Christ Loves Creatures,
A thesis by: Norma Carol
- Edited Internet Edition -
ANIMAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE CONDONED IN SOCIETY
Within the four subjects to be covered, I will show the result of man’s choice to allow the situations to exist. There seems to be more "Care" viewpoints readily available than "Use" viewpoints. However, it is very clear that "Use" is the reason for the atrocities. While this report is biased in favor of "What Would Jesus Do?" as opposed to "What The World Does," I will try to show the "Use" point of view as fairly as possible, if that view can be documented, while supporting the "Care" view. If no documentation is quoted, I will advise that the comment is from experience rather than a physical literary source.
PMU stands for "pregnant mares’ urine" and is the key ingredient for the estrogens Premarin and Prempro (as well as generic counterparts). These pills have been given to menopausal women since the 1950’s. Doctors honestly give this treatment believing it is a wonderful drug and the best for their patients. However, I have spoken to many women who have no idea they are swallowing urine pills. (Would you if you knew?) Some just think that urine is "collected" very simply without any discomfort (how I—and they—do not know). That is so far from the truth it would be heresy if it had to do with faith.
The manufacturer of Premarin, Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, has answered the animal rights groups with a lovely pamphlet entitled "Quality, Commitment & Caring…" This was produced in answer to animal rights activists and those boycotting the product. In it the author describes how there are 125 production steps to making Premarin. High level quality assurance is stressed and the manufacturing is detailed in a simplified version. Healthy horses are shown in pastures and are pictured in roomy stalls, and described at "highly prized and well cared for".39 The brochure mentions climate controlled housing and the horse are "provided a stall large enough to lie down or move about in". The company admits it "contracts with independent horse ranches staffed by experienced animal handlers".40
To Wyeth’s credit, urine is "collected—not extracted…".41 And that urine is processed, I am sure, with all the quality care and sophistication that they claim, although I have not seen it to judge.
Unfortunately, doctors believe what they see, read, and are sold. Perhaps some of their experience supports their views. I spoke to a neurologist with whom I have worked and does estrogen studies for Wyeth, expressing my ethical problem with logging test results and that I could not do it. He said that Premarin is a "wonderful drug". I questioned, from a neuroscience point of view, in what way? He told me that it is potent and fights Osteoporosis, heart disease, and in his field, Alzheimer’s Disease. I questioned if estrogen derived from plant sources could do the same thing. While deferring to those who are specialists on the subject he believed it seemed logical that would work. I also asked if he could swallow horse urine pills, and he could if it meant avoiding those diseases. The doctor I spoke to is a very compassionate man and one of the top in his field and his comments demonstrated an interesting viewpoint. Would most people go to certain extremes if it means their health? Even with alternatives?
Despite this, every single positive claim made by Wyeth-Ayerst concerning animal welfare has been proven to be blatantly untrue. Please keep in mind the production of estrogen is helpful for women dealing with the discomfort and bodily breakdown associated with menopause. Please also keep in mind, there are now plant-based estrogens that Wyeth could manufacture and still make money.
How can I document Wyeth’s lies? Because I am a personal friend of someone who has done it! First of all, I have viewed photographs in brochures and videos on television special reports showing the cruelty of the collection process (despite being "better than extraction"). It is not humane. My friend, Susan Wagner, President of Equine Advocates, Inc., has gone undercover to Canada with the show Extra to document the cruelty. She had to go under the guise of purchasing a horse. No rancher she has met, nor the ones on other documented exposés, has let anyone just enter the ranch and tour. People are manned at the gates with shotguns to keep those interested out. Susan was literally risking arrest in a foreign (although friendly) country. Here is some of her account from various investigations and research, first from PMU ranch stalls:
Repeatedly impregnated mares [are] tied by their necks, confined in stalls where they cannot turn around, groom themselves, or lie down comfortably, and "harnessed" with urine collection pouches which can cause chafing and infection.42
Second, from transport to slaughter auctions:
Most likely the mares would have been forced onto an overcrowded double-decker cattle trailer and shipped to a slaughterhouse where they would have been butchered…43
Third, from one of many slaughter auction experiences:
"Carla" was standing quietly in a crowded paddock at a Canadian slaughter auction. I was sickened by her condition – she was emaciated, pregnant, with gaping wounds all over her body.
After years of use and abuse, she was being "scrapped" for slaughter. I was told she came from one of the worst and filthiest PMU "farms" in Canada. We were enraged, and determined to outbid the "killer buyers" and get Carla out of there – which we did. We sent her to a loving temporary home to begin her recovery.
But, her recovery was not to be – just 11 days after her rescue, on a quiet farm in Ontario, Carla lay down in a field – her fragile body had just shut down. Tragically, we had to have her humanely euthanized….44
This horrific situation is the result of the fact that:
There are no laws regulating PMU production in the three Canadian provinces where the farms are located, only a "Code of Practice" that is nothing more than a set of guidelines written by Wyeth-Ayerst.45
Despite wide media attention, including celebrities, women are listening more to glitzy ads with Lauren Hutton than the warnings by Mary Tyler Moore! (These warnings are interviews rather than ads viewed constantly on television.) Until women are properly educated to ask about their source of medication and alternatives, CLCt is needed to assist in the process.
When people think of factory farms, they usually think first about veal. But they also include egg hatcheries as well as turkey and hog/pig farms. This thesis is going to focus on the latter. To say factory farms are inhumane is polite. The following is a bit of background:
Breeding sows in the U.S. are typically kept in gestation stalls (also known as sow stalls or gestation crates) for most of their productive lives, typically three to five years…Just before parturition (i.e. giving birth), the sow is moved into a farrowing crate, where she spends about a month (until her piglets are weaned), and then she is re-impregnated and returned to the gestation crate…This type of housing system was developed to allow for economically efficient pork production, requiring less labor and feed than other housing arrangements…
Pigs, like other animals, need to exercise and use their muscles in order to remain physically healthy. Among the physical problems which result when breeding sows are confined in gestation crates are: joint damage, leg weakness, impaired mobility, and urinary tract infections…46
Farm Sanctuary describes the complex and intrinsic social life and natural habits of pigs that are allowed in a close to natural state of confinement found on family farms.
Today’s pig farm is often a depressing collection of windowless metal buildings, concealing pigs confined in crates, cages, and bare concrete pens. In the last decade, well over half of all the family farms raising pigs have been put out of business.47
Additionally, factory farms "raising" pigs create severe cases of environmental pollution, both outside and inside.
In a water-scarce region of Colorado, one pig factory alone produces 350,000 pigs annually, consuming nearly two million gallons of fresh water every day—much of it used to flush out massive amounts of manure.
Waste from pig factories is pumped into huge, open pits where it collects until it is dispersed over the land…in excess of the soil’s ability to assimilate it. Among the results are uncontrolled runoff and the contamination of surface and ground water.
The environmental hazards inside the pig factories are among the worst to be found in any industry. The closed buildings of the industrialized pig farm contain a dangerous combination of noxious fumes, including ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, bacterial, feed dust, and decomposing fecal matter.
The American Lung Association, in collaboration with the University of Iowa provides these sobering facts:
Nearly 70% of swine confinement workers experience one or more symptoms of illness or irritation…Chronic bronchitis is experienced by 58% of all swine confinement workers.48
Fortunately, many states are fighting back against allowing farm factories. Right now, Floridians for Humane Farming is sponsoring a petition drive to have a measure on the November 2002 ballot to restrict and eliminate most gestation cages for impregnated sows, hoping to keep large corporations out.
While I want to be able to show the positive side of farm factories, I cannot. The extreme confinement of animals creates the need for high antibiotics, thus polluting meat consumed. And the attitude expressed in National Hog Farmer Magazine as quoted in the Exposé demonstrates the mental state of people involved in the farms: "The breeding sow should be thought of, and treated as, a piece of machinery whose function is to pump out baby pigs like a sausage machine." (L. J. Taylor)49 and:
Forget the pig as an animal. Treat him just like any other machine in a factory. Schedule treatments like you would a lubricant. Breeding season is the first step in an assembly line.50
Animal Medical Research
When I think of animal experimentation, what comes to mind is: "All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another, and fish another." (1Cor 15:29) Just this one verse is enough to let the Christian know that animal experimentation is not an option. Following are two examples backing up this statement.
NAVS Animal Action report carries an article about a married couple with careers as an anesthesiologist (husband) and veterinarian, Jean Greek. It documents the vet’s learning experience about the difference between treating humans and animals. Jean relays:
I first asked him (Ray, Jean’s husband) how to treat melanoma in a dog. He replied that melanomas were usually lethal and that they required excision, radiation and chemotherapy. I dutifully reported these facts to my instructors, who promptly laughed at me. That’s because, unlike melanomas in humans, melanomas in dogs need not be treated unless they occur in the eye or nailbed….
Ray’s human patients suffered from cancer, heart failure and kidney disease—just like my patients. But the treatment protocols and prognoses Ray had learned for his two-legged patients were often wildly different than for my four-legged ones…
This realization led to our growing doubt that the results of experiments on animals could be extrapolated to humans. Further research convinced us that the animal-model cannot stand up to scientific scrutiny, and inspired us in our quest to see that animal model research be abandoned for much more effective paradigms. 51
Good Medicine Magazine documents current AIDS research sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Cats are injected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) to study the effects of treatment with amphetamines, hoping FIV is close enough to HIV to bring results. However, Cardello points out in the article that since felines cannot contract AIDS, it makes no sense to test drugs for FIV, and the $355,000 first year funding to Dr. Michael Podell is being wasted. She tells why:
Cats…are subjected to innumerable experiments, yet year after year they produce unreliable results that are not applicable to humans. AIDS research is a prime example of an area in which major medical advances have been achieved through human observation and in vitro methods, especially tissue cultures, and not by experimenting on animals. Outbreak investigations and clinical observations were instrumental in identifying the routes of transmission and populations at high risk. Research on human tissues has illustrated the progression and mechanism of HIV.
Podell’s research is plagued with scientific limitations. The rationale for these troubling experiments is that both HIV and amphetamines cause neurological damage in humans, and, therefore, people subjected to both will be susceptible to even greater neurological dysfunction. But cats are not people…
There are more ethical methods of study. The effect of drug use on the progression of HIV can easily be studied in humans. Podell has chosen to ignore the regrettably large population of drug addicts infected with HIV. Many of these people are already seeking psychiatric care and can easily be monitored for neurological dysfunction…Another potential study population could include individuals involved in oral amphetamine-prescribing programs. These programs give HIV-infected individuals amphetamine in pill form so they will not share needles and risk transmitting HIV. Studying high-risk human populations not only leads to more accurate results, but also provides opportunities for intervention and prevention.52
Animal activists have been at work going undercover to expose animal cruelty associated with entertainment. Two areas of abuse pointed out are the binding of horse and bull testicles for "bucking" events, and roping calves in an arena where they have no chance of getting away and are frequently denied medical treatment when injured, and beating horses into submission.
I e-mailed four Christian rodeo organizations requesting assistance with this thesis to see their viewpoint. I queried how, as Christians, they justify rodeo to animal activists. Only one representative responded. This response stated that people outside rodeo are uninformed about the excellent treatment of rodeo animals, and those opposed do not seem to want to learn. The roping of calves is a common occurence for veterinarian treatment on the open range. The respondent said he would not be part of rodeo if he was aware of abuse.
On the side of the activists, The Coca Cola Company was shown an undercover video within the past year depicting rodeo animals being beaten into cooperation. This demonstrates that activists do go behind the scenes and are very good at undercover. As a result, a decision was made to pull corporate ads for Coca Cola products from the rodeo arenas. I wrote to the company thanking them. In their response I was told that, although this decision was made as a corporation, local bottlers are independent, following their own standards. They could choose to continue ads despite parent company model.
These examples of large-scale, industrialized, and accepted forms of animal abuse were presented: PMU Ranches, Farm Factories, Animal Medical Research, and Rodeo. The reports do not tell the whole story and that is why CLCt is needed: to make sure Christians hear the story and motivate them to take stewardship seriously.
In all forms of abuse there is the common thread of no escape. This shows no respect for the welfare of animals or people. Even rodeo, displaying ranching abilities, frequently result in cowboy and cowgirl injuries, as anyone can see when they are thrown and/or trampled. Claims of content animals go against behavioral observation.
Hopefully misconceptions by Christians that animals are provided by God for our pleasure and have no hope in the resurrection for afterlife have been dispelled—or at least reevaluated by information provided in both all parts to Chapters 1 and 2.
CLCt is needed to point out these misconceptions and provide Christians with biblical reasons to adjust paradigms. Love is love and needs to be lavished on people as well as on animals. Fear of pantheism and paganism needs to be replaced with an understanding of animal agapé love vs. animal worship.
My favorite quote concerning this subject is from Rev. Prof. Andrew Linzey:
39. Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. Quality, Commitment & Caring… (USA: Wyeth-Ayerst, 1994), 6. Return to text
I suggest that we are to be present to creation as Christ is present to us. When we speak of human superiority we speak of such a thing properly only and in so far as we speak not only of Christlike lordship but also of Christlike service. There can be no lordship without service and no service without lordship. Our special value in creation consists in being of special value to others.53
40. Ibid., 7. Return to text
41. Ibid., 8 Return to text
42. Wagner, Susan. Pamphlet by Equine Advocates, Inc.: "Horses in Jeopardy". (Bedford: Equine Advocates, 2000), 5. Return to text
43. Wagner, Susan. Pissing Their Lives Away: How the Drug Industry Harms Horses in The Animals’ Agenda, Volume 21 No. 2. (Lexington: The Animals’ Agenda March/April 2001), 23. Return to text
44. Wagner, Susan. Pamphlet by Equine Advocates, Inc.: "Horses in Jeopardy". (Bedford: Equine Advocates, 2000), 6. Return to text
45. Wagner, Susan. Pissing Their Lives Away: How the Drug Industry Harms Horses in The Animals’ Agenda, Volume 21 No. 2. (Lexington: The Animals’ Agenda March/April 2001), 23. Return to text
46. Author not cited. "The Welfare of Sows in Gestation Crates: A Summary of the Scientific Evidence" in Farm Sanctuary News. (Watkins Glen: Farm Sanctuary, Summer 2000) p 6. Return to text
47. Humane Farming Association, The. An Exposé: Bringing Home The Bacon; A Look Inside the Pork Industry. (San Rafael: The Humane Farming Association, 1998), 8. Return to text
48. Ibid., 6. Return to text
49. Ibid., 4. Return to text
50. Ibid., 8. Return to text
51. Greek, Jean. "How an anesthesiologist and veterinarian found love…and lifelong dedication to debunking the myth of the animal model" in NAVS Animal Action report. (Chicago: National Anti-Vivisection Society, Summer 2001), 8. Return to text
52. Cardello, Nicole. "Animal Experiments Lead AIDS Research Astray" in Good Medicine. (Washington, D.C.: PCRM, Spring 2001), 6, 7. Return to text
53. Linzey, Andrew. Animal Theology. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press (1994), 32, 33. Return to text
Go on to Chapter 3
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