Dairy: It Does a Conscience Bad


By: Michael Finn

Dairy products are oftentimes considered harmless, especially when compared to the overt violence present within the meat industry. In reality there is little difference between the two. Both possess an overwhelming amount of suffering and death. Just as meat requires the bloodshed of countless animals, giant dairy plants routinely involve the confinement, neglect, abuse, mutilation, and death of millions of animals – including babies.


Dehorning is a common procedures dairy cows suffer every day in the United States. During this vicious process cows are held securely into place by a device known as a “head bail.” Often done without anesthetic or pain killers, their horns are sawed, seared with red hot irons, and chemically burned with “caustic paste,” or clipped off with a tool known as a “guillotine dehorner.” Cows wail in pain as nerves and blood vessels at the base of their horns are severed. Many endure fractures, profuse blood loss, infection, psychological distress, tissue necrosis, sinusitis, and in some cases, even death.

Calves often have caustic paste and red hot irons applied to the soft skin covering their horn buds – a process known as”disbudding.” Because the blood vessels in their horns are not quite developed before 2 months of age, the industry will often conduct the procedure on them at or before this time. Sometimes this is completely done without the usage of pain control.

Tail Docking

While banned in California back in 2009, tail docking is still practiced throughout many dairy facilities across our country. It’s reported that 1.3 million dairy cows endure this procedure every year. Just as with dehorning, animals suffer this procedure often without any anesthetic or pain control. The process begins when thick, elastrator bands are slipped on the animals’ tails. This is done in an effort to stop blood flow. As circulation to the tissue ceases, the remaining portion of the appendage begins to die. Eventually, it grows necrotic and shrivels. At this point, it’s either manually removed or severed with a tool.

Because cows use their tails as a means of communication, as well as relief from insects, having them removed seriously lowers their quality of living. When bands are placed on their tails in an effort to impede circulation, the cows experience cruel and unnecessary discomfort and pain.

Growth Hormones

To increase milk production, some dairy cows are given a synthetic growth hormone called, “Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH),” also known as, “Bovine Somatotropin (bGH)”. In addition to increased milk flow, this hormone causes rapid growth. While it’s been approved by the FDA in the United States, it’s not permitted in Canada, The European Union, Australia, Japan, Israel, and New Zealand.

This synthetic hormone was manufactured specifically for the dairy industry by Monsanto (an agricultural/biotechnology manufacturer). While many claim rBGH poses no threat for humans to consume, there have been reports that argue it’s connection to the rise of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and precocious puberty. Because of its usage, the dairy industry produces four times the amount of milk that they did in the 1950s. Every time you consume dairy products, you consume rBGH.

Mastitis & pus

As a result of being milked continuously, many cows develop inflammation of their mammary glands – a condition known as “mastitis.” When this occurs, somatic cells, including white blood cells (pus) and skin cells, will enter the cow’s milk supply. This occurs in response to inflammation.

Although the industry tests for somatic cells in the milk, the FDA permits their minute presence in products intended for human consumption. As nasty as it sounds, every time you drink milk, you’re ingesting pus and skin cells.


In a natural setting, cows can live up to 20 years or more. Dairy cows, however, have a lifespan of 4-5 years, as they’re sent to slaughter. This can happen for many reasons. If a cow develops mastitis, or other illness, they could be killed instead of treated. If they become lame (unable to stand/walk) they may also be sent to the slaughterhouse as well. Because some dairy cows spend their entire lives on concrete floors spattered with urine and feces, they often become lame by the age of 5. This is so common, in fact, that the industry has a name for these animals: “Downers.”


The market for veal is kept strong through the vicious cycle of artificial insemination, which is prevalent within the dairy industry. Because dairy cows are continuously impregnated (against their will), they produce numerous offspring. When these babies are born, they’re generally taken from their mother the very first day of life. They scream for the loving touch of their parent. Some cows bellow for days, and sometimes weeks, after their babies are taken from them.

If the calf is male, it either goes to a veal or beef farm. If it’s female, the baby will be prepped for a lifetime of servitude within the dairy plant. At some veal farms, the babies are tied/chained down so they cannot move. This is done so their meat will be soft and tender. They’re fed diets low in nutrients and iron to keep their flesh light in color. This often results in them developing anemia and other health related illnesses. They’re often lame, as their muscles were never allowed to develop.

If you’ve ever seen a multitude of tiny huts stretching in rows along the highway, chances are that veal calves are suffering inside.


The production of cheese often utilizes an enzyme known as “Rennin” or “Rennet.” This enzyme is found within the GI tracts of cud chewing animals, such as calves. The enzyme acts as a curdling agent, which is why it’s used in the cheese making process. Although the enzyme can be synthetically derived, or even plant based, it often comes from the stomach linings of baby calves.

Environmental hazards

Every day the dairy industry is responsible for producing thousands of tons of urine and feces. Obviously, this is not good for the environment, as it seeps into streams, lakes, ponds, and drinking water. It’s estimated that the dairy industry is responsible for creating 1.65 billion tons of manure each year. Similarly, the amount of methane gas that cows produce surmounts that of every automotive in the world combined. In regards to water usage, it takes 2,000 gallons of water to produce a single gallon of milk.

What can you do?

One of the best ways to combat the horrors of the dairy industry is to simply abstain from consuming milk, cheese, and other dairy products. By choosing compassion over consumption,  you will dramatically decrease the suffering these animals experience. Moreover, you will ensure that our planet prospers for years to come.

Living without dairy has never been easier. There are a multitude of completely dairy free products that you can choose from that are tastier, healthier, better for the environment, and more compassionate. Some of these products include Tofutti, Follow your Heart, Daiya, Earth Balance, Just Mayo, and others.

Remember, every time we sit down to eat we make a choice. When we choose not to consume animal products, it’s a victory for animals all across the world. Don’t let the dairy industry contaminate your conscience…  Consider going vegan today!

For more reading check out the links below! 

Milk is Cruel 
Dairy’s Dark Side
10 Dairy Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know
10 Facts about the Dairy Industry that Will Shock You



Be Kind to Bugs

by: Michael Finn

From an early age, most of us are taught to avoid bugs at all costs. For this reason, overcoming the fear of them is often very difficult. Socially, we consider insects as “pests” who are expendable in every sense of the word. But while insects can sometimes be “creepy”, or can cause potential problems around the house, they are living creatures who deserve respect and compassion. Bugs don’t want to be squished, stomped on, sprayed, or crushed. So before you go running for a shoe or a can of Raid, consider these tips!

Eliminate sources of food and shelter

One of the most important things you can do to decrease the presence of insects around your house is eliminate clutter. Outside the perimeter of your home, remove anything that may serve as shelter for bugs, such as weeds, leaves, and other debris that promotes moisture buildup.

Vacuum regularly, dust, and clean up crumbs, dirty laundry, and other clutter inside as well. Predatory insects, such as spiders & centipedes, will go where their food is, so when you keep your home tidy, their food source will diminish. Eventually, if you follow the same routine, the bugs will have no reason to hang around your place.

Catch and release

If you find an insect inside your home, don’t freak out and try to kill it. Usually, if you’re calm and gentle, you can safely capture it and take it back outside – where it wants to be.

For spiders and centipedes, you can take a jar or wad of soft tissue paper and quickly catch them. Make sure not to squeeze or injure them, however. If the insect you’re catching has wings, be extra careful not to rip or break them in any way. To ensure the insect won’t return, release it far from your house. Try not to drop it near anything that could harm it, such as ant hills, puddles, or webs.

In the event of problems with ants or fruit flies, immediately remove all sources of food. Watch to see where the bugs are coming in from. Once you’ve determined their route(s), seal the cracks/holes with caulk or silicone.

Although unorthodox, it’s possible to humanely remove colonies of ants from your home by placing a hard piece of candy in a jar. When the ants swarm to the candy, you can seal them inside and take them somewhere that is safe and far from your house. A humane fruit-fly trap is similar. Click here for information on how to make one.

Try natural repellents

You can use plenty of everyday household items to repel insects around your home. A ½ ammonia ½ water mixture can be used to spray the perimeter of your house to keep spiders away. Essential oils, such as lavender and peppermint are also useful for this purpose as well. Cinnamon, ground coffee, citrus peel, and chili powder can be a useful ant repellents. Spray your yard with a garlic/water mixture to deter mosquitoes from massing around windows and doors.

Never buy products that test on animals

If natural repellents simply won’t work, and you’re desperate to rid yourself of an infestation, don’t purchase products that brutally test on animals, such as Raid. If you’ve absolutely tried everything to no avail, consider brands like EcoSMART. While this product will kill/repel insects, it’s easy on the environment and doesn’t involve animal testing in its production. While I’m not condoning the eradication of insects, if such a means must be used, it’s best to cause the least amount of harm!

Don’t be intimidated

I understand how daunting it can be to pick up insects (especially spiders) and carry them outdoors. With experience and patience, however, it can be done. If you find insects intimidating, try to see them in a different perspective. Really, the majority of them cannot harm you in any way. Most of them aren’t even interested in you, so you shouldn’t be afraid or threatened. The more you face your fear of insects, the less prominent it will become inside your mind. Eventually, you’ll wonder how anyone could kill them at all, despite how “ugly” or “gross” they may be.

Additional Reading

Insects May Bug Us, but Try to Be Less Trigger-Happy
Don’t Bug Out
Natural Insect Pest Control



Sea Lion Splash at the Wisconsin State Fair – Please Sign Our Petition

Link to the Petition


The Wisconsin State Fair has scheduled Sea Lion Splash, a traveling sea lion circus, to perform several shows every day at the fair in August! To date, there has been no confirmation from the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) department that Sea Lion Splash has an exhibitor’s license. Licensees are required to meet the minimal standards of the Animal Welfare Act.

The founder, Marco Peters, crams together a few sea lions in one shallow tank, who are forced to live in an unnatural environment while on the road in the name of “family” fun. The tank is not deep enough to stimulate natural swimming behaviors and provide a thriving behavioral enrichment environment.

Californian Sea Lions are classified as ’hazardous’, suggesting that they have the ability to seriously injure a person. (Taronga Zoo, 2005). Sea lions are smart and mobile on land. A sea lion can easily move across the stage and bite somebody. A family photo with the sea lions is not a safe environment for families.

Studies have shown that sea lions are poor thermoregulators and cannot regulate their body temperature on extremely warm days. To cool off they must enter the sea and immerse themselves several times a day (Whitlow et al, 1971).  Sea lions remain closer to the shoreline and cool off in the ocean. They are generally found in sheltered, quiet bays, as well as on rocky isolated islands and just off sea coasts. (Walker et al, 1975). Sea lions tend not to go further than 16km out to sea (King 1983). However, the California coast is approximately 1,678 miles away from Wisconsin.


The founder, Marco Peters, boasts about his experience working with Ringling Brothers.  This is nothing to boast about. Ringling Bros has been cited for numerous violations against the Animal Welfare Act, including, improper handling of dangerous animals and for failing to provide animals with veterinary care.

Sea Lion Splash is a cruel way to provide family summer fun. Taking wildlife out of their natural environment to perform tricks and for photos does not teach the public about how a sea lion lives naturally. Lessons about marine life and conservation can be taught at home or in a class room. It is not necessary to ship sea lions like cargo in a truck. Please cancel this cruel show.

Join the Alliance for Animals and the Environment in calling on the Wisconsin State Fair Board to cancel this cruel performance. Please sign this petition and share it with others.

For further information regarding the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board, please contact Marian Santiago-Lloyd at marian.santiago-lloyd@wistatefair.com.

Korean Kimchi BBQ Burgers

Submitted by Marina Drake

Original recipe from Mastering the Art of Vegan Cookingby Annie and Dan Shannon

These spectacular vegan burgers combine the signature sweet Korean BBQ sauce with a “beefy” veggie burger and spicy kimchi (a sort of hot Korean sauerkraut usually
made with napa cabbage, radishes, and green onions) to create a perfect dinner. Plus, you’ll hopefully have some leftover kimchi as a side for lunch the next day.

2 cups your favorite ground beef substitute
1 green onion, diced
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
dash of vegan liquid smoke flavor
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 clove garlic, minced

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
dash of vegan liquid smoke flavor
1 tablespoon Sriracha or Thai chili sauce
1/4 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon ginger paste
1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
1 cup vegan kimchi (read labels to make sure yours is vegan; some contain fish sauce)



Make the burger: In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together the vegan ground beef, green onion, molasses, ginger paste, soy sauce, vegan liquid smoke, onion powder, and garlic until blended. (NOTE: If your vegan ground beef is made from a dry mix, we’re assuming that it has been fully hydrated/prepared before beginning this recipe.) The molasses is really sticky, so this is kind of messy and weird, but it’s totally worth it —promise.

Form the mixture into 4 patties about the size of your hand. Place them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the BBQ sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together all the BBQ sauce ingredients. Set aside.

In a cast-iron skillet or frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the burgers until lightly crispy around the edges, then reduce the heat to low and brush the burgers with BBQ sauce.

Flip and coat the burgers a few times to get a nice saucy patty, but watch out for the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining burgers, adding the remaining oil after the first batch. Toast the burger buns while the burger patties are cooking. Serve each burger in a toasted bun with lots of kimchi on top.




Who Let the Dogs Out… Unleashed?

by: Michael Finn

Wisconsin’s current leash law allows dogs to be unrestrained as long as they remain on their owner’s property. The problem with this is that no one can be certain their pet will stay within these boundaries. When animals, other pets, people, or motor vehicles pass by, a whole slew of dangers are introduced. While people may argue their pet is incapable of harming anyone, the CDC reports that there is an estimated 4.5 million dog bites each year in the United States. So whether your dog is friendly or not, we all have a responsibility as pet owners to keep our animals, and others in our community, safe from harm. This article discusses some of the dangers concerning unleashed dogs.


1.2 million dogs are hit by motor vehicles each year in the United States. Unleashed dogs make up a large chunk of this number. Even if you believe your pet will stick by you on a walk, or will stay in your yard, for their sake, keep them secure and supervised at all times. While you may trust your pet, you can never trust every passing driver.

Other Dogs and Wildlife

Unleashed dogs are prone to attacking, and being attacked by other pets and wildlife. dog fightAlthough rare, they even maim people, including children and the elderly. As we continue to encroach on the habitats of wild animals, there will be an increase of encounters between our pets and wildlife.


Unfortunately, Wisconsin is a state that allows the violent trapping of wild animals. “Steel-jawed traps,” for instance, viciously snap down onto the limbs and paws of animals that are unlucky enough to stumble onto them. And while you may believe they’re only a danger for wildlife, think again. Pets, and even people, who roam into the woods are subject to being mangled by these atrocious traps as well. No matter how much regulation there is on trapping, there will always be people who set them illegally. According to John Olson, DNR furbearer biologist, “Dogs were caught in traps when there was a violation on the part of either the trapper or the dog owner.” This is a serious issue. Don’t let your dog become the next victim. Keep them leashed and secure at all times.


Pets are stolen  every day in the United States. These animals are tortured, shot, used as bait for dog fighting, and sold for profit by their abductors. Sometimes the thief may wait for a reward to be posted, then return the animal for money. As disturbing as it sounds, abducted dogs are even sold to companies who conduct animal testing. If your dog is unleashed, or unsupervised in a fenced yard for prolonged periods of time, he/she could succumb to such horrors.

Poisons and discarded food

Antifreeze and rat poison are among two of the toxins that dogs can get into if they’re unleashed. They could also eat discarded “food,” such as bones, which could splinter in their bodies and require surgery. Onions, chocolate, garlic, grapes, and various other foods are toxic to your pet as well. Even if you’re supervising your unleashed dog, they could discover something very dangerous and ingest it before you can intervene.

Make periodic visual checks

Even if your pet is responsibly fastened to a tie-out, your pet could be stolen or attacked by other animals, including unleashed dogs, eagles, owls, cats, and coyotes. Invisible fences, while popular, offer no sense of protection to your pet, as intruders can get into your yard, but your pet cannot escape. While these scenarios are unlikely, they can, and do happen. To be safe, it’s always important to make periodic visual checks on your pet, even if they’re fenced in.

Avoid retractable leashes

Although they’re stylish and provide your pet with more freedom, retractable leashes can pose serious dangers for your pet. Not only can dogs inadvertently stumble into the street when they’re distanced from you, but they can also break free when mechanisms inside the leash falter. Retractable leashes can sometimes slip out of the hands of owners when they experience an unexpected tug from their dog. You should choose a leash that you can wrap around your wrist and can hold firmly with your palm. It should range between 4-6 feet in length. Compare this with the retractable leashes that allow 26 feet of slack!

DSC05486 (2)

In a perfect world there would be no need for leashes, fences, and gates. Our pups would be able to sniff every inch of the neighborhood without fear of harm. But that’s not reality. We live alongside countless dangers. Because of this, our pets depend on us to keep them safe. Likewise, as citizens, we have a responsibility to keep other people, their pets, and wildlife safe as well. Although you may think an accident will never happen to you or your dog, the chance is always present. Don’t gamble on the life of your pet. Always leash and supervise.

Help Stop Pig Wrestling at the Stoughton Fair

One year after the much publicized end to the St. Patrick Parish’s “Pig Rasslin” spectacle in Stephensville, Wisconsin, we are asking the Stoughton Fair to cancel its pig wrestling event this summer.

Please join us by signing our petition against this event and contacting the people listed at the bottom of the petition.

We have also contacted Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Chief of Police Greg Leck of Stoughton to make them aware of this illegal event in their jurisdiction.

Pig Wrestling violates Wisconsin state statue 951.02  Mistreating animals. No person may treat any animal, whether belonging to the person or another, in a cruel manner.  “Cruel” means causing unnecessary and excessive pain or suffering or unjustifiable injury or death.

During a pig wrestling event four-person teams consisting of men, women, and/or children will chase a pig around a small muddy pit and try to stuff her into a barrel or force her into a small platform before their time runs out. Video coverage of such events in Wisconsin demonstrate pigs being manhandled and struggling desperately to get away.


Pig Wrestling is a tradition whose time has come and gone. Animals are mistreated during these events and adults have a responsibility to teach children the importance of empathy and compassion for all of Earth’s creatures.

For more information on pig wrestling: http://www.nopigwrestling.org




Prevent a “Cat”astrophe: Don’t Let Your Kitty Roam

by: Michael Finn

There are approximately 84 million domestic cats throughout the United States. Of this number, between 40 -70% are allowed to roam freely outdoors. Although many owners do this to benefit their pet’s urge to explore, exercise, and hunt, when pets are unsupervised in this fashion, they’re exposed to an overwhelming amount of dangers. Cats also pose threats to wildlife, such as birds and small mammals.  This article discusses some of these dangers, as well as some helpful solutions.


According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, 5.4 million cats are hit by motor vehicles each year in the United States. This danger is among the most critical, as cat and carmotorists seldom watch for animals crossing the road. If your pet is struck and injured by a car, he/she may require thousands of dollars in medical treatment. Even worse, they may need to be euthanized. Obviously, this can be devastating not only for the animal, but to your family as well.

Rivals & Wildlife

When allowed to roam free, not only could your pet be violently attacked by a rival, but cat and doghe/she could also be preyed upon by coyotes, owls, eagles, foxes, and unleashed dogs. Disease is another issue. Currently, there are about 60 million stray cats in the United States – some of which could infect your pet with life-threatening diseases. Some of these illnesses include,  Feline Leukemia, Feline immunodeficiency virus, Feline infectious Peritonitis, Feline Distemper, and upper respiratory infections.

Cats that are allowed outdoors are also exposed to parasites, such as ticks, fleas, ear mites, intestinal worms, and ringworms. For owners, getting rid of these “bugs” is often a very tiresome, expensive, and lengthy process.

Toxins & people

When cats roam, they often come into contact with toxins such as antifreeze and/or rodent poison. Because antifreeze has a sweet taste, it may entice your pet. Your pet could also stumble upon rodent poison and mistake it for a possible food source. If your cat were to consume a rodent who ingested poison, he/she could also be become very sick, and could potentially die.

Believe it or not, there are many people who would find it entertaining to shoot, run over, Black catpoison, or torture your pet. Some may even abduct them as bait for dog fighting. Because cats have an unfair association with the supernatural, they’re sometimes sacrificed – especially around Halloween. Several humane shelters across the United States refuse to adopt out cats the week of this holiday for this very reason.

Domestic cats are sometimes picked up by animal control and are taken to humane shelters with kill policies. Because of this, it’s possible that your cat could be euthanized if not redeemed in time. According to the ASPCA, 1.4 million cats are put to sleep each year in the United States. Although it’s difficult to say how many of these cats are runaway pets, it’s plausible to assume that a significant portion could be. While it’s important to provide a collar with contact information on it, it’s best to keep your cat indoors, and supervise them while outside.

Threats to Wild Birds and their habitat

It’s estimated that cats kill between 1.4-3.7 billion wild birds each year. For small cat picturemammals, the number is a whopping 15 billion! Although these numbers include kills from feral cats, their domesticated counterparts are said to be responsible for 1/3rd of bird deaths and 1/10th of mammal deaths. This means that pet cats kill up to 462 million birds and 1.5 billion mammals each year… this is not good for wildlife and the environment.

According to the American Bird Conservancy, 800 bird species in the United States are either endangered, threatened, are in significant decline. Because domestic cats place such a significant pressure on bird and animal species, its unethical to allow feline pets to hunt them. By adopting some of the following solutions, you can keep your kitty safe, as well as alleviate some of the pressures on wildlife.


It may sound unorthodox, but if you want to take your cat outside, consider getting cat with leashhim/her a harness and leash. Many people are now walking their cats for their daily exercise. This is a very safe way to allow your pet to have outside time, without the dangers associated with roaming. It provides additional bonding between you and your pet, and helps protect bird and small mammals from being overhunted.

Another option is an outside kitty enclosure. These structures allow your cat to experience the joys of being outdoors, while also keeping them safe. They’re relatively inexpensive, and can even be fun DIY projects for you to try. Here’s one example of such a project, although there are several more on sites like Pintrest.

Providing toys, a scratching post, and a place to hide will also benefit your cat’s well being, and will decrease their desire to venture outside. If they seem to lose interest in their toys, you can consider rotating them occasionally.

Let’s face it, your cat is your baby. You  wouldn’t want to jeopardize his/her happiness, health, or safety. By keeping your cat indoors, responsibly walking them, providing an  outside enclosure, and ensuring a mentally stimulating indoor setting, you will significantly increase the likelihood of a long, happy life for them. Remember, your cat doesn’t really have nine lives. It’s up to you to protect the only one they have!

sleeping cat


For more information check out the links below:
The Dangers and Risks For Outdoor Cats
6 Reasons you Might Let Your Cat Out, and Why Not To
Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats