Greetings and welcome to my wonderful veg blog site! To start my weekly blogging, I want to introduce myself. I am currently working with an awesome animal rights non-profit organization in Minneapolis called Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA). Prior to working with CAA I was a student at Saint Cloud State University (SCSU). During my studies at SCSU I got hooked on social justice issues, especially animal rights. After watching films such as The Witness and Meet Your Meat, I knew that I had to take action. In 2008 I co-founded an animal and environmental rights group at SCSU called AniMent. For two years I helped organize film screenings, speaking engagements and interactive demonstrations; I facilitated workshops on animal rights at the bi-annual Social Justice Conference with Youth; I collaborated with local and national organizations, and I have worked with many great individuals. One of my proudest moments was receiving an award from SCSU for Most Outstanding Collaboration for a student group. In just two years I was able to accomplish so much and reach out to so many people. I knew this was the path that I had to travel.
People often ask me, “why animal rights?” Why care about animals when there are so many human animals in this world who are also suffering? My perspective is that there are laws in place to protect humans. Of course, these laws are not always followed, but at least they are there. However, non-human animals have very little legal protection. Domesticated animals in the U.S. (such as dogs and cats) are gaining more legal protection but animals raised for slaughter (i.e. pigs, cows, chickens and turkeys) remain unheard and exploited. I hope that by working in this field I will be a powerful voice for these animals.
Animal rights is also important because it is connected with so many other issues.
On the health side, factory farming contributes to human health problems such as bacterial antibiotic resistance and increased hormone levels. Diets high in any animal fat (include those sustainably raised) have been linked to such health problems as heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
Going further into health risks, there is a rising trend in food recalls. I know some of you are thinking it’s not just meat that is being recalled. Yes, there have been recalls on vegetables, but often times factory farms can be blamed for this as well. Runoff from factory farms’ manure pits often gets into waterways. I remember years ago there was a big spinach recall and people were blaming the workers for not washing their hands.
Environmental hazards are also significant. Manure pits, which can often reach the size of a small lake, have been known to burst, causing a flood of fecal matter, blood, and urine to rush down roads and waterways. From New York to North Carolina millions of gallons of crap from these “spills” have affected the lives of ecosystems, animals and townspeople.
Minnesota is not exempt from factory farm pollution either. The fresh farm air of yesteryear has been replaced with the rotten stench of decaying manure and dead or sick animals. Manure pits are swarming with hundreds of gases including methane, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. Air quality in some Minnesota areas had become so polluted with hydrogen-sulfide gases that residents have become ill.
So, for the animals, for my health, and for the environment, I have chosen to spend my time on animal rights.