Optimistic Vegan


No Mercy: Calf Farm Cruelty Exposed
April 27, 2011, 9:33 pm
Filed under: Animal Rights, Films, Law | Tags: , ,

I was just wasting some time on Facebook when I saw a post by Bold Native encouraging people to write to Youtube about a video they recently removed for violating its Terms of Service. Curious, I followed the link and subsequent links to the terms of service. Turns out they don’t allow videos that are “shocking and disgusting.”

It says: “For instance, including a clip from a slaughter house in a video on factory farming may be appropriate. However, stringing together unrelated and gruesome clips of animals being slaughtered in a video may be considered gratuitous if its purpose is to shock rather than illustrate.” I can understand this even if I don’t fully agree with it. Youtube is a company and they do have to decide how they want to be represented, but I would hope they would want to been seen as a company that supports free speech.

Anyway, I was wary of what the video was, expecting it to be a video with just a bunch of unrelated cruelty clips (because in the terms of service that is why they will remove videos). It took me a while to find it because other video services also removed it. I finally found it and prepared myself to watch it. It was atrocious. It was one of the most horrific videos I’ve seen yet (and I’ve seen a fair share) but I made it through the entire thing. However, it wasn’t a string of unrelated clips and it brought it back full circle with “go vegan” etc.

Apparently a full spectrum of people have commented on the video, including dairy industry reps. They talked about how they don’t support the cruelty seen here and they hope appropriate action is taken against this farmer, etc. While this all seems great (yay! Vegans and dairy industry reps unite!) I’m not convinced they’re concerned about their animals’ welfare. I think they’re nervous that their image will be tainted and the public might have crazy ideas and think that some of them might also have similar practices.

I don’t doubt that this video was released at a critical time when free speech is being challenged in states like Iowa, Minnesota and Florida with laws that would make undercover farm videos illegal. When we had a skype Q&A with Bold Native director Denis Henry Hennelly he said that while the laws are scary and we should be alarmed, that others that aren’t vegan or animal rights activists are also alarmed. Free speech is free speech and when you start encroaching on it anywhere it makes people nervous. So perhaps trying to hide this video is related to trying to make these videos illegal. It was one of these undercover videos that ultimately made me decide to go vegan and without them we’re just covering up the dirty secrets in our country.

So: I think Youtube is in the wrong. It does not seem to be composed of unrelated clips, and while shocking, it should be known. It should be shocking, but it’s better than left in the dark.

image

Aww! This baby cow picture was taken by Rodd Dierker. I love the ears on this cow!

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Humane Slaughter Act: Chickens

The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act is an act that was introduced in 1901 to regulate slaughterhouse standards. In summary, it describes how “livestock” are to be “rendered insensible to pain” in a single blow before the rest of the process is done. Also that slaughterhouses can be regulated by the government. This seems straightforward, however, many different slaughterhouses have interpreted this law, as well as the USDA, in different ways.

A few months ago, the courts ruled that poultry was not part of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, because poultry does not count as “livestock.” In the act, it says that cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, and other livestock are protected by this act, however the courts have interpreted livestock to exclude birds. So as of now, there are no laws protecting the humane slaughter of chickens, turkeys, ducks, bunnies, or other poultry (rabbits have been ruled as poultry…).

So because there are no regulations for these animals, I’m sure you can guess what happens. I won’t go into much detail, but they move so quickly shackled on the track, that they move through the lines at 182-186 per minute. Because of their speed that allows for the best efficiency, most birds aren’t able to be stunned, or their throats slit, so many of them are still alive as they go into the scalding hot water (to remove their feathers).

If you follow the link for “182-186 per minute” it will take you to a site that describes a slaughterhouse worker’s experience. Not only the chickens are abused, there are also very poor conditions for slaughterhouse workers.