Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Factory Farming

The getting of wisdom to make kind choices

Posted by on Feb 15, 2015 in Dairy, Environment, Factory Farming | 6 comments

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight” – Albert Schweitzer

I sincerely hope that my voice through my blog never comes across as preachy or holier than thou-ish. If it ever does, I humbly apologise as I certainly have no right to be this way. I have spent the majority of my life doing the very things which I rant against on this blog. Over my 40 something years on this earth, I have, without a second thought, gnawed on pigs trotters, ridden elephants and posed for photos with baby gibbons in Thailand, thrown bread to bears in a barren bear pit, enjoyed nights out at the greyhound track, bet on racehorses at “Royal Randwick”, used make up, shampoo etc by companies who test on animals and eaten a mountain of cheese and a ton of sausages. 9 out of 10 shoes I’ve ever bought have been made of leather, “lambs fry” and “lambs brains” (eek) were sometimes breakfast growing up.  I’ve dined on dozens of Peking duck pancakes, caught fish, probably inadvertently eaten hundreds of caged eggs, snuggled under duck down quilts, gawked at animals in too small enclosures in zoos and aquariums and am probably responsible for the death of an orangutan or two by consuming / lathering myself in products containing palm oil and the list of shame goes on. I am grateful to have never worn fur or eaten foie gras but still, my track record is far from worthy. I even kind of, (cringe), made fun of  a vegan family we knew whilst I was a teenager and found their rice cake eating,  meat abstaining ways completely “extreme” and weird. I have done all of these things whilst always being someone who passionately “loves animals”. I don’t feel that I am a kinder or more empathetic person these days than I was growing up – I have, however, made a conscientious effort to educate myself about these issues and, as a direct result, my ways of living and eating have changed.

I have met a few people recently who revealed that they did not know (or had never thought about the fact) that cows have to have a calf each year to produce milk (and then this calf will be taken from its grieving mum at around 5 days of age and, if male,  slaughtered – after legally not having to be fed or watered for 36 hours and so on). These are intelligent people but they have never learnt and, hence, thought about this fact. Educating ones self to all the travesties which are going on around us in our everyday lives is difficult. It  usually comes from a reading or viewing which is upsetting, it is not taught to us in school nor is it is rarely shown on TV as it tends to make people switch channels. The Easter Show where city kids are meant to learn about the country have straw filled pens bustling with happy piglets on display rather than the concrete floored, windowless sheds which are the reality of how the vast majority of pigs raised for food exist in Australia. Kind of the agricultural equivalent of Santa Clause. Big business and government will do everything it can to keep the grim reality hidden and advertising will be intentionally deceptive. There are sinister steps in Australia heading towards US style Ag-Gag Legislation (which aims to “gag” covertly obtained footage of animal cruelty and punish whistle blowers) and the government has refused to install CCTV footage in abattoirs to keep things even further from our view.

The unfortunate irony is that there are many people who love animals but will refuse to educate themselves about what really goes on because, understandably, they cannot tolerate seeing animals in pain or being mistreated.  So the very people who the animals of this world are relying on to forge a kinder path are sadly absent. They end up unintentionally contributing to and funding horrendous animal cruelty because they do not know enough about what goes on to be shaken into action and change because of their catch 22 situation of not wanting to be witness to suffering. These animal loving people need to be brave and challenge their own discomfort to balance out the ambivalent, those who do not care less and those who actively, greedily and mercilessly encourage and protect cruel industries such as intensive “factory” farms (I’m speaking to you Barnaby Joyce and Katrina Hodkingson!).

The former filet mignon, lobster eating investment banker, Phillip Wollen is perhaps, the best example of what an about face turn someone can take after educating themselves. In his case, it started with a business trip visit to a slaughterhouse and went on from there. Please take a minute to have a read about this incredible philanthropist and his Melbourne based Kindness House (where staff get in trouble if they DON’T bring their dogs to work !) which helps animals and disadvantaged people worldwide. He is a remarkable person.

The changes in my life have not had the earth shattering momentum of Phillip Wollen but I am proud of the changes that I have made (despite some faltering and weaving along the way ! – and I still am a long way from living the kindest life I could) – I just wish I’d educated myself earlier. As with all things which involve substantial change, remember you don’t have to do it all at once – that can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Is there something you are “into” to start off with, which maybe you could learn a bit more about to help you make better informed and kinder choices ? Cheese ? Woolen yarn ? Ham sandwiches ? Chicken soup ? What goes on behind the scenes to produce these, at first glance, inoffensive products ?

With a bit of knowledge under your belt, you may find yourself asking “is it right for an intelligent animal to be virtually immobilised for weeks to months at a time (sows), is it OK to castrate an animal without anesthesia (steers, pigs), is there anything right about allowing an inquisitive bird to live on a sloped piece of A4 sized wire mesh so she cannot stretch her wings (egg layers), should water loving ducks be living without water in intensively raised sheds (ducks), can we justify 30 seconds of suffocating terror for some cost savings (gassing of pigs), is a pair of leather boots from the skin of an animal who has had his tail broken and chilli rubbed into his eyes to make his exhausted body walk to be slaughtered really worth it (leather), is it OK to take a sheep’s fleece in the middle of winter (wool) or have shearer’s beat them out of impatience, can we justify sending animals to a terrifying death overseas because it makes us money (live animal export), is farmed fish OK despite the fact that it will take a huge amount of wild fish to feed that fish, is it environmentally wise to continue to support the livestock industry when it is one of the biggest contributers to carbon emissions and global warming, is it OK to suffocate male chicks or mince them alive so we can have eggs (including free range) ?” And the list goes on. You will probably find yourself answering a resounding “no” to each of these questions. No, it is not right, nor kind, nor intelligent, nor logical.

These days we have the internet so everything you need to know is at your finger tips, for free. There are some great movies and books available too. Here are a few resources to get you started on your learning journey (or you may find what you are after in one of my previous posts ?).

I gain a lot of my knowledge from Voiceless and Animals Australia and love One Green Planet’s tips, recipes and wisdom which arrive in my in box a few times a week. There are also these great sources……which I’ve either read / watched or have been highly recommended.

Documentaries available on the internet

Lucent – set inside regular intensive piggeries around Australia

Earthlings –  narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with soundtrack by Moby

Books

The Ethics Of What We Eat – Peter Singer

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows – Melanie Joy

Farmageddon – Philip Lymberry (I am currently reading this intriguing book which reveals the true cost of cheap meat)

The Pig Who Sang to the Moon – Jeffrey Mason

Movies

Black Fish

Project Nim

Cowspiracy

This week’s post is dedicated to little Scully who, last week, was rescued from a factory farm but died a 4 days later from an illness related to her time on the intensive piggery. Thanks to the wonderful photography of Tamara Keneally who took this touching photo and has educated thousands through her simple, quiet images of farm animals at sale yards, on trucks etc where no words are needed to convey their message.

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My next quests are to learn more about how honey is produced and how to source medication which has not been tested on animals. There is so much I want to learn and, yes, my lifestyle habits will no doubt continually evolve as a result. I would love to hear what you have learnt about which has led to a change in your life or something you would like to learn about in order to live a kinder existence.

 

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Glad to be me, rather than her

Posted by on Sep 6, 2014 in Factory Farming, Pigs | 6 comments

“Wilbur didn’t want food, he wanted love” – E.B White, Charlotte’s Web

My 7 week mini sabbatical, courtesy of long service leave,  is sadly drawing to a close. This time tomorrow I will be back into the throngs of my normal, time poor and early rising working life. Nooooo !!!!

My time off went something like this :

It started on a somber note – coinciding with same day that so many people lost their lives when MH17 was shot out of the sky over the Ukraine. After this “life is fragile” jolt of a reminder, I went on to :

* Make 50 candles to sell to family and friends and raise money for Animals Asia’s project Peace by Piece as part of Honey Money Days.

Garp and my candles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Watch a couple of brilliant movies (Still Life, Belle and Sebastian) and a couple of ho-hum ones (The Lunchbox and The Selfish Giant).

* Read some great books (Tiny, Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty and, the standout, The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell.)

* Watch some gripping series (The Fall, True Detective and we’ve just started on the very creepy French series Le Revenants).

* Have some drool worthy successes in the kitchen – Best Friends Banana Carrot Cake (I used Chai seeds to replace the eggs – worked a treat), Hippie Crispy Treats (divine !) and these Oat and Macadamia Cookies.

* Temper above mentioned indulgences by making a pact with myself and my runkeeper app to walk 10km per day which, bar a day or 2, I managed. My ever present companion (Garp) and my hips/thighs are grateful. It is great to discover a form of exercise which does actually work, fitness wise, and I enjoy. So, here I am  – 450km of buttock firming striding later. Woo-hoo !

* Ride 45km on my bike in one sitting, complete with magpie attacks which made the whole episode quite thrilling / terrifying  ! This figure would be a lame one for a seasoned bike rider but I am a beginner so am a bit chuffed with such mileage. The location (Bright to Myrtleford, Victoria) along the rail trail made this conquest an enjoyable, scenic one.

* Find a new job ! It is within my current large government organisation but will be a different and way more meaningful role, at a new location with (eek) new people but I am ready (but wracked with nerves) for the change and new challenge.

* Live like a queen for 2 nights with my fella thanks to a great deal at the beautiful, Art Deco-y Hyatt in Canberra. Could almost feel Bob Hawke breathing down my neck when visiting Old Parliament House – the furnishings took me straight back to the 70’s / 80’s. Cycled most of the lake and lunched at my favourite Canberra eatery (Sweet Bones Bakery).

* Become another year older and gnarled. I am now on the brink of being in my “mid 40’s”…

* Attend 2 “significant age” birthday parties of friends. Forgot how fun having a boogy on the dance floor is (Sia, in particular, has been having a workout lately !!)

* Learn the perils of seemingly innocuous Essential Oils. Have small burn marks ALL over my skin as a result of my homemade body scrub and bath soak experiments. Please learn by my pain – use a carrier oil like coconut oil to mix with strong oils like Cinnamon Bark !

* Experience 2 blissful, serene days at Australia’s only Vegan B&B – Bed and Broccoli in Victoria. My stay is worthy of a whole blog post which is pending ! My carnivorous fella willingly ate the delicious plant based meals without grumbling. I learnt that I could easily do without the small amounts of animal products that I still do consume.

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Me, feeding apples to the very gorgeous Frankie at Bed and Broccoli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Rage at the short sighted and cruel decision by our judicial system in the return of a dog (CJ) to his abusive owner.

* Hang out with my fella for 7 nights at this incredible Stayz property in a wee village near the very beautiful Bright in Alpine Victoria. We felt like we were living in a vogue magazine for a week. Highly recommended !

* Have time to catch up with some of my oldest, treasured friends. Have made a pact with myself not to wait for the fleeting and scarce holiday times of the year to do this in the future.

* Clock up 2000 km on our road trip. Australia is beautiful – especially at the moment in it’s green Spring glory.

* Gaze on a billion stars in Bright around a fire pit…..

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Stars, stars and more stars at Bright

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My time away from the daily grind has left me feeling grateful and thankful for the freedom I have to do all these wonderful things.

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to experience such freedom and good times :

……..this is how the same 7 week period was spent by one of the 350,000 sows existing in one of Australia’s estimated 2000 intensive piggeries…………………………………..

Pig

Templemore Piggery, NSW, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like 95 % of sows, she lives exists in a “factory farm”. She is 3 years old and due to have her 4th litter of piglets soon. She has been imprisoned in a “sow stall” for the past 10 weeks. This stall is only slightly larger than her body. It allows her to take one small step forward and one small step back but that is all. She cannot turn around. Her joints aches from being immobilised for so long and from lying on the cold, hard floor as she has no bedding. She has pressure sores on her body from where her body is pressed up against the metal frame of the stall. She is often hungry – being fed only grain rather than the roughage she would eat if she was in a natural environment. She is smart and inquisitive (more so than a dog) but has nothing to do to occupy her days  leaving her feeling despondent and depressed. The light went out of her eyes a long time ago.

She has a urinary tract infection as she has no choice but to lie in her own waste and cannot always access clean, drinking water. Given a choice, she would find somewhere clean to rest and would use mud to keep herself cool. However, here she does not have a choice.

She has never seen the stars or felt the warm sun on her back. The inside of this loud, putrid smelling shed is all that she knows.

In a few days time, she will be moved to an even smaller cage known as a farrowing crate which allow for hardly any movement. She will remain here for 5 weeks. The people who put her here claim that it is for the safety of her babies so she does not crush them. However, in a natural environment she would make a huge nest from straw and grass to keep herself comfortable and her babies safe.

She gives birth to her babies in this cold and awful place. She cannot act out any of her maternal instincts as she cannot move. She helplessly watches on as her precious babies are roughly grabbed and have their tails, teeth, ears and testicles cut by the people who work here without pain relief. They scream in pain but she cannot do anything to help them. In a natural environment she would look after her babies for 3 months before they were weaned but in this place, they are typically taken from her at 3 weeks of age.

After her babies are taken, she is briefly placed with other sows in a small, barren area before attempts are made to impregnate her again. If successful, she will be returned to the sow stall for the miserable cycle to begin again. However, this time she does not get pregnant, her body is too tired – even at this young age. Her back is spray painted with letters to indicate that she is to be sent to slaughter.

She is herded onto a truck and taken to be slaughtered. The glimpse out of the truck slats is the first, and only, view of the outside world that she will ever see. At the abattoir, she is goaded with an electrical prod into a gas chamber. She clambers to escape as she can hear the screams of the pigs in front of her so she knows that something terrifying is going to happen to her. When she does reach the gas chamber, her final 30 seconds of life are spent in complete and utter panic, fighting for every breath. In Australia, it is common for CO2 to be used in high percentages (which results in a panic riddled suffocation) rather than the more “humane” Argon gas as CO2 is cheaper. This scathing report details how the typical Australian pig’s life ends in a slaughterhouse.

It is unfathomable that it is legal to treat animals like this in Australia. It is barbaric, cruel and unjustifiable but it remains this way as it is hidden out of mind, out of sight from the public eye.

Photos speak a thousand words. Please put your own discomfort aside and view these slideshows compiled by Australian Pig Farming : The Inside Story and Tamara Keneally from typical, stock standard piggeries around the country and make an educated, kind decision about whether or not this is an industry which you wish to support. 

Aren’t you glad that you are you rather than her ?

Further Reading

My previous posts about pigs here and here which give some practical shopping and lifestyle tips.

Confused about what constitutes free range / organic etc ? – this concise guide makes things clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Caged Eggs

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Eggs, Factory Farming | 0 comments

“Imagine being trapped for your reproductive system. For your entire life. Then all the thanks you are given for it is death” – Tamara Kenneally (photographer).

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One of the beautiful girls we met at Little Oak Sanctuary

I find it very disturbing that NSW’s Primary Industries Minister Katrina  (“I’m perfectly comfortable with purchasing caged eggs”) Hodgkinson buys caged eggs. Not only would she be on a substantial income but her portfolio involves looking at all things to do with farmed animals.

I wish that she would remember that these birds are living, thinking, feeling creatures and not machines to do with what we wish. Smart, inquisitive birds squeezed on top of each other in ammonia filled sheds….standing on sloping wire 24 hours a day, having no room to stretch their wings or experience sunlight. Their sensitive beaks are clipped shortly after birth, their freedom and joy is non existent. How is this legal in our country ? (aside from the ACT that is, as of a few days ago – woohooo !).  11 to 12 millions hens in Australia currently exist like this before being ripped from their cages at around 18 months of age to be slaughtered when their egg production wanes. All in the name of our insatiable desire for cheap and plentiful eggs. Approximately 70% of eggs consumed in Australia are still produced by the systematically cruel battery cage method. There is clearly enormous room for improvement.

As per all factory farming, it is easy to forget about these hens as they are hidden from the consumers’ eyes in far away sheds. Luckily, for the curious and kind consumer, there are numerous websites to unveil what is deliberately hidden from us. This series of photos by the talented and brave photographer Tamara Kenneally is my favourite. Her photos do not need facts, figures and commentary. They speak for themselves.

As a city slicker, I have not had much experience with hens so was intrigued by meeting some on my recent visit to Little Oak Sanctuary which rescues an array of farmed animals. There was a beautiful bevy of recently rescued battery hens who’s enthusiasm for everything (bugs, our shoe laces, dirt scratching, running maniacally) was endearing. The thought of their previous lives of deprivation and pain was bitter sweet.

Meeting these ex battery hens made me all the more determined to make kind and considered choices for, amongst many things, eggs. Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as buying a carton of free range eggs from the supermarket……we all need to consider the myriad of other quandaries :

Just how free range are your eggs ?

Are there any ethical dilemmas with buying even the kindest of free range eggs ?

What about all the foods we eat that unwittingly contains caged eggs ? By eating such foods are we really only making a token effort with our free range egg buying habits ?

Is egg free baking / cooking the real deal ?

These issues will be explored in part 2 & 3 of my posts about eggs….stay tuned ! In the meantime, please view this short clip from Animal’s Australia. The footage of the hen’s only experience of the outside world on her way to be slaughtered (at the 6 minute mark of the video) never fails to bring tears to my eyes and keeps me inspired to stay informed about the evils of factory farming and all the alternatives available to me.

Would love to hear any comments you have to make about this topic.

Want to know a bit more ?

Australian Egg Farming : The Inside Story

Battery Hens : Voiceless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meat Free Week thanks

Posted by on Apr 1, 2013 in Factory Farming | 2 comments

“I think the concept of Meat Free week is a great way to promote not only the inhuman approach of factory farming, but also a way to bring a more mindful approach to consuming meat in our daily lives. If we all even just took the approach of having some meat free days in our lives, it would be a huge step in assisting to create a positive change in our world and the environment in which we exist.”
Rebecca Quade

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Thank you to those who participated in the Meat Free Week Challenge. Have sent the promised donation to Voiceless  and the offer stands (I will donate $10 per person who completes a meat free week) for any time you wish during the year.

Whether or not you took part, I hope you’ve been inspired to try out some delectable meat free meals from the blogs I mentioned in the last post (two further ones very worthy of note which have recently caught my eye are The Vegan Pantry and mouthwateringvegan) and given some thought to the ways that each of us can help the billions of factory farmed animals around the world and the ensuing environmental and health problems which come with factory farming.

 

I made it through my Vegan Week Challenge witIMGP6071h just a couple of hiccups and a resulting self imposed fine to Meatfreeweek – firstly for using Oyster Sauce in my Pad Kee Mao dish and secondly for not querying the content of a biscuit I bought at a cafe which would have no doubt contained egg which would’ve almost certainly been from a caged chook.

On the plus side, I found some new recipes to try and have even embarked upon the quest to make Vegan Cheese with the help of Miyoko Schinner’s “Artisan Vegan Cheese” book. Pictured above is my first attempt at the “Sharp Cheddar”. Despite much eye rolling and harassment at home about my new hobby, I am quite excited by the contents of this book which promises the recreation of all my dairy favourites such as meltable mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan with the use of, primarily, cashew nuts and a few obscure ingredients such as xantham gum and rejuvalac.

My “Cheddar” cheese was pretty good for my introduction into the strange new world of vegan cheese making but the texture could do with some improvement to make it convincingly cheddar-esque. Will keep you posted…..there is still much fun and kitchen messiness to be had with my jars of fermenting rejuvalac, mountainous packs of cashews and agar flakes.

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Meat Free Week – it’s betting time !

Posted by on Mar 14, 2013 in Factory Farming | 1 comment

Every man and every living creature has a sacred right to the gladness of Sping time” – Leo Tolstoy

A beautiful quote from Tolstoy but, sadly, the majority of animals bred for food (or for their milk or eggs) in Australia and around the world do not get to experience such “gladness”. They will not get to feel the sun on their back or a refreshing cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. This is because they were unlucky enough to be born into a world where they are not protected by law and they are treated as products, not like the sentient beings that they are who feel fear, joy, pain and loss. They were unlucky enough to be born into a factory “farm”.

The wonderful organisation, Voiceless, has come up with a way of raising awareness about the issues surrounding factory farming through their meat free week campaign. The site discusses why factory farming is cruel, how it is dreadful for our environment and the health benefits which can be gained from a meat free diet (or from a reduction in the amount of meat you eat).

the truth is hard to swallow

I also recently read a great article on Mamamia. It is a balanced, not overly confronting read which summarises the issues well.

You have a few days to prepare yourself for your week long pledge with me. I will give $10 to the Voiceless campaign for every person who commits to going meat free from the 18th to 24th March 2013. To clarify, this means no fish, chicken, prawns, sardines, anchovies, minced meat, quail, pork brothed pho, lamb, bacon……..the list goes on ! All you need to do to commit is let me know as a comment to this page or on facebook. Despite the utmost faith I hold in you, if you renege at any time during the week, you will be up for the $10 donation. Fair ? It’s not often that I say this but, I want to give some money away !!! I will hunt you down at the week’s end and see how you fared and, hopefully, work out how enormously out of pocket I am going to be.

I will be joining the pledge too but will be going a little bit further, by committing to a week long vegan pledge. I can do better with my diet. I would class myself as 90 % vegetarian (I still have salmon every couple of weeks or so)  and 80 % vegan (am still eating my “kindly sourced” eggs and milk a couple of times a week) so there is definately room for improvement in the kind eating stakes for me. I am discovering that an increasingly plant based diet does not mean deprivation – but it does require a bit of  imagination in the kitchen if you want to step beyond the lentils and tofu eating caricature (not that there is anything wrong with lentils and tofu!).

The Voiceless campaign is not about everybody converting everyone to becoming vegetarian or vegan and it is not about vilifying people who like to eat meat. It is an awareness and fund raising campaign and may lead to some delicious meat free recipe discoveries. Also, my sweet man is doing the pledge. If he can, trust me, anybody can – this is a man who truly loves his steak.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh, but what am I going to eat ?” I hear you scream !

The internet will be your friend on this week long journey. Here are my favourite sites and, trust me, you WILL find an abundant array of recipe suggestions here :

The Kind Cook (you will fall in love with it’s author, Mel, and her recipes)

The Mindful Foodie

Veggie NumNum

Humane Society (subscribe to their recipe of the week option)

Sanitarium

Healthful Pursuit

Search “vegetarian recipes” on Pinterest – you will get 1000’s of fabulous suggestions from around the world.

If you are after something quick and easy, I recommend the Linda McCartney range of vegetarian sausage rolls, pies and sausages (my favourite – they are the best vegi sausages I have ever eaten. As somebody who actually likes the taste of meat, I must say that they are convincingly “sausagey” tasting.). Not that I like spruiking anything from the big supermarkets but I have noticed that Woolies have a new “Macro” brand of vegetarian quick and easy meals for sale.

Finally, let’s kick things off with my recipe of the week. I have no idea where I pilfered it from so I cannot give anybody credit. Somebody deserves credit for it though. It is quick, cheap, nutritious and delectable.

Spicy Lentil and Zuchhini Soup

Serves 3-4

1 tbsp oil, 1 chopped onion, 3 grated zucchinis, 1 tbsp of garlic finely chopped, 1 tbsp tumeric, 1 tsp of chilli flakes, 1 litre of “chicken style” or vegetable stock (I use the Vegetarian Massel brand), 1 cup of red lentils, salt and pepper to taste.

Fry onions and garlic in oil, add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Then simmer for 30 mins.

Good luck in your pledge everyone and don’t forget to let me know of your commitment via a comment – no procrastination, do it right NOW !

 

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Factory Farming of Pigs

Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 in Factory Farming, Pigs | 1 comment

I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. – Sir Winston Churchill.

Pigs are gorgeous, intelligent and social animals. They are also one of the most abused animals on this earth and urgently in need of our help.
What is wrong

Human desire for cheap pork, bacon, ham etc has led to factory farming on a massive scale and dreadful, widespread cruelty. The following information about factory farming is kept well hidden by the industry, for good reason.

Animal Australia’s wonderful Make It Possible campaign explains more.

•    94% of pigs bred for their meat live in a factory farmed environment and will have felt nothing but concrete under their feet by the time they are slaughtered.
•    These smart, interested animals live in worlds devoid of anything to bring them joy – no sunlight, no mud to wallow in or grass to forage in.

•    Bits of their bodies (tails, teeth and testicles) are cut off with no pain relief. This cruelty is legal under the highly ambiguous and ineffectual Codes of Practice but woul be illegal if was performed on your family dog. Logical ?

•    There is little to no scrutiny within the piggery and abattoir walls leading to secretly filmed abuse of pigs from sadistic workers. In 2012 three piggeries in NSW were found to be engaging in hideously cruel practices – Wally’s Piggery in Yass, Tennessee Piggery in Young and Allains Piggery in Blainey Creek. In each instance undercover footage was obtained by Animal Liberation. Read more here.

•    Sow stalls and Farrowing crates.  84 % of the 350,000 mother pigs in Australia spend some of their pregnancy in a metal enclosure only barely bigger than her body. One third spend their entire 16 week pregnancy in one. Here she remains, unable to turn around, bored to insanity and suffering physically due to lack of excercise. Before having her piglets she is moved to an even smaller farrowing crate until she gives birth to her piglets who she cannot interact with, defying every mothering instinct she has.  Her babies are taken away to be fattened and slaughtered and she is then impregnated again and again and this never ending nightmare continues for her until she is slaughtered when she can no longer produce piglets.

•   Just imagine being put inside a cage where you could just stand up and just lie down but nothing else. You would have nothing to look at or do to occupy your time. Imagine being like this for 1 hour…now imagine 1 day….imagine a week. Impossible hey ? Now imagine being like this for 4 months. Incomprehensible. But, right now, as you read this, millions of sows around the world are experiencing this.

Note the words on her sign

•    For an animal with the intelligence of a 3 year old child, it is shameful that laws in Australia do not protect these animals. The Code of Practice are welfare recommendations only which are not enforced.

•    Sow stalls and Farrowing Crates are designed to keep piglet losses at a minimum and are disappointingly supported by the Australian Veterinarians Association. This is obviously economic rationalising with zero welfare considerations for the sows. There are alternative management practices which help prevent piglet mortality (from the sows rolling onto the piglets) which other countries use such as seen here: Free Farrowing Video.

•    Australia has not kept in line with animal welfare reforms around the world. Sow stalls are already banned in the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Finland and Florida in the US.  It will be banned in EU countries from January 2013 (aside from the first 4 weeks of the pregnancy).

•    Australia imports enormous amounts of frozen pork products (apparently about 30,000 per tonnes per week !). There does not appear to be any vetting process for humanely sourced food from overseas nor does it support Australian farmers. So, when you next buy your ham sandwich from the local cafe, there is a big chance that it came from overseas from countries with lower animal welfare standards than our own.

•    Remember that if it is not stated on the packet / restaurant etc, then you can assume that your pork product is from a factory farmed pig and your money is supporting the practice of factory farming.

•    Excellent information about factory farming of pigs can be found via the following links.

Savebabe

Australian Pig Farmers

Animal Welfare Labels

Brightside

Humanechoice

Voiceless

RSPCA

Compassion In World Farming

Next post………what you can do to help !

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