Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and FoodBook - 2008
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Marmalade remembers teh people who nursed her during her recovery, and she shows it every day. Chickens can be extremely friendly and social. In a large flock they are not interested in people, but in smaller groups the hens and roosters can get very close to you because they get to see you one-on-one, and will often follow you around. Marmalade lives happily with several other hens who were rescued with her as well as a rooster, all of whom got together and formed a flock.
As it happened, we transported the calves to their new homes all in one day. In hindsight, I can see that I made a terrible decision. Suddenly Maya had no calves, and she was bereft and angry. After the calves were removed, she rolled on her back and wailed and could not be consoled.
Then something happened. He continued delivering the company line, but it was as if he'd begun (perhaps for the first time) to really listen to what he was saying. He wasn't simply repeating the talking points that corporate public relations specialists provide to agribusiness proponents with the same conviction. His tone had been smug and combative, but now he spoke slowly and deliberately. "You know what's missing today on the farm?" he asked. WIthout pausing to let me answer, he declared emphatically, "Pigmanship."
During the course of videotaping the operation [slaughterhouse] and speaking with people on-site, I chatted with a man whom I guessed was in his seventies.
"So you're an animal person?" he asked.
"Yeah," I replied.
"Are you a vegetarian?" he inquired.
"Uh-huh," I said again.
"Did you read those James Herriot books/" he asked, referring to the popular series written by the English veterinarian. I was surprised we were still talking to each other. Normally the conversation ends abruptly or otherwise disintegrates when the slaughterhouse workers hear that I don't eat animals.
"No," I answered. "Have you?"
"Yeah," he replied. "I'm a vegetarian." My mouth fell open. A vegetarian working in a slaughterhouse!
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A history of Farm Sanctuary with some interesting tidbits along the way, like how a mink farmer and his wife decide to become vegetable farmers, and how the veal industry is a by-product of the milk industry (they have to get the cows pregnant so they can produce milk, and males are surplus...). What is really wonderful is that we learn about the different personalities of these unique animals (regardless of species, it becomes clear), and the heartwarming stories of rescues. There is a lot of struggle to improve farm animal welfare, but this is a farm I'd love to visit.
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