The Truth

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A Smidgen of Good News

Calculated by Noam Mohr, noammohr@gmail.com, 5/2012

In 2011, compared to 2010:

  • The average meat-eater ate 1 fewer land animal — a 4% drop from 27.1 to 26.1 animals.
  • Cattle, pigs, chickens for meat, and chickens for eggs each saw a drop of 3-5%. (Turkeys saw a small 0.7% increase.)
  • Overall, the number of land animals that died for Americans fell from 8.4 to 8.2 billion, or 242 million fewer animals – including 1 million fewer cows, 5 million fewer pigs, and 240 million fewer chickens (but an additional 5 million turkeys).
Long-term trend:
  • In 2011, the average meat-eater caused the deaths of fewer cows, fewer pigs, and fewer chickens than any other year going back to at least 2000, while deaths for turkeys and ducks remain at near lows.
  • Since peaking in 2004, the average meat-eater eats 4 fewer land animals — a 13% drop from 31.2 to 27.1 animals.
  • Overall, that’s a nationwide drop from 8.9 billion in 2005 to 8.2 billion in 2011, or 725 million fewer.

(Click the image to make it bigger and more readable)

If You Want to Be Convinced…

…that vegetarianism or veganism is the truly compassionate way to live, read “Diet for a New America,” by John Robbins, the intended heir to the Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream fortune. This book has probably single-handedly been responsible for more people adopting a plant-based diet than any other author. Read it. Live it.

And Now for Something Totally Different

You don’t know me personally, but I am an extreme introvert. Not antisocial, not stuck up, not shy. Introversion is defined as:

  1. The act of directing one’s interest inward or to things within the self.
  2. The state of being concerned primarily with one’s own thoughts and feelings rather than with the external environment.

I don’t know exactly what “fits me to a T” really means, but it does. I am just now, this late in life, learning to embrace my introversion, and not feel bad about it. I am what I am. I am the way I have been all of my life, and will continue to be until the day I die. The difference, is that I am learning that it’s okay, and not something to be concerned with in the least. A great book that has really helped me is “Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength,” by Laurie A. Helgoe. Check it out. (And don’t be turned off by the cover, this is not just “chick lit.”)

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HOW Much Is That Hamburger?

This chart was shamelessly stolen from NPR.

We are (or should be) aware of the costs in lives of all sentient beings raised and slaughtered each day for food we don’t even need. But here are some other costs added on top of the cost in lives lost. And these costs are for a single hamburger patty, not tons of beef.

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Another Organization That Rocks

Last Chance for Animals‘ mission statement:

“Last Chance for Animals (LCA) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and media attention. The organization believes that animals are highly sentient creatures who exist for their own reasons independent of their service to humans; they should not be made to suffer for the latter. LCA therefore opposes the use of animals in food and clothing production, scientific experimentation, and entertainment. Instead, it promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle and the ascription of rights to non-human beings.”

Check out this very worthy organization, and please help any way you can.

Meet Scribbles

This is how happy and free, farm animals can actually be if we just let them.

Scribbles the Baby Goat

Urgent Help Request

SARA Sanctuary in Seguin, Texas is in urgent need of donations and adoption candidates! In these harder economic times, people tend to give less and less to charitable organizations because, understandably, they are more concerned with their own jobs, welfare, and families. Putting food on their tables is more important. But at places like SARA, who get no government funds, and who have to rely solely on the kindness of others, these are just as critical times.

Currently, we have over 60 cats, 350 dogs, some horses, some burros, about 300 pigs (both feral and domestic), and assorted other farm animals ready for adoption. The most urgent need for adoptions right now, are for kittens/cats, and puppies/dogs. If you have ever considered adopting a new animal family member, this is the time. There are several very young kittens now available for adoption and many older cats as well. The same goes for the dogs. We have two new puppies recently added, and many, many other older, deserving dogs that need to find their forever homes. Most of these animals have already been spayed/neutered, and have had their initial shots. The exceptions are the younger kittens and animals that are too new yet to have had their initial checkups. However, even these newer pets will be ready to go quickly after you decide which one you want to add to your family.

These two puppies were recently just abandoned at the front gates of SARA, and are prime adoption candidates. Each one is just as sweet as the other. These (approximately) four-month old children are starving for affection, and deserve more than to be dumped somewhere hoping someone would find them and take them in. They are actually much smaller than this picture makes them look!

Can you find it in your heart to help? Please pass this on to anyone that you know of who has a caring, loving home just waiting for a new family member. These animals are in desperate need, and you can help. Even if you are not ready to adopt, or live too far away from Seguin, can you give even a little bit of a financial boost? Everything helps. If you want to donate, please contact pleasedonatetosara@gmail.com or visit our Web site, SARA Sanctuary as soon as you can.

We are just starting the summer here in Texas (although sometimes it seems like it starts in February and goes all the way through October!), and temperatures this week are already reaching over 100 searing degrees. These animals and many more like them deserve to live in a cooler home where they can receive the love they so rightly deserve. PLEASE HELP!

I Won! I Won! Quack!

Taking Your Duck for a Walk (or is it the other way around?)

So Do You Still Think Animals Have No Feelings or Emotions?

Mother Goats Remember Kids’ Bleats Even After Long Separation

(From the best news site in the world – The Huffington Post)

Don’t underestimate the emotional lives of farm animals. According to new research, mama goats recall their babies’ bleats at least a year after mother and kid are separated.

The study is one of the few to test whether the mother-child bond in animals lasts after the first period of dependence ends. It seems that goats, at least, remember their family ties long-term.

“They still react more to the calls of the kid from a previous year than to the calls of familiar kids born to other females” a year after weaning, said study researcher Elodie Briefer, a postdoctoral researcher at Queen Mary, University of London. “That means they have a long-term memory of the calls of their kids.”

Mama-baby bond

Plenty of mammal mamas are known to recognize their babies during the post-birth and nursing periods, but it’s tough to follow pairs of animals over time to see whether those bonds last. A few researchers have followed mother-baby pairs of some seal species, finding that both moms and pups remember each other’s voices for years after weaning. Tamarin monkeys recognize their relatives even after four years of separation.

While goats can probably also use markings and scent to recognize each other, there is plenty of evidence that their voices are also important. Baby goats seem to pick up distinctive “accents” from their herdmates, research has found. And Briefer and her colleagues have found that mother goats know their babies’ cries as early as one week after birth.

To find out if this voice recognition persists, the researchers recorded the calls of the 5-week-old kids of nine pygmy goat moms at a farm in Nottinghamshire in the U.K. Between seven and 13 months after these babies weaned and were separated from their mothers, the researchers played the bleats back to the moms in their pens, recording whether and how long the mother goats looked toward the sound or bleated back.

They found that mama goats responded more strongly to their own babies’ cries than to the recorded cries of babies of other mothers living in the same pen. The responses weren’t as strong as they were when the kids were dependent little 5-week-olds, but it seemed that mothers still remembered. This memory held even though the mothers had mated again and moved on to new offspring by the time of the follow-up experiment.

Remembering the Kids

The cries of the current babies and the previous kids were different, the researchers found, so it’s unlikely the moms were mistaking the recorded calls for the voices of their current young.

Goats are social creatures, Briefer told LiveScience. In the wild, they live in groups, segregating by sex in the day and coming together as a whole herd at night. Female goats probably stick close by moms their whole lives in the wild, so recognizing each other’s voices is likely important, Briefer said. Knowing her son’s call may also help prevent a mother goat from accidentally mating with him, she said.

Alternatively, the long-term recognition may just be a side effect of the strong mother-kid bond in the first days of nursing. It could be that these early memories are so strong that they just don’t fade, Briefer said.

For farmers, the message is that goats are smart, Briefer said. They have long memories, and early separation of moms and kids may be very stressful. In the wild, baby goats wean at around 5 to 6 months of age, while at dairy farms, they’re separated from their mothers at only about 2 months old. Lengthening their time together may be more humane, Briefer said.

More broadly, the results suggest that family ties run strong throughout the animal kingdom. Many mammals, from seals and monkeys to squirrels and elephants, have been shown to recognize family members after long separations, Briefer and her colleagues wrote Tuesday (June 19) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.

“It could be quite widespread,” Briefer said.

Some Small Measure of Justice

From the Mercy for Animals Website

Breaking News: Illegal Slaughter Operator Pleads Guilty to Felony Animal Cruelty, Sentenced to Jail

By Nathan Runkle
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After Mercy For Animals obtained shocking hidden-camera video footage of his illegal slaughter operation in Los Angeles County, Roberto Celedon has pleaded guilty to felony cruelty to animalsand been sentenced to ninety days in jail and five years probation. Celedon was also ordered to pay nearly $4,000 in fines, penalties, and restitution, to complete 48 animal cruelty classes, not to own, possess, maintain or harbor any animals, not to operate a meat-producing facility, not to attend auctions where animals are sold, and not to sell any meat products.

The hidden-camera video footage, which led to Celedon’s arrest and conviction, shows animals being violently pinned down, having their throats crudely sawed open, and slowly bleeding to death.

During a raid of Celedon’s illegal slaughter facility, Los Angeles County Animal Control officers seized dozens of sick, injured, and emaciated animals. These animals are now being rehabilitated at The Gentle Barn, a sanctuary for farmed animals in California.

This case graphically illustrates the cruel, inhumane, and illegal abuses that farmed animals are all too often subjected to in California and across the nation. While MFA works to expose and end cruelty to farmed animals, compassionate consumers can help prevent the needless suffering of animals at the hands of the meat, egg, and dairy industries by adopting a compassionate vegetarian diet.

Willow’s Whisper to the World

This story is reprinted without permission from Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary. They work as we all do to help make the lives of those animals we so callously abuse, a little more peaceful. A little more tolerable. If you can help, please do. There are so many worthy charitable organizations just like this one that work tirelessly, often without pay, without an adequate staff, and without enough supplies to make it through another day, another week, another month. And it is never an easy struggle. It gets a little easier when people like you help. But if you don’t take the time to find out how you can help, how will beings like Willow ever know even an ounce of human kindness.

This is all you saw at first, or maybe this is all that your mind could take in at one time — not a whole picture, but manageable bits and fragments. You saw a large, white shape lumped by the side of the road. You saw an angular jumble of legs, knees, knuckles, elbows, hooves and ribs. You saw a broken, emaciated body whose breathing was so shallow as to be virtually indistinguishable from the constant shivering that rippled through it with a flutter so faint that it seemed stirred by the rustle of a passing breeze, not by the internal labor of muscles struggling and wrestling to keep the body warm and alive. You saw a pale maze of nicks and scrapes extending from the neck down to the back and sides, the record of the shearer’s rush to take the last thing he could plunder from the dying alpaca — her coat, her only remaining defense in the world — before dumping her now “useless” body in a ditch outside the sanctuary gate and leaving her to freeze to death. You saw a bulging abscess on the right cheek and a deep indentation on the bridge of her nose from the lifelong grip of a tight harness that had only recently been removed.

And finally, reluctantly, as she opened her eyes and looked at you in silent supplication, blinking softly, shining her wounded gaze on you with a despair so intense it verged on sound, you saw, as you had to, the face of a desecrated young life. An interminable minute later, as she closed her eyes again with infinite fatigue, you saw simply a suffering soul. This suffering soul. Willow.

We bundled her in blankets, rushed her to the warmest barn, packed hot water bottles around her core, and started her on broad spectrum antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication. A few hours of constant care later, her breathing got stronger but her temperature was still below normal, and she was still listless, disoriented and unable to hold her head up, needing support just to remain in sternal position.

But, by nightfall, she took a turn for the better — she drank a few sips of water, ate a few handfuls of alfalfa, and became more alert with each bite. It was impossible not to be elated seeing her regain enough strength to sit up, enough will to nourish herself, and enough hope to look around, if not with interest, at least with minimal involvement. But it was also impossible to forget that her condition was serious enough that she might not make it through the night.

Amazingly, she not only survived the night, she woke up hungry, thirsty and, despite the deep, lingering weakness, she eagerly accepted every treat and absorbed every bit of affection with the intense urgency of the starved, demanding more, nudging you gently if you stopped stroking her, extending her swan neck towards you and leaning her face against your cheek as if inviting a kiss, nuzzling your nose with the fuzz of her nose, making intense eye contact as if trying to read something important in your gaze — or communicate it — and, when all this activity left her exhausted, she merely leaned against you as if the nourishment of a loving touch was enough to sustain her. And by mid morning she seemed strong enough to withstand the trying trip to the vet where she was scheduled for tests, evaluation, diagnostic, treatment and, we dearly hoped, a cure.

The diagnosis was as swift as it was grave, and the prognosis was poor — she had been starved for so long that her organs were probably irreversibly damaged and her chances of survival were slim to none. There was nothing they could do for her at the clinic that we couldn’t (and hadn’t already) done at home — keeping her warm, boosting her system with lightly heated IV fluids and additional rounds of Baytril and Banamine — so we bundled her in blankets, settled her in the back of the minivan, and took her home where she could at least rest quietly, away from the noise and stress of the bustling veterinary clinic.

She was almost pert during the drive, sitting up, swiveling the radars of her ears to catch every sound, and peering at the darkening landscape that was unfolding outside the window, watching silently until all the fields and the roads and the sky disappeared into the early winter night and the only image left in the window was her own reflection.

Back at home, we nestled her in a bed of cushions, blankets and heating pads, and we took turns watching her for the rest of the night, holding her as she drifted in and out of sleep, making sure that she fell asleep in loving arms and woke up in the cradle of the same warm embrace. Throughout the night, she remained eager to commune, connect and communicate — looking intently into your eyes, leaning trustingly against you, touching noses and drawing in the breeze of your breath as if inhaling not just air but some essential knowledge, some vital force that she found in her caregivers’ love, and responding with the caress of her own dulcet breath. And, heartbreakingly, as her lethargy deepened, she grew more, not less, curious and engaged, as if compelled to learn something important about the brightness of this new life where everything could still happen — this life that was finally releasing its nectar just as she was dying — as if wanting to be present for this love that was now, astonishingly, surrounding her in such improbable abundance, and to experience this absolute devotion that was there when she went to sleep and that, amazingly, was still there when she woke up.

In our two days and nights together, we heard Willow’s voice only once. She had woken up from a short sleep and lifted her head to touch noses again and to breathe in the loving presence of friends, locking eyes and gazing with a new intensity as if to entrust you with something urgent. And then she let out the softest feather of a sigh, the sweetest whisper, the most mellifluous of her 86,400 breaths, a sound of such aching purity and purpose that it felt like grace. A sound that your mind could not, dared not, take in as one seamless note but had to break into manageable bits and fragments — there was the knell of her last breath, there was the muffled crumple of her body collapsing into nothingness, there was the terrible soundlessness that followed, the shattering silence of a stilled life. And then, long after her last whisper had stirred the air, you finally heard it. The soft whimper of all that is pure and broken, shackled, starved, crushed, buried alive under the wreckage of our reckless appetites, still breathing its labored breath under the collapsed building of our humanity, and still speaking of love, and still begging to be heard. Hear it. It’s the only true voice you’ll ever hear, the only true thing in your life, and the only guide out of the darkness of a humanity that savors the anguish of beings like Willow as a taste, a fashion, an amusement. Listen. It’s your own voice.

Joanna Lucas
© 2012 Joanna Lucas

Farm Sanctuary’s Walk for Animals

Hello! I am a Vegan and a huge supporter of animal rights. Not just domesticated animals like cats and dogs, but all animals, including (and especially) farm animals. If you can find it in your heart to help support me in my walk, I would truly, truly appreciate it. Just click the link below, and then click Support Me.

Thanks in advance.

Walk for Animals 2012