year in New Zealand, millions of days-old ‘bobby’ calves – mostly males, but also females superfluous to requirements – are slaughtered.   It is the most tragic practice in an Industry that severely exploits dairy cows.

Fortunately there are individuals who rescue them.  They pay the farmer for them, look after them until they find a forever home paying for food and veterinary expenses, and sometimes they even continue to monitor them for the rest of their lives.

One of these individuals is Lynley Tulloch of the Starfish Bobby Calf Project.

Read Lynley’s article about New Zealand bobby calves here, first published by Vegan FTA.

(Featured image by Emere McDonald)

 

 

 

THE COMPANY THAT KILLS 13 MILLION ANIMALS A DAY

 

by Sandra Kyle, Editor, May Safely Graze

 

The world’s largest meatpacker has been in the news again.   JBS Foods, previously involved in widespread corruption and ‘slave labour’ charges, are now embroiled in child labour allegations.  Packers Sanitation Services Inc. LTD, JBS’ cleaning contractors, have been caught employing children as young as 13 to clean JBS US plants.  The children are employed late at night, and their job includes handling toxic chemicals and cleaning dangerous equipment such as – wait for it – a heavy duty head splitter.

 

José Batista Sobrinho

Slaughter megacorp JBS was founded by José Batista Sobrinho,  a cattle rancher in the central western city Brazilian city of Anápolis, who opened a butcher’s shop with his older brother in 1953.  The brother would buy ‘best quality’ cattle, and José would kill them. Profiting from the establishment of nearby Brasilia as Brazil’s capital in the 1960s, their business expanded to acquire other slaughterhouses in Brazil and South America, and in 2007 they became a public company.

 

Joesley (l) and Wesley Sobrinho

From 2007 to 2015 with Jose’s driven sons Joesley and Wesley at the helm, JBS swallowed up some of the largest meat companies in the United States, Canada. and South America. The now 88-year-old Sobrinho has said” ‘It’s a joy to watch’  how his single butcher’s shop has become the largest slaughterhouse chain in the world, killing a staggering 13 million animals every day.

Whether gigantic or small, the barbaric and desolate factories of pain, despair and destruction that are slaughterhouses are embedded in every society, demanded by the consumer and propped up by the taxpayer’s dollar.  We consider it a normal part of society that just one organisation can be responsible for snuffing out the lives of 13 million sentient beings every single day.  Nothing will change until people cry ‘Enough’, and begin to transition to a healthy, sustainable and humane vegan diet.

Read ‘The Brazilian Butchers Who Took Over The World’ 

Invertebrates Have Mental Muscle

Ninety seven percent of all life on earth are invertebrates, a category that includes life forms from sponges to insects, to octopi.   Some mollusks (soft bodied invertebrates)  are amazingly intelligent. Recently, one species of octopi was seen digging up and using discarded halved coconut shells and using them as a shelter.   Well I guess you need to do something with all those arms.

Seriously, we have until recently thought of  invertebrates as completely instinctual lacking the ability to think or have emotions.   As we look more closely into their world we are beginning to understand that there is much more to a squishy body than we previously thought.

Read the article about football playing bees.

 

‘Dominion’ Is Not ‘Domination’

 

by Sandra Kyle, Editor, May Safely Graze

Art:  Barbara Daniels Art

 

Once I was explaining to a class of English language students the meaning of the Golden Rule .   I was surprised when most of them said: “We also have that golden rule in our language too.”

‘Do Unto Others’ is a universal law.  I have often wondered what kind of world we would have if we actually practised it.  And if we applied it not only to humans,  but to all sentient life.

 

 

Non-human animals suffer at our hands to a scale that is absolutely staggering.   I was reading the other day that JBS Foods, one of the largest American meat companies, slaughters 13 million animals a day.  Yes, you read correctly. Just one company. Just one day.

 

 

 

 

Every year trillions of sentient beings on land, sea and air are deliberately destroyed by humans.   Inumberable others are dying because of the results of our activity, for example global warming and habitat and food chain disruption. How did we get in such a pathological state that we see this as normal?

 

 

 

 

Christians point to Genesis 1:26 that states humans have ‘dominion’ over the animals.   But Dominion doesn’t mean ‘Carnage’ and it doesn’t mean ‘Domination’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In his book “Dominion”  Matthew Scully says we should find it in our hearts to have mercy for all animals, not just a few: “Go to the largest livestock operation, search out the darkest and tiniest stall or pen, single out the filthiest, most forlorn little lamb or pig or calf, and that is one of God’s creatures you’re looking at, morally indistinguishable from your beloved Fluffy or Frisky.”

“Go to the largest livestock operation, search out the darkest and tiniest stall or pen, single out the filthiest, most forlorn little lamb or pig or calf, and that is one of God’s creatures you’re looking at, morally indistinguishable from your beloved Fluffy or Frisky.”

 

 

Dominion calls us to be wise and compassionate stewards of our planet and all the life it supports.   It doesn’t mean to destroy, pillage, enslave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After all, what if the roles were reversed? What if we were the exploited species? How would we feel then?

Climate Change – A Titanic Problem For All Earthlings

 

 

by Sandra Kyle, Editor, May Safely Graze

 

Our response to climate disaster has been compared to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  It’s an apt analogy.   For far too long the world, convinced our Mothership is ‘unsinkable’, has refused to take climate change seriously.   Instead of clear, decisive, early action we are inclined to small, futile gestures.  If we continue along these lines it could, in the words of leading NZ Climate Scientist Professor James Renwick, “upend our communities and our societies at almost incalculable cost”.

Warnings that burning so many fossil fuels would change the Earth’s climate were first sounded by scientists as far back as the 1960s, based on science understood since the turn of the 20th century.   In the intervening decades, especially in the last thirty years, we have seen predictions of more extreme weather events realised at an increasing rate.  Yet wealthy nations are still behaving like entitled first-class passengers on the Titanic.  Unwilling to make changes to our privileged lives, we have given no thought at all to the plight of third world nations – the ‘steerage classes’ – whose contribution to global warming is significantly less than our own, but who inevitably end up paying the heaviest price.

Unwilling to make changes to our privileged lives, we have given no thought at all to the plight of third world nations – the ‘steerage classes’ – whose contribution to global warming is significantly less than our own, but who inevitably end up paying the heaviest price.

For the last quarter of a century that yearly COPs, or ‘Conference of Parties’ have taken place, the world has seen record heatwaves, sea ice and glacier melts, sea level rise, severe droughts, out-of-control wildfires, devastating floods, intense storms and other catastrophes.  These events have caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, with millions of the most vulnerable in developing countries losing homes, livelihood and food security.   They have also condemned thousands of domestic animals and millions of wild animals to cruel deaths by fire, drowning, starvation and habitat loss.

Ahead of COP27, currently being held in Egypt, the June Bonn Climate Change Conference shared data showing that addressing animal agriculture is key to combating climate change and meeting the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.    At this summit the Humane Society International hosted a side event focussing on how plant-based protein can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Agricultural emissions are very significant globally, and especially here in New Zealand.  It follows that the agricultural sector is a major lever to combat the worst effects of climate change, but while a lot of attention has been given to the transport and energy sectors, in previous COPs food has only been addressed tangentially.  I was pleased to note that in COP27, food system transformation, along with help for poorer nations most affected by climate change, has finally made it to the Agenda.

Last month our government released the farmgate emissions pricing scheme. Greenpeace lead climate campaigner Christine Rose calls it ‘greenwash’, as it  fails to address the problem of our enormous agricultural emissions, favours intensive dairy, and doesn’t  properly regulate, price and cut methane emissions.

Last month our government released the farmgate emissions pricing scheme. Greenpeace lead climate campaigner Christine Rose calls it ‘greenwash’, as it fails to address the problem of our enormous agricultural emissions, favours intensive dairy, and doesn’t  properly regulate, price, and cut methane emissions.

As part of their measures to address the problem caused by animal agriculture, the Government has recently established the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions.  This is bound to be another waste of money and precious time – time we may not have.  For example, for more than two decades there has been ongoing research on alternative feeds that lower the amount of methane released from livestock farts and burps, and a breakthrough still hasn’t been achieved.  Instead of remedial measures, what is needed is for our government to go to the heart of the problem – – animal agriculture is inefficient and unsustainable – and begin to transition our farmers to climate-friendly crop growing and horticulture.

Our Earth is in deep trouble, and who is to say when we reach the point of no return?  It is time for our government to think food transformation, not tax levies.  Climate change doesn’t only affect humans, it affects all life on earth.  It’s not just our Mothership we’re destroying.  It’s theirs too.

‘We Should Stop Using Euphemisms For Animal Exploitation And Abuse’

 

by Sandra Kyle, Editor, May Safely Graze

 

When non vegans say things like ‘But plants have feelings too’ they are generally being disingenuous.  If someone says it to me I usually answer along the lines of:

‘Would you prefer to take your child strawberry picking or to a slaughterhouse?’

or

“If a dog runs out in front of your car, would you swerve into a bed of roses, or save the roses and run over the dog?’

Disingenuousness aside, it is entirely possible that in the future we may learn that plants do experience pain using different mechanisms.   But at our present level of understanding, and as they have no nervous system or pain detectors,  we are justified in stating that plants do not feel pain, and our common sense tells us that equating animal and plant sentience is not a credible position.

Humans and non-human animals share a long, common evolution, and anyone who keeps animal companions know that they are more similar to us than dissimilar.     Dogs even have prostates I was told yesterday by a vet.  When I look into my dogs’ eyes I can recognise myself.  When I look at a cauliflower –  not so much!

 

“Dogs even have prostates I was told yesterday by a vet.  When I look into my dogs’ eyes I can recognise myself.  When I look at a cauliflower –  not so much!”

 

Animals are our kin,  our planetary comrades. Despite being different species, they share our ability to feel, and they value their lives just as much as we value ours.

If your child were to visit a slaughterhouse it is unlikely that they would escape without trauma by witnessing the gruesome violence that goes on there.  Most adults too would be wounded to witness innocent, terrified animals being stunned, gassed, knifed, decapitated and dismembered.  It is a horrible business, and little wonder that the terms used in these places sugarcoat the reality. Even the word ‘slaughterhouse’ is not used by the Industry.   In some parts of the world they are called ‘factories’.  Here in New Zealand they are called ‘meatworks’.

We use euphemisms in our relationship with other humans to substitute for the stark reality that most of us find disturbing to think about.  Going after wild animals with a shotgun or spear is known as ‘harvesting’.  Destroying farmed animals’ lives when it is deemed the most ‘effective’ response, is known as ‘depopulation’.     The act of slaughtering billions of farmed animals every year, often when they are still little more than babies, needs to be sanitised to mitigate the horror, and to make us feel better about eating them.  For example ‘C02 stunning’ may sound as if the animal goes gently to sleep, but it is a cruel method that causes pigs to gasp for breath and hyperventilate, causing both pain and panic for up to sixty seconds.  Similarly, ‘thumping’ is the term used to kill piglets (and also baby goats) by swinging them around and pounding their heads against concrete.

 

“The act of ending the lives of innocent animals, often when they are still little more than babies, needs to be sanitised to mitigate the horror, and to make us feel better about eating them.”

 

We should stop using euphemisms to describe the horror of animal slaughter, and tell it as it is.

That way we may wake up to the suffering we cause every time we eat dairy products, or eat a meal of meat.

 

 

SOME SLAUGHTERHOUSE TERMS

Antemortem inspection:  The examination of live animals prior to slaughter to check for disease.

Blood Pit:  The area of a slaughterhouse where animals are bled out.

Bloodsplash: The rupture of capillaries in muscle tissue during electrical stunning which causes unsightly blood spots in the meat.  Bloodsplash hemorrhages are problematic from an aesthetic viewpoint, and cause a reduction in meat value.

Bung:  A slaughtered animal’s anus.

Captive bolt gun:  A gun, powered by compressed air or gunpowder, that drives a bolt into an animal’s forehead to render the animal unconscious.

Carcass: The skeleton and musculature of an animal, minus after decapitation and removal of the legs.

Chain: The overhead conveyor that carries shackled animals from worker to worker through the slaughter and dressing processes.

Chain speed: How fast the chain is moving, measured in number of animals per unit of time. (Aka Line speed)

Chitlins: The intenstines of hogs (pigs) used in prepared foods.

Chutes: Enclosed passageways that lead animals from their pens to the stun area.

CO2 stunning (carbon dioxide anaesthesia):  A method used to render an animal unconscious for slaughter.

Downer:  A sick, spent, or disabled animal who cannot stand or walk.

Dressing:  Removal of the hide, appendages and viscera.

Gutter:  A worker who takes the guts out of slaughtered animals.

Hot shot: An electric cattle prod.

Kill floor: Where animals have their necks or chests sliced.

Legger: The worker who cuts off and skins an animal’s legs.

PACing  (also called ‘thumping’):  Method of killing piglets whereby the piglet is picked up by the hind legs and slammed against the floor.  This causes massive head trauma, resulting in death (not always instantaneous).

Render: The process whereby animal parts are cooked down, to separate fat from protein, and then sold for use in animal feed, fertilizer, oils, plastics, cosmetics and a host of other household and industrial products.

Ritual slaughter:   Religious slaughter done according to the requirements of either the Muslim or Jewish religious faith. The animal is slaughtered, often without being stunned, with a razor sharp knife.

Scalding tank:  A long narrow tank containing 140 degree water through which pigs are dragged to loosen hair for dehairing.

Shackler: A worker who places a chain around an animal’s hind leg so that it can be hoisted and hung on the overhead rail.

Stunner: The worker who stuns the animals before they are shackled and hoisted.

Sticker: The slaughterhouse worker who cuts the animal’s throat open to bleed it.

 

 

An Animal Justice Party for Aotearoa New Zealand? Interview with Michael Morris, PhD

 

Michael Morris has a PhD in Zoology from Auckland University, and has taught ecology and global environment in Japan, where he also carried out post doctoral work on insects.  He has been a policy adviser for the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Agriculture, and currently works part time as a scientist and policy adviser in the field of smoking cessation. A long time animal advocate and vegan, Michael stood for Mayor of Auckland in 2022 on an animal justice platform and is currently instrumental in starting up the Animal Justice Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

 

 

You have been an articulate advocate for animals for decades. When did it all begin?

I became vegetarian in the 80s after realizing that we treated our cats like members of the family yet ate other animals.  I wondered where the consistency was in that.  When I read about how we didn’t need to eat animals to be healthy, I became vegetarian.  There were very few vegans at that time, and being a vegetarian in 1985 was considered more weird and attracted more negativity than being vegan in 2022.

What made you decide to stand for the Auckland Mayoralty?

It seemed like an efficient way to get the message out there that our treatment of animals is a serious ethical issue that required consideration by politicians.  I paid a $200 deposit to stand.  For that deposit I got my message out to every household in Auckland.  I also got to talk at mayoral candidate meetings and got several mentions in the media.  Where else would I get that level of advertising for $200.

In addition, having someone articulate with a professional background, a PhD and a sensible hair cut taking animal issues seriously may force others to understand that it is a serious issue.

What were your main platforms?

I wanted to have a platform of justice for animals first.  This is related to justice for the environment, which was my second platform.  Eating animals is the main cause of environmental degradation, and animals are also the main victims.  Over half a billion animals were burned to death in the Australian bush fires, which were brought about by climate change.

Something else that is related to animal and planetary abuse is inequality.  So I made economic justice the third plank.  More equal societies treat everyone better, including animals.

Specifically for Auckland, and more especially for the Papatoetoe local board that I also stood for, I campaigned for an immediate end to greyhound racing at the Manukau Sports Bowl.  Other policies were an end to lethal animal control, free public transport, extending the bicycle network, repurposing golf courses to support more biodiversity, greenery and use for all Aucklanders, and a living wage for all council staff, including contractors.

Do you think the time is right to have an animal rights party in New Zealand?

There is an Animal Justice Party in Australia with 2 seats at state level in Victoria, 2 in New South Wales, and 3 at local authority level.  In the Netherlands, the Party for the Animals has 6 seats in the House of Representatives, 3 in the senate, and one European Commission MP.  This shows that people are starting to see animal liberation as a political issue, and it is time animals had representation in New Zealand.

 Do you see a vegan future for New Zealand?

It is often said that new ideas come in 4 stages.  To paraphrase; first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.  When I first became vegetarian in 1984, New Zealand society was at the second stage.  They are now fighting us, with draconian measures such as the AgGag laws, and with farmer backlash over any erosion of their hegemony.  I am confident this is the final step before we get to a vegan world.

What has to happen for it to come about?

For changes in ideas to occur, it usually requires the generation in power to retire or die.  This is starting to happen.  Younger and middle-aged people are starting to become vegetarian or vegan.  For many of these it may be for environmental and health reasons.  I wouldn’t disparage these people.  Once they no longer have any emotional investment in defending the animal industries, they are likely to be open to the animal liberation reasons to become vegan.

I have seen one fairly far-reaching social change since I was a kid.  People have been hitting children for thousands of years.  Augustine spoke out against the practice in the 6th century.  Yet this practice has gone from totally acceptable to illegal, to totally unthinkable, in my lifetime

A 9-year old I was teaching asked me how things were different when I was a child.  I told him teachers used to hit children.  He looked at me as though I was from another planet.

“Why?” he asked.

I didn’t really know.  “Er … they thought we could learn better if they hit us?” I guessed.

“That’s so dumb!’ he said.

I wonder what he will say when his grandkids ask the same question.

“We used to eat animals”

“Why?”

“Er … we thought it would make us big and strong?”

“That’s so dumb!”

 

Follow Michael on Facebook:

 

Rodeo Violence Could Damage New Zealand’s Overseas Trade – Lynn Charlton, Anti-Rodeo Action NZ

Thousands of rodeos take place in the world every year, around 35 in New Zealand. Originally arising out of cattle herding practices in Mexico and Spain, today they are held as mass entertainment, and to test the skill and speed of ‘cowboys and cowgirls’.   

Most rodeo activities cause the animals they use pain and distress,  Physical injuries include broken necks, broken bones, bruising, and ruptured skin.  The animals – sometimes just babies as in ‘calf roping’ –  also suffer extreme psychological stress.

In this article, Lynn Charlton of Anti-Rodeo Action argues that the violence we continue to allow against defenceless animals is at odds with our own Animal Welfare Act.  Rodeo contradicts New Zealand’s self-proclaimed high animal welfare, and could damage our overseas trade.

(First published as an Opinion Editorial in stuff.co.nz. 

Feature image: Lynn Charlton of Anti-Rodeo Action NZ.)

 

Photo credit: Bejon Haswell/Stuff 

 

Last week, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor warned that international markets have indicated that New Zealand farming practices are going to come under increasing scrutiny, so “we all have to lift our game”.

“We live in a fishbowl whether we like it or not,” O’Connor said.

In 2017, the minister warned: “Disruption is upon us. If we don’t have better environmental management, if we don’t have more sustainable land use and uphold the highest standards of animal welfare, we won’t be able to sell our products into … high-value markets.”

READ MORE:
Government backs down on promise to ban elements of rodeo
Action group appeals to UN to have children banned from rodeo
Rodeo: Ultimate sport, family fun or blatant animal abuse?

Despite these warnings, resistance to doing the right thing is rife in New Zealand, as the farming community, fearful of change, demonstrates so well.

One area of resistance from farmers is in the violence committed against animals at rodeos.

The New Zealand Animal Law Association concluded, in 2018, that rodeos are illegal and in breach of the Animal Welfare Act.

That same year, the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) convened an expert animal welfare panel which, applying science (though most people could see that it was cruel), found that animals experienced moderate to severe impacts in every rodeo event bar one – and that one isn’t without its problems. With the rodeo travelling-cruelty-circuses resuming this coming weekend, the assault-as-entertainment will be perpetuated by the same farmers that profit from exports based on our supposedly high animal welfare standards.

Retired beef, sheep, dairy farmer and anti-rodeo campaigner Alice Hicks, one of the few farmers willing to speak out publicly against rodeos, was asked to comment for this article. She said, “If farmers treated animals in their day-to-day business the way rodeos treat animals, they would be prosecuted, and have frightened, non-productive animals”.

Soon it will be five years since legal and animal welfare experts produced their findings.

The country has watched animals being brutalised every summer since, slowed only by Covid-19. This year legal action in the High Court to stop rodeos was passed back to NAWAC, when Justice Churchman acknowledged he did not have the expertise to assess each rodeo event. Fair enough.

In a radical change for NAWAC – and one decades overdue – a recent stakeholder document on a proposed new rodeo code of welfare includes banning calf roping, calf riding, steer wrestling, team roping, breakaway roping and spurring.

We await the next phase of public consultation on this, and no doubt the farming lobby, profiting from exports, will be claiming rodeos have great animal welfare, and being thrown around and spurred in the neck doesn’t hurt animals one bit. From their point of view, if animals can walk away after the assault, it didn’t hurt them. Loathe to say it, but that mentality was once commonly used against women who had suffered assault.

“We await the next phase of public consultation on this, and no doubt the farming lobby, profiting from exports, will be claiming rodeos have great animal welfare, and being thrown around and spurred in the neck doesn’t hurt animals one bit.”

The problem is that farmers and their lobby groups have too much say in government, and every government, is and has been, lassoed, washing-lined, and hog-tied into submission by them. Farmers are rodeo. Without them, rodeos would not exist.

Meanwhile, clubs have been recruiting children and young people and practising away from public scrutiny. Following rodeo association guidelines, they’ve avoided posting videos and photographs because of public outcry. This Government and any other government will be failing to uphold the rule of law by allowing rodeos to continue, confirming to farmers that violence towards animals is state-sanctioned.

While it shouldn’t take concerns over profit from export to inspire us to do the right thing by animals, we’ve been warned, and will get what we deserve.

Discerning international markets are watching and will increasingly be watching how we manage the environment and animal welfare.

The Government must do the right thing, and those farmers who are genuinely concerned about animal welfare should speak out and call for a ban on this violence.

“The Government must do the right thing, and those farmers who are genuinely concerned about animal welfare should speak out and call for a ban on this violence.”

Animal Activists Sway A Jury By Their Mercy

 

 

by Sandra Kyle, Editor, May Safely Graze

 

This week a jury found two animal rights activists not guilty on burglary and theft charges, setting a “powerful precedent” for the right to rescue animals.

In 2017 Wayne Hsiung and Paul Darwin Picklesimer entered a pig farm in Utah to take footage, and came out with two sick piglets.  If they had been found guilty, they faced imprisonment for up to five years each.

Hsiung, an attorney who represented himself, told the jury: “I want you to acquit us as a matter of conscience. There’s a big difference between stealing and rescue.”

The farm they entered was owned by Smithfield Foods, which raises and slaughters millions of innocent beings every year.  Pigs are sensitive and cognitively complex, yet they live lives of misery and are slaughtered in horrific ways because of the demand for their flesh.

Smithfield Foods is a ‘hog’ producer based out of Smithfield, Virginia, where millions of pigs are slaughtered every year.  As is common in companies who exploit animals, they advertise themselves as raising ‘responsible, sustainable’ products, an outrageous statement that couldn’t be further from the truth.  The Humane Society of the United States investigation into the company in 2010 revealed shocking cases of cruelty, including pigs being beaten.  In 2021 HSUS sued the company for continuing to mislead consumers about how they raise their pigs.

“They advertise themselves as raising ‘responsible, sustainable’ products, an outrageous statement that couldn’t be further from the truth”.

The Smithfield Packaging Company was started in the 1930s by Joseph W. Luter and his son Joseph W. Luter Jr.  At the outset of their endeavour they would buy 15 pig carcasses per day and sell the chopped up pieces to local businesses.   Their first processing plant was opened in 1946, where they slaughtered 3,500 hogs per day. Ten years later, their company had grown to 650 employees.

Smithfield Foods remained in the Luter family as a major player in the meat industry for decades, until in 2013 they were bought by the WH Group of China, formerly known as the Shuanghui Group.

Pork is the most popular meat in China, and as the middle class expands, the demand for pig meat has skyrocketed in that country.  To meet the demand, and save on land space, piggeries are now converting to high rises.

Chinese love pork, Americans can’t do without their bacon.  And because of this, billions of intelligent and aware sentient beings are condemned to a life of suffering, painful stunning by gassing,  and a violent death.

Smithfields show their pigs no mercy.  The verdict this week is a tribute to two activists who swayed a jury by theirs.

Will the Dr Oz animal abuse controversy help to end animal testing?

 

 

by Sandra Kyle, Editor, May Safely Graze

 

I remember watching Dr Mehmet Oz on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where he made many appearances over the years.  Oprah was clearly a fan, and Harpo Productions subsequently launched The Dr Oz Show, a daily television program on medical matters and health that was hosted by the charismatic heart surgeon.  The program, while popular, came under a lot of scrutiny by the medical establishment as he featured such topics as faith healing and the paranormal.  Now the doctor is embroiled in even more serious allegations, that he abused animals when he was ‘principal investigator’ in the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine labs.

Mehmet Oz is a true American success story.  The son of Turkish immigrants whose father literally grew up ‘dirt poor’ – sleeping on a dirt floor in his native country – before emigrating to the United States.   Before he became a medical celebrity he had a brilliant career as a heart surgeon and academic, and in the latest stage of his self -reinvention is venturing into politics, currently running for the Pennsylvania Senate.   From his point of view, the news that surfaced this week that he supervised a vivisection laboratory that committed animal abuse is terrible timing.

After centuries of vivisection going back to 500 BCE, and that swelled enormously from the mid 20th century, we seem to be reaching a point where testing on animals is losing public sanction.  Yet an estimated 100 million animals still suffer and die every year in laboratories all over the world, with little or no protection from cruelty.  While a wide range of animals are experimented on, most commonly used are non-human primates, rats and mice, dogs, pigs, cats, sheep, rabbits and pigeons.  The animals are then killed when they are no longer useful to the experiment.

It is cruel and unethical to sentence animals to a barren life in a laboratory cage, intentionally cause them pain, disfiguration, loneliness, fear and despair, and then at the end of it all, take their lives.  But it is also bad science.

In 2004 the FDA estimated that 92 percent of drugs that pass preclinical tests, and use animals, fail to proceed to the market.  One has to ask how all that time, money, energy – and animal suffering – can be justified for such a poor result.

 

 

Humane alternatives to animal testing now exist, including computer modelling, in vitro technology, human-patient simulators among others, and what’s more they are cheaper, faster and more accurate than animal tests.

It is time to stop the cruelty and waste that is animal testing, and use current technology to achieve better outcomes.

New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Website