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“Try the veal,” an old saying of created by comedians who performed in restaurants and clubs. When one thinks of sed veal, they do not think of the baby boy taken from its mother, and confined to a small space until slaughter for a softer meat (Laks, “Maybelle’s Story”, 2016). The baby had been taken from a dairy cow, and the dairy cow instead produces its milk for human consumption rather than the baby it was meant for by nature. People, human beings, do not take part in putting a face to their steaks, or veal steaks, rather, but that’s the first problem of this unethical matter. No one can force someone to stop eating veal or drinking and eating dairy, but it is possible to change the production process and improve upon the lives of cattle in these industries. The unethical aspects of dairy, veal, and beef production, as with the unethical aspects of the food production industry as a whole, can be improved by respecting animals as living beings, providing better living conditions for these beings, and providing sanctuaries for rescued cattle and farm animals. In a video segment on “Bill Moyers Journal” for titled “Michael Pollan, Part I”, guest speaker Michael Pollan described his epiphany which sparked his research in the food production of the United States. “…I was in this nightmare landscape where there was mountains of manure the size of pyramids, and there was mountains of corn the size of pyramids, and cows, black cows as far as you could see. And I was, like, wow, this is where my meat comes from? I had no idea. And that was when I decided, you know, I need to, I owe it to myself… to figure out where does my food come from.” (Pollan, “Michael Pollan, Part I”, 2008). When thinking of a dairy farm, one probably pictures something like the “California dairy cow” commercials, which depict happy, sassy, talking cows in picturesque farm fields. Now, anyone can assume that those commercials are glamorized depictions of dairy farms, but it can’t be too far off, right? Sadly, it couldn’t be any further from reality. Dairy cows must go through artificial insemination year after year in order to have milk supply, and are hooked up to mechanized milking devices for 10 months (The Humane Society Of the United States, 2009). In addition to the horrid milk production process, there is the lack of respect and daily care for these animals. “Nonambulatory cattle– referred to as “downers” by the industry– are animals who collapse for a variety of metabolic, infectious, toxic, and/or musculoskeletal reasons and are too sick or injured to stand or walk on their own.”, as described in a report from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) titled, “An HSUS Report: The Welfare of Animals in the Meat, Egg, and Dairy Industries”. In this report, HSUS adds, “A 2007 review of nonambulatory cattle suggests that the number of downed cattle on U.S. farms or feedlots who are sent to slaughter in any given year may approach 500,000. It has been reported that dairy cows account for approximately 75% of downed cattle.” (4). With this information, it is easy to see the impact that poor living conditions can have on an animal’s health, and the lack of respect and care which has caused the conditions. The life-threatening and alarmingly inhumane living conditions of dairy cows are paralleled in beef and veal farms. Male calves, which are only alive for 16 to 18 weeks before slaughter, are confined in highly controversial “veal crates”, which are so small, the calves can’t move or turn around (HSUS, 3). As for cattle bred and raised for beef, they are put through painful procedures such as castration and dehorning, usually without anesthesia (HSUS, 3). In addition to that, their lives consist of grazing, being transported to feedlots (as Pollan described were disgraceful), and being taken to slaughter once they are of ideal weight (HSUS, 3). HSUS also describes how cattle, much like any other animal raised for slaughter, “are not given any food, water, or protection from the elements during the journey to the slaughter house.” (3).In expanding on America’s meat industry, an interesting story was given by Blake Hurst for The American in his article titled, “The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals”. Hurst writes of  a family friend and farmer who had created a “free-range” turkey farm. “Turkeys raised in a natural manner, with no roof over their heads, just gamboling around in the pasture, as God surely intended.” (Hurst, 2009). One night however, there was a thunderstorm, which resulted in the loss of 4,000 of the farmer friend’s turkeys. “It seems that turkeys, at least young ones, are not smart enough to come in out of the rain, and will stand outside in a downpour, with beaks open and eyes skyward, until they drown.” (Hurst, 2009). In special cases such as this one, the idea of providing a nice environment for animals raised for meat production backfired. Although the farmer provided freedom for the turkeys, he did not provide shelter, and did not effectively ensure the safety of these animals. One wouldn’t give a pet cat food and water, but no place to take shelter, regardless of whether or not it is traditionally a domestic or wild animal. In this situation, the respect and better living conditions were only partially taken care of. One may wonder why the American public doesn’t do anything but bat an eyelash at their country’s food production and consumption. Many think that seeing the reality is just too harsh. Many Americans suffer from food related health problems, which are in part, due to how the meats they eat are raised and processed. In an article for The Washington Post by Eli Saslow titled, “Too much for too little”, Saslow writes of a family in poverty who must use food stamps to obtain their weekly groceries. The food stamps they are given are for unhealthy, fattening, and cholesterol-raising foods (Saslow, 2009). Food stamps are ideally a good way for low-income families to obtain food, but the foods that are available can do more harm than good. In families like the Salas family, it can be hard to adjust to a new diet for the household, especially with children (Saslow, 2009). The foods they are so used to, much like how the American public’s meat-heavy diet, are hard to switch out of when eating for years. In the Salas’s case, they can barely afford to change, but that doesn’t mean The United States as a whole can’t (Saslow, 2009). Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn Foundation, has been an advocate for animal rights and a volunteer herself for the rescue of animals in life threatening conditions. The Gentle Barn Foundation is a nonprofit association which provides a sanctuary for animals, mainly farm animals, who have suffered neglect, been rescued by The Gentle Barn volunteers from slaughter, or are deemed as “unadoptable”. These animals aren’t just given a safe haven, but are actually there to help and educate children as well. The Gentle Barn’s “At-Risk Youth” program gives inner-city children the opportunity to spend a day with the animals on the farm, petting, talking, and showing the animals care. “Since children naturally identify with animals, we can use interactions with animals to teach children how to behave towards other people.” (The Gentle Barn, 2017). The Gentle Barn not only provides this opportunity for less privileged children, but they also offer educational field trips for schools, and programs for children with special needs. The actions that Ellie Laks has taken with her success of the Gentle Barn Foundation is a fine example of the respect people should be showing to other living beings, and the impact that these animal sanctuaries have on not only the animals, but humans too. One animal at The Gentle Barn is Maybelle, a retired dairy cow who was about to be sent to slaughter, then was rescued by Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner. “This is what the dairy industry wants us to think how cows live, where animals kind of get to live with some sort of dignity.” (Laks, “Maybelle’s Story”, 2016)The family who had Maybelle had no  “use” for her anylonger, but were kind enough to hand her over to The Gentle Barn Foundation to prolong her life and live happily. Maybelle did not adjust well to being at The Gentle Barn at first, and it was soon realized that she was uncomfortable because she was missing her baby calf, who was still alive and at her home farm. Laks and Weiner soon retrieved the calf, Miles, and reunited him with his mother, Maybelle. It was later discovered that Maybelle was expecting a second calf. Maybelle and her calves are able to live a healthy and happy life together as a family at The Gentle Barn, which for cows, is a rare miracle. Maybelle’s story is also just one of many of the animals who have come to a safe haven. Bob was a calf taken in by The Gentle barn, along with three other calves from the same veal farm. At this particular veal farm, the calves were euthanized by being left to starve to death, or are beaten in the head with hammers and left to die (Weiner, “Calf Rescue at E6, 2011). Nathan Runkle, Executive Director for “Mercy for Animals” was a guest speaker in the video produced by The Gentle Barn titled, “Calf Rescue at E6”, and had also teamed up with Weiner to save the calves. Runkle states, “Whether you agree with animals being raised or killed for food, certainly most people can agree that at least these animals shouldn’t be tortured, and it’s a complete abuse of power to subject these animals to literally a lifetime of misery.” (“Calf Rescue at E6”, 2011). Bob and his fellow calves were in near-death condition, and needed immediate care and medical attention. Today, Bob and his friends are still living happily and healthily at The Gentle Barn, and have had their lives prolonged by years due to Weiner and Runkle’s rescue. Due to the better living conditions, respect, and safe haven at The Gentle Barn, these animals will continue to live their lives in peace. The American public turn a blind eye to where their food actually comes from, which, is understandable. Given the circumstances that animals endure just to be killed prematurely in life, who would want to ruminate on the food production process in the United States? Hopefully in the near future, places like The Gentle Barn will be created across America, will acknowledge the impact that care and respect for living beings, as well as providing animals safe havens, can have on our society. By addressing the lack of respect and care for animals in the food production industries, improving the disgraceful living conditions for these animals, and providing sanctuaries for retired and rescued farm animals, the unethical portions of the food production industry have the potential to improve. Works Cited:An HSUS Report: the Welfare of Animals in the Meat, Egg, and Dairy Industries. The Humane Society of the United States, 2009, pp. 1–13, An HSUS Report: the Welfare of Animals in the Meat, Egg, and Dairy Industries.Hurst, Blake. “The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals.”, The American, 30 July 2009,, Ellie. Maybelle’s Story., The Gentle Barn, 6 May 2016,, Bill, and Michael Pollan. Michael Pollan, Part I. Bill Moyers Journal,, 28 Nov. 2008,, Eli. “Too Much of Too Little.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 9 Nov. 2013, 24c.Weiner, Jay. Calf Rescue at E6., The Gentle Barn, 12 May 2011,

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