Factory Farms

Last week a video surfaced from a dairy farm in Chilliwack showing beautiful black and white cows with gorgeous, soulful brown eyes being punched, hit with a stick, kicked and strung up by a chain around their neck (still alive). When the video showed the terrified cow being strung up, it’s legs desperately kicking the air, a voice in the background shouted “leave her hanging!” Undeniably heartbreaking and horrific and, on some level, we all know that this has become the norm for animals used for food production. The abuse of the animals in this video isn’t an anomaly, actually getting it on video is the anomaly. Factory farms are infamous for keeping their doors locked to the public. If you want an idea of what the horror behind the locked doors looks like, google “factory farms” and press images. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I posted the link to the Chilliwack farm video on Facebook to spread the word that our cheap meat from Costco and the supermarket chain comes with a nightmarish existence for the animals, but it doesn’t seem like enough. Not nearly enough.

I know humans have a huge capacity for denial. I only have to look at myself to know that but, at some point, we have to lift the curtain and actually see what our society is doing. And, after taking a good, long look, if we find that we’ve become monsters, we then need to instigate change.

What is the one benefit of factory farming? Cheap meat prices. McDonald’s has been caught using factory farms with horrifically abusive practices, over and over again, as I’m sure all other fast food shops with $2.00 burgers do as well. I actually have a big question about this. As North Americans become more and more overweight and obese with every passing year, and since over-consumption of animal products has been proven to come with a host of health problems, is cheaper and cheaper meat (with animals pumped full of steroids, fed unnatural diets to gain weight quickly and sometimes even fed the carcasses of other animals) something that our society needs? Isn’t it the opposite path to the one we should be heading down right now?

This dairy farm video pushed me over the edge. As my friend Sam says, there is too much of a disconnect between us, the consumer, and what the animals went through to become the shiny, wrapped in plastic, beef tenderloin in the butcher case of our supermarket. Way too much. Since the images from the video are seared into my brain, I’m giving up animal products for awhile, just to see how it feels and how long I can do it. If and when I feel I absolutely have to have a steak (and I hope I don’t), I’m buying from Pemberton Farms, the local Farmer’s Market or the cruelty rated meats from Whole Foods.

And as for dairy products, there are still amazing local farms like Avalon in the Lower Mainland and Moonstruck Organic Cheese on Salt Spring Island. The owners of Moonstruck name all of their cows, the cows have ample room to run and play outside and are basically treated like pets. The way it should be. Oh, and btw, their cheese is sublime, fresh and full of melt in your mouth flavour. The kind of flavour that can only be found on a real, old-school farm.

So, knowledge is power, and there is no way I’m giving my dollars and support to this horror for animals called factory farming and I urge you to do the same.

If we all stop buying the cheapest cuts of meat from God knows where, eat less meat and dairy and support local, family farms, then the hellish factory farms will be forced to shut down due to lack of business. It’s that simple.

Think about it. And please sign the Dairyland/Saputo Petition Here

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Ghandi

My friend, Simone, hanging out with happy German cows

My friend, Simone, hanging out with happy German cows

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9 thoughts on “Factory Farms

  1. Love this post. You hit the nail right on its head. All of us need to take an interest in where our food comes from, I mean, we put this in our bodies, and we all know over and over again that corporations put money and profits above ethics and humane treatment.

    I’ll definitely check out the Moonstruck cheese. Sounds delicious..!

  2. Thanks Sam! And you’re so right, we literally are what we eat. I don’t think I’m going to be able to get the images in that video out of my mind. It’s shocking what worshipping the dollar above all else has brought us to 😦

  3. Great post, Laurel. I agree that as a society we need to take a stand against factory farming.
    I spent my Saturday at St. Lawrence Market, buying fresh and local produce and meat. Was it more expensive than hitting Loblaws? Yes. Do I feel better about what I’m putting into my body? Absolutely.
    Unfortunately, I worry that you giving up meat and dairy and me buying local/organic is not enough. Until society gets behind this, in a meaningful way: i.e. vote with your wallets, things won’t change. And unfortunately, not everyone can afford to do the right thing — because they may be low income, fixed income, etc.
    The issue is pretty overwhelming; not unlike my rant about GMOs and Monsanto, etc. So hard to see a path to resolution.

    • First of all, I LOVE St. Lawrence Market!! I used to shop there back in the day. Now, I don’t think that giving up meat and dairy is the answer for everyone. I love vegans but I think an all plant diet is tough for a lot of body types. I also think supporting ethical, traditional farms is definitely the only way to go for people who eat animal products. I know they cost more but when your health and animal abuse is on the table, so worth it. For low income families, I immediately thought of a family interviewed in the documentary, Food Inc. They were living below the poverty line and explained that a few stalks of organic broccoli costs more than a Big Mac. The family ate almost exclusively at fast food restaurants, were overweight and the parents were suffering from a number of health problems, including diabetes and high blood pressure. I remember watching the interview and thinking, why don’t they buy the organic broccoli and a big bag of rice and a little bit of meat and make a stir fry that’s healthy, will last for days and is just as inexpensive as McDonalds???? But then I remembered that fast food is addictive and they were trapped in a really unhealthy cycle. It is possible for low income families to eat well without relying on factory farms but I takes education and learning new habits, I think. And wYes, we need to vote with our wallets and every time someone chooses the local farmer at the market or the local produce at Whole Foods instead of the ultra cheap, factory farmed chicken at Costco, we take a step in the right direction. And the more people who take those steps, the healthier and more humane our society becomes. I have faith 🙂

  4. hello laurel its dennis the vizsla dog hay i no wot yoo meen after mama and dada watchd the dokyoomentary food inc they sed they wishd they livd in the shenandoah valley just so they cud shop at polyface farm!!! ok bye

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