Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
30 August 2000 Issue

By Pat Ritz, [email protected]

I guess it had to happen some time during our long road trip of thousands of highway miles. It occurred in Georgia, as we were on our way home. One of those huge triple-tier trucks barreled past me on I-75. I glanced over and saw a lot of black and white. Cows.

Joan was sleeping beside me, and I didn't want to wake her. So there I was driving 70 miles an hour and trying not to sob out loud. Thinking about the cows enduring 90 degree plus heat, with no food and water. Knowing that they are headed for the slaughter house. If the trip breaks them down and they can't walk to slaughter, they will be dragged there in chains. They are supposed to be stunned before the killing, but it's an imperfect system and they may still be conscious when they are hung upside down to have their throats cut.

Many images and learnings from our trip came to mind. The huge and gentle cows we met at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen NY and at PIGS, a Sanctuary in Charles Town WV. I remember one of the interns telling me about a giant cow, 7 feet tall at the shoulder, who "licked me -- and its tongue was THIS LONG" gesturing with hands about three feet apart.

I remembered hearing about dairy cows, how they are kept constantly pregnant and their babies are taken away from them almost immediately. The males go directly into veal production, the cruelest meat industry. The dairy cows lead unnatural lives, pumped full of hormones to maximize milk production, often suffering painful mastitis. When their milk slows down, they get on those awful trucks and go to slaughter -- for hamburger meat.

Joan and I have become more and more convinced that veganism is the only ethical food choice. It is not only compassionate toward animals, but it is the most healthy for both people and the environment. We may share more of this information, but hope all of you will be thinking about where your food comes from. In the meantime, we are back home in Florida and planning to be activists and advocates for the animals.

Blessed be,
Pat & Joan

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