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Ragnar ADK 2018: The Impact

PREFACE: This is the second part of my race report, you can view part one at http://vegancableguy.com/ragnar-adk-2018-the-race/

To say this race was a success wouldn’t be the half of it. This race was amazing not only for the running and camaraderie but for the advocacy. Every race we get the usual “but bacon bro” calls and my team had someone tell us how his team would be “Carnivore Power.” Even though we had some of those comments this one felt different, at least for me. People seemed more open to approaching us and questioned how we were all so fast. They were greeted with kindness from each and every one of us.

I believe wholeheartedly that we represented the movement in the best way we could. There was no militancy or condescension. There was plenty of cordiality, thoughtfulness and informed restraint. That said, there was one defining moment for me and those of you on the team already heard Peter speak about it after the race, but for readers I’m going to explain what happened.

One of the exchanges was at a farm. Not just any farm though, a full-blown working dairy farm; King Brothers Dairy. You can imagine how disheartening it was to roll up on this place and know what was going on. While the workers were happy to walk around and talk about how “kindly” their animals were treated, the fact is that no matter the amount of subterfuge, the cows still don’t want to be forcibly impregnated, have their calves taken away and then be painfully milked for the pleasure of human beings. We all know the cycle continues until they are of no use and then are sent to slaughter. The males have no use from the get go so they get placed in small crates; veal crates.

Peter and I walked over to the side of one of the buildings and noticed a calf was walking around. We both looked at one another kind of perplexed. We wondered if it was maybe some sort of mascot that was allowed to roam, but we quickly figured out it was a crate escapee when we saw the crates just behind him. He was walking around frantically looking toward a spot where some older cows were. Those cows were knee-deep in water and were tied by a rope to a bar; obviously they weren’t allowed to roam either. The calf started walking toward us and got really close to Peter before he turned around, took a couple of steps and let out a heart-wrenching bellow. A chorus of bellows followed coming from the crates as the other babies started crying out for their mothers.

I was overwhelmed with emotion.

My heart was aching.

I have never EVER witnessed anything like this before.

Quickly some farms workers came over and corralled the calf and took him away. I will never forget that moment. I’ve of course seen the videos of this stuff and have been disheartened by them, but to witness it goes beyond that. It was real and it was raw; I will never forget the sound those babies made.

Now onto something a bit more lighthearted…

Our Sunday celebration was once again held at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary.  We shared pizza, stories and tons of love with the animals of the farm. It’s always amazing to me how settled in the animals are. Considering the fact most come from abusive situations or from factory farms or even from the Kaporos ritual, their trust in humanity is still there.

Peter, Gabby and all the volunteers do such a great job caring for these animals. Whether the animal needs rehabbing, veterinary care or just a hug they get everything they need there on the sanctuary. The animals are unconditionally loved and are treated equally and fairly. They live out their lives in an environment that is worthy of their lives.

After such a debilitating experience at the dairy farm, it was nice to decompress and see what vegan activism and advocacy can do. I left the farm feeling good about the weekend but also wondering what can be done to help close places like that dairy farm down. No baby, regardless of species, should be forcibly taken away from their mothers so another species can steal their bodily secretions.

The most logical answer is to go vegan; it’s that simple. There are so many different kinds of milks to drink that do not cause any harm. I prefer soy but others like almond milk. Maybe you like oat milk, or hemp milk. Hell you can have flax milk if you like or even coconut. The fact of the matter is this, you don’t need to drink the bodily fluids of another species when you can drink plenty of other products. For one, you are not a baby cow and that stuff doesn’t belong to you in the first place.

Go vegan!

Please enjoy these photos (below) from the celebration at Tamerlaine and if you can please donate to them by going to their site at https://tamerlainefarm.org/donate/

 

 

Book Review: Mercy For Animals

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to start this review for nearly 30-45 minutes now. You see, I’ve read the book from cover to cover once already and started it again to try to pull out parts that I want to share. The problem is I’m nearly 100 pages in again and am having a hard time putting it down long enough to type this.

Nathan’s story is gripping not only because of the experiences he shares, both harrowing and courageous, but because of the compassion from where that story generates. Whether it’s from the beginning of the book and his recounting of his childhood on the family farm or to the undercover investigations he has been a part of; the narration exudes benevolence and pulls you in from the moment you start reading.

There are beings that roam this earth that shine light wherever they go. Some believe those beings are angels or Bodhisattva’s. Suffice it to say, Nathan is surely one of those people. With careful intention, he built an organization that is selfless and has one goal; to save as many animals as possible. What I think makes them different though is the seemingly minor things they do like push for more space for chickens and hens in cages and crates. It’s about pushing for more humane conditions for animals that are already part of our shameful “food supply chain”. Mercy For Animals pushes for those little things because with small steps come bigger one’s.

Speaking of “bigger one’s”…

I have not followed MFA over the years so this book opened my eyes to one of the major breakthroughs they had; and that was with Nestlé. Through tireless investigations and work MFA were able to get Nestlé to commit to the “Five Freedoms Of Animal Welfare” which are:

  1. Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition
  2. Freedom from fear and distress
  3. Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort
  4. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  5. Freedom to express normal patterns of behavior

Nestlé did this on their own after being shown evidence of just how horrific their supply chains were and how despicable the animals were treated. The company was absolutely floored by the documentation they were shown. But, they swore to implement changes and that is amazing.

The fact of the matter is, Nathan Runkle lives and breathes his convictions. There is no denying that.

I walk away from this book with not only a deeper understanding of what it means to be an animal activist, but how to be one. Nathan’s story can, and will, inspire even the most apathetic individual.

He also touches on the future of the movement and the future of food. It’s a promising future and I hope to do what I can to help make that happen. You really need to read this book, I can’t tell you that enough.

Mercy For Animals Links
Website: https://www.mercyforanimals.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mercyforanimals
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mercyforanimals/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MercyForAnimals
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mercyforanimals

Okja; Animal Rights goes CGI

I watched this last night on Netflix and was amazed at how well the message of animal rights, and the film-makers antipathy toward factory farming, was portrayed. The story-line was extremely well written and as a viewer, you felt every emotion along with the main character, Mija.

The film starts with a kick-off party scene of a major corporate company (Mirando Corporation) launching a new “product”. They’ve chosen 26 farmers across the world to raise a new super pig over a span of ten years, the “winner” will be flown back to the US to celebrate the “best pig”. One of the super pigs, Okja, is sent to South Korea to be raised by a farmer and his grand-daughter, Mija.

Okja, a hippo sized pig hybrid, is a kind and compassionate animal; as most are. The viewer is treated to beautiful interactions between Okja and Mija as they climb the mountainside together and even curl up at night to sleep. Bong Joon Ho, the films mastermind, does a phenomenal job creating the relationship not only with the characters, but with the viewer and the characters.

Soon after being introduced to the Okja and Mija, Mirando Corp shows up to claim their “property” as Okja has been chosen as the best pig. What plays out next is a roller coaster of emotion. We are introduced to a small group of ALF (Animal Liberation Front) activists who, astonishingly, are not depicted as eco-terrorists but as rescuers/ guardians for Okja and Mija.

Without ruining a ton more of the film, there is one scene I’d love to point out and that’s where Okja has to be saved from a farm. We know about the 26 super pigs that were sent out across the globe but what we weren’t told is that others were also being raised to be part of the food system. Okja had been brought to a gigantic processing plant and you can hear the screams and cries of other super pigs as Mija and the ALF crew try to find Okja and save her.

The CGI and cinematography are top rate. Okja is a masterpiece, truly. The imagery is beautiful, whimsical and as visually appealing as you can get. The production is absolutely amazing and the locations for filming were absolutely stunning.

You will cry, this movie is sad. That is no reason to not watch it though, it’s necessary and I think, better yet hope, that you will view it with friends. Is it kid friendly? Minus some language it is completely kid friendly, I’d let my boys watch it and they are 9 and 13 years old.

Check out the trailer below or just fire up your Netflix account and watch this tonight!