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Eggs & dairy products from humane farms...Colleen?


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My husband is seriously considering going vegetarian after watching a video of inhumane slaughtering practices. He says the chickens that are raised for eggs are treated very poorly too.

 

Can I buy eggs that are gauranteed to be raised humanely? Are all organic products raised the old fashioned farm way? Can you buy free range eggs?

 

Are dairy cows in general well treated, or would I have to buy organic?

 

Thanks for any help,

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Organic does not necessarily mean well treated. And if you live where you can buy directly from a farmer... non-organic does not necessarily mean inhumanely treated. The process for certification is quite difficult and rigid. I have family and friends who raise their own chicken and cows. The eggs and milk and meat they sell, I feel great about buying because I know how the animals are treated. Unfortunately we have moved away from them. Far enough to not be feasible. Sigh.

 

Free range does in general indicate that they were better treated.

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Free range does in general indicate that they were better treated.

 

Unfortunately, that is not true. I just went to a seminar on what all these labels in food mean, or don't mean, as the case may be, and there is no meaningful federal regulation of these terms. Free range does not mean that chickens are wandering around in the sunshine pecking at the dirt. Free range just means that several hundred thousand chickens are crammed into a barn without cages instead of with cages.

 

With eggs, remember that even if the laying hens are well treated (which would have to necessitate an extremely small family farm with a very small flock if you want the "chickens feeling the wind in their feathers" image), half the chicks that are born are male and are of no use to the egg-laying industry. These chicks are killed, usually the first day of life, usually by suffocation or maceration. Buying eggs contributes to this.

 

Baby cows are taken from their mothers, usually on their first day of life, which causes significant distress for both. Dairy cows live a fraction of their normal lifespan and then are sent to slaughter, the same revolting and inhumane slaughter houses your dh is concerned about. In order to give milk, they must be kept pregnant, and they are brutally artificially inseminated. The male calves are either killed immediately, kept in veal crates to be slaughtered at six weeks for veal, or kept as studs to perpetuate the cycle. The mother cow endures the loss of her child over and over and over again.

 

After careful consideration of the issues, I came to the conclusion that there was no way I could continue to consume dairy products without continuing to support the inhumane treatment and death of the animals involved. All animals raised for human consumption, be it milk, meat, or eggs, meet the same fate (brutal slaughter) in the end, regardless of how they are treated in life.

 

Tara

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Can you buy from local farmers?

 

We have chickens--only 10 of them--but they are free range---meaning they run around during the day and then are in their coop with a small run at night (to keep them from being eaten). We don't feed antibiotics, hormones, etc. just a regular chicken feed and some veggie scraps. We sell our eggs for $1.50/dozen. We would not qualify as organic, etc. but our chickens are well cared for.

 

We buy our beef from a local farmer that raises a few cows to butcher each year. The cows are out on pasture, etc. We buy 1/2 cow which provides a family of 5 with meat for about 1 year. Again, not organic, but we know where they come from.

 

In Michigan it is illegal to buy "raw" milk from dairy farmers but many farmers will lease you a share of the dairy cow==meaning you are part owner and therefore get to drink your "own" milk. That way you can go and see how the animals are treated, etc.

 

We buy our milk pasturized from a local dairy that we visit several times a year. We get to see the cows being milked, out on the pasture, etc. Again, well cared for and this milk is certified hormone free.

 

Bottom line, I would see if you could link up with farmers in your area to buy directly from them.

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Yup,

We buy our milk raw for $4 a gallon, our eggs for $4 a dozen, and meat...well, next year I'm working on that! When I get my freezer I'll buy our own side of beef. Our eggs are from a farm where the chickens run around playing with the 5 year old...(or at least getting chased from the 5 yr old) The have a great farm dog to run with them too! (and the dog gets to sleep inside at night)

Carrie:-)

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I would consider them to have had a wonderful life (until something brutally killed them). Since we never hatched eggs, there was no issue with unwanted chicks at any time. I am sure that the hatcheries either kill off unwanted males or sell them in straight runs or for meat birds. That does bother me greatly, but I know that realistically speaking, there will NEVER be a time when everyone stops ordering chickens and/or eating meat and eggs. Therefore, if I can keep my flock and have healthy egg-layers with a nice, long life of no cages, they are at least better off (and I at least have good eggs). Honestly, since my chickens have been gone, I have purchased only 2 dozen eggs (and I buy organic, grass-fed, not just free-range), and have gotten the rest from my neighbor who has half a dozen free-roaming, grass-fed hens.

 

I'd love to go vegan for ethical reasons, but I do believe God gave us animals to provide nourishment. There are just too many things that come from animals or animal products that can't be replicated in other foods.

 

I try to consume as little as possible most of the time, and I DO purchase only humanely raised (and I mean roaming the pasture cows and organic, free-ranging on pasture chickens - we RARELY eat pork) meats. I buy locally as much as possible (my beef comes from my sister's cows - 30 cows on 160 acres and our chicken is raised about 25 minutes from our house). We also buy dairy from a local dairy farm that is humane and doesn't homogenize their milk (pasteurizing is a law of course). I use their milk and butter and whatever other products of theirs I can afford to purchase.

 

It's so hard to always do the right thing, and it is costly, but I know it's worth it to try.

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Local Harvest --- http://www.localharvest.org

 

 

Search for your city, town, or the place nearest you that is likely to have a farming going on. Hopefully, you will find sources for locally produced dairy, meat, and eggs which will enable you to learn about the specifics of a farmer's practices.

 

As others have stated, none of the following labels will guarantee what you're looking for in your animal products.

 

organic

free range

cage free

all natural

no antibiotics or hormones added

 

 

Hope this helps,

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In order to give milk, they must be kept pregnant, and they are brutally artificially inseminated.

 

I don't understand how this works. I would think that to keep giving milk, they would just have to continue being milked, no? If they were inseminated again, wouldn't their milk dry up until they give birth again? I thought cow milk production worked just human milk production.

 

And to Michelle, yes, I struggle with this too :(

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a gallon + per day, without drying up. I think it can be done too, as long as you keep going. You just have to keep working with them through the time they try to lessen production.

 

 

Of course, no dairy farm would do this - they want the maximum all the time, hence the hormones...

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a gallon + per day, without drying up. I think it can be done too, as long as you keep going. You just have to keep working with them through the time they try to lessen production.

 

 

Of course, no dairy farm would do this - they want the maximum all the time, hence the hormones...

 

Oh no, I get that about the hormones. We've started buying raw milk through Anj and Girligirlmom's awesome co-op :D I was just wondering about that info from a practical perspective, because it seems counterintuitive to me based on my own knowledge of lactation (which is mostly limited to the human kind at this point). I was just trying to figure out how it works :001_smile:

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Very many of the buzz words and phrases like organic, free-range, all natural, etc., have been co-opted by the commercial food production industry, who then lobbied the governments in the various states to develop a legal description of the term. And, folks, most of those descriptions have little in common with the dictionary definition that most of the public is led to believe is true. In my state, the proposed definition of Organic included details about how much sewer sludge could be used, how much irradiation, and which chemicals. Thank heavens that version was shot down but it is a continuous struggle and agribusiness has very deep pockets.

 

As most here have mentioned, the best way to get good products is to purchase them at your local family farm. Go there and see for yourself how the animals are being treated. I describe our chickens as free range with no porch privileges (since they are not allowed to hang out on the porch and poop all over it.) They are free to roam over around 10 acres or so. Not all dairies operate in the manner described. I know of a couple where the few cows they milk are practically members of the family. There they are not brutally inseminated, don't die early, and live great, pampered lives.

 

Family farms need your support. One of my good friends just prevailed in our local raw milk wars against the Ohio Dept. of Ag. I doubt that would have happened without the help of a lot of friends. Also check your area for farmers markets, CSA's-which are usually fruit and vegetable co-ops, and produce auctions. Your local Extension Service should be able to direct you to these.

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You should see how we baby our animals! :lol:

 

Even the meat chickens are cared for very gently and carefully, and then slaughtered in the most human way that we can--even though it probably isn't the 'way to do it for the for the best meat.' We are concerned with them not suffering more than we are for the best resulting meat.

 

The laying hens have a cozy coop to be safe in at night, and they run around all day on the farm being happy chickens. They are dd'8s precious pets and very, very friendly. She loves them so much. She told me that what she wants for Christmas almost more than anything else is a 50 pound bag of shelled corn of her very own to feed them.

 

The calf is still on the bottle because I can't bear to take it from her yet. Many dairy calves are weaned around 6-8 weeks; she'll be 13 weeks this Friday. She has a cozy barn to go in anytime she wants, and she has a big pasture to play in. We also feed her yummy baby feed, corn and she has hay out all the time.

 

Sweetheart the milk cow has big pastures, a shelter, and dh puts bag balm on her teats after milking--so they don't get chapped :D She has freedom to do as she pleases and gets fed good feed, good hay, minerals and plenty of water. And she gets talked to gently and kindly. Her predecessor, Daisy, got brushed and scratched because she liked it. Sweetheart doesn't, so we respect her and touch her very little--again, raising animals humanely.

 

The ducks run around being ducks. They have share a pond with the pony who has a barn to go in anytime he wants, plus a huge pasture to run in. He gets feed and hay.

 

The cats and dogs...they get to be happy cats and dogs.

 

The bunny lives in the basement! :lol: A house bunny!!

 

All that to say that if you search carefully you will probably find a family farm that treats the animals humanely. If they are treated the way they were meant to be treated, they will be healthy and happy doing what God intends for them to do. Even the animals that are eaten--it is okay if they are cared for gently, given a good, happy life and then slaughtered very quickly and carefully.

 

 

This has been Deep Thoughts with Tracy in Ky

Edited by Tracy in Ky
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I don't understand how this works. I would think that to keep giving milk, they would just have to continue being milked, no? If they were inseminated again, wouldn't their milk dry up until they give birth again? I thought cow milk production worked just human milk production.

 

And to Michelle, yes, I struggle with this too :(

 

A cow will indeed give milk for longer than a year, but the production for most starts to taper off after a few months and continues to drop. She doesn't dry up when she becomes pregnant, but continues to milk until roughly 2 months before parturition, when she is dried off to allow her to rest, build body energy and nourish the growing calf. The usual custom is to aim for a 10 month lactation and a 2 month dry period, which leads to calving every year.

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In order to give milk, they must be kept pregnant, and they are brutally artificially inseminated. The male calves are either killed immediately, kept in veal crates to be slaughtered at six weeks for veal, or kept as studs to perpetuate the cycle. The mother cow endures the loss of her child over and over and over again.

 

I keep telling myself to stay out of this, since my knowledge of this is so contrary to what most of you present, but where on earth did you get the idea that this is a hard fact of all dairying? Even more specifically, key phrases that are designed not to present facts, but to elicit a particular emotional response to the issue?

 

I can speak very confidently about the other side of the issue, since my dh and most of our family and friends would apparently be considered part of the horrible deep-pocket agribusiness.

 

We don't inseminate our cows. Ever. Many dairies do not, but even so, I've witnessed the process over and over on other dairies. Where did you get the idea that the process is brutal? I guess it depends on what you consider brutal (?). I don't consider a cow quietly munching grain while a vet/farmer gently insert the tube to be brutal. If so, most of us women suffer through *much* greater brutality every time we have a pelvic exam, which is often much more invasive than the process of insemination.

 

We haven't, and never will, use artificial hormones. I think that it's...deceptive for people to buy milk on the basis of "no artificial hormones". *There is no test that can certify hormone-free*. Did you all hear that? There isn't a test because the synthetic hormones that are administered are identical to the ones already present in the cow. I don't want artificial hormones in my milk either, I just have a knee-jerk negative reaction to tampering with food sources. The hormone-free certification basically means that the farmer has *said* he doesn't use artificial hormones.

 

Another thing that isn't often pointed out...I think it's great that so many folks are able to squeeze out the money in their budget to go organic (which theoretically might help them consume a smidge less antibiotics/insecticides/chemical fertilizers over the span of their lives), but in your quest for "more humane treatment" and such, do you think that the majority of families can afford those costly products? The big agribusiness that you're condemning has done the huge job of feeding the world in a way that the practices you're advocating will *never* be able to.

 

If you want every chicken to be ranging freely, pecking bugs, etc. that's a pretty picture, but how much farmland do you think it would take for every chicken to be raised that way? In a time when farmland is being encroached on more and more, where do you think dairies will expand to in order to provide enough milk for a growing population?

 

It's possible to be in favor of organics and humane treatment of food-source animals while still being reasonably logical in terms of the reality of providing food for people to eat.

 

Are you that sure that the little farmer down the country road could provide enough milk for every baby who needs milk? Every child who has milk on his/her cereal in the morning? If you're not sure, then I really think you need to assess your reaction to commercial farming, and perhaps seek facts about how those large farms operate in the real world. Check your sources, people! Are the facts you're hearing and accepting from neutral sources, or are they a product of someone with an agenda? I agree that there are farms with disgusting practices, but the majority are doing better than you think, and better than statistics or anecdotal evidence from biased sources would lead you to believe.

 

Ok, I can feel some of you winding up with tomatoes aimed for me, but truly, I wanted to present the other side of an issue that is surrounded by such emotionality, and not always real facts. If you don't agree with me, or are unwilling to consider all the angles of the issue, that's ok. I just really wanted a more balanced view presented.

Edited by Julie in CA
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but in your quest for "more humane treatment" and such, do you think that the majority of families can afford those costly products? The big agribusiness that you're condemning has done the huge job of feeding the world in a way that the practices you're advocating will *never* be able to.

 

I don't advocate for "more humane treatment." I advocate a vegan diet, which certainly can feed the world. I am not going to get into a back and forth about it, so that's all I have to say.

 

Tara

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Thanks everyone for your perspective. Julie, I do see your point and can identify with how you feel, since farming is your living. I cringe when I read the bashing pediatricians post since my husband is one (not at all like the ones described :confused:). I feel very comfortable eating dairy since I had 2 dairy farming uncles when I was younger who had a 1000 acres each, and I grew up going to their farms and playing in the fields and watching the cows be milked, born etc. I feel quite comfortable with that situation and have no qualms about eating dairy (ducking from tomatoes too). I grew up in Wisconsin and diary is a huge part of our diet.

 

I haven't watched the video my husband saw (I can't watch disturbing things, and if this disturbed him it's got to be bad). I know it was very possibley put out there by propagandists and could be the worst of the worst. I discussed that with him too.

 

My husband does not take good care of himself and has extremely high cholesterol controlled by meds, so if he wants to go semi-veg I'll support him just because of the health benefits that may off set what bed habits he's putting on himself (won't discuss those now). Due to this we couldn't buy half a cow or whatever, because the only beef we eat are ground round or sirloin and filet mignon, flank steak & an occasional sirloin roast becuase they're lower fat, so most would go to waste.

 

Again, Julie, I hope you don't feel offended. I certainly didn't intend that by bringing this post up. I only intended to try to find a way to insure that the diary products and eggs we use weren't be raised differently than what I had seen growing up so my husband could feel comfortable eating/buying them.

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Thanks everyone for your perspective. Julie, I do see your point and can identify with how you feel, since farming is your living. I cringe when I read the bashing pediatricians post since my husband is one (not at all like the ones described :confused:). .

 

I had to go look for the post you were referring to about pediatricians. If it's the one that's going now, it asked about people who chose a GP over a pediatrician, so you'll get more answers from people who don't like pediatricians.

 

I say that because I like my pediatrician as well as any other doctor, so I skiped that thread. Other people may have skipped it for the same reason.:001_smile:

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I had to go look for the post you were referring to about pediatricians. If it's the one that's going now, it asked about people who chose a GP over a pediatrician, so you'll get more answers from people who don't like pediatricians.

 

I say that because I like my pediatrician as well as any other doctor, so I skiped that thread. Other people may have skipped it for the same reason.:001_smile:

I think she may be referring to a previous post where a pediatrician had behaved badly towards a little girl during an exam.

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Again, Julie, I hope you don't feel offended. I certainly didn't intend that by bringing this post up. I only intended to try to find a way to insure that the diary products and eggs we use weren't be raised differently than what I had seen growing up so my husband could feel comfortable eating/buying them.

Oh Michelle, I'm totally *not* offended. I didn't mean to hijack your post, either, I just see so many people who steadfastly believe their viewpoint on food production/consumption without really thinking it through. I wish there *were* a way to feed everyone in a way that wouldn't offend (ok, I admit, short of just not eating any meat or animal products).

 

I've been trying to reduce our meat consumption, not because I think there's anything inherently wrong with eating meat, but simply because my family tends to eat more meat than is healthy for their bodies, sometimes to the exclusion of other healthier choices.

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I think she may be referring to a previous post where a pediatrician had behaved badly towards a little girl during an exam.

 

Oh, thanks for clearing that up. :001_smile: (I posted in that thread my pediatrician would never do that.)

 

Sorry for getting this thread off track.

 

We buy organic, etc. and this thread is interesting to me. I am aware that the labels don't gaurantee a standard. We try to do a little research on the companies I use.

 

I really wish I could find local meat. Still looking.

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I define agribuisness as those operations where the owners don't even live on the farm, let alone take part in the day-to-day operations. They are large corporations that focus on food production as a money making business. I worked briefly at one such company and can personally attest that they refer to the animals they raise or milk as "production units" in their inhouse memos.

 

So , Julie, if you and your family and friends actually live and work on your farms, then I do not consider you part of agribusiness, only commercial agriculture. I grew up in such a family, except my father grew crops (corn, soybeans, wheat, oats) instead of livestock or dairy. Many family farms (which also seems to fit the situation you have described more than agribusiness) engage in commercial agriculture. It's not all direct sales to end use customers. And in my personal experience, most family farms have a fairly small profit margin. Oh, they look rich, with all the land and equipment, etc. But $500K in and $450K out per year does not a fat salary leave! However, Archer Daniels Midland and businesses of that type do have deep pockets and usually post sizeable profits each year.

 

I too hate that there seems to be so little middle ground in this issue. The general public seems to be polarized and believe that either farmers torture their stock to death or that Pansy, the cow, should get to sit next to Aunt Helen this year for Christmas. Little recognition that Pansy should be in the barn, warm and comfortable, giving milk like a champ. Not strung out on chemicals but not wearing a hand-knit Bolivian sweater to ward off any chill either.

 

Personally, I don't go for giving livestock synthetic anything. I believe their bodies were designed to function in a certain way, on a particular time table. I believe that forcing production with chemicals or synthetic hormones is not healthy for the animals long term and may well create a less healthy product. The only reason we medicate our stock is if they become ill, which rarely happens. I also don't agree with the comment that agribusiness has done such a great job of feeding the world. People are still starving. Somehow people ate even before the industry giants were developed. IMO, agribusiness has made it possible for a majority of people to step away from producing any of their own food, possible for populations to expand rapidly in certain areas, and possible for people to inhabit lands that are unable to produce their own food. And honestly, I am not convinced that those things are such great ideas.

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Hi, Michelle! I read your post last night and refrained initially from replying because I wanted to make sure this wasn't going to develop into a heated debate. It is difficult for me to answer very broad questions such as, "In general are cows treated humanely?" as the term "humane" is somewhat subjective. Some feel, for example, that raising calves separately from their mothers is "inhumane"; others disagree. The same parting of ways occurs over all number of issues: tie stall barns, docking tails, artificial insemination, pasture access, milking three times daily, etc. There is a wide variance as to what is and isn't acceptable on farms. A large, conventional farm does not necessarily treat its animals poorly; conversely, a very small family farmer may not maintain admirable practices. In that sense, farming is truly an individual sport (;)).

 

Others have offered you some good suggestions as far as purchasing from local farms. I am always supportive of doing what we can to connect directly with the people who produce our food. Of course, that option isn't available to or convenient for many consumers. That's when a standard label such as "USDA Organic" does come in handy. While there is not universal agreement in the organics industry as to what qualifies as "best treatment", the standards are indeed higher. And speaking from the perspective of an Organic Valley farmer, I can vouch for the fact that the standards within our cooperative are higher still. If you have particular questions regarding certified organic products, or Organic Valley in particular, I'm more than happy to answer those questions either here or privately.

Edited by Colleen
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I just went to a seminar on what all these labels in food mean, or don't mean, as the case may be, and there is no meaningful federal regulation of these terms.

 

Yes, consumers are justifiably confused by the myriad of labels, most of which are wholly subjective. That's one reason why my cooperative strives to maintain the integrity of the USDA Organic label.

 

Baby cows are taken from their mothers, usually on their first day of life, which causes significant distress for both.

 

How do you know it causes significant distress?

 

Dairy cows live a fraction of their normal lifespan and then are sent to slaughter, the same revolting and inhumane slaughter houses your dh is concerned about.

 

As with all businesses, there are variances with in the slaughtering industry. All are not evil.

 

In order to give milk, they must be kept pregnant, and they are brutally artificially inseminated.

 

Brutally? How so?

 

The male calves are either killed immediately, kept in veal crates to be slaughtered at six weeks for veal, or kept as studs to perpetuate the cycle.

 

Yes, the dairy industry is based upon milk production and of course bulls are not lactating animals.

 

The mother cow endures the loss of her child over and over and over again.

 

A child is a person. A calf is an animal. Humanely and humanly are not interchangeable terms.

 

After careful consideration of the issues, I came to the conclusion that there was no way I could continue to consume dairy products without continuing to support the inhumane treatment and death of the animals involved. All animals raised for human consumption, be it milk, meat, or eggs, meet the same fate (brutal slaughter) in the end, regardless of how they are treated in life.

 

I respect that and agree with some of your concerns, though as noted above I wanted to offer some clarifications and/or additional comments for the benefit of others listening in to this conversation.

 

I think it's great that so many folks are able to squeeze out the money in their budget to go organic (which theoretically might help them consume a smidge less antibiotics/insecticides/chemical fertilizers over the span of their lives)

 

You may consider it a "theoretical smidge less"; I consider it a valid, significant difference. (Footnote for other readers: A study conducted by scientists at the University of Washington found that children fed predominantly organic produce and juice had only one-sixth the level of pesticide byproducts in their urine compared with children who ate conventionally farmed foods.)

 

in your quest for "more humane treatment" and such, do you think that the majority of families can afford those costly products?

 

Yes, I do.

 

The big agribusiness that you're condemning has done the huge job of feeding the world in a way that the practices you're advocating will *never* be able to.

 

In your opinion. I disagree.

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My husband is seriously considering going vegetarian after watching a video of inhumane slaughtering practices. He says the chickens that are raised for eggs are treated very poorly too.

 

Can I buy eggs that are gauranteed to be raised humanely? Are all organic products raised the old fashioned farm way? Can you buy free range eggs?

 

Are dairy cows in general well treated, or would I have to buy organic?

 

Thanks for any help,

 

It wasn't the video about the RAVE diet, was it?

My hubby and I watched it a few weeks ago, and he hasn't eaten meat or chicken since!

A man who LIVED on meat and potatoes.

I am very happy, since we eat 90% organic and it has saved us TONS of $$ in groceries.

I've lost 5 pounds in 2 weeks and he has lost 6~

Can't cut out Tillamook cheese and organic eggs, though.

I just enjoy them too much!;)

I feel like a new woman~

Blessings on your quest for health!

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A child is a person. A calf is an animal. Humanely and humanly are not interchangeable terms.

 

 

 

 

That is very important to point out, Colleen. I agree.

 

It is fine to separate animals. Otherwise, how would anyone ever own a pet dog or cat or rabbit? There are distinct lines between human beings created in the image of God and animals. When those get blurred, we get into all sorts of trouble that simply needn't be.

 

Thanks for making that comment.

 

I also didn't think AI is brutal. We are planning on having Sweetheart AI'd this spring. Discomfort maybe, but brutal? You know more than I do about this--it isn't brutal is it?

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In order to give milk, they must be kept pregnant, and they are brutally artificially inseminated.

 

I am curious if you've ever seen a cow being inseminated - either artificially or naturally?

 

An artificial insemination pipette is signifigantly smaller than a bull penis.

 

Artificial insemination also decreases the chances of injury to the cows and the bulls. It is quite humane.

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There are distinct lines between human beings created in the image of God and animals.

 

Not everyone believes that.

 

Yes, I understand that not everyone believes human beings are created in the image of God. Regardless of one's belief system in that sense, though, the fact remains that people and animals are different, as are the terms "humanely" and "humanly". The former involves treating animals (and people) with compassion, whereas the latter application would require us to treat animals in the manner of human beings.

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The former involves treating animals (and people) with compassion, whereas the latter application would require us to treat animals in the manner of human beings.

 

I don't think that non-human animals need to be treated exactly like human animals. But I do believe that human and non-human animals share a similar capacity to suffer, so that informs my choices in regards to animals. In my experience of investigating my options before I made the decision to become vegan, even the small family farms that raised their animals humanely still participated in practices that lead to the suffering and death of other animals, such as the male chicks and the veal calves I mentioned earlier. As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, agribusiness has contributed to a population boom that most likely renders small farming obsolete in terms of meeting the demand for animal products to consume on a large scale. Because of this, I don't think that "humanely raised" animal products are the answer. I think a diet free of animal products is. I realize that I am outnumbered on this thread, and perhaps I chose the wrong place to state my opinions in the first place. My intention is not pick on persons in this thread who make their living from farming animals. My intention is simply to state the truth as I see it based on my experiences.

 

You do not think you are essentially different than a cow?

 

I believe that a cow longs for happiness and freedom from suffering in ways very similar to my own, so in respects to to this thread about how animals are treated in the animal agriculture industry, no, I don't think I am so different.

 

Tara

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I am curious if you've ever seen a cow being inseminated - either artificially or naturally?

 

 

Yes, and what I witnessed was not the image of the kindly country veterinarian gently going about his business while the cow contentedly munched her hay. I regret the use of the word "brutal," because it caused people to focus on the act itself, when to me, it's more than that. But yes, the procedure I witnessed at a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) is something I would more likely describe as brutal rather than gentle.

 

Tara

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I just wanted to add that I don't make a habit of haranguing people to be vegan. I was raised non-vegan and it was a gradual process of a shifting of consciousness that lead me to choose veganism. This thread was about whether it's possible to procure humane animal products, and my opinion (as I am sure you all have guessed) is that it's not. My intention was not to offend or cause arguments.

 

Tara

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I don't think that non-human animals need to be treated exactly like human animals. But I do believe that human and non-human animals share a similar capacity to suffer, so that informs my choices in regards to animals.

 

I don't necessarily disagree, but language is important to me. Words can be used imprecisely to exact emotional responses, and an example, imo, is referring to a calf as a child.

 

In my experience of investigating my options before I made the decision to become vegan, even the small family farms that raised their animals humanely still participated in practices that lead to the suffering and death of other animals, such as the male chicks and the veal calves I mentioned earlier.

 

So you also oppose pet ownership?

 

I don't think that "humanely raised" animal products are the answer. I think a diet free of animal products is. I realize that I am outnumbered on this thread, and perhaps I chose the wrong place to state my opinions in the first place. My intention is not pick on persons in this thread who make their living from farming animals. My intention is simply to state the truth as I see it based on my experiences.

 

I'm glad you're sharing your opinions.:) The vegan lifestyle isn't unusual in my neck of the woods, so nothing you've stated is unusual to my ears ~ nor do I find it offensive. It is, though, a matter of opinion. It is your opinion, for example, that artificial insemination is brutal ~ and in my opinion you're flat-out wrong. I am going to venture a guess and say I have more familiarity with that subject than you. Or not?

 

On the other hand, as I said earlier, I sympathize with and share some of your concerns, which is why maintaining an ethical, humane farm is of such import to me. I work very, very hard to institute changes in the industry where I believe change is needed and the same is true of our cooperative.

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On the other hand, as I said earlier, I sympathize with and share some of your concerns, which is why maintaining an ethical, humane farm is of such import to me. I work very, very hard to institute changes in the industry where I believe change is needed and the same is true of our cooperative.

Just wanted to say thanks Colleen. I know there are many farms still out there that practice what I would consider gentle farming. I really wanted to hear answers from people I know out there that farm.

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After I posted I read what I wrote here:

 

It is your opinion, for example, that artificial insemination is brutal ~ and in my opinion you're flat-out wrong. I am going to venture a guess and say I have more familiarity with that subject than you.

 

...and had to laugh. Is this what I've come to? Asserting the fact that I'm more familiar with the artificial insemination of cows than is the next gal?:D I seriously doubt anyone who knew me "back then" would've ever pictured me making that claim.:lol:

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So you also oppose pet ownership?

 

No. We have eight animal companions. They were all adopted from shelters or rescued. They are all fixed so that they don't breed. I am opposed to the breeding of animals for pets (and my mom participated in dog breeding when I was growing up). I'm missing the connection between the snippet you quoted and having pets.

 

Tara

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There are local farms. You could even schedule a tour for some of them (formal or informal). I've taken my kids to a dairy and we mooed at the cows etc. It was nice to see the real cows. I prefer to buy local eggs; they are much tastier.

 

I think there are kindly ways to raise animals and horrid ways.

 

I think we should consider the realities and the ethics of what we eat, and I am glad this conversation is being had, with so many farmers (? for lack of a better word) contributing their experiences.

Edited by stripe
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No. We have eight animal companions. They were all adopted from shelters or rescued. They are all fixed so that they don't breed. I am opposed to the breeding of animals for pets (and my mom participated in dog breeding when I was growing up). I'm missing the connection between the snippet you quoted and having pets.

 

Tara

 

Well, I don't believe that animals or humans or humans were created in a god's likeness, but I do believe that humans are naturally carnivores, and I don't think that truly humanely raised and slaughtered animals die anymore unintentionally than do animals hunted down, trapped, and slaughtered in the wild. I think there are PLENTY of horrid, inhumane practices out there, but I strive to buy only from producers who treat their animals differently (we participate in a co-op for this purpose). Anyway, this is just for full disclosure, and not to argue with you, Tara, because I've spent the last four years struggling with this issue myself, and this is the conclusion I've come to (for us--if people are happy and comfortable living a vegan lifestyle, I think that's great, I wish I could). I really mean to answer your question above, because I've been thinking a lot about that too.

 

I believe one could argue that keeping pets is as inhumane as keeping cows penned up, that having them surgically fixed is as cruel and unnatural as artificial insemination, that keeping any pets at all is contributing to the culture that leads to breeding animals as pets. In fact, I've participated in long and heated discussion threads where vegans made these very arguments. So I imagine this is where Colleen is coming from when she asked the question. I'm sure you would disagree with those people about your keeping of pets just as vehemently as she is disagreeing with you about the brutal inhumanity of consuming animal products.

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In my experience with sheep, they do not have a similar capacity to suffer as humans do. I tend to be very gentle with all our animals, preferring to hand out pats and scratches instead of blows and shoves. I did originally believed that my sheep felt pain just like people would. Then those baby ram lambs grew up. And started bashing heads with GREAT abandon. Just for fun. They would smash each other hard enough to knock their horns off, leaving horrible, gory wounds, and run back for more. This when they were still too young to breed and not even during breeding season. Basically just for fun. Even the ewes occasionally get into the act, butting heads so hard that the sound echoes down the hollow. I have seen all of them hit so hard that they would be knocked down, struggle upright, dazed and confused, and then leap over other animals to get back into the fray.

 

Humans certainly do NOT experience that level of concussion and continue blithely along. One ram tried to jump over dh's head and accidentally hit him with a horn. Dh screamed in pain and hit the ground like a sack of bricks. We later found out that the orbital socket bone edge had been damaged and dh still has some nerve pain there. From only one hit, and an accidental one at that. I can guarantee you that dh was in such pain that he was not about to hop back up and go at it again.

 

The next thing that happened to make me question the sheep's pain tolerance level was their response to our electric fence. Both dh and I intentionally "took a hit" just so we really knew how bad it was. IMO, it hurt really bad. Brought me almost but not quite to tears and left me feeling very jittery for a minute or two afterward. I have seen both adult sheep and baby lambs stand there with an ear on the fence going Snap, Snap, Snap, and not even bat an eye. They stood there calmly grazing.

 

I do not know exactly how a sheep experiences pain. But I do know it is not like a human does.

 

OT, regarding artificial insemination. On another homeschool site I read regularly, a while back there were all these posts about exciting things about AI. I kept skipping them, not planning to breed any of our stock using the technique. Eventually after such a number of mentions of AI, I decided to see what all the fuss was about--perhaps there was some big breakthrough or controversy I needed to know about. Turns out they were discussing the television show, American Idol. I need to get out more.

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In fact, I've participated in long and heated discussion threads where vegans made these very arguments.

 

Yeah, I know that there are vegans who believe those things. I have pondered them quite a bit, too. The conclusion I came to is that it's far better to have well-cared-for pets than it is for them to be euthanized because humans view them as stray/surplus. Stray animals are viewed as nuisances and killed, so to me fixing them is a logical step to reduce suffering, whereas AI is not. It's not so much whether it's natural or unnatural. It's more about what's pragmatic given the situation in which we find ourselves. When people have argued to me that keeping pets is as ethically untenable as eating animals, I have just told them that I don't intend to kill my pets for consumption.

 

I have also long pondered the fact that humans evolved as omnivores and that we are, basically, just another animal trying to feed ourselves. The conclusion I came to for myself is that in today's animal agriculture climate, procuring animal products involves a great deal of senseless and needless suffering and that, because of how I evolved, I have the opportunity to make a different choice.

 

I don't necessarily see it as brutally inhumane to consume animal products; I see the way it is normally done in our society as brutal and inhumane. I feel blessed to be in the position to have the choice of veganism. I normally shy away from discussing my views with people because my intention is not to judge others, but others frequently end up feeling judged. I was non-vegan once. I really think it necessitates a shift in worldview to see veganism as something other than wacky zealotry. There once was a time when I felt that veganism was wacky. :)

 

Tara

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Colleen,

 

We buy a few brands of organic milk(tried several), and I will tell you flatly that Organic Valley is my favorite. I mean that.

 

It's a little harder to find(only one store locally), but I get it when I can.

 

:iagree: Our Albertsons use to carry Organic Valley and it was delicious. So rich and sweet....the best tasting organic milk around. Then they came out with their own brand and now only offer that and Horizon. No comparison. Blech. :tongue_smilie:

 

I then found that our coop could get OV milk by the case. So I went that route for a while. But, we found that the milk didn't taste as good after being frozen and thawed and we don't drink enough milk (nor have enough fridge space) for a case of milk without freezing some of it. So, sadly, we have had to resort to the 'other-guys' organic milk.

 

All that to say....Organic Valley is, in my opinion, the very best! I just wish it was easier to acquire.

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I do not know exactly how a sheep experiences pain. But I do know it is not like a human does.

 

Your point is well taken, and I have to say the same regarding cows. I have no doubt that they can and do experience pain ~ and I'm certainly not going to beat 'em with a lead pipe just to see if it hurts, kwim? ~ but their perception of pain certainly does seem to be different than ours.

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No. We have eight animal companions. They were all adopted from shelters or rescued. They are all fixed so that they don't breed. I am opposed to the breeding of animals for pets (and my mom participated in dog breeding when I was growing up). I'm missing the connection between the snippet you quoted and having pets.

 

You said that based on your investigations "even the small family farms that raised their animals humanely still participated in practices that lead to the suffering and death of other animals". I assumed that if you had pets, you likely had them "fixed", which some would consider inflicting suffering on the creature. And you do have them fixed, though you explained admirably your reasoning in another post below. And I don't disagree with your thought process on that matter. I think we can all justify why we do or don't engage in certain practices.

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I normally shy away from discussing my views with people because my intention is not to judge others, but others frequently end up feeling judged. I was non-vegan once. I really think it necessitates a shift in worldview to see veganism as something other than wacky zealotry.

 

I think you're making assumptions about those of us listening to you that are perhaps inaccurate. I don't consider veganism as wacky zealotry. I don't feel judged by you; on the contrary, I commend you for not lambasting those who engage in a lifestyle which you've decided is wrong for you. No, you haven't been judgmental, but you did initially present some strong opinions as if they were fact.

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