A recent Associated Press article about Washington farmer John Bartheld, who breeds miniature and full-sized cows, ended with Bartheld saying since he doesn’t have kids “these things are kind of like my children,” referring to his cows.
I often hear livestock farmers say similar things about the animals they breed, raise and even sell for slaughter. There is nothing remotely family-like about raising an animal, no matter how much affection one has for it during the process, then shipping it off to be slaughtered for food.
Many people are becoming more aware of the suffering behind the production of meat and dairy products and are embracing a vegan lifestyle.
Not only is it better for the animals, it has a positive impact on one’s health and our environment. Visit madisonvegan.com for local restaurants that offer delicious and healthful vegan options. Give one of them a try.
— Lynn Pauly, Madison, co-executive director, Alliance for Animals and the Environment
Cruel, barbaric, inhumane, ridiculous. That is what we think of pig wrestling, Wisconsin’s choice of entertainment at several local fairs this summer. Just look at the face of the pig being treated with pure disrespect by the three contestants in the picture. We at Alliance For Animals and the Environment have attended such an event to see first-hand how the pigs are treated. We found the cheers from those in attendance – adults and children – were almost as disturbing as the act of pig wrestling. Please do not attend these events.
This is pure animal abuse. Visit our website at nopigwrestling.org to learn more.
Please speak up against form of bullying by writing a letter to the Portage Daily Register. Or comment online from the link below.
The “Hog-Catching Hustlers” of Lodi try to carry the pig to the barrel Thursday during the Catch-a-Pig contest at the Columbia County Fair in Portage. Twenty-four teams of three competed for prizes for fastest time — within a maximum 45 seconds — to place the pig on top of a barrel while each team member keeps at least a hand on the
pig. The fastest women’s and fastest men’s teams win $100. Teams also compete for a $50 prize for “best-dressed” costumes
We are a big fan of Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary. Please watch the video below (see link) and send in a donation to this no kill animal shelter.
GREEN BAY – A no-kill animal shelter is being pushed to the limit after the city of Green Bay’s decision to switch its policy on how to deal with stray animals.
Volunteers at Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary are dealing with a massive influx of stray cats and dogs. It comes after city council voted to switch its contract for animal services from Bay Area Humane Society to Packerland Veterinary Center.
“It’s been very busy,” said Happily Ever After founder Amanda Reitz. “A lot of animals coming in, but the good thing is, a lot of animals going out too.”
The Packerland Veterinary Center holds Green Bay’s stray animals for 7 days before transferring them to Happily Ever After for housing and adoption. It’s a plan city leaders say is working well for Green Bay.
“We’re all animal lovers and we want to make the best provisions we could to actually take care of our animals,” said alderman Jerry Wiezbiskie.
Since the new contract with Packerland began June 1st, Happily Ever After has taken in over 50 cats and more than 20 dogs. With the volunteer shelter at capacity, shelter directors are asking the community to step up and help make Green Bay a no-kill community.
“The more that they can support us, adopt from us, donate to us.. the closer we’ll get to making that happen,” said Reitz.
PLEASANT PRARIE — More than 60 animals in Southern Wisconsin are anxiously awaiting new “forever” homes after nearly starving to death in Kenosha County.
Two dozen horses, ducks, and other animals were found on a farm this spring in Pleasant Prarie. Dozens of others were found dead on the property. An animal care group has been nursing the rescued animals back to health. They held an open house today for anyone interested in adoption.
“We had a good strong set of volunteers that came out daily to work with them, to help them turn around, ” says Melissa Melby with Clawz and Pawz.
“When I saw those guys,” says Klaus Dierks from Stonehedge Farm, “there was no choice and we had the place for it.”
The animals are now being cared for at Stonehedge Farms in Pleasant Prairie until they find new homes. The animals’ former owners have pleaded “Not Guilty” to charges of animal mistreatment.
“These people think Little Red Riding Hood was a documentary.” — Alice Miller
The Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Board have a new target on wolves of 275, up from 201 last year. DNR’s objective: To “begin” to reduce the population. Licenses to be sold: 10 times the quota or 2,750. With 117 wolves killed in the trophy hunt, 76 killed for depredation, 24 reported killed on the roads, 22 detected illegal kills, and five other miscellaneous mortalities, the DNR reports 244 wolves were killed last year. With a 70 percent pup mortality rate, miraculously DNR reports that the wolf population is almost the same as it was before the first “successful season.” Of course, these new wolf hunter volunteer trackers serve their own agenda.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Green Bay gives a conservative estimate of the “shoot, shovel and shut up” illegal kill of wolves as 100 annually. There likely were 350 wolves killed last year.
Science does not support this crime but only you can save the imperiled wolf. A Mason-Dixon poll commissioned by the Humane Society established that 81 percent of Wisconsinites do not want wolves hunted, and 87 percent opposed using traps, bait, and packs of dogs to kill wolves.
Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, told me that if 10 people contact a legislator on an issue, that is a red flag. The DNR disclosed that 1,439 Wisconsin citizens wrote in to protest against the slaughter of our wolves. Zero wrote in to support the wolf hunt.
William Bruins, a Walker-appointee dairy farmer, announced at the recent Natural Resources Board meeting in Wausau, “God created homo sapiens to be in charge.”
Alice Miller, who drove several hundred miles to attend the meeting, said, “This is supposed to be about science, not some board member’s religion.” A board member told Miller that she had to vote for the quota “or Scott Walker would shut down the board.”
Cory Gierhart, Eau Claire, a self-described avid hunter, contributed: “I hear from lots of individuals who are pro-wolf hunting that hunting and killing wolves is necessary to keep the deer population up. According to the DNR website wolves consume about 16,000 deer annually, while cars alone hit 27,000, and humans shoot 340,000 deer annually. By decreasing the number of wolves, the number of sick and diseased deer increase, weakening the herd.” (CWD is on the rise alarmingly fast.) Working from federal carrying capacity models, he reckoned the realistic carrying capacity for the wolf in Wisconsin as 1,236. “Rather than allow the killing of such an important and beautiful animal, I believe it would be more beneficial to allow the wolf population to grow on its own, and let it level off naturally. … Give farmers better aid for fencing rather than aid for dead livestock.”
Sue McKean, Madison: “I am willing to pay the DNR up to $3,000 a year to stop the hunt and wonder how many others would as well?”
At least four organizations opposed the hunt and high quota, including Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic and the Wisconsin Wolf Front. The latter has conducted a poll canvassing six counties and 6,000 citizens, with 94 percent against using dogs on wolves.
The Sierra Club deplored the complete bias of the Wolf Advisory Committee, stacked with hunters, trappers and bear hounders. The Sierra Club was denied participation in the committee despite its stakeholder status since inception.
James T. Wronka, Shawano, a conservative Republican, wrote: “I have great difficulty in pulling the levers in support of my party, who certainly do not represent conservation.” He added: “Unfortunately we still have a very small percentage of people who still get entertainment out of killing our children’s wildlife. Our whole lake community’s peaceful tranquility gets ruined every autumn by 2-4 hunters (it’s hard to call these people hunters with their modern equipment) …from sunrise to sunset their entertainment ruins a beautiful morning … with their replication of being in the war zones of the Middle East. All for a pound of feathers. … Yet this small minority get the backing of a small minority of people most of us would think would be on the side of wildlife, our DNR. We’ve tried talking with DNR and state government elected officials to see if the majority could overrule the rights of this minority population, but to no avail.”
The first hunt has not been fully evaluated and many unanswered questions remain. We don’t know the ages of the wolves killed or how the hunting/trapping season affected pack dynamics. Did depredations increase because of pack disruption? There were 1,439 citizens against, zero for a hunt, yet the DNR is pushing forward with a more aggressive second hunt.
There is a clamor for Natural Resources Board members to have the integrity to resign.
Luann O’Dell: “These meetings for the public to come and speak are just a cover-up. They don’t mean anything. … I can’t believe that we have to stand up there and try to protect our wildlife from the DNR.”
Kurt Schlapper, Brooklyn: “Please let the wolves raise their pups and families in peace as we should have the right to do also. No life is above another, we are all equal in the eyes of God.”
But we are not all equal in the eyes of the Natural Resources Board, Legislature and DNR playing God.
In the summer of 2004, the American Society of Primatology held its annual conference in Madison. At the time, I was working at the Harlow Primate Lab, one of two major primates laboratories at the UW-Madison that together house nearly 2,000 monkeys.
I put in a request to attend the conference. One of my bosses, the lab manager, asked if I planned to visit the animal rights counterconference that was going on at the same time. The question surprised me and sounded like an accusation. I said I hadn’t planned to do so, but if I saw protesters who were peaceful, I would have no problem talking with them, since my salary was paid by taxpayers.
The lab manager’s response: “What, are you going to turn into an animal rights person now?” I replied defensively, “No, of course not!”
Later that week, I overheard the lab manager telling other people in the building what I’d said. It wasn’t long before most everyone thought I was turning into an animal rights activist. Given that I had been trained to believe that animal rights people were ignorant, manipulative and violent, I was offended by this divisive labeling.
The principal investigator, my top supervisor, came to see me. “Look, Amy,” the investigator said, “I just want to explain this animal rights issue to you. I know if you spoke with someone, they could manipulate your words and put it in Isthmus and you would feel very, very bad if you read about our lab in a bad manner.”
I said, “I know, I will not speak about our research.”
Shortly afterward, the lab manager apprised me that I could no longer come in on weekends or work after hours — anytime I might be alone. These new constraints, on top of the discomfort I already felt about my work in the primate lab, made my job unbearable. Three months later, I resigned.
It was probably inevitable that I came to this end. During my five years at the Harlow Primate Lab, I had come to question the validity of the research and what I had come to believe was a callous attitude among many of the researchers. My efforts to introduce changes to reduce the stress of animals in our care were met with resistance.
But, perhaps most traumatic of all was watching what happened to a 5-year-old rhesus monkey I’ll call “Sam.” Of all I things I saw in the primate lab, that’s still the saddest story. Read full story here.
Way to go Global Conservation Group!
An animal rights group that sees pig wrestling as inhumane is urging people to boycott the event at the annual Stoughton Junior Fair later this week.
But a representative of the committee that organizes the fair disputes the claim that pig wrestling is cruel.
“We do everything in our power to make sure that the animals are taken care of prior to and after the competition,” said Steve Wethal, vice-president of the Fair Board. “We put animal safety first.”
He added, “It’s been a successful event and people seem to enjoy it.”
An organization called Global Conservation Group sees the event in a different light.
In a news release, the group asks people to boycott the pig wrestling event “because pigs being punched in the face, kicked, body-slammed, jumped on, yelled at and thrown into a bucket is not acceptable and is common practice during pig wrestling contests in Wisconsin.”
Pig wrestling, or “wrasslin,” is an event where contestants chase pigs around a fenced-off mud pit to attempt to place the pig on a barrel in a limited period of time, either 30 or 45 seconds, Wethal explained.
“I don’t think the pigs are traumatized,” he said. “It’s a very short window; a timed event. And if you don’t get your pig in the time allotted, then you’re done.”
Wethal explained that the event has been held at the fair for only the past four or five years. He said it’s done to attract more people to the fair.
“We are a free fair, so we don’t charge to get on the grounds and we don’t charge for parking, like other fairs do,” Wethal said. “We were looking for ways to put on a relatively inexpensive show. Pig wrestling is done at other county fairs. So we looked at that aspect. It’s inexpensive for us and draws a crowd. That’s pretty much the whole reason behind it.”
He disputed the Global Conservation Group’s assertion that “using pigs in this form of entertainment is inhumane.”
“We have to remember that just as humans, pigs also have the same ability to feel pain, emotions, and the desire to live,” the group wrote in its news release.
The group also alleges that conducting pig wrestling or even viewing the event is illegal under Wisconsin law.
“Spectators could be subject to prosecution for a misdemeanor offense for attending a pig wrestling event under section 951.18(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes,” the group claims.
Wethal said the Fair Board did receive some complaints about the event a few years ago. He said the committee discussed and decided to continue it.
“We’ve had threats of protestors coming,” he acknowledged. “We always discuss it, but it’s the relatively inexpensive show to put on and keeps us a free fair.”
“In my opinion,” he added, “I don’t feel we are damaging the pigs in any way. They walk off the trailer and back on the trailer under their own power.”
Dear Editor: Regarding Rick Bogle and Zorba Paster’s Opinion and Commentary on the Dalai Lama, I would like to point out that meditation has another prominent spokesperson as well. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist and author who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr., is best known for teaching mindfulness meditation. An ethical vegan, Hanh has said, “Buddhist practitioners have practiced vegetarianism over the last 2,000 years with the intention to nourish our compassion towards the animals. Compassion is our most important practice. Understanding brings compassion. Understanding the suffering that living beings undergo helps liberate the energy of compassion. And with that energy you know what to do.”
The concept and practice of nonviolence are central to Buddhism, and mean not causing pain to any being by thoughts, words or actions. Perfection is neither possible nor the point. The essential practice of nonviolence is veganism, minimizing harm to the environment and to all beings affected by humans’ choices. This includes the millions of animals who are hurting, suffering and dying needlessly.
As a longtime meditator, I try to practice nonviolence: I am determined not to support any act of killing in the world. As for the Dalai Lama, I hope that eventually, like Thich Nhat Hanh, he will “know what to do,” and find the understanding to take the basic Buddhist precept of compassion off his meditation cushion and onto his dinner plate.