Many of you read the publication,
About Town: a free community guide to Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Tivoli
and Hudson. The current issue features the cover article, “A
Neighborhood of Animal Farms,” which describes several local farms where
animals are raised in less confined conditions than in most factory
farms. The article states that the meat or milk from these animals is
tastier and more healthful because the animals have a more natural diet.
The underlying assumption is that humans must eat flesh and fluids from
animals and this is a “better” way to produce them.
“I love animals,” one farmer declared.
Isn’t this statement and the fact that these animals are raised
primarily for slaughter contradictory? Many of us who have chosen to not
eat meat wonder how people could raise an animal, giving him or her a
“nice life” [as another farmer is quoted as saying], and then dispatch
the animal to be killed. A friend of mine recently toured a local dairy
farm, and before leaving I told him to “Ask the people if they allow the
calves to nurse, and if so for how long?” The farmer told him “Two
days,” he said. [In a large commercial dairy, calves are separated at
birth.] The farmer further answered that if the cow is nursing she will
“hold back” some of her milk. Any human mother wanting to provide for
her child should understand that.
Still, most people drink milk, use
copious quantities of cheese (“I just couldn't give up cheese,” many
people tell me), and can’t imagine summer without ice cream. How many of
them think that they are using what rightfully belongs to a calf? Never
mind that the milk from a cow is not formulated for the nutritional
needs of a human. A baby grows to about 20 pounds in a year, a calf to
several hundred pounds.
Does two days of nursing from their mom
really give these babies a better life? Recently I saw a poster for a
local poultry farm showing a very long building in the background among
green surroundings. The text emphasized, “NO hormones, NO antibiotics.”
Nothing was said about the conditions of the chickens who undoubtedly
live in the factory-like building in the background. OK, maybe they are
not in cages; and probably it’s less crowded than the facility producing
chickens for Perdue or Tyson’s.
Nonetheless, in these large
warehouse-type buildings chickens no longer eat their preferred varied
diet; nor can they enjoy finding their own food among grass and other
plants. Constance Young, our editor, wrote to AboutTown
asking why the article about “Neighborhood Farms” was featured on the
cover page (the only article on the front page) when the many articles
she wrote over many years focusing animal welfare [one even about
veganism] were stuck away in the back pages. She also stressed in her
letter the lack of research in the cover story; the author of the
article did onetime
only visits to the farms, and obviously
the farmers are going to say only good things about how they treat their
animals. If you would like to contact About Town, write email@example.com
in Dutchess County. There is also an Ulster County edition.
We can read articles like the one in
AboutTown and become disgusted and discouraged and do
nothing. Or, we can continue to take up the challenge of promoting
animal-free eating as a lifestyle that is more healthful and as a way to
reduce animal cruelty and reverse damage to the environment.
A butcher shop recently opened in
downtown Rhinebeck. I have no idea how I got on their e-mail list, but
here are two of their upcoming classes: “The Art of Cooking Meat for
Recovering Vegetarians and Others who May Be Slightly Perplexed,” and
“Know What Your Dinner is Eating Before You Eat Your Dinner.” More bad
news -- the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market now has more meat vendors than
Past and Upcoming Events.
This June, for the third consecutive
year, we supported the Catskill Animal Sanctuary by preparing and
selling vegan foods. Along with the “Not Dogs,” we prepared “hummus
wraps,” “tofu-noegg” salad sandwiches, pasta and potato salads and
dozens and dozens of cookies and bars baked by members and friends.
Kathy Stevens and her staff and volunteers were very pleased with our
The other local sanctuary, Woodstock Farm
Animal Sanctuary, will be having a Blessing of the Animals event on
September 30th and the call will go out again to “Fire Up Your Ovens.”
Earlier in September, on September 15, we
will have a table at the Albany Vegetarian Network Capital Region
Vegetarian Expo in Saratoga Springs. At this first-time event there will
be films, speakers, many vendors and lots of vegan food. Our table will
feature environmental materials prepared by Jim Van Alstine which we
used at three Earth Day events this Spring. We will also reach out to
help people who want to change their way of eating. Let us know if you
want to be part of this outreach.
Our next event will be on August 24th.
Will Tuttle, composer, pianist and author of “The World Peace Diet” will
be in the area and we have arranged a concert and reading at the
Reformed Church in Rhinebeck. See the Calendar of Events on page 3 for
details. Will’s music is superb, so please attend if you are in town. We
will also need members to make appetizers and desserts. Please contact
us at 845.876.2626 or
I think you got my message that I am “fed
Up” with all this media frenzy about “grass fed” animals being humanely
treated and good for you. Let’s not get discouraged, but continue to
choose good vegan food and to be an example to others. Please support
MHVS by educating people when and where appropriate and attending our
events. Check the Calendar of Events in this issue and on our website
for all our upcoming events.
- by Roberta Schiff, President
Go on to News & Opinions
Return to Summer 2007 Issue