Thursday, May 27, 2010

STRONG CONTENT WARNING: On why I'm thinking about going back to being a Vegan...

Got Milk? 

Where'd ya get it?

I have a lot of problems with some animal welfare organizations that are almost like Basque terrorists or something when it comes to their highly aggressive means. But you know, their photos don't lie. They capture a side of our society that you just can't escape. Where, and how, we get our food. What are you eating? What are you drinking? Well perhaps you should hope you didn't get it from Conklin Dairy Farms.

Jane sent me this NY Times article while I was traveling the other day and I couldn't blog it properly. The article reports that workers at Conklin grossly maltreat their calves and cows. It was all caught on video by the folks from Mercy for Animals. Viewers are STRONGLY CAUTIONED. From the opening moments of this video you will be simply horrified. I couldn't even embed the video here on this post because I knew that it would genuinely traumatize a number of my gentle readers who are great animal lovers. But you know, people need to see this, even if they can only watch that first 20 seconds. This may be what we eat and drink really costs. If we're not going to be vegan, we owe it to the animals that we rely on to know what it costs them to fill our bellies. Really we do.

MfA reports (from their link above):

Captured on hidden camera, the shocking scenes of abuse reveal a culture of cruelty at Conklin Dairy Farms in Plain City, Ohio.
During a four-week investigation between April and May, MFA's investigator documented farm workers:

        Violently punching young calves in the face, body slamming them to the ground, and pulling and throwing them by their ears
        Routinely using pitchforks to stab cows in the face, legs and stomach
        Kicking "downed" cows (those too injured to stand) in the face and neck – abuse carried out and encouraged by the farm's owner
        Maliciously beating restrained cows in the face with crowbars – some attacks involving over 40 blows to the head
        Twisting cows' tails until the bones snapped
        Punching cows' udders
        Bragging about stabbing, dragging, shooting, breaking bones, and beating cows and calves to death             

The issue of food is, as I’ve said before, one that is so complex that it is simply daunting. Sustainable food and farming, of any kind (animal or vegetable/fruit) is something that every citizen of the world needs to spend more time thinking about. When so many people who farm go hungry themselves, you have to question what we do to properly source our food. But one thing is without any questions whatsoever in my mind.

I don’t want to eat or drink anything that was got from maltreatment and cruelty. And I’m betting you don’t want to either.


  1. I'm reading Michael Pollan's books right now and have been giving these issues a LOT of thought lately. I guess I need to find out where Conklin Dairy's milk ends up. We buy organic milk, so possibly we aren't getting Conklin (although no guarantee that what we are getting is okay either). I'm not at the point where I can feel safe giving my kids raw milk though ....

    Lots of tough issues. I know I will NOT be showing the video to Elizabeth, who is mostly vegetarian on principle now (but she does consume a LOT of milk and eats eggs, which makes the whole vegetarian thing okay by me).

  2. It's such a loaded issue Penny. And for farms that really try to do things humanely, a farm like this one paints everyone with the color of suspicion.

    I'd think the video is way too intense for Elizabeth, but it's never too early to discuss the issues of where we get our food and what the hidden costs of it may be,

  3. Good grief that's extraordinarily bad. At Deb's last night, Ken who is a meat worker was extremely angry both with the people in the video for their actions; and because their actions tar other meat workers with the same bruch, even when they're as humane as they can be in that awful trade. I'm very glad that in Australia most cows are grass fed and our in fields and that they're generally treated well. If I visit the US though I may have to become vegan for the duration.