The Celebration of Exploitation: Green Mountain College and Bill and Lou

» October 24th, 2012

 

 

 

Above and below are photos from the working farm at Green Mountain College, the institution of higher education in Vermont that has, in the name of “sustainable agriculture,” chosen to kill its two working oxen—Bill and Lou—rather than allow them to retire in peace at Vine Sanctuary. These photos are, as I see them, clear examples of the celebration of exploitation, a celebration that belies the farm’s claim to treat animals with dignity. (Note: this post continues after the photos.)

 

              

 

My sense is that this is place that uses sixteenth-century logic to promote an eighteenth century education. To get a sense of the ditzy thoughtlessness required to justify such behavior, consider this defense of GMC’s decision, published in the comments section of Eating Plants several days ago (no edits):

I am a vegan for ethical, environmental, and personal health reasons. I am also a recent graduate of Green Mountain College, after spending four years there. I have got to say I am very upset with some of the things I have read on this website. As vegans, many of your are urging Green Mountain College show compassion towards these animals and to change the decision they have made to slaughter them. I am also a personal believer in this universal compassion. However, I think that many of you have forgotten about one creature in particular that must be shown respect. Humans. You are condemning people, what, because they have a different opinion than you? Well, what if a dog does something you do not want her to do? Will you condemn her the same way? No. And you may justify that she doesn’t know any better. Well then you have just made a distinction between dogs (animals) and humans; just like the distinctions that you have been trying to discredit (I’ve been reading a lot of posts comparing Bill and Lou to someone’s grandparents, for example).
I am offended by the vast generalizations that you are making towards this school. After spending four wonderful years there, there are a lot of people that I love, care for, and respect. Are there no people that you love and/or care for that eat meat or dairy? Or do you reserve your compassion for only those who share your intense opinions and those who cannot express opinions (animals)?
Realizing that there are varying opinions in the world is part of being an empathetic person. Can you still speak out against something you believe is wrong? Of course! It is very important to do so. But should you personally attack someone who thinks differently? No. You mentioned a need for transcendent sense of compassion, well the way you and many of the comments have addressed these students and the college as a whole does not look like that at all. These are people who are working hard towards their interests and dreams, just like you are working hard towards yours, and discrediting someone’s degree is an awful display of disrespect for a fellow human being. (If you are by chance thinking to yourself “…they deserve it because of the school they attend…” shame on you! Part of being able to feel that you are on moral high ground is to continue to show respect to those you are debating with). Veganism should be about equal compassion, not bullying one species.
One more thing; I am rather positive that if many of you had found out about Green Mountain College for another reason (i.e. how it produces most of its own heat and electricity, activism on many social issues, the pride it takes in small class sizes and personal relationship growth, how the students are actively involved in the running of their own school or, a number of nationally recognized programs), then I am rather positive that you would think it was a pretty neat place. Green Mountain College likely does more for the vegan movement than any other college or university I have personally visited or heard of.

 

This news comes to Eating Plants from Roxxy in Minnesota:

“There is a protest scheduled this Friday from Noon to 3 at Green Mountain College – would you please help us thousands of citizens from around the world advertise the photos and the protest. We are on Facebook in the “Save Bill & Lou Group.”

 

And, finally, petitions to sign:

1) http://www.change.org/petitions/bill-throop-kenneth-mulder-release-bill-and-lou-to-vine-sanctuary

2) http://www.thepetitionsite.com/136/143/095/save-bill-and-lou-from-slaughter/

3) http://www.thepetitionsite.com/843/838/964/spare-oxen-bill-and-lou-from-slaughter/

4) http://tinyurl.com/9y7sdz9

5) http://www.causes.com/causes/644857-let-s-turn-facebook-orange-for-animal-cruelty-awareness/actions/1692638

 

Let the drumbeat of opposition continue. 

41 Responses to The Celebration of Exploitation: Green Mountain College and Bill and Lou

  1. Charlie Talbert says:

    The recent graduate of Green Mountain College complains, “You [people upset with the premeditated murder of Bill and Lou] are condemning people, what, because they have a different opinion than you?”

    Recent graduate, what was your reaction to Michael Vick’s strangulation of his fighting dogs. I’d guess you had a different opinion than Vick about what kind of compassion they deserved. Did you try to understand his point of view, and to remain uncritical of his actions?

    In what ways can your reaction to Vick’s decisions serve as a model for those of us who disagree with Green Mountain College’s plans for Bill and Lou?

  2. Jennifer Molidor says:

    Go Charlie.

    The responses attacking vegans – and the compassionate thousands who simply want Bill & Lou retired, which is a viable option, and to live their life peacefully with no violence and no slaughter – saddens and disgusts me.

    The ditzy commenter published here just doesn’t get it. The writer doesn’t seem to comprehend the arguments or the concepts, and I wouldn’t venture to say whether from complicit cognitive dissonance or simply the lack of cognitive ability and experience. Sometimes we must stand up for what we believe, even if our school violates that belief. Call it like it is.

    Animal cruelty is not an opinion. It isn’t a joke. It isn’t a point of view. It isn’t a right.

    But far more troubling is how threatened, how vicious, how ugly people get when they defend their meat-eating habits. See the comments on the NPR article, for example. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/22/163257176/despite-protest-college-plans-to-slaughter-serve-farms-beloved-oxen

  3. Karen Davis says:

    All of the comments, emails and letters I’ve read protesting the slaughter of Lou and Bill have been pleas for mercy and kindness to these animals and pleas & arguments for compassionate vegan living along with some information about diet and recipes. It is very possible the ditzy writer is a person pretending to be a vegan – what better way to throw vegans and Bill & Lou’s advocates off track than to make them feel guilty and apologetic for being “uncompassionate” toward Bill and Lou’s persecutors?

    The letter is so poorly written and argued that one might say back to the writer: Why are you defending GMC, which didn’t even teach you to think coherently or write a decent sentence?

    • Elizabeth Cummings says:

      My thoughts, exactly, Karen, on the probability of a poseur. No vegan would communicate their very essence this way.

  4. edie says:

    typical case of living in a bubble….

  5. Karen Messier says:

    How is it possible that not one student attending this college has the courage to oppose this appalling and senseless slaughter? Surely there is at least one student who does not support the plan to kill these two beautiful animals who have dutifully served the college over the years. Somebody…anybody at GMC…please step up and do the right thing for these animals…or has the college totally stripped all sense of compassion from the lot of you?

  6. Marty says:

    He/she can’t be vegan. I’ve never heard a vegan argue for the “rights” of humans. Animals have no choice, period. Humans have a choice, to live or die. He/she can’t be vegan, as stating he/she is for ethical, compassionate health reasons. If you are vegan, as I am, it is foremost for compassionate and ethical reasons. My husband is a hunter. If this author is a student, then defend the education you received, not as a “vegan” defending GMCs decision to slaughter Bill and Lou. There is no logic to his/her logic.

    Our pets, more dogs than cats, can be teaching animals. Why don’t we slaughter and eat them when they’ve served their usefulness?

  7. Marty says:

    My comment about my husband…though I respect him as a human and my partner, I do not understand his need and desire to hunt. The hunter-gatherer mentality, not in my DNA.

  8. James says:

    From Mark Williams
    markcwilliams@yahoo.com

    Green Mountain College has attracted astounding publicity over the last few weeks, all resulting from its decision to slaughter Bill and Lou, two old laboring oxen that it had named and whose lives it now wishes to discard. One is apparently injured, and pain medications are being withheld so that the meat from this still-alive creature can be consumed.

    My visceral disgust at the election of this college led me to research the institution and its history. Apparently, Green Mountain College is a former junior college that in the past had experienced some financial distress. In the late 1990s, the college announced the adoption of an “environmental liberal arts” curriculum, and within roughly the past decade it has been assembling an animal agriculture program as the apparent capstone of a green-campus drive (an effort that has not led to electric-power self-sufficiency, and one that still allows the college to hold numerous typical water permits).

    Observers of the college’s decision concerning the two draft oxen have been expressing their distress at the college’s decision, and further distress at the college’s total unwillingness to even discuss allowing the gentle animals to be moved to and cared for by a recognized sanctuary willing to accept them, gratis, right now.

    Even more distressing has been the response of the college’s students. Very few students have openly dissented from the college’s decision; many have contacted external parties and have expressed fears of being identified as dissenters within the college. The college administration has said little in response to protests, delegating responses to selected students. A number of the college’s students have made web site and social-media postings about the impending slaughter of Bill and Lou. Uniformly, these postings have either —

    (1) repeated juvenile, pseudo-intellectual justifications for the decision, relying on false choices and comparisons to how much better Bill and Lou’s lives (and deaths) are than those of factory farmed meat animals — (true, but not the question) — and how the Green Mountain College community is such a very special place that its philosophical interpretations merit complete deference and the absolute exclusion of dissent; or

    (2) offensive statements demanding opportunities to participate directly in killing Bill and Lou, and often displaying photographs of students and friends having just killed domesticated animals, displaying their freshly-bloodied remains, wearing t-shirts exhorting death to animals, and the like.

    Throughout what has become a global exercise, those speaking for Green Mountain College have inconsistently proclaimed the college’s purported (and only very recent) “environmental” virtues, and have somehow sought to present these purported values as a justification for killing their two named old friends (and, yes, tenure and naming do play a role in the overall optics). The college criticizes the scrutiny of “outsiders.” These “others” simply cannot understand GMC. Only GMC’s closest affiliates could possibly understand how their “community” must, for the sake of consistency, sacrifice Bill and Lou and consume their meat (presuming that is can be consumed, which some have questioned). GMC can kill Bill and Lou, and it is none of anyone’s business; GMC must kill Bill and Lou; only those close to GMC understand the essentiality of this sacrifice. Killing Bill and Lou is a faith, or so it would appear.

    A concerned neighbor raised this issue with the local press, writing to the Rutland Herald to express concern both for their fates and also for their treatment when they were perhaps not quite so close to being entries on a menu. At least a few of the college’s students have continued to contact those outside GMC (the apostate, the others) to express distress and to beg for intercession. The college itself apparently has procured more and more agricultural animals during the very few years that it has adopted the pretense of being a farming community, and by some accounts the college now houses more animals facing death than students preparing for later life. And the college is seeking to create a full-blown animal science program.

    Green Mountain College seems to be positively delighted at the attention it is receiving. A cursory review of the college’s historical press coverage suggests that it has never been in the news so much as it is now; a cynic might think that the college could have done nothing better but make up old Bill and Lou. Some college students and staff have adopted the stereotypical appearance of traditional farmers, with beards and large hats (but, from the photos, also including tattoos and offensive t-shirts, which in my purely personal view reduces the authenticity of the amusement-park “farm” that the former junior college has created). But more than the attention, Green Mountain College seems delighted by Green Mountain College. This former high school-turned-junior college, a school that has changed its name, changed it back, and changed it again, that has only offered degrees at the Baccalaureate level for the last few decades, is institutionally convinced that its conduct is so internally consistent as to be beyond question. More than one observer (apparently including alums and students) have used the term “cult.”

    The photographs displayed on this web site are not the only ones that depict matters of grave offense and concern at Green Mountain College. Individual student social-media postings range from the intellectually weak to the downright terrifying, and the photographs appearing on this site are truly mild by comparison.

    Ultimately, many cults seek some form of immortality. Sometimes that takes a purely spiritual form, sometimes not. Bill and Lou have already made Green Mountain College immortal, and no one who has heard of Bill and Lou will ever forget this college.

    • Elizabeth Cummings says:

      James, thanks so much for posting Mark’s research and thoughts on the matter. It’s essentially another installment of FFA (Future Farmers of America, the aggie’s version of Junior ROTC at high schools), it would seem, except that FFA doesn’t greenwash what they’re all about.

  9. Kirsten says:

    interesting how eager they have the need to defend killing animals and eating their meat..as if they know that it is wrong..

  10. merry says:

    some of us aren’t condemning, we are simply asking GMC and their farm to reconsider letting these oxen live out the rest of their days peacefully and naturally, at the Vine animal sanctuary, who has their best interest at heart, instead of being slaughtered for meat to be eaten on their campus. you are doing an awful lot of finger pointing, for someone who should be trying to promote a more positive message. SAVE BILL AND LOU!!! put yourself in their hooves, how would you like to spend your final days?

  11. Mountain says:

    I can understand the situation with Lou. He has a leg injury that hasn’t healed, and it seems to make walking painful. If so, I can understand putting him down, and if they put him down, it would be wasteful not to eat him.

    But I don’t understand putting down Bill. He isn’t injured; he isn’t in pain. He may be used to working as a team with Lou, but he could work solo, or GMC could purchase another oxen with whom to team him. So, putting him down just doesn’t seem to make sense.

  12. Karen Davis says:

    James, thank you for your research into Green Mountain College and for sharing this information with your readers. And thank you for your analysis of the rationale behind the “need” to kill Bill and Lou, and for the photographs you have shared with us, showing yet again that animal farming and fellowship with animals are NOT mutually supportive, but oppositional.

    Of course, the College has made clear that it does not want to cultivate fellowship with animals in its students, staff or faculty. Both the rhetoric and the photos demonstrate that. As for the claim that because Lou has a leg injury, he should be “put down” (slaughtered or otherwise savagely destroyed, not euthanized in the case of farmed animals), there are people with chronic foot injuries who are on permanent pain medication, thereby running the risk of hurting themselves further because their injured foot is numb, but I never heard of anyone in this situation asking to be killed, or of anyone else suggesting that they should be.

    “Mountain,” above, suggests keeping Bill alive by making him work for the school with a new partner. This little bundle of heartless, bungled “thinking” is summarized, as if emanating from an exhumed body dug out of a grave, as “making sense.”

    The combination of poor, shallow, bungled thinking, moral cowardice and callousness, delight in the thought of Bill and Lou as hamburger in the school cafeteria, and total lack of empathy and fellowship with these two forced laborors and College “friends,” added to the school’s pathetic delight in being a center of attention – if only all of this ludicrous shamefulness were just an isolated instance. We can all hang our heads at this hideous example of “higher education.”

    Hideous = “[fright]; horrible to see, hear; very ugly or revolting; dreadful.”

    Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns.
    http://www.upc-online.org

    • Mountain says:

      Excuse you, “Karen Davis.” Keeping Bill alive by allowing him to live the life he has always lived makes much more sense than the alternative GMC is planning. We have no way of knowing whether he enjoys or suffers through (or both) his life of labor, but I trust that, given the choice, he would choose it over being slaughtered. There is nothing heartless or bungled about noting the flimsiness of GMC’s stated reason for slaughtering Bill.

  13. edie says:

    why can’t we all somehow collect money and buy bill and lou’s freedom and then bring them to the sanctuary??
    money talks, bs walks……..

    • Karen Davis says:

      Buying enslaved individuals from bondage, be they human or nonhuman slaves, can be justified given that the innocent victims should not be (further) penalized for their unconsenting misfortune of being somebody’s legalized “property.” The freedom of African-American slaves was frequently purchased by those who opposed human slavery, so there is moral precedent.

      Refusing to finance abusers/enslavers by giving them money to liberate their victims can also be justified on the basis of revulsion at participating in the business of validating the condition of the victims as commodities in cash payment/receipt transactions. My general position, more or less, case by case, is that in these types of situations, advocates buying a victim’s freedom may be justified or right under the circumstances, but that selling an animal (including a human animal) or the products of their bodies is not justified or right.

      There is also repugnance at giving abusers the satisfaction of squeezing money, one way or another, out of their victims and at giving abusers the satisfaction of power over both the victims and their advocates in having dictated the terms of negotiation.

      For the record, my organization United Poultry Concerns has on occasion purchased abused chickens from abusive situations (e.g., live poultry markets), and I do not for a minute regret getting the birds out of hell although I am sorry that the only way we were able to help those particular birds was by paying their owners.

      Karen Davis, United Poultry Concerns

    • superweed says:

      Just fyi, GMC has received several offers in the thousands of $ for Bill and Lou but have turned them all down, evidently under the “ecological” logic that they may not be allowed to live and consume resources if they are not working for people. (Or, just because they *want* to kill them.)

  14. Mark Williams says:

    Green Mountain College has been offered considerable compensation for Bill and Lou. The college has declined to even discuss the matter. The college appears to be treating the issue as an internal policy mandate, intrinsic to its purported institutional integrity: Bill and Lou simply must be killed and eaten. There is no internal debate; there is no internal dissent; there is no consideration to be afforded to the views of outsiders; there is to be a slaughter. Period.

    • Karen Davis says:

      Hi Mark, thank you very much for all of your enlightening information. I realized after posting a comment this morning that you were the author of the analysis of GMC’s position.

      Karen Davis, United Poultry Concerns

  15. Jennifer says:

    I called the college yesterday, after being hung up on twice by the automoton receptionist, and finally spoke with faculty member Eleanor Tison in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production Department. She explained the college’s position thoroughly and even filibustered me through a lot of the phone call only to conclude near the end of it that she had a meeting with a student and had to go. However, she reasoned Bill and Lou’s death thusly:
    1. She, and the college, were offended that so many “outsiders” were concerned about Bill and Lou’s death when there were so many other deaths around them (via factory farms and the like). And these outsiders do not even know Bill and Lou like they do. I said that their death was symbolic and attracted national attention because of myopia of the college where a sanctuary is willing and ready to receive and care for them for their retirement.

    2. As an anthropologist (a point that she made repeatedly), she viewed that their humane death (her words) as a “spiritual” experience that is part of the college’s culture. Consuming their flesh was part a “cycle of life” and others who judge them because of this are not respecting their culture or other cultures who do this. I told her that their death was not necessary and that this was a decision that the college was making, to slaughter these innocent animals. There was nothing humane about slaughtering animals who would otherwise survive without out deciding so.

    3. She said (again, based on her authority as an anthropologist) that human civilization has survived for 2,000 years on the consumption of animals and that choosing veganism was not a realistic method of reducing the suffering caused by animal consumption today. It is just too big of a change for society. Most human civilizations eat meat and burgeoning populations in China and other areas are consuming more meat. Her small college aims to teach future generations how to to live in self-sufficient small societies who consume animals just as we have for many generations. I told her that this was a Flintstonian view of the world and that we are more connected in many ways through so many ways. And who are we to determine the direction of any particular animal other than ourselves. She said that all of these animals have succeeded because of our intervention and their populations have grown substantially. I asked her for what kind of life, but to live and die as juveniles. She said that if any of these animals were to be self-determined and decide our future, well good for them. To which, this reminded me of all of the sci-fi horror movies where we are taken over by another species. Isn’t this our own fears that someone is going to do to us what we do to others?

    She claimed that if I chose to euthanize my cat that I would be slaughtering it, my words, and how is that any different than what they are doing with Bill and Lou. Dumbfounded, and without a cat, the comparison is not applicable. I have not used a companion animal in the way that they have used Bill and Lou. The comparison was so off that I was speechless.

    She said that the students of the college were the decision-makers in this and that any outsiders were not a part of it. I asked her the age of the decision makers. She said 18 – 30 years. I told her that at that age people are still developing their identities and that the true decision-makers were the faculty (such as herself) and the administration and that they are cowardly hiding behind the students for this pre-determined outcome. She invited me to the screening of Peaceable Kingdom at the school on Friday and the discussion thereafter but I have personal obligations which prevent me from doing so. I do not consider myself a good representative in any way (I have only been a vegan for under a year and am still learning about all of the issues and how to relate to non-vegans) and have sent her an e-mail to consider another individual to which I have not gotten a response yet.

    • Jennifer says:

      Just reading my post again and please excuse all of the typos. Teasing out the details of a lengthy phone conversation that went back and forth was difficult and I don’t think that I came across so inelegantly as in this post. There were many more things said and she even invited me to speak with the farm manager. At that point I was a little exhausted from speaking with her.

    • Charlie Talbert says:

      Green Mountain College will screen Peaceable Kingdom on Friday!?

      This is positive. The latest version of PK is even more powerful than the earlier ones, IMO, and the first one is seared in my memory. Saw it on the day in April, 2004 that I went vegan.

      The current PK busts the myth of “humane” meat, and features an official, State of Pennsylvania humane officer to explain it. I hope that the post-screening discussion will include some thoughtful vegan advocates.

    • Mark Williams says:

      Sigh. More fraud.

      Tison may say that she’s an “anthropologist,” but what she actually is, is a moron who might have a tough time finding work elsewhere. She has not completed her PhD. If she did, it would be in “environmental anthropology.” (If GMC had a teacher training program, they would confer Ed.B. degrees in Environmental Phys Ed, so the adjective doesn’t impress me in this context). But she refers to her PhD studies in the past tense, and says she’s ABD, which means NOT PhD. And her disclosed graduate project was in no way related to animal matters. She holds no regular faculty appointment — she’s an adjunct.

      See, http://www.greenmtn.edu/farm_intensive/faculty.aspx

      I’d be careful believing a single word from anyone at GMC.

      • Jennifer Molidor says:

        Total fraud, yes Mark. ABD – All But Done – means not done. As the holder of Ph.D myself, this is ridiculous. My Ph.D is in ENGLISH so I’d never claim to be an animal rights expert because of it. Who on earth does she think she is? Freshman college students use the argument “we’ve been doing it for a long time, so its ok” not professors.

        It doesn’t take an education to be completely hypocritical.

        • Taylor says:

          All But Dissertation: Anyone who’s been through the process knows that writing and defending the dissertation is the hardest and most significant part of getting your Ph.D. Perhaps ABD should stand for Attempted But Dropped-out.

      • Jennifer says:

        Mark – Thank you for sharing your extensive research on GMC. Despite what we they want us to believe about them the truth is that they hold the lives of two innocent animals in their hands who deserve mercy instead of death (just as all animals do). It was very difficult to reach anyone yesterday despite the fact that they were having a “teacher work day”. The farm manager is on vacation, by the way, until Sunday, October 28th, so that was a true dead end right there. So, to speak with anyone was a plus.

        They are having a screening of Peaceable Kingdom tonight at 7:00 pm at the Tiny Theatre in Poultny, VT. Afterwards, there will be a discussion. This is free and open to the public. I assume that if the students do not have their minds made up for them, there might be an opportunity for someone else to influence them otherwise. If not the students, then any faculty or administration who may be in attendance.

        Also, she wanted me to know that they knew that others knew that they sourced their hamburger meat for their cafeteria from factory farms but that they were changing that in the near future to animals that they will source locally themselves. This made me feel very sad to hear.

  16. Jennifer says:

    Charlie – They are screening it but I am not sure which version. I hope that they will view it with an open mind and that there will be vegan advocates there willing and able to discuss their thoughts and feelings as it relates to Bill and Lou and the college’s mission. It would take someone like Colleen Patrick-Goudreau or Dr.Melanie Joy to keep the discussion focused on what the honest student responses are. It would also be wonderful to have a representative from Vine Sanctuary there as well.

  17. Jennifer says:

    The screening is actually tonight and these are the details from the response I just received:

    Film Showing: Peaceable Kingdom
    When: Thursday, October 25, 2012
    Time: 7 p.m.
    Where: Tiny Theatre

    The award winning documentary “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home” will be shown at the Tiny Theatre on Main Street in Poultney.

    The film, sent to GMC by an animal advocate on behalf of Bill and Lou, tells the story of several farmers who come, by various paths, to the conclusion that their work was betraying their innate love of animals.

    “Peaceable Kingdom” has won several awards, including “Best Feature Documentary” at the Moondance Film Festival, “Audience Award” ad the Environmental Film Festival at Yale as well as at the Berkshire International Film Festival, and “Grand Jury Prize” at the Canada International Film Festival.

    The showing is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a discussion about this issue and media/communications issues that have emerged in response to the announcement of Bill and Lou’s impending processing.

    For more information about the film, visit peaceablekingdomfilm.org.

  18. Irene Muschel says:

    Thank you, Mark Williams, for providing the link above to the bios of the staff at this school. In the bio of Baylee Drown, the person who sent a letter to people –
    “Greeting Friends,” she began “As a moral vegetarian…”
    Her bio states, “Baylee has been active in the agricultural field; working in meat labs, dairy farms, and even being a dairy judge…”
    This is a moral vegetarian??? Language loses meaning.

  19. These animals have no concept of time or self. As such, the length of their lives and their deaths make little difference to them. Slaughtering them was humane and logical thing to do since they were no longer useful.

    • edie says:

      yeah, and the earth is flat, right?

      “All beings tremble before violence. All fear death, all love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?” -Buddha

    • These animals have no concept of time or self.

      Prove it.

    • Mark Williams says:

      Clearly, posted by an honors grad of Green Mountain College. Animals that have complex central nervous systems and that exhibit voluntary behavior recognize themselves, others, and the passage (and even proportion) of time. Do just a trifling a bit of homework, please?

    • Bea Elliott says:

      Mr. Richards – Bill and Lou aren’t slaughtered yet. So you’d have to say that you hope their future killing will be humane. But that’s impossible too… You can’t have a premeditated, scheduled, orchestrated, pragmatically planned “compassionate” killing. It obvious that this slaughter is avoidable – Therefore nothing about it is or can ever be “humane”.

      I assure you too that to Bill and Lou their lives are “useful” to them who own it. You would have been more accurate to say that their lives are no longer “profitable”. — And there’s a world of difference between the two. I sincerely hope you’ll never have to learn the difference in the value of (or lack of) your own worth by the cast of a ruthless judge.

      Finally, if you’re so certain that their deaths (or lives) make little difference to them – Why then is your blog riddled with references that as a farmer you “love” your pigs? If creatures can’t value their own lives… What makes you think they give a hoot about your “love” – Especially on days that you send them to market?

      I think you like to believe and promote a set of myths that makes your occupation tolerable… Good luck with that as there’s a passel of us gentle folks who’ll do everything in our power to prove otherwise.
      There is no such thing as humane meat. http://www.humanemyth.org/

    • christie says:

      How can slaughtering equal humane? That makes absolutely no sense. If you have ever spent any time with an animal, I’m sure you can see that they feel joy and they love life, just like you and I do. Your comment is very sad.

      How useful are you, Mr. Richards? I would never suggest that a person or animal be killed because they were no longer useful.

    • Jennifer says:

      See just a few examples of animal sentience –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT3Jc8bR8Iw
      http://youtu.be/GQvukhDinII
      It should make you wonder.

      I agree with Christie and Bea when they say that they hope that you never have someone else evaluate your usefulness to society as a determination of whether you live or die.

  20. christie says:

    James, I have no words tonight. I’ve just spent a good part of my day writing and calling and tweeting on behalf of Bill and Lou. Thank you for your continued coverage of this.

  21. Irene Muschel says:

    Does Green Mountain College require students to take courses on farm animals’ sentience, intelligence, and ability to relate and remember? There is such an enormous amount of data and ongoing research on this that it would be very troubling if students working with animals were not required to read and fully understand this material.
    What are the standards for accreditation for Green Mountain College?

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