Happy Earth Day all!! Earth Day is the perfect day to thank people who help our Earth become a better place. People who devote their lives to conserving our natural resources, weather a storm without batting an eyelash, and know their land like the back of their hand - all while providing the safest, healthiest, and most inexpensive food in the world . . . the American Farmer.
So, this Earth Day I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the Farmers and ranchers out there . . . on behalf of everyone enjoying the food you provide us (people across the world) THANK YOU!!
On a slightly different note (ok, maybe hugely different but I will connect it – just wait):
I would like to comment on the video released by Mercy For Animals. Wednesday morning I woke up at 6 walked over to the computer to upload some pictures to the blog post I had scheduled. I opened a few blog posts from blogs that I follow so I could read them while the pictures were uploading. I got the pictures uploading and clicked over to Crystal Cattle’s blog – to a post titled : Animal Abuse in Agriculture. Still sleepy I read the post without watching the video. I clicked over to the video expecting the see some bad animal abuse that would make me uncomfortable and annoyed. The video began and instantly I started crying. I had never ever seen something so horrible in my life. I had to turn my head but the pictures were already etched into my mind. The sound of the pick axe hitting the calf was unbearable - I turned it off at 10 seconds. I am no sissy but that video was too much for me. I was heading up to Oregon to see my grandpa (who turns 89 next week) so I couldn't write about my reaction before I left. I was too angry anyway. I felt hurt, angry, sad, every emotion but happy . . . mostly I was angry at the man in the video and behind the camera. How could someone stand back and watch, someone who claims they are an animal rights activist, an innocent calf being beaten with a pick axe or a hammer to death. I was angry that people would see this video and think all animals are treated like that.
My mom called at 7:30 to make sure I was up and heading over to pick her up for our drive up to Oregon and I couldn't talk. My poor mom was probably panicked until I managed to get out - the video, it's horrible between my sobs.
I thought about the worst farmer I know. I know he couldn't do what happened to those calves. He had two still births this year. He had to put one of "his girls" down because she had major complications during calving. He was sad - he couldn't inflict horrible pain on his girls. He couldn't inflict that kind of pain on his worst enemies calves. I thought about every person I know - and not a single person I know could do that.
I do not recommend you watch the video but I do recommend you read Ray-Lin Dairy's Post here. I am incredibly impressed with the rancher whose dairy farmer the Mercy For Animals activist was working while the video was filmed. The rancher is a perfect example of why we need to be thanking farmers and ranchers today. In this audio clip Kirt Espenson of the E6 Ranch is interviewed by Trent Loos. Mr. Loos asks some pretty loaded questions but the rancher, Mr. Espenson takes full responsibility for the actions of his employees. He explains that the employee was supposed to kill the calves with a rifle that was provided by the ranch. Due to the hard winter at the ranch the calves had suffered extreme frostbite and were loosing their limbs so the only humane thing to do was to put them out of their misery. Espenson said that the actions taken by his employees were unacceptable and not protocol for their ranch but he still insisted that it was his responsibility to ensure the employee was following directions. I was very impressed that Espenson took full responsibility even though he also said that the undercover activist filming was also seen on the video euthanizing calves with a hammer. What happened on his ranch was unacceptable and horrific but he did not try to put the blame on anyone else but himself.
On that note I would like to assure you all that the farmers and ranchers involved in animal agriculture take amazing care of their animals. And I thank them for stepping up to the plate to defend animal agriculture and also to demand that something be done to the individuals responsible for those horrible actions.
Happy Earth Day - go thank a farmer today!!