Some things just never change. Or do they?
Some of you know me from my time serving as U.S. Director of Investigations with Mercy For Animals. I oversaw some of the most important undercover investigations into contemporary animal agribusinesses of nearly every type, and certainly the ones that affected the most animals, in U.S. history. It was an ugly, miserable job. But, it was important and I did it. Why? Because I could.
Every investigation we did was chosen completely at random. At every employment-based investigation we found malicious and/or sadistic abuse, including severe neglect, and not one of them was the result of an inside complaint. We applied. We worked. We documented. And if our measly laws should have protected the animals from what we uncovered, I handed over all of the unedited footage to law enforcement along with my meticulously cross-referenced petition for enforcement of that state’s cruelty statutes, and cooperated with authorities fully. The favor wasn’t always returned. And sometimes I had to switch to embarrassing them via media exposure to get any action taken. Not kidding.
Side Note: “Employment-based” means the investigator was hired at the facility and therefore trained by the company and documented the daily existence of the animals as opposed to other methods where we’d just be there for a short time – maybe only a few hours, if that, and that made us some type of outsider who workers wouldn’t go about their daily business in front of. Unfortunately for farmed animals, the normal, standard abuses of animal agribusinesses are so appalling that it’s important to push that evidence out also.
So, … why do I raise all of this today? Well, it’s happening today. And will happen tomorrow.
And you should know what you pay others to do if you eat eggs, dairy, or meat, but sadly even farmed animals in “entertainment” aren’t free of abuse (nor is any animal used for anything – “use” is very meaningful, folks) …
… The kind souls at Free From Harm report more animal abuse at Wagner Farm where yesterday a whistleblower witnessed how “[t]he farm manager carelessly picked up” birds who appeared to be “seriously injured or already dead and tossed them into another room, then just closed the door.”
‘Are they dead?’
‘You’re just going to toss them in there and not even check to see if they’re still alive?!’
Sadly, this attitude is typical. I’ve seen this crass, apathetic attitude at food production farms all over this country. When we use animals for food production these sentient, intelligent beings are a “means to an end.”
They are artificially inseminated – if we stop breeding them there will be no “overpopulation.” Turkeys, for instance, can’t even breed the way we’ve genetically manipulated them.
Then they are dragged from their protective mothers. Male dairy calves are killed or crated for about a dozen weeks for veal and male chicks of the egg industry are ground up alive.
We mutilate them without painkillers or any veterinary aftercare.
We confine most so tightly they cannot turn around or stretch their limbs and they live in their own excrement.
And then we violently kill them, many fully conscious and suffering.
Why? For profit, paychecks, stock holders, wealth. They suffer in unimaginable ways for convenience or pleasure, neither of which is an acceptable reason to be violent to an animal. Ever. And they are made available for these unacceptable reasons so that a few may be superbly wealthy and the majority are severely taken advantage of. And yes there are always the sadistic assholes who should be thrown in jail.
That link above in my commentary on how typical this is happens to be our Iowa Select investigation, a company that supplied pieces of these animals labeled “pork” at Kroger, Safeway, HyVee and Costco. Search for the ownership of your major grocery chain as chances are that its owned by Kroger or Safeway.
Costco, by the way, didn’t like me very much as I always served as the “bad cop” in my meetings. I try to contact these folks – even gave Costco (both visits) the option of announcing a compassionate new policy at my news conference, but they balked at that. “Whatevs.” I was there to point out what they already knew was wrong with their despicable practices – that confining pigs in gestation crates is wrong.
They said they “couldn’t” phase out the crates. Guess who committed to phasing them out after a concerted effort to get McDonald’s to do the same? Both Costco and McDonald’s have now publicly committed to phasing out the crates by agreed upon dates and both corporations’ executives told me it couldn’t be done. Yes, “whatever” indeed.
Massive corporations say, “Cut the crates.” And agribusiness says, “Yes, Daddy! How quickly would you like that, Daddy?”
So yeah, cut the crap Corporations. You know you could also dump battery cages for egg-laying hens just as easily (e-hem, McDonald’s!).
But it does take a while for us to get back to that common sense understanding of animals that nearly all of us held as children. Animals want to live. They deserve to live. There is absolutely no reason to kill animals for food or use them for food production.
Money, money, money. It has power. So does undercover footage. That’s why there is still so much struggle to criminalize whistle blowers who document violations of law at animal abuse facilities. It would outlaw documenting things such as vet offices, too, in most cases but the vet offices aren’t pushing for this type of First Amendment Mockery. Here, see what I saw and what Big Agribusiness so desperately doesn’t want you to see:
Food production corporations (and their guilty allies) hurt animals for profit. They also endanger the public and exploit low wage workers.
Thanks to the fine folks behind Free From Harm (“like” them on Facebook here – no seriously, do so now – thank you), Glenview, Illinois’ questionable use of tax dollars to to fund Wagner Farm is being regularly highlighted. The whistleblower’s evidence and the documentation of their fight to shut the place down fills boxes in her office.
Wagner Farm is essentially a petting zoo with a revolving door to the slaughterhouse. They buy animals. Kids “pet” them. The animals are sent to slaughter so the kids can have heart disease later by eating their pets. Then Wagner Farm buys more animals for the kids to pet and cry over – along with the youths’ 4H animals who are sent to slaughter alongside the Wagner Farm animals – and maybe a distant memory of the sympathetic individuals whey were before they got heart disease and black souls.
Alright, so perhaps I cannot blame all of the U.S.’ health problems (many cancers, obesity, heart disease, and lack of empathy) on Wagner Farm. And not all those kids will have black hearts – some will hopefully be vegan. But, I can certainly point to numerous young boys and girls whose faith in humanity and humanity’s ability to act “humanely” was shattered when those same kids learned how farmed animals are violently slaughtered. Some of those kids are adults now. And some are prominent in animal protection work.
Wagner Farm’s history infuriates me. How do people get away with such blatant misuse of their authority? Today’s occurrences are one more on a long timeline of crap dished to these animals. Perhaps with enough uproar the Glenview municipality might start to wise up and quit this abuse before Glenview, Illinois is synonymous with Animal Abuse.
An animal protection colleague and friend Debby Rubenstein, founder and president of the Wagner Farm Rescue Fund (“like” them on Facebook here) as well as Have A Heart Farm (where the rescued animals get to go), has been monitoring and trying to save the animals confined and then killed by this place for far too long.
Hey Glenview, Illinois: What gives with the Cruelty to Animals?
If you are in or near Glenview, Illinois, and you’d like to get involved, I know that Wagner Farm Rescue Fund could use your assistance. They would welcome your time, efforts, and positive, productive energy (let’s be clear folks – don’t waste Debby’s time!). Get in touch with them and make a difference for farmed animals in the Glenview community.
Oh, and if you eat eggs, dairy, or meat, please spend just 12 minutes to watch a short video so that you have a basic understanding of modern farming. It’s not how your grandparents or great-grandparents did it and we need to wise up and recognize that fact. Change starts with you. It always does. Otherwise, you are paying someone to do this on your behalf. And that makes you responsible. Then, order a Free Vegetarian Starter Kit.
Some things never change until we force change. Join the millions of compassionate vegetarians by dumping dairy, eggs, and meat. Choose compassion. Choose vegan.