Fake meat, animal rights and country living

A discussion somewhat came up on a list about new technology. Although a debate has two sides and involves questioning, the exchange of ideas is touchy at best.

The discussion was started by an anonymous animal rights supporter talking of freedom for the animals. An article of “8 Ways In-Vitro Meat will Change Our Lives” brings several points. It predicts an exodus of unemployed farm workers moving to the city to work producing petri-meat, a rousing success to ending raising animals for food. The end to disease spread animal to human. “Farmscrapers” with no soil means all is local. Indeed “urban multi-level greenhouses that utilize hydroponics and interior grow-lights to create bug-free, dirt-free, quick-growing super veggies and fruit (from dwarf trees), delicious side dishes with IVM.” All the no-longer-farms are then available for vacation homes – those areas people in the city go to because the city is too stressful. Hmm.

This leaves out many small farms and “homesteaders” of course. Most will not be using stem cells on the kitchen counter. A closer look at IVM brings some odd points. Celebrated by activists as the answer it’s developed by the corporations they despise.

From another report: “For cells to mature, they must soak in a nutrient-rich soup. The current soup—costly “fetal bovine serum,” or calf’s blood—may soon be replaced by an inexpensive, plant-based substitute that offers a major advantage: It avoids using any animal-based products, satisfying the ethical concerns of some vegetarians. As the cells mature, they must also be stimulated to move as they would be by bone growth and body movement in a living animal. This is done by giving electric jolts or by manually stretching the polymer scaffolding that anchors the cells. In the course of stimulation, the cells convert from what scientists describe as “meat-flavored Jell-O” to the striated, textured fibers we associate with steak.”

Many argue that movement means pain, even if disconnected from the brain. These cells, by that argument, must experience pain to move, something not done by a cow walking across the pasture. Additionally, there is not control over what cells are produced…a little hoof in the meat could be not as tasty as imagined.

Then there is the issues with using stem cells. It’s often opposed for medical reasons so why is it ok to eat it? Still other reports claim soy is the answer to the climate crisis. The balance there is soy is not a healthy option – it’s used for hormone control. The increase in soy could be factors in early puberty of children, blamed on dairy and cattle ranchers.

Many pushing for less processed food are said to support IVM…a highly processed food. Developed not in the pasture by farmers but a laboratory. Progress?

I’ll stick with the real stuff.

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Abuse on Farms

I became aware last night of a video shot by an animal rights group at a farm in Ohio. It has taken this long to simmer to stringing words together that made some type of sense rather than venting alone but may still appear as both.

The idea that it’s standard practice to abuse animals in agriculture is wrong. Does it happen? Sure it does. There are bad actors in any industry and ag is no exception. There are many who for a moment reprimand an animal harsher than intended or who in standard acceptable practice goes wrong and if captured on video perhaps could look much different. But sticking cattle with pitchforks in the milking parlor, hitting, slapping and throwing calves, beating cows with crowbars is absolutely unacceptable. Dairy cattle will not produce in an environment there is fear and cattle subjected to such practices will be fearful.

The mention on the video of a mastitis cow – perhaps a surge in them – can be an indication that should have been picked up by the owner. Slapping a cow to encourage to get up in some situations is needed – tieing her up and hitting her in the head with a crowbar is NOT.

The farming and dairy industry has condemned these actions easily found online. This is not a video that is easy to watch. I was livid at the images on the screen. But this wasn’t even at a full boil until I found out the “undercover” person continued filming and letting it go on for WEEKS – nearly a month! – so that they could put a ‘go vegan’ on the end and benefit HSUS in Ohio call for more regulation. The cameraman should also face charges and if involved so should the organizations funding it…standing by and letting such abuse continue in order to paint all dairy farmers as cruel shows these groups DO NOT care for animal welfare. If they did the video would not have been held onto for nearly a month.

Most people farm and have animals for the love of animals. Even animals raised for food. There is no excuse for the kind of behavior demonstrated in this situation. Presenting that as happening on farms everywhere is slanderous – it does NOT.

The people involved need to be punished. Whether directly or indirectly involved there is no excuse for letting it continue.