Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Community of Interest › Community › Request for Common Cause from Green Mountain College
- This topic has 22 replies, 11 voices, and was last updated 7 years, 4 months ago by Anonymous.
- November 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm #75763
Here’s a copy of a letter sent to the GMC community by its president. Nicely done and kudos.
Date: November 11, 2012
To: GMC Community
From: President Paul J. Fonteyn
RE: Oxen Update
Green Mountain College and our senior team of oxen have been much in the news lately: their lives as working animals on the GMC farm, our recent community decision to slaughter them, and the national and international attention that has come our way as a result of our collaborative and rational decision.
As reported in my October 31 email to the community, our original timetable was disrupted by outside organizations seeking to appropriate the images of the oxen for their extremist agendas, including the abolition of animal agriculture. Without shame, these groups harassed and threatened local slaughterhouses, making it impossible for them to accept our animals, and therefore for us to carry out our decision expeditiously. Despite our attempts to use the most humane and local options available, one of the only Animal Welfare Approved slaughterhouses in the area was forced to cancel our appointment as a result of these hostile threats. Some individuals associated with these efforts have even discussed giving drugs to our animals, which would render the meat unacceptable for human consumption.
In the meantime, Lou’s overall physical condition continued to deteriorate. Medication made him more comfortable, but even walking from pasture to pasture has now become an arduous and painful process. Close consultations with several veterinarians over the course of the summer and fall have consistently indicated that Lou’s condition would not improve and that his quality of life would only continue to diminish–as has held true. The arrival of cold temperatures and icy conditions are certain to increase his suffering, and we have concurred with our veterinarians’ judgment that it not humane for him to suffer further. Therefore, I authorized euthanization, which took place this morning.
Bill will not be sent to a sanctuary but will stay on Cerridwen Farm and will be cared for in a manner that follows sustainable, humane livestock practices, as is the case with all of our animals. We take responsibility for our animals on the farm–it is an obligation we will not ask others to bear.
I know at times the attention has been harsh and unfair, but it has also provided a platform to present some of the best aspects of Green Mountain College: our intellectual courage to squarely examine moral dilemmas, our values of sustainability, and our commitment to discourse over doctrine. I am proud of how GMC students have engaged with colleagues and with people outside our community in mature, thoughtful, and civil ways. Outside scrutiny can be an unwelcome distraction–I urge you not to allow online discussions, which can become volatile and unconstructive, to interfere with your wider educational endeavors at GMC. I consider your safety and your educational progress my top priorities. If you believe you are a victim of any abusive behavior, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Student Affairs.
Paul J. FonteynNovember 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm #75772Tim HarriganParticipant
This is also (and probably most importantly) a fund raiser for them.November 16, 2012 at 5:15 pm #75764
I posted this on DAPNet FB page too but I encourage each of us to look into the wording of our state’s “right to farm” law – if you have one. Many, like VT, protect against nuisance lawsuits but say nothing about harassment, which could hurt a small producer pretty quickly. Rewording or adding to the existing law may be a quicker and easier way of protecting against what occurred at GMC.November 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm #75768amy40Participant
I think there definitely need to be more laws to protect farmers from these groups. With that being said you also have to prepare your self for dealing with these nuts if you are going to do anything public. Maybe the school should just put in a school policy as to what they do with their animals. If they choose to use their meat for the staff and student body and it is accepted no one knows when it is shipped until after the fact. It takes the power away from the nuts to dictate what you do. By having it public knowledge before the fact gave them power to control your actions. If they just make it a school policy and don’t make it public when they slaughter something till afterward they can avoid a lot of hassle. The school will continue to be transparent and avoid the nuts. For the most part anyway. It’s kinda hard to protest slaughtering something that is already slaughtered.November 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm #75765
Feel free to lambaste me for engaging these folks but I’m stupid that way. So I’ve posted my comments regarding an article they did RE: there can be no “happy meat” …… Side note: they have used an amazing range of arguments and even accused the president of GMC of trying to get critics of GMC fired by contacting their employers. Wow.
No matter how beautifully written an argument is presented, laden with emotional metaphors and shocking analogies, it still hinges on facts. So cut through all the prose and poetry and think for yourself. Do you think that a small group of people who want global veganism should be able to force others attempting to produce meat in a humane manner to cease and desist? IMO – they’ve chosen “to kick the dog” so to speak by attacking places like GMC because the Tysons, Cargills and Perdues are too big and powerfu.
Below are just a few thoughts regarding this article regarding “happy meat” – BTW, meat is inanimate and can not be happy or sad.
“the environmental waste associated with meat, dairy, and egg production will be lower on a small-scale farm than on a factory farm or CAFO (confined animal feeding operation). While CAFOs do pollute their local environments much more intensely, this is due to the number of animals they confine, not to any greater per-animal rate of pollution.”
First, more specifically define what you’re calling pollution. Second, I’ve never heard anyone try and say that small producers have a lower per animal rate of what you’re clling “pollution”. Third, it IS the very act of having too many animals in too confined an area that changes the game. It should be looked at not as “per animal” but “per acre per unit time”
“male dairy calves will always be disposed of within the first year of their lives; dairy cows’ milk will always be diverted from their bovine babies to humans; piglets will always be castrated; steers will always be dehorned;”
While this may always occur in some settings and in some places, it is by far not a foregone conclusion that this is or will be happening everywhere. There are plenty of horned steers out there – Bill and Lou for example – and polled ones as well. Many producers have their calves suckle on the dam. And there are literally tens of thousands of Holstein steers out there over the age of 1 yr. So while the speech may have moved you, it was more emotion and less truth. Seems to be a common theme.
K OConnor – First, read this passage and ask yourself if you think you could get a reasonable response to your question from a forum with this thinking “At best, there might be a kind of dissociated affection–or perhaps even the possessive love of the husband who believes he has the right to control, rape, and even kill his spouse”
To even associate rape and murder of a spouse with humanely raising animals should negate your acceptance of any further arguments from this group.
I agree with bbird – Start by making sure they have the facts. But this is not the place to get facts. This blog is rife with inaccuracies, speculation and down right untruths used to promote a specific agenda. No animal agriculture of any kind. So it is a non-starter to ask the question you posed. But for your friends you are looking for humanely and sustainably raised meat, milk and eggs – Vermont and most of New England has plenty of small farmers who could fill that need. Contact your food co-op or local farmer’s market and I’m sure they could identify local producers. Or Rural Vermont.
WELL – as often happens with blogs, the vegan owner/moderator removed the above post calling it off topic and spam. So much for dialogue but it sure was fun.November 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm #75767dominiquer60Moderator
I have been out of the media loop, have any of these letters made the media or made an impact in the discussion? I wish I had been able to make the time to have made more of impact as an individual, and I hope that all the thoughts from those of you that did put pen to paper (then into pixels) have been heard.December 2, 2012 at 5:07 am #75766December 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm #75775Kevin CunninghamParticipant
Aw… Portland, land of the paleo diet. I was just in Portland recently and went to the big farmers market at PSU and we got vension liver pate, and pastured small batch salami, and there was hazelnut finished pork, elk, bison, bags of chicken heads, fresh salmon, and all the grass fed beef you could eat. Oregon is turning into a “good” meat lovers paradise.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.