Posted 23 April 2011 by 4_da_animals1 Permalink | 30 Comments
dairy, bobby calves, milk, guest blog
Unleashed Note: A little while
ago, 4_da_animals1 posted a thread to the forum describing her experiences doing part time work at a small dairy farm. Most of us already know that male calves (who obviously can't produce milk) are killed as a waste product
of the industry. But we were intrigued and disturbed to hear about
her day to day encounters, so we asked her to write a guest blog.
With all the dairy chocolate gobbled up at Easter, we thought this would be the perfect time to share her story:
Having recently turned vegetarian, I can now tell you one way to guarantee to become vegan is to work on a dairy farm.
Needing a job for the summer holidays, I was skimming through the country paper and saw an ad for a job on a dairy farm. Mum had been breathing down my neck to get a job; nothing much else was on offer; and to be honest I was curious to see how dairies treat their animals first hand, so I rang the manager to see if the spot had been taken. It hadn't.
I would be in charge of feeding gorgeous baby calves for a few hours a couple of times a week, and being paid for it. What could go wrong? Turns out being a calf feeder is not all I thought it would be. I had heard stories about the dairy industry being cruel - male calves taken from their mothers and trucked off to slaughter every week - but nothing really hits you in the heart more than seeing the kinds of day to day cruelty these poor creatures go through firsthand.
With images of gorgeous happy calves skipping up to me for a feed, I headed down to the farm with a smile on my face, and high expectations. These expectations, however, were crushed within a few mere hours.
The first thing I clearly remember from stepping outside the car was the smell. The smell of mass amounts of faeces. In front of me were hundreds of cows packed in a small iron pen, one by one being pushed through these huge machines with tubes being attached to their udders - a person behind them, making loud noises and hitting their behinds with a rubber tube, to push them forward.
I was told to throw some rubber boots on, and get in with the cows. The lady pushing the cows forward would be in charge of me, to teach me what to do. As I headed towards her, all I could see were piles and piles of faeces in the pen - so large that I would get stuck in it. The cows were forced to move through the sludge, which the workers called "mud" to get onto the concrete in front of the milkers. Some cows would trip and fall into the "mud" face first. Some cow's behinds were covered in sores and dried "mud", others were limping, but all were forced further and further forward to be finished by break time.
The one thing I will never get out of my head is the sadness in those cow's eyes. With hung heads, you could tell they could feel every hit, and if you tried to approach them, they would run off, with genuine fear in their eyes of you, the two legged being with a big stick.
Once a cow had given birth, a worker would take the baby away from the mother, and shove him into a tiny trailer attached to the back of the quad bike, awaiting a calf feeder to take him down with the others. Some calves were stuck in that cage for up to 12 hours.
The calves were placed 5 or 6 to a pen. To move a calf into a different pen, they were picked up and thrown over the fence, then left to gather their own feet. Standing in front of the calves' pens for the first time, I looked to my left and was faced with a pile of dead calves covered in flies being thrown on the back of the quad to be taken to the "death pit". In front of me, in the pens, were cute wobbly calves, covered in all different shades of faeces - from other sick calves and calves with the equivalent of diarrhea, which is lethal to a baby calf if not treated within days of getting sick.
It's a calf feeder's responsibility to separate the sick calves from the healthy, and tell the manager when more medicine needs to be ordered. If the manager isn't told, it doesn't happen, and the calves suffer and die as a result. This happened frequently, as the majority of workers just didn't care. They were simply there to get their hours.
Deprived of a mother to drink milk from at a leisurely pace, calves have two opportunities to drink milk per day, having to consume 2 litres of milk on both occasions. If a calf refused to feed from the plastic feeders on the fence, they had a tube shoved down their throat and were forced to feed, with a quiet moan escaping them as the tube slid in. As you make sure each calf consumes its 2 litres, you cannot escape the overwhelming wails of the mother cows that have just had their babies taken from them.
Every single male bobby calf, and any female that was born with a male as twins gets sent to slaughter. The female twins are included, as they have a higher rate of future miscarriage. Miscarriage means no baby, which means no production of milk. Every five days, the truck comes to take the bobby calves to slaughter and their miserable life comes to an end.
Needless to say, I didn't last long working there. And my time there has triggered my decision to go vegan. I do not know of many people who would agree to this treatment of such kindhearted creatures. This was a small country dairy, I could not possibly imagine the kinds of things big companies get away with.
I'm glad I can now give people a first hand account of how animals are treated on dairy farms. And I'll be taking every opportunity I can to inform others! We, as consumers need to show through what we choose to eat and buy that we do not agree with ill-treatment of other living creatures!
Want to uncover more dirt on dairy? Check out this video, tracing the life of a bobby calf:
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Posted 1 July 2010 by Matt- Permalink | 1 Comment
guest blog, advocacy, activism, holidays, school
So it's holidays... Hol-lee-dayzzzz! Alright, alright - enough celebrating for now.
OK one more: HOLIDAYS!!!!
Time to forget about school for 2 weeks (for most of us). No more 7am wake-ups, no more smelly canteens and smellier canteen men... and no more dissections (YES!).
I'm sure your schedule is already packed with movies to see, friends to visit, and shops to shop, food to eat... and maybe even a date? ;) But remember! The animals still need our help! And hey, is there a better time to be a hero for the animals than during the holidays?
So let's get down to business... Here are 5 great ways to make your holidays count:
- Organise/join a leafleting session. (hit me up if this interests you!)
- Take your friends out for a great veggie lunch.
- Volunteer at a local animal shelter.
- Write a letter to someone (eg. PM, local member of parliament, editor of a newspaper, etc) about an issue that concerns you.
- Organise a movie night with your mates to watch Earthlings, or Meat the Truth.
So tell me, what are you doing for the animals these holidays? Don't forget to drop a line here and tell us all about it.
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Posted 23 April 2010 by .ellehcoR Permalink | 4 Comments
guest blog, dogs, cats, desex, pet overpopulation, pounds, octuplets
Have you heard about Nadya Suleman? Last year she grabbed worldwide attention when she gave birth to octuplets, bringing her total number of children to 14!!! Gosh, I have enough trouble keeping my own affairs in order, let alone looking after a football team's worth of kids! While Ms Suleman's situation might seem highly unusual, sadly in Australia there are many other mums giving birth to litters of children who may never have a proper home. Yup, I'm talking about dog and cat overpopulation.
The harsh reality is that every year over 200,000 cats and dogs in shelters across Australia will be deemed 'unwanted' and be euthanized. Now if that's not a big enough number for you to sit up straight, remember that there are also at this very second an estimated 10 million stray cats around the country. So it's easy to see that we're in a bit of a pickle!
But there is a solution (hoorah!)... The catch is that to make it work, everyone with companion animals has got to do their bit. A simple snip & sew (ie. desexing) by a vet will be a huge help to prevent even more cats and dogs suffering a life on the streets.
So if you haven't already, book your little guy/girl in for an overnight trip at the local vet. It isn't all too expensive, and it'll spare you the grief of having to deal with your own litter of octuplets!
This is my own little ambassador: Charlie, whom, due to being incredibly gorgeous and irresistibly handsome, is definitely a ladies'
man dog. Although I'm sure he knows he won't father children... it still doesn't stop him from trying ;)
Don't disappoint those puppy eyes!
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Posted 8 April 2010 by Matt- Permalink | 23 Comments
guest blog, milk, dairy, cows, environment, health, soy milk, video, 7:30 Report
This week the 7:30 Report ran a story on the dangers of milk. According to the program, regular milk may be linked to a long list of diseases including: heart disease, diabetes, autism and even schizophrenia!
Should we really be surprised that a drink intended for baby calves isn't ideal for adult humans? As Dr. Michael Klapper said: "The human body has no more need for cows' milk than it does for dogs' milk, horses' milk or giraffes' milk."
So milk might make you sick. But what the report didn't mention is that it's also making the environment sick. It takes about 200 litres of water to produce just one glass of milk. That's almost as much water as many people use for all their household activities in a day!
But perhaps the darkest side of the dairy industry is what happens to the animals. Cows do not automatically produce milk. Just like humans, first they need to have a baby. So what happens to the calf? Every year in Australia, 1 million baby calves are slaughtered as 'waste-products' of the dairy industry. Their flesh may be sold as pink veal, their bones may be crushed-up and made into designer dog biscuits, and the lining of their stomachs may be used in the process of making cheese.
Now that's enough to make anybody sick!
Fortunately, enjoying milk without such sickening side effects is a breeze! Next time you're at the shops, why not try one of these fantastic cruelty free milks?
Soy milk: My personal favourite. It's high in protein and fibre. My recommendation? Try out Sanitarium's So Good Lite if you like that milky taste. But then if you asked Karen, she'd tell you that Vitasoy's Soy Milky Lite is the way to go.
Rice milk: A favourite for some in cooking. If you've got a sweet tooth, this may be the option for you as it's known for its sweeter taste compared to other milks. Vic Unleashed Street Team Co-ordinator Rochelle's recommendation: go get yourself a carton of Vitasoy.
Almond milk, Oat milk, and the list goes on... If you're feeling really adventurous you can even make your own, for example this recipe for cashew milk.
The neat thing with all of these is that not all soy/rice/almond/oat milks taste alike. So there's one to suit everyone's taste. On the flip side, it might take you a little exploring to find the one that suits you. So if at first you don't succed, try another brand ;)
And don't forget to comment below and share which one's your fave?
Ps. The story doesn't stop there. You can also find delicious non-dairy cheeses, creams, cream cheeses, ice creams, and most importantly chocolates!
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Posted 1 April 2010 by Matt- Permalink | 3 Comments
Mad Cow Disease, factory farming, health, environment, effluent, veg, cows, pigs, chickens, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, guest blog
So, you may have seen in the news that Australia is lifting its ban on beef imports from mad-cow countries. Let me tell you why this makes me mad:
Mad-cow disease is an illness affecting cattle - caused by feeding cows to cows. Nasty stuff!
But it gets even nastier! If humans eat this infected meat, it can cause the fatal disease, called Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (you know with a name that long it's gotta be bad!). Sure, these countries claim to have the all clear from mad-cow disease now, but any country that used to feed cows to cows doesn't sound like a smart place to import beef from (not that killing cows sounds like a good idea to begin with). Anyway, while turning cows into cannibals before eating them sounds pretty mad, we've got some home-grown nastiness to worry about - a not-so-little thing called factory farming.
Packing animals into overcrowded sheds, where they may have to live in their own filth without fresh air, natural light or exercise is bound to make them sick. So animals in factory farms are often fed a diet of antibiotics just to keep them alive long enough to be killed. The problem with this? Viruses evolve and antibiotics don't. Factory farms are the perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant super bugs. That's right; diseases not even modern medicine can cure - *cough* Bird Flu *cough* Swine Flu *cough*
And while it's gross - what goes in must come out. The major problem: The huge amount of waste produced by factory farms is not treated, like human waste is. In the case of pigs, it is channelled into massive, open-air cesspits. These "lagoons" (as the industry calls them) can pollute the soil and underground water supplies, and run-off can wreak havock on local waterways - not to mention the health risks to the local community!
But, no need to worry! Like a wizard, I have the perfect solution for you! And while you're at it, you'll be helping heaps of others in a big way. What is it, I hear you chanting? What do I have to do? What must I eat? No, no, no! It's much simpler than that! It's what you don't have to eat - animals!
Not eating animals reduces your risk of getting heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Don't eat animals - get a longer life expectancy - it's that easy! Your Mum's been telling you to eat your vegetables forever, so what better way to make her happy?
Sound good? Great! Then click here to take the pledge to be veg and give the cows one less reason to be mad ;)
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Posted 21 March 2010 by Matt- Permalink | 3 Comments
Activism, Leafleting, Melbourne, Costume, Street Team, Guest Blog
So guys, how was your weekend? Good? Yeh, I thought so. I expected nothing less. :)
And mine? Mine was awesome too! Why? I got to meet Sedgewick the Sheep -- Unleashed's very own animal-cruelty fighting ram!
I, and another few Unleashed Street Team members, were scheduled to meet him on the corner of Bourke and Swanston Street, Melbourne. He promised us all the leafleting session of our lives, so we all waited in earnest -- the topic of conversation: how in the world would a sheep be getting itself into the centre of Melbourne?! But to be honest, I didn't know what to expect -- after all, it'd be pretty hard to get those Unleashed leaflets moving only with hooves, right?
Well, I was wrong! Sedgewick the Sheep is one top bloke ... and one very awesome leafleter! Not only did Sedgewick get lots of people thinking about the benefits of not eating animals, but got hugs all round for his trouble. Everyone, from 7 year olds to 70 year olds, wanted a piece of this fluffy fellow!
We got to the end of the session, and must have got out close to 1,000 leaflets! Now I thought this was something to be happy about, but Sedgewick -- while pumped that countless lives would now surely be saved -- was looking forward to next week, where he would be able to meet even more of Unleashed's finest. In fact, he made me promise one thing: to get home, write a blog, a get more people to next weekend's leafleting session!
So here we are guys: If you're interested in coming along, all your info is right here.
We hope to see you guys soon,
Matt (with help from Sedgewick) ;)
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Posted 14 February 2010 by Matt- Permalink | 8 Comments
Canadian seal slaughter, seals, fur, Winter Olympics, Canada, take action, guest blog
The Winter Olympic Games: It's an event scribbled in bold on every Australian's calendar, counted down to, day-by-day, from the closing ceremony 4 years ago. For 2 weeks straight, Australians sit glued to the television, with little on their mind other than the absolute excitement that is curling, being beamed from the other (and much colder) side of the world.
OK! So maybe it's not! But the location of The Games this year offers us, and more importantly animals, a potentially life saving opportunity.
Last year in Canada, over 60,000 baby harp seals were run-down by sealers and mercilessly bludgeoned to death on the ice, their parents watching on in terror and crying in horror. It's estimated that over 95% of the seals clubbed to death last year were less than 3 months old. These animals will never learn to swim and will never chew on their first solid meal.
So what can we do about it?
Well, just like any major event, the organizers want it to run as smoothly as possible - and the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee is no different. One thing they don't want is for the good reputation of the Winter Olympic Games to be tarnished by this cruellest-of-the-cruel hunt, which already hangs over Canada's international reputation.
The Committee carries a lot of political clout, and with their pressure on the Canadian government, we'll be all the closer to having the seal fur industry right where we want them: off the ice for good!
Please write to the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (email@example.com) and urge them to help bring an immediate end to the seal slaughter by pressuring the Canadian government to end this brutal slaughter for good.
See you guys on the slopes,
Matt. (Guest blogger)
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