Monday, April 30, 2007

Unwanted by-products

Photo from

Sorry for the slightly disturbing photo (but there are worse). My friend is an emo - which is ok for me. But sometimes it is very difficult for her to deal with mankind's cruelties. While being in Edinburgh there was a teaser for a documentary on BBC television that showed male calves shot dead and disposed of as 'unwanted by-products' for the dairy industry. This is her response to it, which I don't want to withhold from you:

dear friends:

those of you who know me are aware that i don't make a practice of sending political emails, forwards or anything of that ilk because they are annoying! i'm making an exception in this case because i have recently become aware of something so shocking that i can't understand how it has not come to my attention sooner. i have researched this and know it to be true.

dairy cows are forcibly impregnated once per year in order to keep their milk flowing. the calves (known officially as "unwanted by-products") are removed from them at birth or aborted. the females are either kept for future use as dairy cows or killed. the males are either sold to veal farms of killed. these people are shooting baby calves in the forehead by the hundreds of thousands every year in every country. can you picture a baby calf being shot in the head as it's looking into the eyes of thes shooter? can you imagine what the shooter tells him/herself in order to validate this? does this person then go home to his/her family and look his/her own children in the eyes?

as if it's not enough that the dairy association has been misleading us by telling us that milk provides an important source of calcium (it actually leaches calcium from human bones, causing high incidents of osteoporosis), but all along they are slaughtering babies. i feel like i've been completely duped. this industry purports to have as its sole concern the welfare and health of its consumers, while in reality they are lying, causing untold harm to our health, and torturing and murdering innocent creatures.

this happens on organic farms as well (except at a few "low-stress" farms). the situation on dairy farms is much, much worse than on meat-bearing cattle farms. PLEASE consider soy products instead. i won't be a wretch and include some of the pictures that i have seen. i'm sure you can conjure the image for yourselves. it's caused me much distress and sleeplessness in the past few days since it came to my attention (the bbc is airing a program about it and trailers including graphic images are being frequently shown on tv). i don't want to inflict that on any of you, but i wanted you to know.

miss b.

She is right in every point. If you don't believe it check this out:

or any other webpage dealing with this topic.

But before you all turn vegan now I want to warn you, because this is not as easygoing as being an ovo-lacto vegetarian. It has consequences healthwise (you have to learn much more about human nutrition than you ever wanted to, just to be sure you will stay healthy on the long run) and socially. It is relatively easy being a vegetarian. But living with carnivores around you becomes much more difficult when a vegan. Just think of going out for dinner with your friends. Vegan restaurants are rare and mixed ones even rarer. University life sometimes doesn't allow you to shop and cook healthy vegan food and eating on campus will become difficult. At any rate your friends will consider you as a freak. Being vegan is only for the strong-hearted and highly commited individuals among us animal lovers.

That wasn't meant to discourage you. If you are up to it definitely go for it, but be sure to know what you are doing. Read thoroughly through these webpages for example:

The British Vegan Society

The American Vegan Society

or the corresponding German Vegan site

"When a human kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God? It's unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give.
Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1986

A lot of Singer's Books deal with vegetarianism and are a worth a read. Check out where there is a list with his works. This is a good starter (buy it at - a little bit of product placement for my favourite bookshop:) )

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