The Cattle
An Animal Rights Article from


Gary Loewenthal Animal Writings 
May 2005 is an inspired blend of animal advocacy and Christian ministry. Informed by their faith, the authors, Mary and Frank Hoffman, preach kindness and compassion toward "all the animals of the land, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the ground" (Gen 1:29-30), and to the fishes of the sea, and to our fellow humans...all creatures.

Part of the Hoffman's mission is to make us see the sickening and Hellish outcome when we deprive those creatures of any compassion. On this page, please read the photoessay on the various abuses that we inflict upon the cattle cow, bull, and calf.

Starting at the top of the page, you first read about factory dairy farms, where calves, who need the milk, go without, so that we, who don't need the milk and often get sick from it, can drink record amounts.

Next you come to veal, in which newborn calves are placed in tiny urine- and feces-infested crates until they're slaughtered a few months later. Veal calves must be one of the loneliest creatures on earth.

As you go down the page, you enter the slaughterhouse. Cattle, who have a quiet majesty and dignity when grazing in the pasture, are hung by their hooves, stunned, and bled. Sometimes the stunner does not work perfectly.

Keep going down. See the horrid reality of Kosher slaughter. Animals with their tracheas cut out but still alive, dumped onto the floor.

Go down to bullfighting. The bull's death is drawn out, prolonged, lengthened, while the matador smiles and the crowd roars its approval. The bull, intentionally weakened even before the event begins, is slowly bled to death. While writing in pain and barely alive, his ear and tail are cut off. The final indignity. To some, this is entertainment.

In the U.S., the cowardly sadists wear cowboy hats and call their spectacle "rodeo." See tough guys pull the tails of baby animals and flip them on their backs. The cowboys also use shocking devices and bucking straps across the genitals to pile on the abuse.

Down near the bottom, a ritual you've probably never heard of: the Farra do Boi in Brazil. "Farra do boi, loosely translated as 'Festival of the Oxen' or 'Ox Fun Days,' involves the torture-killing of several hundred oxen each year in more than thirty communities throughout the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. This evil festival begins with starving the oxen for two days, with food in plain sight but out of reach." The oxen are also deprived of water that they can see but not touch.

Then the torture worsens. Gangs of mostly young men, but also women and children, inflict one punishment after another on the downtrodden animals. They pull their ears, stone them, hit them with sticks, and chase them until the animals are exhausted. One picture shows an ox with his legs cut off, still alive. The picture after that shows men bleeding an ox to death; the ox, after three days of torment, is too tired to fight any more.

I first learned about the Farra do Boi a few weeks ago, and it's one of the most despicable things I've ever heard of. How can people torment an innocent creature for three days without interruption? I want to learn more about this violent ritual and write about it in future posts. And yet I doubt that I will ever fully absorb the depths of its evil, or that any words will fully convey its depravity.

At the bottom of the page are pictures and text describing how we transport cattle. We pack them so tightly that the weary may not be able to lie down. We also deprive them of food and water. There is one destination that all animals suffering at our hands desperately seek: deliverance from our cruelty.

Some of you may want to pray for the animals. That is fine. Who can say that the animals themselves won't sense your compassionate pleas? The non-believers may want to pray in their own way, too. I believe that can be done. Fervently hope that humankind will evolve into kind humans. Praying and hoping are restorative, transforming. Derive strength from your prayers. Resolve to fight cruelty and injustice, while struggling to maintain mercy for the oppressors. They are lost souls. There but for the grace of God go all of us. No species is excluded from the Peaceful Kingdom. We are all capable of being redeemed. To be faithful to the ideas of peace for all creatures is the only lasting solution.

Return to Animal Rights Articles