Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Your deficit and mine

For some time, the U.S. has had a federal deficit over $1 trillion dollars. But have you ever stopped to think what that really looks?

I sure hadn't.

A trillion dollars is written as $1,000,000,000,000.  That's a lot of zeros huh? The Outstanding Public Debt as of this morning is: $13,839,908,891,247.82.

Are you nervous yet? Angry?

At the Kansas Livestock Association annual convention last week, it was put in perspective for me. If you went on a $1000 shopping spree every day for the next 2.74 million years you would spend a trillion dollars.

When I posted this, your share was over $44,500. It's more now.  The debt per tax payer is over $125,000.
Click here to see it in real time: but be warned, it could cause a headache. (A really big headache.)

So multiply those 2.74 million years a few times--whatever's appropriate for how ever many trillions of dollars we owe on the day you're reading this.

I know a lot of people who have turned off the evening news because they've reached their limit and don't want to hear any more about the economy or the state of affairs in this country.  But it's time for all of us to plug back in and demand that the federal budget be balanced.

Services we enjoy are going to go away, but it's time to pay the piper.  We're going to be paying him for a very long time--even longer if we don't start the payback soon.

There are a lot of sacred cows in the budget.  What's the first one you would butcher to bring spending back in line?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hunting

You know it is deer season when:

Camouflage vehicles come out of the woodwork

The local radio station plays the Thirty Point Buck song over and over again. 

The neighbor who you hear from only once a year calls to say they’re going to hunt in that same spot again—permission is presumed just because you gave it last year

You see trucks parked in lots of out of the way places, but no teenagers are making out inside

Blaze orange is the must have color

You don't see the "King of the Forrest" where he's been every morning for the past 2 months.

Good hunting, and let’s be careful out there. I would love to know what other signs of the season you've seen this week.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Food production class ruffles feathers

Did you hear the one about the girl who had a chicken?

No it's not a yoke.

Whitney Hillman a high school student from Concordia, Kan. kidnapped her chicken, Chicklet, to save it from being slaughtered as part of an animal science and food production class.
The teen who says she loves animals and wants to study zoology enrolled in an animal science and food production class.  Because I grew up on a farm, I realize that some animals are destined to enter the food chain, but apparently she did not.

When she found out that she would have to raise the chicken and then slaughter it, her feathers were ruffled.  With the help of her parents, she and Chicklet flew the coop.  Chicklet has apparently gone into the food animal protection program and Hillmen landed 2 days of in-school suspension. 

I have some mixed emotions about this story.  I don't know why Hillman couldn't opt out of the class or simply talk to the instructor about her feelings about not killing the chicken which she says became her pet. 

But 98% of America is disconnected from where their food comes from, so I'm all for a class that educates those who do want to learn the process from egg to chicken fried dinner. 

What is the happy medium? 

Photo from KC Star, Tom Dorsey

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not in my back yard

What would you do if you live in a community with a cement plant and you are worried about contamination from hazardous waste being disposed of in that plant? What would you do if you were worried that there are toxins that could be harming your kids.

Would you conduct some research?

Call some experts on soil, water and air quality?
Check out reports compiled by that company, universities, or government agencies—including many independent reports?

Would you tour the plant and ask about what’s going on there and what controls they have in place to make sure your kids are well?

Would you make sure you knew the difference between hazardous and toxic waste?

Or would you call an attorney?

Calling an attorney to investigate is just what some residents of Chanute, Kan. did recently when they had concerns about Ash Grove Cement Company’s facility there. The community meeting with that attorney, Michael Hodges was held Tuesday night and it drew quite a crowd.

Hundreds of people were there to support the facility’s safety record and attention to complying with state and federal regulations. It’s a plant that incinerates hazardous waste not toxic waste, but at least one of the people who contacted the attorney didn’t know the difference.  Of the people who showed up for the meeting only a handful--I counted about a dozen--expressed concern.

The concerned citizens didn’t seem to know what really goes on at the plant.  It also appeared that they didn't know any studies existed that would show that health problems are no more prevalent in the community than elsewhere in the region.
Besides calling Mr. Hodges, my sources tell me that they were calling area media outlets saying that Erin Brockovich was going to be at the meeting. (If you were there and saw a lady with a shirt on that showed some cleavage, it was me, not her. But I would be happy to send you a signed photo. Just send $5 and a SASE.)

What was the motive in getting this group together?

Maybe they really are concerned about health issues? But if that’s the case, start with your doctor not the attorney. Do some reading. Lots of information is available online.

It didn’t seem difficult to me to determine the attorney’s motivation. He talked at length about how he is in business to make money. And at the end of the meeting his words were telling. He talked about how they weren’t going to accomplish anything tonight including a settlement with Ash Grove. Watch the video and tell me what his motivation is.

He also said that he hadn’t read any reports prior to the meeting. HMMMMM? Why would you make a 2 hour drive to investigate a case you might potentially take on without doing any research before making that trip? HMMMMM?

There is a meeting tonight (Oct. 27th) with the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment where residents with health concerns can ask questions. If you live in the area and have concerns, I encourage you to go.

Want to read more:
Want to tell the attorney how you feel about this? He said he welcomed emails at this event.

A meeting like this seems indicative of the society we’re living in. We’re sue happy. We want to make a quick buck. We think corporations are evil.

I don’t like any of those things. I especially don’t like them in my own back yard.

Do you?

Monday, October 18, 2010

HOG WASH!!! HSUS at it again

I love pigs!!!  Always have, always will.
(And you guys though I loved only cattle.) 
But this is one pig collectible that I won't be buying.
The Humane Society of the United States just emailed info on their holiday fundraising products.  And the ornament is being showcased this year.  The website says it takes 77 hands to create this work of art that retails for $19.95. 
If their track record stays true to form, that means that only about one cent of that which is raised from ornament sales will go to actually helping animals. Only about 1/2 of 1% of what they raise goes to animal care. Here's the analysis
Aren't they exploiting farm animals to make a buck? Isn't that what they say farmers shouldn't do? 

Do you think it's wrong for them to do this?
Photo: from the HSUS website.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Now, health insurance reform for pets?

Had your fill of health insurance reform yet?

Apparently the residents of California haven’t.

There is a bill making its way through that state’s assembly that would reform pet health insurance.

Who knew that pet health insurance is as messed up as the human health insurance system is?

I don’t know of any friends who have pet health insurance, but apparently some of the people in California who have paid for that coverage aren’t happy.

But let’s back up a minute.

Between 2000 and 2005, veterinary costs increased 70 percent according to the bill’s analysis. During 2009, Americans spent $12 billion on pet care.

Consumers are turning to pet insurance to mitigate rising costs. The Humane Society of the United States—which has spent $27,000 lobbying for passage of the bill—says there are 170 million dogs and cats kept as pets nationwide. Only about 1 percent of those pets are covered by health insurance.

This may seem absurd to you and me, but the bill looks like it's headed for a vote.

 Is health insurance is a right for humans? Should it be a right for pets?

I don't think so, but what do you think?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A new cash crop that’s good for the environment too!

If you aren’t confused enough by the food pyramid, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) wants you to eat more of a new food source.


Trade in your burgers and fries for beetles and fries. Forget nachos. Instead you could be eating grasshoppers and salsa. How about a meal of mealworms? Or some slug soup with caterpillars for a garnish. Yummy!

Yes the FAO is saying that we should switch from eating meat to eating bugs to better use our natural resources. There is a policy paper drafted by a Belgian entomologist that is under consideration.

Less land for livestock means more room for crops and somehow that means fewer greenhouse gasses. Apparently insects are more “metabolically efficient” which makes them cheaper to raise. And because they are more genetically different from us, insects aren’t subject to contagious disease transmission like livestock are. No Mad Moth syndrome would lurk in the future.

They’re high in protein and calcium. They’re low in fat and--I assume--high in fiber. Plus just think of the variety. You could go almost 3 years and never eat the same bug twice. Makes you wonder why we haven’t been eating the crunchy critters all along.

If you’ve ever watched the Food Network, you know there are places in the world where entomophagy—bug eating—is done. You can even learn about incorporating bugs in your diet. That site is based on an essay dating back to 1885.

In fact, bug farming is already common in other parts of the world. The UN has started a locust farming pilot in Laos. Some 15,000 household farmers reportedly raise locusts in Thailand. Instead of counting cows, your banker could be counting ants?

It could happen if the UN has its way.

But don’t sell your combine yet.

We wouldn’t be forced to trade calf fries for sawflies any time soon. The proposal suggests raising insects to feed livestock and them phasing it into the human diet more directly later. Eventually they’ll grind the bugs up and press them into patties to trick us into eat them.

Not to mention the economy will have to get a lot worse before most of us would ever consider eating bugs. But if it eventually comes to pass, I wonder how the animal rights activists will try to restrict confined insect feeding operations?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Farming: How hard can it be?

A friend of mine took a drive in the country last weekend with her husband.  When they reached the country, he had an epiphany. 

This lifelong city dweller-whose dayjob is as an actuary--is thinking about taking up farming.  How hard could it really be? This is a guy who has never changed his own oil and mows his own yard under protest. 

And I'm not talking hobby farming or just a big backyard garden.  I'm talking wheat fields, corn fields and a herd of cattle farming. 

His rationale?

How much stress could farmers have? Cows don’t talk back. How hard could it be to grow a row crop? It’s just like growing tomatoes in the back yard. Caring for pets is just like taking care of livestock isn’t it?

You just need a tractor, get some land and go to work. Isn’t it that simple?

Like many who are removed from farm like, he doesn't realize that growing anything is part art, science and miracle. And farming requires a lot of time, talent and tenacity.

I thought we should work up a list of easy farm chores to help him rethink leaving corporate America.

Some easy farm chores:
  • Hauling hay in 100+ degree heat.
  • Helping deliver a calf in the middle of winter, in the middle of the night
  • Unloading a ton of feed sacks
  • Planting all night when your trying to beat the rain
  • Looking a a field that's been flooded or shredded by hail

I'm sure lots of things are missing from the list.  What's your favorite easy farm chore?


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Misleading Kids to Lobby Against Factory Farming

Are your kids or their teachers being suckered in?

They may be unwittingly aiding the anti-meat cause.

The HSUS puts a monthly newsletter KIND News during the school year. This turns up in classrooms all across the country under the guise of promoting kindness to animals. Who’s against that?

You might be after you check out their online edition.

April’s edition for third- and fourth-grade students includes an article trashing animal agriculture, in which HSUS tells its young readers to write to their Congressman, the USDA, and the EPA.

From the online edition:
Decisions affecting animals are made all the time by our elected officials. Senators and representatives consider laws that protect pets, wildlife, farm animals, and animals used in research. The job of these officials is to be a voice for the people they represent.

To get your lawmakers to vote in favor of animals, you must tell them what you think. Below are some important issues on which you can take action. For more tips on contacting your lawmakers, check out our Speak Up for Animals guide.

There’s a special placefor teachers to get lesson plans including some about the need to protect prairie dogs.

And there are monthly activity calendars posted. Many things on there seem harmless enough. But it’s a place where they can take shots at livestock production as well.

And then there are a whole lot of activities revolving around farm animals. In one section it encourages kids to take a stand and be a “brave soldier” in changing people’s minds about eating animals. It doesn’t exactly say that, but I’m sure the conclusion some kids are coming to. Check out the farm facts they’re using to obtain emotional reactions from kids.

Keep an eye out for materials that come home from school. A well meaning teacher could be inadvertently be putting out an anti-meat message by using these materials.

Everyone should be kind to animals. But these messages go a little too far.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why aren't all the farmers sick?

I suffered through Food, Inc again yesterday.  (Thank you PBS for adding credence to their lies and exaggerations.)

People who don’t know any better watch that show and think everything they put in their mouths is going to make them sick. That’s what the makers want them to believe as they push their eat local, eat natural, anything from a big farm is bad agenda.

I would challenge them to go back to the source of our food—us. People like you and me who grow our nation’s food supply. If our food supply is so dangerous, you and I are living at ground zero.

So why aren’t all of the farmers and ranchers sick?

The scare tactics used by activists like the Food Inc producers use tactics like:
• Pesticides and herbicides are ruining our health
• Adding hormones causes man boobs
• Meat eaters will all get colon cancer
• We breed e coli on our farms and ranches

Of course, I know that you can do harm to yourself and others if you don’t use ag chemicals correctly. I will never forget the day when I was five years old and accidentally breathed in a bunch of ammonia at my grandpa’s fertilizer plant. It made me very sick. I realize there are a lot of people with serious health issues because of misuse of chemicals.

But if they are that toxic and residues are, as the activists say, so prominent in our food supply, why aren’t we all sick? I don’t know any farmers with a 3rd eye or who have become radioactive after being in the field. Not scientific-I know. And I’m not trying to make light of the danger, but if chemicals were so bad we would all be sick.

Now regarding the meat issues.

Farmers and Rancher eat more meat than the average city person. We all have a freezer full of it that came right off our place. We’ve never had a vegetarian meal at my house.

I haven’t seen too many farm boys looking like farm girls. I have a lot more city friends who are fighting cancer than farm friends who are. And most of the farmers I know seem to have fine reproductive health.

Can you get heart disease? Sure. Everything is best in moderation, but they’ve missed the memo that the research doesn’t support their assertion.

They don’t want to learn about e coli being everywhere in the environment.

They show the pictures of cattle standing in mud and talk about what a breeding ground it is for the pathogen. And they show mud and manure on the animal too. Like we’re licking that in every bite of ground beef.

The only time I’ve seen cattle standing in mud like they show was after a 10 inch rain. And you know what? We were standing in it too. Mud happens.

They say confined feeding and the way we feed corn makes it worse. They never talk about how to cook or wash food to reduce the risk. The farmer carries 100% of the blame for ecoli. And they never talk about strides made to detect and control it.

If it’s as easy to get sick from e coli as they say it is. Everyone with cattle should be in the hospital.

But again, you and I are around the stuff all the time. We probably have immunity from breathing tiny amounts of e coli in when walking through the barn.

So I’m sure nobody would study instances of e coli in farmers vs. the general population. It wouldn’t be scientific since we have something going for us that they don’t.

But there’s nothing scientific about the scare tactics they use anyway.

So farmers and ranchers defy the activists and stay healthy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dancing with the Stars: A vote for Pam is a vote for PETA.

Agvocates, it’s time to send Pam home from Dancing with the Stars

Voting can take place by phone for a half hour after the show-so HURRY. Voting online is open until 11am Eastern/8am Pacific Tuesdays. Here’s the link to vote online or call these numbers to vote for anyone other than Pam. You get 10 votes per show.

Aiden Turner & Edyta Sliwinska
800-86834-09 or 800-VOTE4-09

Chad Ochocinco & Cheryl Burke
800-86834-01 or 800-VOTE4-01

Erin Andrews & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
800-86834-03 or 800-VOTE4-03

Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya
800-86834-06 or 800-VOTE4-06

Jake Pavelka & Chelsie Hightower
800-86834-04 or 800-VOTE4-04

Kate Gosselin & Tony Dovolani
800-86834-10 or 800-VOTE4-10

Nicole Scherzinger & Derek Hough
800-86834-08 800-VOTE4-08

Niecy Nash & Louis Van Amstel
800-86834-05 or 800-VOTE4-05

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I agree with the HSUS. Hell is freezing over as we speak.

There is a first time for everything.

Regular readers will be shocked, but I have finally found some common ground with the Humane Society of the United States of America. 

They want support for a new rule that will allow fewer snakes to be traded for pets.  I generally am against anything that impedes anyone's ability to conduct business, but I'm against snakes even more.

From the HSUS website.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed important new rules to list as "injurious" nine species of large constrictor snakes—including Burmese pythons, reticulated pythons, boa constrictors, and anacondas.

This will stop importation and interstate movement of the animals as pets. These snakes are dangerous to people and they can wreak havoc on our ecosystems. Add to this the suffering of these animals in the pet trade, and it is clear that action is needed now.

Now I'm not rushing out to donate to them, or send a thank you to the Fish and Wildlife Service, but I will admit I think this is a good idea.

Is it cold where you live?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This 4-Her has a thing or two to share with PETA

One of the great things about having a blog is meeting other people in the ag community. I met Dee Dee through Twitter and wish that all of my young friends would document their 4-H and FFA experience like she is. Here are her thoughts on how PETA targets young people in ag programs.

I’m a sixteen year old 4Her. When I first joined 4H I never planned on doing anything agricultural related.

Then I tried out some show chickens during that same year my 4-H leader at the time had a farm and was breeding sheep.

So I said let’s see what this is like. She had a very beautiful ram and ewe that she was going too breed and I would get the offspring. Well that offspring happened to be a beautiful Leicester Longwool named Savannah Mae.

That’s where my 4-H adventures began. I have sheep, chickens and soon to have beef cattle and dairy goats.

I get really tired of all the Animal Rights groups targeting 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) because we have farm animals. Many of those activists believe incorrectly that if you have farm animals that you are abusive.

The other problem is that animal rights groups think that 4-H and FFA are teaching innocent children how to kill animals. What they don’t realize is that many of these 4Hers and FFA members already own animals before they ever joined 4H of FFA. We don’t “murder” animals. We take care of them to their very last breath and then they are taken to the abattoir to be humanely killed to feed the world.

The whole world can’t live off of fruit, vegetables, and tofu etc.

People like my sister who have uncontrollable seizures and can only have 10-15carbs a day. This means she consumes a lot of meat and dairy products. These products are a must have or her health suffers dramatically.

PETA says on their website that “Programs offered by 4-H and Future Farmers of America encourage kids to lovingly raise and care for baby pigs, cows, and other animals and then sell them at auction to be killed and turned into hot dogs, hamburgers, and other meat. Worse yet, some of these animals are subjected to cruel treatment before they go to slaughter.”

My point in being a guest blogger is to open up to the world to support humane farmers and stop targeting 4H and FFA members at fairs etc.

Dee Dee
Check out Dee Dee’s blog chronicling her 4-H adventures.

I look forward to sharing more of Dee Dee's stories in the future.  And I hope that her post inspires my young readers to start a blog--or simply guest blog on mine.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Government Weatherization Program is a Snow Job

The stimulus program also known as the American Recovery Act has a provision for winterizing houses, but so far the program hasn't been too productive.

The Energy Department which runs the program told ABC News that so far it has spent $522-million dollars on the program to winterize 9,100 homes. Do the math and it works out to $57,362 for each home fixed up so far. Are they insulating with stacks of dollar bills?

This program is part of the $5 billion worth of Obama administration stimulus money that was going to rapidly create nearly 90,000 jobs--green jobs--throughout the country. It was meant to kill two birds with one stone, get people to work in a rocky economy and make thousands of homes more energy efficient.

With the winter the nation has faced, winterization last fall would have been a good thing. The program has only spent about 1/10 of the funds allocated back when it was passed. They've had to figure out prevailing wage for winterizing projects. And they've gotten bogged down in a bunch of government created hurdles.

So I'm proposing we eliminate the weatherization red-tape in favor of duck tape.  I'm creating the "Red Neck Winterization Kit".

Send me a check for $499.99 and I'll send you a kit to winterize your home. Using bales of straw, sheets of plastic, and a few roles of Duct Tape, you can make your home or trailer snug as a bug just in time for spring.

We can do it for a fraction of the cost of those taxpayer funded programs. Maybe I'll even apply to get certified as a government approved vendor. But that would mean I would have to raise my price, so you better order now.

(Shipping is included.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Have you looked at the list of HSUS supporters lately?

Probably not.  I don't think I ever have looked at the list of corporations who support the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). 

But there are companies you do business with on this list and you may want to rethink that. 

Pilot Travel Centers is the most recent to come under attack from the ag industry.  I'm sure a lot of truckers hauling grain and livestock stop there to fill up, but I hope they don't any more.

Here's a link to a longer list of companies supporting the HSUS, but here are some of the companies you know:
  • Bank of America
  • BB&T
  • Microsoft
  • Harland Clark-probably prints your checks
  • Land Rover North America
  • Oreck Vacuums
  • Petco
  • Petsmart
  • Xerox
This week agvocates are concentrating on letting Pilot Travel Centers know that we don't approve of their donation.  My main page has a number of links and ideas that you can use to tell Pilot how you feel.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear [yellowtail], your letter was nice, but...

Our friends at [yellow tail] have figured out they made a mistake, and I believe they are trying.  But I'm a little underwhelmed.

It's easy to send a letter saying we messed up.  It's a nice letter. 

They could have advised Tiger on his apology and it might have went better for him.  But after such a firestorm from the ag community, couldn't they--shouldn't they--make a similar donation to a pro-ag group? 

If you haven't seen it here's a letter they sent explaining their donation.

Dear Kay Johnson Smith, Animal Agriculture Alliance:

I am writing to thank you for your feedback regarding our [tails] for tails program.

The spirit and intention of our donation to the Humane Society of the United States was for the celebration of animals. Being farmers ourselves we support those who care for their land and their environment, just as we do. We are proud of our rural heritage and value a solid relationship with agricultural communities around the world.

[yellow tail] is committed to the plight of animals in need, and we know that animal welfare groups work in different ways to advance their cause. We are interested in the welfare of animals, and in financially supporting animal welfare causes that provide direct care services to help animals, not on taking positions on any animal lobbying issues. We pledge to you that any future support for animal welfare will go to organizations specifically devoted to hands-on care, such as rescue, sterilization, feeding, or disaster assistance.

Like the wines we produce, we are friendly Australians who enjoy bringing people together, and look forward to doing so through our annual spring and summer promotional campaign "[tails] around the barbecue" and our "holiday enter[tail]ing" campaign. We very much value your opinion and wish to thank-you for your honesty.

[yellow tail] customer Service Team

It's a nice letter, but anyone can say they're sorry. Actions speak louder than words. And offering up your annual BBQ promotion doesn't make me feel like the company is exerting an effort.  So I'm still going to avoid drinking their wine

So what do you think? Am I being overly critical? Or being too harsh in what I would like to see them do to make amends?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Going green and becoming a vegan could soon be mandatory in Cambridge, Mass.

The city’s Climate Congress is sorting through recommendations that will be submitted to the City Council to reduce green house gas emissions in the city which is home to Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Some of the proposals put forth by their Climate Congress include:
• Elimination curb side parking and “congestion pricing” to reduce car travel
• Some sort of a carbon tax
• Taxes on plastic and paper bags.
• Ban production and distribution of bottled water
• And coercive taxes to promote vegetarianism and veganism, complete with "Meatless or Vegan Mondays."

How enacting these restrictions, punitive taxes and tactics in one city will solve a “global crisis” is beyond me.

The bright minds who live there have decided that what they could do is a drop in the bucket. But they are determined to lead by example since the rest of the world isn’t doing its share.

There is also a proposal to institute a tax or tariff on the purchase of non-regional food. Maybe that means they’ll be taxing tofu and soy milk.

This time of year, I wonder how much food is actually raised in that region.

The population of the Boston Metropolitan area is approximately 4.4 million people. Farm Bureau says the average farm feeds 155 people, meaning that it would take 28,387 farmers to feed that city. There are just over 6,000 farms in all of Massachusetts.

How productive are those farms? Seventy-six percent sell less than $25,000 worth of goods each year. Nearly half of all farms (43%) sell less than $2,500 worth of products each year.

I’m sure those scientists have higher IQs and much more book learning than I do, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they have some fancy equation and technology that can get their regional farms to produce what they need to feed the region.

My math says the Boston area including Cambridge goes hungry if they have to rely on the local farms to feed them. I think even a fifth grader can come up with that conclusion.

There is a proposal to invest in local greenhouses to grow their vegetarian/vegan food supply, but the scientists are arguing now about whether it’s better for the environment to go that route or continue to ship food in from other locations.

The scientists are also arguing about whether they can get the public to comply and how much any of the taxes could hurt development and commerce in the community.

Now I don’t pretend to be smarter than the guys at MIT and Harvard, but I assure you eliminating parking spots and taxing people for driving will hurt business.

What happens next? The Commission will meet the first week of March to determine what to recommend to the City Council. After that who knows, but I am afraid their so-called book sense will trounce common sense.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Never Dreamed that Vegans would hate PETA and the HSUS too.

Dear readers: I was shocked to learn recently that vegans and vegetarians may hate the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) more than most farmers and ranchers do. Obviously we dislike those groups for entirely different reasons. But I wanted to learn more because I always assumed that a vegan was a card carrying member of both organizations. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It may seem odd for me to give my blog over to an animal activist to talk about her goals for the animal rights movement. I believe it is important for us to learn more about their way of thinking just as we would like them to understand where we're coming from. And I wanted to learn more about the issues they have with these groups.

I know many of you won't agree with my guest author Khaetlyn, but I ask any comments you leave to be respectful. I would like to get more insight from vegetarians and vegans. There are things we can learn from each other. Please keep reading--Jody

I despise People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States. Those loud and obnoxious animal people with their silly antics, who are only trying to get publicity and donations for their organizations, make me feel ill to the point of nausea. No, I am not a rancher or a farmer. I am not a vivisectionist. I am not a zoo keeper. I am a vegan, and I support animal rights.

I would not cage Jade the cat and force her to have babies her whole life, and when she is too worn out from the constant cycle of breeding, slaughter her and eat her flesh. I would not force Diesel the dog into submission to perform unnatural tricks for the sake of people's amusement, nor would I kill him to wear his fur and skin. If I would not inflict unnecessary suffering, such as the aforementioned acts, upon the cat or dog with whom I share my home, why would I do these same things to other animals? This "moral schizophrenia" as animal rights philosopher and author Gary L. Francione (photo above right) calls it, is unjustifiable as there is no morally significant difference between a cat, dog, cow, or chicken. Indeed, if we were to do to cats and dogs the things we do to animals raised on farms or in labs, it would be a felony offense. 

But what if we made it better? What if we improved their conditions? Would it not it be better if Diesel had a bigger cage? Would Jade not feel better if her throat was slit more quickly and efficiently? No. Humane slaughter is still slaughter. Kind confinement is still confinement. Their exploitation should be abolished, not merely regulated, according to Francione.

So what about their "rights?" When the term "animal rights" is used it really only means one right, or the right not to be the property of someone else. Francione states that as long as animals are considered property, the interests of the property owner will always outweigh the interests of the piece of property, so we cannot really take animal interests into consideration until their property status is abolished. Animals are sentient creatures; animals feel pain, pleasure, and a wide range of emotions. They have an interest in continuing life free from pain and the tyranny of human dominance and corporate greed. They are someones, with individual personalities and family bonds, but as long as they are still pieces of property, they are nothing more than production units and are reduced to mere commodities.

How do I convince people that animals have rights? How do I convince them that going vegan is the first thing someone must do to be consistent with the principles of animal rights theory, as stated by Francione? Well, I do not throw paint on them, for one, and contrary to popular belief, abolitionist vegans and animal rights activists do not want to pass legislation concerning the legal status of animals or how they are treated. I do not bomb the buildings of farmers or lab technicians, nor do I threaten to harm the employees who work there. I agree with Gary L. Francione when he states that non-violent and creative vegan education is the best and most effective way of showing people the importance of abolitionist animal rights theory and understanding how to practice it in every day life.

I do not see non-vegans as my "enemies" but rather as potential dinner guests with whom I will share my mashed potatoes, vegetable stew, and lemon-vanilla cupcakes. They need not worry about getting their windows smashed with a crowbar or their coat ruined by red paint at my house; leaflets, patience, compassion, and a well-stocked kitchen are my weapons of choice.

About the author:
Khaetlyn Grindell is a 16 year old abolitionist vegan and animal rights activist living in South Carolina. She is a staff member of the Eagles View Newspaper and Quill & Scroll literary magazine at Greenwood High School. When she isn't writing and spending time on human and animal rights or political affairs, she enjoys drawing, painting and reading non-fiction publications.

To read more of Francione’s thoughts go to his website.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach

Guys may wait until the last minute to figure out what to buy for Valentine's day, but this girl has waited until the last minute to figure out what to fix for Valentine's day. 

We're going out with both sets of parents and my grandma tonight.  But that's not a very romantic celebration so I'm trying to figure out what to fix at home on Sunday night. 

The options for dining out in a small town are limited.  And while I like our little restaurants, none of them have the right mood for V-Day. So I'll be cooking at home tomorrow

Here are some great ones I've found . I think any one of them will be a hit with Daryl.  Hope they help you if you're in the same fix that I'm in. 

Steak Diane
Ribeye Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter and Mushrooms
Flat Iron Steak with Herb Butter
Pomegranate Steak with Quinoa
Grilled T-Bone for 2

Side dishes are pretty easy, cheesy scalloped potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, and I'm making chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert. 

If you haven't made them before they are so easy.  I dip my strawberries in melted Hershey's Hugs.  Pop 'em in the fridge for 10 minutes and you've got a great treat that seems way more fancy and difficult than it really is.
Please add your own links to favorite beef recipes that are a great treat for Valentine's Day or any other time you need to get to your man's heart through his stomach.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We're not on drugs

Katie Couric's reports on CBS this week have given people some inaccurate ideas about the use of antibiotics on farms and ranches. 

If you aren't familiar with raising livestock, and watched her reports you may think that farmers and ranchers are feeding their animals antibiotics as part of every meal and injecting them with antibiotics every day.  That's not the case on our ranch. 

Currently none of our animals are on antibiotics.  We can't remember the last time we had to administer antibiotics for an illness.  We think it may have been a year and a half ago.  We do use antibiotics they are prescribed by our veterinarian.

Antibiotics are expensive. They are not something we gleefully give or over-use in our operation.  We're a small operation, but it's true that even large operations use them judiciously. 
We do vaccinate our calves on our place. These vaccinations are given when the calves are small, just like you immunize your children against a variety of diseases. Our calves are vaccinated for:
  • Blackleg which causes swelling in the legs, neck, and back and results in death.
  • Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheits is also called Red-nose. It is an acute contagious viral disease and is the main cause of Shipping Fever. This results in runny nose, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
  • Bovine Virus Diarrhea is an infection causing numerous problems such as damage to the digestive and immune systems, pneumonia, the inability to move and diarrhea.
The cows and bulls are vaccinated once a year for:
  • Lepto which results in abortions.
  • Vibrio which is an infectious bacteria resulting in infertility. It is considered an venereal disease.
All cattle are given a wormer--just like your pets need--for control of parasites in the liver and the stomachs which will cause weight loss and disrupt proper digestion.

Without vaccines and antibiotics we can't ensure the health of our herd or those of our neighbors.  The CBS report kept talking about antibiotics being used to make animals grow faster, but the language they used was a little misleading.  Antibiotics don't promote growth.  Sick animals don't grow.  They must be well to grow. 

Consumers should be assured that numerous precautions are in place to keep drugs from entering the food supply. Farmers and ranchers are aware of the time it takes for an antibiotic to leave an animals system.  And all drugs have gone through rigorous testing before they are allowed for use in food animals. 

We know of farms that use antibiotics therapeutically. We don't want to speak for larger operations, but have seen a variety of research that shows that the use of antibiotics in those operations reduces illness and prevents death.  So we believe it to be a sound process for insuring animal well-being.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Antibiotics have a place in meat production

"In order to reduce animal pain and suffering, to protect the economic livelihood of beef and dairy producers, to ensure the continued production of foods of animal origin, and to minimize the shedding of zoonotic bacteria into the environment and potentially the food chain, prudent use of antimicrobials is encouraged."—from the American Veterinary Medical Association. (AVMA)

When did antibiotics get such a bad wrap?  You and I take them--some of us beg the doctor to give them to us when we get sick, so why do consumers have such a misunderstanding of how they're used? 

It's because farmers and ranchers haven't talked about how necessary they are to a safe food supply, not to mention how they ensure animal welfare. 

Here are some great links with a wealth of information about the safety and necessity of antibiotics.  Please share them with consumers or use them to craft a response the next time you see a media report that doesn't share all the facts. 

National Milk Producers Federation
A growing body of evidence shows … the responsible, professional use of (antibiotics) reduces pathogens in and on foods, enhancing animal welfare while not contributing to resistance.

Animal Health Institute
For more than 40 years, antibiotics approved by the Food and Drug Administration have been used to treat sick animals, prevent illness and maintain the health of animals. Livestock and poultry producers rely on these products so they can provide U.S. consumers with the safest food possible. Several layers of protection have been put in place to ensure antibiotics are used to keep animals healthy without harm to public health.

National Pork Producers Assn.
Current and future availability of safe and effective animal health products are important to pork producers, who depend on these products to maintain healthy and productive animals and to help producers protect public health and animal well-being.

The Beef Board
Like humans or pets, when calves or cattle become sick with a bacterial infection they are given therapeutic doses of antimicrobials. Medicated feed containing small amounts of antimicrobials also sometimes is used to prevent diseases such as bacterial scours, liver abscesses and shipping fever. The practice keeps animals healthy.

This link contains the AVMA’s general guidelines for the prudent therapeutic use of antimicrobials in beef and dairy cattle.

The Animal Ag Alliance has a number of helpful resources on animal health too.
Illinois Farm Bureau has a helpful site too.

Tomorrow Katie discusses what happened in Denmark when they outlawed antibiotics.  Wonder if she'll highlight these points:
•Danish Government reports show an increase in a variety of human, antibiotic-resistance illness, including a 10-fold increase in MRSA since the ban was put in place.

•A U.S. congressional fact-finding mission to Denmark last September found no scientific evidence that reducing antibiotic use in agriculture resulted in public health benefits in that country.
•Denmark recently experienced one of the worst salmonella outbreaks in Danish history

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Some do’s and don’ts for valentine gift giving

When it comes to picking the perfect gift for your sweetie, Valentine's Day is always tough for guys and girls.  But thanks to the animal rights activists we have a handy lists of dos and don’ts this year to help guide your purchases. 

If you buy anything supporting these companies and individuals, you are supporting an anti-agriculture agenda and working to put farmers out of business. 

Hopefully you haven’t been living under a rock and know by now that you shouldn’t buy [yellow tail] wine for your valentine. They’ve pledged $100,000 to the HSUS and don’t care that farmers and ranchers don’t like it.

Times are tough and instead of a romantic candle light dinner maybe you were planning on sharing a Sonic Brown Bag Special with your sweetie. Don’t do it. Sonic recently caved to the HSUS and will be serving cage free eggs and using pork products that come from farms that don’t use gestation crates.

Sorry, but no Beatles albums for your honey. Sir Paul is promoting Meatless Monday. So that knocks out his solo stuff too.

A few more things you shouldn’t bring home to your valentine:
  • No Carrie Underwood--she also gave $100,000 to the HSUS
  • No Willie Nelson--he has spoken out in support of feral horses
  • No movies with Alec Baldwin--he narrates some of the HSUS videos
  • No Dave Matthews Band--Dave is against corporate hog farming
  • No Victoria Principal Cosmetics
  • No Brittney Spears Cds--as if you would buy those anyway
There are a ton of individuals and corporations under attack by animal activist groups. I encourage you to show some solidarity for others under attack.

Buy a season of 24: Keifer Sutherland is under attack for owning the cattle he got scammed out of

If you need some tunes, consider Kelis the R&B singer who told PETA off last month. Even if you don’t like here music, she’s a celebrity worthy of supporting.  Maybe the Zac Brown Band in more your style.  They got a bucket of tofu from PETA as a protest against their chicken fried song.  So eat some fried chicken too.

Do skip the nice dinner in favor of supporting some of the food corporations under attack
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • IHOP
  • Steak and Shake
  • Jack in the Box
  • Kroger
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken
  • McDonald’s
  • Petsmart
  • Brookstone
  • Lowes
Want to see a list of vegetarians and vegan celebrities: click here

Thursday, February 4, 2010

So you’ve wanted to become an agvocate but didn’t really know what to do.

Here’s your chance to jump in.
Yellow Tail wine just pledged a $100,000 to the Humane Society of the United States.
During the past 2 days, other agvocates have spoken up on a variety of social media sites. Instead of listening to our outcry, the company manipulated the donation stipulating it would only go for animal care.
That makes my blood boil even more. And it should make yours boil to.

What’s more, YellowFail is deleting negative comments from us on their FaceBook page and gleefully announcing how they’ve appeased us.

Well they’re wrong. And we need to get fired up. 
Here are a few things you can do:
  • Tell YellowFail you aren’t buying or drinking any more of their wine on their Facebook page
  • Send YellowFail an email directly
  • Tell your favorite restaurant or liquor store that YellowFail is hurting farmers
  • Plan a protest outside of a major liquor store or distributor location--it only takes 5 or 6 farmers to make a point and get news coverage.
  • Add comments to other Facebook Pages talking about the issue--YellowFail can’t delete the comments if they don’t own the site.
  • If you see anything on mainstream news outlets about this--make a comment.
If you plan a protest and want to get some media coverage. Contact me. I would be happy to help you contact the media. And I would be happy to put some talking points together for you.

We all have to speak out the 500 agvocates that have already mobilized need your support.  We've drawn a line in the sand.  But we need backup.  We definitely have their attention but we need to see this through to the end.

Please post other ideas you have regarding how we can speak out in the comments.

P.S.  I guess we should have seen this coming VegNews, a vegetarian lifestyle magazine, picked YellowFail as the 2009 Veggie Award Winner for Favorite Vegan Tipple. This is the largest vegetarian survey in the world.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Food Rules could kill your Super Bowl Party

Michael Pollan, who calls “our nation's most trusted resource for food-related issues,” has been making the rounds promoting his new book "Food Rules".
I’m oversimplifying and cherry-picking, but the rules are:
• Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food
• Don't eat anything with six or more ingredients
• Don’t eat anything with ingredients you can't pronounce
• Avoid foods that contain high-fructose corn syrup
• Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot...There are exceptions --- honey --- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food
• Always leave the table a little hungry
• Eat meals together, at regular meal times
• Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline
• Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk
• Limit your snacks to unprocessed plant food

These rules are pretty simple, and would probably make the person following them more healthy.

But following them will also undoubtedly screw up your Super Bowl party and ensure none of your friends will EVER come back to your house for the big game.

So while plain chicken wings (who wants plain wings?), and veggie trays are fine, so many of your favorite party foods break his rules:
• No pizza—unless it’s homemade and natural
• No chips
• No ranch or French onion dip from a carton
• No brats or little smokies
• No Chex Party Mix
• No sweets
• No Velveeta and Rotel—other cheese dip is iffy

Pollan would have you only eat junk food you cook yourself. Even if you’re a gourmet, you’ll be too worn out from making bean dip by hand and baking wheat crackers to enjoy the game or the fellowship. Please note that your crackers have to be wheat because “the whiter you’re bread, the sooner you’ll be dead.”

He wants meat used only to enhance flavor and condiments should be avoided.

Remember this is the guy who since the publication of his "Omnivore’s Dilemma" has promoted eating local whenever you can. In my neighborhood the only local food this time of year is meat. He has contended for a long time that eating anything made from corn is like eating crude oil. There goes the plain un-salted popcorn.

We all need to eat more veggies.

We all need to eat less processed food, but this guys’ agenda is to have us eating fresh meat and veggies coming from local growers 100% of the time.

That may be realistic in Pollan’s home state of California. It’s not very realistic for the rest of America or the rest of the world.

The food you serve for a Super Bowl party probably isn’t a good illustration of the food you will eat during the rest of the week, but it is a good illustration of the types of food that Michael Pollan would like to have banned entirely.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Punxsutawney Daryl –nice ring huh?

Dear PETA,
I am writing to apply for the position of replacing Punxsutawney Phil.
I saw in the news that you think it’s cruel to force Phil the groundhog to work on Feb 2nd instead of hibernating that day. By all means, I wish the Punxsutawney, PA city fathers would be that cruel to me.

A few of my qualifications: I’m furry. I have no problem getting up at the crack of dawn. I cast a shadow. I love historical traditions. I have a really sharp looking top hat so I can match the rest of you fellas. And I’ll be better than a machine—wouldn’t a battery sucking robot be bad for the environment? I’m 100% organic.

Punxsutawney Daryl                                             Punxsutawney Phil

My life would be a lot easier living in a climate controlled environment not worrying about where my next meal was coming from. I can stand working my shadow off one day of the year if all of my other necessities are taken care of on the other 364 days.

Thanks in advance for your consideration

Punxsutawney Daryl –nice ring huh?

Daryl Donohue

P.S. While times are tough, I think it’s cruel to put anyone out of a job by replacing him or her with a robot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Are people giving to the HSUS because they are idiots? Or are they being duped?

I got in a discussion on Twitter tonight about Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) fundraising practices. I believe many people think the dollars they give to the HSUS provide dog and cat care.

Ag groups including Farm Bureau have been accused lately of beating this drum because we want to get them out of the legislative arena. Truth is I like a good debate.

During this discussion, I was told that a person "would have to be an idiot" to believe donations would be earmarked for animal care and that "no one could provide one fact" that the HSUS has done anything wrong".

On Twitter, I wasn’t arguing that HSUS had done anything wrong. Instead I was arguing that many people give mistakenly thinking they’re giving for animal care. Reports show that less than ½ of 1% of funds raised goes to grants for small (local) animal shelters.

So in setting out to “prove” that people do get confused, I have found what is in my opinion, real proof that HSUS has done things that mislead people:

From their fundraising and web pages they list these activities prominently:
  • Rescue animals
  • Prevent dog fighting
  • Outlaw puppy mills
  • End euthanasia of pets
  • And other work --shouldn’t that be first since that’s where the majority of the funds go.
And there are a lot of reports out there saying the show up to shoot footage that they can raise more money with and then leave town, sharing none of that money with the local shelters who have to care for those animals.

And on an “ad” on one of their pages you find this:
“When you join our fight as a monthly supporter or give a one-time gift of $5 or more, you’ll receive a story and a photo of an animal whose life was saved by generous donations like yours.”

Now realize it doesn't say that those funds go for care and feeding of the animal pictured, but how many people jump to that conclusion?

When you provide monthly sponsorship of a child in a developing country you also get a photo. And you know those funds are going to support the person pictured. Subtle twist that I don’t think most people--even non-idiots--catch on to.

By having the pet section at the top of the list of topics on their website, I believe they imply that pets are their highest priority. And they have a large sections on pet protection and animal issues.  Both talk about pets.

On the how is my donation used? They call out:
  • Pet adoption and spay/neuter initiatives
  • Animal care centers
Most donors expect highlighted activities to be supported by funds amount to more than pennies on the dollar.

So far a lot of smoke and mirrors. The waters are murky.  In what I’ve listed above, nothing has been said explicitly, but then there is Faye.

The blog world is full of people who thought they gave money for Faye’s upkeep only to find out that the HSUS didn’t actually have Faye in their possession.

From the HSUS letter: “Your gift of $20.10 a month for 2010 — just 66 cents a day — can help thousands of animals like Faye not just survive, but thrive in the new year.”

How are your donations helping them thrive if those dollars aren’t going to care? I recognize that it doesn’t say they are raising money for Faye specifically. I cut them some slack if they only say “survive.” But to me, saying that your donation “will help animals thrive” means those funds are going to animal care. I think it means that to a lot of non-idiots.

The people providing care for these dogs pleaded with people who received the letter to give directly to them instead: “Please consider donating to the other groups who ACTUALLY HAVE IN THEIR POSSESSION and are caring for the dogs HSUS is trying to make money off of, including (but not limited to): Our Pack, Inc.

They certainly think people are giving to the HSUS believing that dollars flow to the animals featured in those campaigns. It should be noted that after taking hits about this deceptive campaign, HSUS did finally agree to donate some dollars for her care.

You may not have heard of Faye, but you’ve heard of Michael Vick.

There was a flyer asking for money to care for Michael Vick’s dogs. Rest of the story is that the HSUS was raising money for dogs they recommended be put down because they deemed they could not be rehabilitated.

After it was later revealed that the dogs were not in HSUS's care and that HSUS recommendation was for the dogs to be euthanized, the donation pitch was altered to remove references to caring for Vick's dogs.

Other bloggers and animal lovers--call the HSUS out for playing on emotions to raise money that really goes for salaries, more fundraising and lobbying.
Why is anyone listening to the HSUS?
Rescues broke-HSUS are millionaires
HSUS fund raising pitch raises hackles

How can you prove that people think they are giving for animal care?  I certainly can’t prove what is in the hearts or minds of people, but here are people of all walks of life complaining about these practices.  There's plenty more out there, but I'm sure that some will say that all of this is no proof at all.

So what do you think?

Are people who give money to the HSUS believing their dollars go to animal care idiots who don’t know any better?  Or are these people being duped?  Do you need more proof?

I usually don’t write a post for just one person, but @Ellie_Moondog, this one was for you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

If Michael Pollan was a mom, he might have a different dilemma

I have many issues with the writings (preaching) of Michael Pollan, author of the Omnivore’s Dilemma and now Food Rules.  A journalism professor doesn't automatically become a food expert due to some internal epiphany in my book.  But many think he is just that.

He wants us all to eat healthier. That I agree with, but we have very different opinions on what constitutes good food choices.
  • His take of eat local whenever possible isn’t feasible. All the farmers in New York state don’t produce enough food for New York City.
  • I don’t think corn is the root of all evil
  • Big farms aren’t bad farms in my opinion. They are a product of the cheap food policy that our government puts forward. And many of them do a good job of producing a high quality product contrary to what those calling them “factory farms“ might think.
There are plenty of other points I would argue with but thought I would treat you to a short post today.

Millions of city folks have read and believe his take on modern agriculture so I was pleasantly surprised today when Laura Vanderkam a working mom brought up some new reasons why his method of eating is not sustainable, or a positive part of her family’s daily routine.

Her blog is a good read and will make even a Pollan disciple think about what they're giving up to eat by his rules.  I'm not a mom, but this certainly applies to my family life as well.  How about yours?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Diva Tells PETA How It Really Is

I don't know who the singer Kelis is or what she sings, but sorry George, she's my new favorite musician.

And she's told PETA everything I ever wanted to say to them--only better.  She might be my new hero too.

Kelis received a letter from PETA regarding her mink and chinchilla that she is apparently known for.  If only every diva responded to them with such passion.  Kelis wrote this open letter to PETA on her Myspace page as reported by

"There is no humane way to kill anything, let me start there. It’s unfortunate but it’s part of life. With that being said, I would eat pterodactyl if you found some and you told me it was meaty and delicious. And after doing a very minimal amount of research……. I found out that the founder Ingrid Newkirk is completely batty. I had a feeling but she far exceeded my expectations. I mean certifiably insane! Lol this chicks will is nuts, google it – it’s a riot! Beyond the fact that I think she’s a diabetic, which means she needs insulin, which is taken from lab pigs (I know this because my sister happens to be in veterinary school), which would be completely hypocritical. It’s like don’t abuse animals unless it can help me.

I feel very strongly about a lot of things such as the sweatshops that spin cotton and the blood on their hands. Btw it’s not just the look of fur. It’s warm as hell and feels glorious, ever rubbed faux fur on your body? Nothing luxurious about that. Then the letter proceeded to name artist and designers who don’t wear real fur. Great! More for me! I don’t judge them, don’t judge me.

If I started wearing endangered animals like polar bear or orangutan then talk to me. (Which btw for the record I would not – I do believe in the preservation of endangered species) But the minks and chinchilla that quite honestly are rodents and if weren’t in the form of a coat I would demand they be put to death anyway are not an issue to me.The death of high fashion. Ugh.

I eat meat, and in fact my mouth salivates as I type the word meat! And the paint throwing that’s just ridiculous! What if I was hurling Loubitons and Pierre Hardy’s at every sad poorly dressed person on the street? As right as I may be it’s just fanatical and crazy. And people have the right to feel as they please. What about art? Survival of the fittest. Natural selection? No let’s just let all the rodents run free and over take our cities. Oh wait they have, NY and LA in particular are infested! Why don’t u save them all from scavenging on the streets and ruining my evening strolls, take them home. Make them pets! Get off my back! Pun intended!

Underpaid minorities picking your vegetables, now that’s fine for you right? Please, fight for their rights. How about the poverty in the communities of brown people around the world. She had the nerve to say (and I quote) “get over it” talking of the issue of black people and slavery in this country verses cows being slaughtered. Is she kidding me? Lol yes she must be. Actually, she’s lucky most black people have real issues to worry about in the U.S and don’t give a crap what her delusional privileged opinions are. But she should try saying that again just for kicks n giggles on the corner of Adam Clayton Powell Blvd in Harlem n see how well people “get over it” lol. If u want to preach do it about something worthwhile don’t waste my time trying to save the dang chipmunk.

Find a worthwhile cause like the women being maimed in these Middle Eastern countries. Or female circumcision. Or women’s rights here in America, we still get paid less for doing the same jobs as men. Quite honestly if you hate the world so much go live in the forest where no one else has to hear you complain about the perfectly good food chain the good Lord created. Everyone has the right to an opinion, and that’s mine on that! xoxo"

What a woman!!

Now to go download everything she's ever done from I-Tunes.  I support people who support us with my pocketbook. If you want to support Kelis beyond buying songs you can:
Follow her on Twitter @iamkelis
Leave comments of support at:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Heaven Forbid--The HSUS Wants You to Think Eating Meat is a Sin

Genesis Chapter 1: God made animals, and told Adam it was OK to eat them.

I teach Sunday School, and I don’t want anyone to accuse me of being sacrilegious, but in my mind, that’s the ultimate reason that animals were created--for the benefit of man. I think all Christians feel that way, that God made man to be superior to the animals.

So when I first heard about the strategy to make people think they’re going to hell if they eat meat, I was incredulous. But the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is crafty enough to make people consider it, even if they don’t whole-heartedly believe it.

The group is using tactics to make urban and suburban pet owners feel guilty—and hypocritical--for treating their pets like members of the family while they eat another animal at dinner.

They are reframing the debate on an agriculture by insisting that it is morally wrong to produce and eat animals. Make animal welfare a religious debate and you can throw science, logic, and economics out the window.

The group asks spiritual people to consider the impact of meat production and consumption on human health, world hunger, environmental sustainability, worker safety, and animal suffering. It also asks members to contemplate whether or not meat consumption reflects God's ideal for creation. Check out their faith outreach page.

A basic message is that “factory farms” are against God’s will and evil. Another message is self-denial and that animals suffer for consumers’ gluttony and luxury. They’ve poured resources into religious outreach adding staff including those who have attended the Seminary.

And it’s not just the HSUS. A number of authors are echoing this moral message with books bearing the titles: “Dominion The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals and the Call to Mercy,” “The Face on your Plate”, “Making a Killing” and “The Pig Who Sang to the Moon: The emotional World of Farm Animals.”

The head of the HSUS faith-based division, Christine Gutleben, says the group isn’t really using religion, but is “building on longstanding religious tradition," she said.

They obviously read Genesis a little different than I do. And when take the time every year to blast churches that have live nativity scenes I wonder how much traction can they really get?

But they are reaching religious leaders and their congregations.  A number have issued statements on the use of animals.  Check to see if your church is one of them.   These are not fringe religious groups. 

Over 15,000 people subscribe to the society's faith-based newsletter.

Joel Osteen, who is pastor of the 43,500-member Lakewood Church in Houston, telling his members not to eat pork due to the Old Testament. This is a Christian congregation.

Why target religious folks?

Church goers give more money. And many people are open to this message because they don’t attend church very often, and are looking for easy ways to feel like they’ve done something to fulfill their obligation to God.

For a while they’ve been chipping away at large operations—the ones they call “factory farms”. But their followers can’t define the difference between the little guys and the “factories.”

This new tactic goes to show again that they aren’t looking to improve the lives of farming animals as much as they are out to make the whole world go vegan.

But this appears to be an area where we can beat them. Consumers like eating meat and research shows they won’t shy away from it as long as we continue to give them permission to keep eating it. They can be persuaded that their dog isn’t the same as a cow. They can be reassured that they really aren’t being hypocrites when they eat dinner.

And when it comes down to it, I believe most Christians--even those who are pro-choice--would side on saving a human life over that of an animal.  So we have to be able to demonstrate that people die if livestock is taken out of the food chain.  Those are calories that can't immediately be replaced by advances in biotech or ripping up pasture and planting vegetables where cattle once roamed.

Want to learn more on the tactics used by the HSUS? Look up the work of Wes Jamison an associate professor of communications at Palm Beach Atlantic University, Jamison has been making the rounds at some of the recent farm organization meetings. If you have the chance to hear Jamison.  Go, it will be an eye-opening experience for you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Want to Tweet, but don't know where to start? I'm here to help.

You’ve heard about Twitter and are ready to get started how do you get going?

Pick a good name!
If you haven’t already picked a name, be yourself like @debbieLB or @mpaynknoper.  Or include a description of what you do: @JPlovesCOTTON or @iTweetMeat or @FarmerHaley. Shorter is better--will give you more letters to use in your tweets.

Participate in #agchat #foodchat #meatchat or other chats on twitter
Tuesday nights from 7 to 9 CT a bunch of us get together and discuss topics related to ag. Same time on Thursday the focus is meat. 

It’s a great way to find likeminded people and get some new strategies for being an #agvocate and spreading your story and the truth about agriculture. Then use a tool like twubs or tweetchat to follow the discussion. Much easier than just searching for the #. It’s OK to watch and not participate the first time, but I bet you’ll be itching to join in soon.

Don’t know who to follow. Check out @FollowFarmer
There are a lot of lists on Twitter, but if you want to find a bunch of farmers and ranchers go to @FollowFarmer. There are lists for ag media and producers. Both are a great place to start.  Also as you’re surfing the net, look for icons to follow on Twitter or Twitter names you can link to. Some 90% of Fortune 500 companies are involved in social media and many of your associations are too like the NCBA @BeefUSA or the National Corn Growers Assn. @NationalCorn. They usually make it easy to find them on twitter.

The # is your friend
Any word that has a # (hash tag) in front of it has that # so you can do a quick search on topics under that symbol. #farm #ag #oink #peta #hsus

Double check who you’re following. This tip isn’t just for newbies
Are you RT-ing someone often? Are you a follower, or are you seeing their tweets second hand. You need to check your followers periodically to make sure you are following people following you. Same on RT. You can’t DM someone who isn’t following you. 

Treat your message like a headline
Compelling headlines get attention. Same thing with a tweet. Be compelling or shocking or funny, but don‘t ever be boring.

Use Short URLs or die a slow painful death
If your web address or link is longer than 15 characters, you must shorten with a tool like or tinyurl.  If you start tweeting on your phone, there's a shortening tool there too. If you tweet a link that is too long, nobody will RT it.

RT others if you want them to RT you
RT=ReTweet. Do unto others is a key rule on Twitter. You can’t expect anyone to forward your message if you.   Look for the arrow buttons at the bottom of a message you want to RT. 

Leave room for a RT
You have 140 characters, but try to only use 120--or less so your message can be retweeted more often.

Thank You--always the magic word
RT-ing someone is akin to saying thank you. But saying it directly is priceless and will endear you to that person.

Build Relationships
Some of your followers will grow to be good friends even if you never meet in person. If you’re at an event hold a tweet up or tweet meet to find other attendees on twitter.

If you saw something smart, funny or started following someone your followers could benefit from list them in #FF (Follow Friday) post.  You can do it on another day if Friday isn't convenient.

Find the application for your smart phone or iPhone
You can send and receive tweets on your phone. Makes it easy to stay in touch all day and tweet on the run.  Couldn't live without UberTwitter on my blackberry

Check your @ messages and DM (direct messages) every day
Nuff said.
This isn't everything you need to know, but these are some thing that would have helped me in the beginning. Work these ideas and you'll be on your way to being a Twitter #agvocate in no time. 

And above all
Respect others opinions even though they may not respect yours.  You are out there to be an ambassador of the industry and whatever you tweet could be sent to hundreds of people. 
Simplify your life
After  you really get into this, you'll find you're spending a ton of time updating your FaceBook, Blog and Twitter.  Use tools like TweetDeck or Ping to update all your SM outlets at once.  One and done. 

If you found this helpful follow me at:
@agropinon where I tweet on ag issues
@jody_donohue where you get marketing and PR tips besides personal stuff about me

I follow all of the @s I've mentioned in this post.  I recommend you follow all of them and the many others who I RT or have listed. 

Other tools for newbies:
  • Ohio Farm Bureau's guide to Social Media
  • Blogs with Twitter advice including a 20 minute guide to getting started
  • Mashable's Twitter guidebook.  Mashable is a leading source on social media. 
  • Ragan communications has lots of great writing info and covers a Twitter often.  You'll need to subscribe to get to the good stuff.  Well worth being a member.  These are the sharpest communicators I know.
  • Ann Wiley is a writing goddess. Has the best tips on cutting words and being impactful I've ever seen.  She has a great newsletter too.
Always looking for other tools myself.  So send them my way or post in the comments. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Why you should care about the care of elephants

Radical animal activists are crying for the poor abused elephants from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. They say these poor animals are the victims of injustice because a judge ruled against an animal activist and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

A suit which had drug on for 9 years, was brought by the ASPCA and a former Ringling employee, Tom Rider. A federal district court found that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit do not have standing to bring the suit and did not show that they had suffered an “injury in fact.”

Plaintiffs claimed that Ringling Bros.' use of bullhooks and chains constituted abuse and a "take" of the elephants, in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Rider worked for the circus and claimed that he formed an emotional attachment to the elephants and that he had seen a variety of abuse in his time with the circus. Rider filed that he had been “injured” through his employment because of the abuse.

The court didn’t buy it. The court papers are definitely worth reading.

I‘m not an attorney, but even I could follow the language and there‘s a lot of insight that those of us in ag can glean from arguments these groups make. And the curtain is pulled back to show some of their tactics.

Beginning about page 19 the court discredit’s the claims made by Mr. Rider. For a guy who claimed he wanted to keep the animals from being abused he did nothing to stop or expose the abuse. He also didn’t quit his job when he was “forced” to do things he didn’t want to do. And he didn’t try to get a new job in a capacity that could help these elephants once they retired.

Beginning on page 26, the court papers show that Mr. Rider received $122,000 from animal activist organizations. He had no other source of income after leaving Ringling. The documents show that there was a fundraiser held to benefit the elephants and the funds collected were instead disbursed to Mr. Rider.

How does helping Mr. Rider help the elephants? And how shady does it seem that he was paid throughout the course of this suit.

I have often heard about these groups employing the people who take undercover footage of farming and other operations. I had no idea how much the total could really be.

In this economy, how many people would sell their soul for $122,000?

The activists are rallying around the point that the judge didn’t go so far as to say the animals weren’t abused so the issue isn’t fully decided.

If you look at what the radical activists are saying they’re insulting the judge’s intelligence rather than getting to the bottom of why the ruling went against them.

But name calling is a favorite tactic of theirs.