People wonder why I do this blog, and this is a perfect example. Facebook has recently changed their policy to forbid the selling of goats, or other livestock, for sale on Facebook. This sounds like a further approach by animal rights activists to alienate people from the animals.
The closing of Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus, the passing of laws forbidding “caged” poultry, or farrowing pens, and the loss of the orcas at Sea World are all part of this effort. There are more efforts in the works. In Massachusetts, there is a bill that was designed to stop animal entertainment, such as circuses, but it also, as written, includes llamas and alpacas, and wildlife shows.
If the activists have their way, livestock will disappear from the world of most children in the United States.
What differences does that make? Lots. People often eat mindlessly, without considering what they put in their mouth. Many people believe that if the USDA says it’s okay to eat, then it is. However, why is that a jar of bee propolis, a natural sealant used by honeybees to protect their hive, is allowed to sold with additives such as these: Gelatin, cellulose (plant fiber), magnesium stearate, silica. Magnesium stearate is a soap, used to help keep things from sticking together. Silica is also found in this product, not what I want in the product that I would making with it. I was able to purchase some with simply bee propolis and honey, both found together in my hive outside, though it was already cleaned, and ready to use.
Looking at the ingredients on many food stuffs will be enlightening to many. But if you, like me, eat food that is grown locally, at home for some, we know exactly how those animals are cared for, what they eat, and how they were treated.
Keeping animals, whether they are livestock or pets, teaches responsibility of course, but it teaches so much more. Working with animals teaches patience, which is a trait that is really being lost in our world of instantaneous communication and solid state appliances. It teaches empathy, since animals can’t communicate with words what is wrong with them. A person has to “think” like that animal, in order to figure what may be ailing a sick animal. But most importantly it teaches kindness.
If you mistreat an animal, all you get is a fearful animal, not a companion, a friend, or even a cooperative creature. That does not mean putting sweaters on them, or hand feeding them, or bringing them into the house. It means looking at the given problem from the place of that animal. Horses have little vision within four feet of their nose, so working with them from the side is important, talking with them, and giving them time to figure out the situation, is vital.
Sometimes in an effort to “ease” an animal into a situation we put too much pressure on them. Sometimes it’s better to just pick an animal up and put it where it needs to be, even if it’s not an easy task. I have seen goats recover from anesthesia screaming and staggering, because they are so disoriented from the medication. Those who disbud using this anesthesia are actually prolonging the disorientation, discomfort and danger, where a short term burst of heat is a much quicker way to get the job done. Most goats are playing within minutes, and if not, I can address the problem much faster than if I have to wait for the anesthesia to wear off.
I’ve said before that “cage free” is not the benevolent move that animal rights activists would have you believe. Cage free, but still confined, leads to torment, violence, stress, illness and death in a flock. Only free ranging, or minimally confined flocks with access to open air, real earth, and not overstocked, are the healthiest birds, raised in the most humane way.
Going to back to selling goats on Facebook, here is the problem. Goats are livestock, and for many they are not pets. In order to have goats milk there must be babies, and in order to sell babies, we need to let the world know we have them. One of the fastest ways to do that is to advertise on Facebook.
If goat kids aren’t sold to new homes, the farm gets overcrowded and the kids either get sick, or wind up at the auction house. Auctions are a terrible experience for animals, and the WORST place to find a new animal. They fester stress and infection, and those frightened animals live in minimal conditions breeding disease. If those animals are “rescued” they bring those diseases to their new homes, which is not good for anyone.
The growing pressure from PETA and HSUS belies a very important thing – food. Yes, you can be a vegetarian, but plants need fertilizer and air. If there aren’t any livestock, the soil gets compacted, not stirred. Air and water can’t penetrate, and the land goes barren.
Yes, you can use chemical fertilizers, but then you are “in bed” with big AG, petro-chemicals, non-point water pollution and those who actually care only about their sales, and not the planet. There is a balance that needs to be established between livestock and plants.
I am not against vegetarians, or vegans, and I AM AN Animal lover. But screaming about fur, leather and pelts being used is a deflection from the petroleum-laden faux fur, the micro-fibers created by “fleece” and polyester, and the havoc they are wreaking with our oceans. Fur, pelt and leather extend the life value of the animals that they came from. The value of that creature is so much more than a “gravity tester,” or a pet. If animal activists are so concerned about the planet, they need to consider the trade-offs they are making.
So, I write this blog, to protect the animals, the plants, the people and the planet. I love all of that, but I am lucky to see the beauty beyond the concrete, and think others should too. If you agree, I hope you’ll read more, and support our little Hames & Axle Farm and our Surfing Goat Soaps. Thanks.