in all my infinite wisdom

Category: Speciesism

Let’s eliminate systemic speciesism

By JOEL FREEDMAN Jul 24, 2021

Three members of Compassionate Consumers, a vegan activist group in Rochester, surreptitiously entered a large commercial egg farm in Wayne County three times during the summer of 2004. A year later, after the activists were unsuccessful in their efforts to get animal cruelty charges against the company, Compassionate Consumers released a graphic video of conditions at the 700,000-hen facility. The activists took several injured hens from the facility and found homes for them.

The release of the video did not result in cruelty charges against the commercial farm. Instead, Adam Durand and the two others were indicted for burglary, petit larceny, and criminal trespass. The egg farm did not press charges against them until after the video was made public.

The video depicts birds packed in wire cages so small that they cannot spread their wings. They had been subjected to painful beak trimmings. Many birds were found dead in their cages. Many live birds were submerged in manure piles under their cages. Some of the hens were observed with their heads stuck between the cage bars.

The activists recorded everything they saw and did during their unauthorized visits to the egg farm. They gave this evidence to law enforcement officials in hopes the farm would be held accountable.

When they were arrested for their endeavors, I thought about the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Cowardice asks the question, Is it safe? Expediency asks the question, Is it all right? And there comes a point when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor polite, nor popular, but one must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”

I believe the three activists acted conscientiously and courageously to expose the cruelties that existed — and still do — in the egg production industry.

Two of the activists pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of petit larceny and criminal trespass and were sentenced to probation and community service. Durand went to trial. A jury acquitted him of burglary and larceny. He was convicted of three misdemeanor criminal trespass charges. The trial and the cruelty to animals at the egg farm were reported in the Finger Lakes Times and throughout America and the world, including coverage by The New York Times, the Associated Press and ABC’s “Prime Time.”

A Wayne County judge disregarded a pre-sentence probation department recommendation for leniency. He imposed the harshest penalty ever imposed in New York on an individual who, with no prior arrests, had been convicted only of misdemeanor trespass. Durand was sentenced to six months in the Wayne County Jail with a $1,500 fine, a year of probation, and 100 hours of community service.

The Appellate Division released Durand after 35 days of incarceration while the court considered his appeal. The appellate judges found that the Wayne County judge had erred because he had considered the burglary and larceny charges when passing sentence, even though Durand had been acquitted of those charges. The Wayne County judge then re-sentenced Durand only to the time he had already served in jail.

This large egg farm eventually sold its facility to another large-scale egg producer.

I recently phoned Durand, who told me he “learned a heck of a lot about the criminal justice system” during his ordeal. His fellow inmates treated him with respect, but a few corrections officers ridiculed him for taking a stand on behalf of the birds. Durand has no regrets about what he did and remains committed to the cause of animal rights.

I decided to write this essay because although the video was made in 2004, the horrifying conditions that were exposed then still exist at large-scale egg production facilities. A common practice by the egg industry is induced molting — prolonged starvation to shock the hens into laying more eggs. And horrific cruelty also continues at animal research labs, puppy mills, pigeon shoots, slaughterhouses, live lobster tanks, factory farms, live animal auctions, roadside zoos, rodeos and other violent spectacles, and countless other places.

Speciesism is the misguided belief that animals are inherently inferior to humans, exist only to be exploited by humans, and are unworthy of moral consideration. I believe speciesism is systemic and widespread in America and throughout our world.

Speciesism is seen in everyday conversations that include “cruelty clichés” such as “killing two birds with one stone … more than one way to skin a cat … You’re a dead duck … beating a dead horse to death … bleeding like a stuck pig.” False and negative images of animals are evident when people insult other people by referring to them as an animal (a brute), a pig (a slob), a turkey (a stupid person), a dog (lazy, worthless or ugly), a snake in the grass (deceptive, sleazy).

My wish is for the kind of world Rev. King envisioned in which “We shall overcome” not only racial divides but also other evils that have caused so much unnecessary suffering for humans and for other sentient beings who share the world with us.

According to the Gospel of The Holy Twelve (GH12), Jesus frequently healed and rescued animals. He was their savior too. This is why on many occasions “the birds gathered around him, and welcomed him with their song, and other living creatures came unto his feet, and they ate out of his hands.”

Yes, I am among the few who accept the authenticity of this gospel, but mainstream Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other world religions also share a recognition for kindness to animals. Whatever our religious/spiritual differences may be, and whether we pray in private or pray in a church, synagogue, mosque, or other places of worship, I believe the worship God appreciates the most is when we treat others — including non-human sentient beings — in a manner in which we would want others to treat us.

Canandaigua resident Joel Freedman contributes essays and book reviews to the Finger Lakes Times frequently.
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Live Export is Cruel and Heinous


Blogger opinion: I always use root cause analysis for every problem/issue and if you could read this post in its entirety and continue in what is the root of this, eating meat and being part of the supply and demand for animals flesh there is something very wrong within your soul.

most of the information on this post borrowed from Please support them.

What’s it like on board a live export ship?

What's it like on board a live export ship?

An experienced live export vet has given ABC’s 7.30 a glimpse into the conditions endured by animals on live export ships — and it’s not a pretty picture.

Animals at this stocking density are not able to all lie down at onceIn addition to the stress of the unfamiliar environment, noise, and constant ship movement, at the typical high stocking density of a long haul voyage, it is not usually possible for all animals to lie down naturally at the same time. Stocking densities allowed by Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) are much higher than any land-based feedlot or intensive housing system.


Not enough sawdust is provided for all animals to have soft bedding to lie on

Adequate sawdust or other soft bedding to rest on is not available to cattle on board a live export ship. Some sawdust provisions are required but they are not nearly sufficient, leaving animals traveling on hard, non-slip surfaces which can often result in painful abrasions, lameness, and injury. Australian standards only indicate that bedding should be replaced “as necessary” leaving this decision in the hands of exporters.

Animals are often coated with faeces by the end of the journey

The build-up of wet feces on live export ships can lead to cattle becoming coated in excrement. Apart from being distressing and unhygienic, fecal coated cattle cannot dispel heat through their body surface and are at greater risk of heat stress.


Changes in temperature can cause suffering and death for animals

Heat stress is a constant risk on live export ships. Animals suffering from heat stress literally cook from the inside out — they can suffer for days as their organs shut down one by one. In 2013, more than 4,000 Australian sheep died on board the Bader III as temperatures in the Gulf soared — turning the ship they were traveling on into a floating oven. 


Non-slip cleating makes for an uncomfortable surface for animals to lie on
Ship floors are often covered in non-slip ‘cleating’ (as pictured) which doesn’t allow sheep and cattle to rest comfortably. This can cause abrasions and lameness which may lead to septicemia.


Non-slip cleating makes for an uncomfortable surface for animals to lie on
This animal has slipped and is unable to rise. His hind legs are covered in abrasions and left hoof appears to be bloodied. Hoof damage, painful skin abrasions, and lameness are common onboard live export vessels due to the abrasive deck surface and inadequate drainage.

Not enough sawdust is provided for all animals to have soft bedding to lie on
Cattle are also at risk of injury from slipping into open drain holes in the ship’s deck which drain water and fecal matter into the deck below.


Open wounds are at risk of infection
Untreated, open wounds are at risk of infection and septic cellulitis from exposure to feces and urine. Skin abrasions often go unnoticed as they are covered by fecal matter. Infections can be so painful that an animal will refuse to rise, which in turn stops them from feeding and drinking and leaves them lying in their own feces.


Animals are at high risk of disease

High stocking densities, high levels of ammonia, and the stressful and unfamiliar conditions onboard ships can result in animals failing to eat (resulting in death), eye infections, heat stress, salmonellosis, and pneumonia.


Contaminated food and water can lead to animals not eating and drinking properly
Dirty pens filled with dirty cattle unsurprisingly lead to dirty water and feed troughs, contaminated with urine and feces. This can result in animals suffering from dehydration and not getting enough food.


Rough seas increase risk of injury and sickness
Rough seas and unexpected weather put animals at increased risk of injury and seasickness.

Anything could go wrongMechanical failure In 2014, the livestock ship Ocean Drover caught fire.

Live export has a history of disasters that have been devastating for animals – ventilation problems, engine failure and even fire have caused suffering and fatalities. Every journey runs the risk of something going wrong and animals are the ones to pay the price.


Animals are at risk of being smothered when they fall asleep
Cattle have been known to lie down for long periods of time when the decks are cleaned and new sawdust is laid. Dr. Simpson states this is a result of exhaustion and fatigue from animals reluctant to lie down in their own feces not getting sufficient respite. Due to the lack of space onboard, animals are at risk of being smothered, injured, or repeatedly disturbed by others as they attempt to rest.


Animals born at sea are generally euthanised
This calf’s mother was pregnant when she boarded a ship to Mauritius. She was killed immediately after she was born.

Animals are often not properly tested for pregnancy before boarding and that has led to cows and ewes giving birth at sea. Animals who go into labour on live export ships are not often given the additional space and care that they need, and their young may be trampled or injured. As the calves or lambs will likely be killed (usually for commercial reasons) the new mothers’ risk of mastitis is significantly increased.


Mortalities on board can be in the hundreds
This animal weighed more than 700 kg and should never have been loaded on a live export vessel. He wore down his toes, knees and joints so much that he eventually refused to stand and was euthanised.

Australian standards specify that no animal weighing more than 650 kg should be loaded on board a live export vessel. But some exporters have ignored these guidelines and loaded heavier animals, like the bull pictured, risking their lives. In Dr Simpson’s report to the government, she warned that any animal over 500 kg has an increased risk of injury. 

Incredibly, government regulations allow a mortality rate of 2% of sheep and 1% of cattle on every voyage — which means hundreds, if not thousands, of animals can die at sea without any investigation into the cause.


This industry entails unnecessary pain and suffering for all the animals involved within it. Anyone who tells you different is either ill-informed, they’re a liar or they’re staying silent for fear of losing their job.

Dr Lynn Simpson, veterinarian

For as long as this cruel trade in living beings exists — we remain as committed as ever to sparing animals from falling victim to it. Will you join us?

Please spare 1 minute now to lend your voice to the animals — and help create a world free from the horror of live export.

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