Videos Plucked From YouTube: The Mercy For Animals (MFA) videos depicting extreme cruelty at the E6 Cattle Co. in Hart, Texas, were plucked off the website. The folks at YouTube, it seems, didn't like the extremely shocking nature of the videos. They said that "if a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional educational or documentary context and information." In response to YouTube's decision, the following statement came from MFA Executive Director Nathan Runkle:
MFA strongly agrees that videos of cruelty to animals are shocking and disturbing, but in the context of helping to expose and eliminate animal abuse they are extremely important. Consumers have a right to know how their food is being produced, especially when the production methods are shocking or disturbing, so that they can make informed choices. (Source)
What We Should All Know About Milk: The following primer comes from Robert Grillo, editor of freefromharm.org. It appeared on the website Eat Drink Better, where I found it. It ought to be mandatory reading for omnivores. I hope you find it useful. Take it away, Robert Grillo:
Dairy cows only lactate and produce milk when they become pregnant with calves, so to be considered a productive and economically-viable cow, she must be routinely impregnated, causing greater stress, greater likelihood of illness and premature death. Newborn calves are separated from their mothers quickly, usually within 1-3 days, since the mother/calf bond intensifies over time and delayed separation can cause even worse emotional distress for the calf and mother. Calves separated from their mothers are denied their mother’s milk, which is perfectly formulated by nature to provide all the essential nutrients and antibodies the calf needs. Calves are fed “milk-replacement formulas” often in dried powder form and raised without a mother’s care. Under normal circumstances, mother’s teach their young critical survival skills and develop very deep bonds, much like humans. Cheesemakers need veal processors. Rennet is a complex of enzymes required to coagulate cheese. Traditionally rennet is extracted from the inner mucosa of the fourth stomach chamber (the abomasum) of young, unweaned calves, the “by-products” of veal production. Many large cheese producers today use a bacterial, genetically-engineered rennet of both plant and animal origin. Male calves are of little or no value to the dairy farmer. Healthy calves are typically sold at auction for a small price to veal farmers or raised as adult bulls for meat. Weak ones are often killed. While they are productive and making money for dairy farmers, dairy cows can suffer from a variety of illnesses associated with intensive milk production. Hundreds of pharmaceutical products are available and administered to cows which can end up in their milk and cause adverse side effects. Cows produce an average of 729 days of milk, which corresponds to 2.4 lactations, before they are considered “spent.” Cows can live up to 20 years or more; however “spent” dairy cows are typically removed from the dairy herd at age 4-5 when their milk production weans and then marketed for slaughter. In their fragile end-of-production state, handling, transport, and slaughter add to their suffering and distress. Artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization of dairy cows are common practices today. Embryo transfer is yet another, newer reproductive technology that consists of giving cows hormone treatments to produce multiple embryos. These embryos are then removed from the donor cows and transferred into other surrogate cows. This results in 3 to 6 calves instead of just one. These procedures are often invasive, causing physical pain and emotional distress. Cows are social, complex animals with the ability to nurture friendships, anticipate the future, and experience pain, fear, and anxiety.
Grillo also included the following information in his article under the heading "Some Key Human Health and Milk Facts."
And Finally, While We're Talking About Cows: Please, please, please read Tricia Orr's haunting poem about a beautiful cow named Billie who met a tragic fate. The poem, titled "Good 'Til The Last Drop," appeared on the website On Nonhuman Slavery, and it includes a short introductory statement by Orr that sets the context for the poem. The poem is devastating, absolutely devastating. It makes me ashamed to be part of the human race, a feeling I've felt an awful lot since opening my eyes and awakening from my ignorance about the treatment of animals.