October 21, 2011

"Fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth"

by winecountrydog Tilin Corgi

Someone said 58 billion animals are killed in factory farms and slaughterhouses every year. Whether or not tis accurate number, following are real numbers from NASS for just one month of commercial U.S. "livestock" slaughter. And only for red meat, as the number of hogs slaughtered is not included ere:
"Commercial red meat production for the United States [in August 2011] totaled 4.30 billion pounds  ... Cattle slaughter totaled 3.10 million head ... Calf slaughter totaled 79,900 head. ... Sheep slaughter totaled 198,200 head. ..."
Did any of these millions of animal furriends live pleasant pastoral lives or die a peaceful death?

Here is extreme pawsitive contrast: the practices of farmer and Border Collie lover Elissa Thau, an artisanal meat producer in Umpqua Valley who raises and slaughters sheep humanely. You will see in this video howl carefully and lovingly tended are all the animals on her farm.

Wot a grrreat video. Ms Thau first introduces you to her beloved Border Collie working dogs. Then she talks about her philosophy of raising and respecting animals.

We must paw-point to some highlights of wot Elissa Thau has said:
"The [Border Collie] is bred as a working dog. ... They're an incredible working partner. It's a real privilege to work with a dog. ... And our dogs all live in the house. ... My mum used to say 'They'll never work if you spoil them like that' 'cause she was from an old farming family in England. ... In the UK ... it's really an art ... among the old shepherd and farmers.

"The dogs don't need to bite to move sheep. ... They move sheep with the power of their eye and their presence ... and the fact they have quiet power.

"... And the whole point of raising sheep the way that we raise them it is to raise them quietly and humanely. . . .

"It's a hard thing to kill a lamb or a cow. ... We actually take ours down to the butcher, and then they're killed there quickly and humanely. . . .

"It's a very serious thing to kill an animal. ... People should take it very seriously. They shouldn't be expecting to eat meat seven days a week, two times a day. ... It just becomes agribusiness, greed, and suffering. . . .

"Who wants to eat an animal that's been standing in a feedlot ... through the winter with no shelter . . .? . . . I don't eat any meat that I don't know where it's come from. . . .

"Have you ever read Henry Beston? He wrote [The Outermost House] ... 'Animals are not brethren, they're not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves in this net of life and time, [fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.]' And hopefully we treat them that way too."
High paw for Elissa Thau! A gentle, wise, and caring human.

Paw-notes: Thanx woofs to Daniel Klein of The Perennial Plate -- "online weekly documentary series dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating" -- for sharing this inspirational interview.

Magnolia Farm is a small family farm in the rolling hills near Riddle, Oregon, in the Umpqua Valley (also known as a wine region), where Elissa Thau, her husband, Mel Thau, and their family of Border Collies have been raising sheep for a couple of decades.

Ms Thau also does Border Collie herding trials. If you are thinking bout getting a BC dog, we doo recommend that you consider the decision carefully and talk to an expert like Ms Thau. Pawleeze note that there are many BCs and other herding dogs in rescue. Humans doo surrender us cuz they find us hard to handle. (Ask furbro Jackie Nippers to tell you bout his own experience.)

Ere is website where you can read bout naturalist and author Henry Beston.

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