Colorado, United States - "Grass Fed Free Range" Beef Producer //
One thing I hear quite often when talking to people who eat animal products is that they only buy “organic, grass-fed, free range, local, animal welfare rated - etc.” To many people these words make them feel justified in continuing to buy and eat animals. They believe that if those words are on the packaging, above the meat section of the grocery store or on a commercial like the ones by Purdue that the animals lived a wonderful long life, were able to run through plush grass with their family members and animal friends, and were killed “humanely” and quickly without even realizing what happened. This isn’t what is really going on. It reminds me of my visits to Father John’s Slaughterhouse in Los Angeles, California - the outside of the building is painted with happy pigs and their families together, running, playing, loving life - meanwhile as you stand there all you can hear are the screams of pigs being trucked in to slaughter. Many who have traveled several hours or days without food or water and a huge percentage of them never even saw a blade of grass, living their entire lives on a cement floor in a windowless building.
Other than ‘organic’ there are no laws protecting companies from using the quoted words above or seemingly happy images truthfully - seriously, there isn’t - and even if the animal who was killed lived in your neighborhood on a farm you pass everyday, does that make it okay that you or someone else paid for them to die when there are healthier, more sustainable options that don’t include killing someone available? The answer will always be no. Animals are indeed someone, they each have a soul, a unique personality - some are shy, some are playful - and most importantly like humans, animals feel and understand pain and suffering.
I have visited many farms where “grass-fed beef (cow flesh)” comes from. I have seen the photos of their commercials and advertisements… and it leaves me perplexed. The places I have been are horrid - they are the opposite of the image these companies use. How is that possible? They are pretending to be something they are not to trick buyers into believing that these cows lived a nice life, it’s okay to eat them. It is all lies. I am not a conspiracy theorist - I am a realist who has seen things with my owns eyes and done countless hours of research from both sides of the spectrum.
One of the “organic grass-fed free range” cow farms I visited had countless pens - approximately 20x20 all filled to the brim with male dairy calves being fattened up for slaughter. They were days from their death. In one pen I quickly counted 40+ cows. The cows couldn’t even move other than to stand up and lay back down in the same place. The “grass” they were fed was hay - thrown over the fence onto them. They lived on barren dirt exposed to all of the elements, which was all four seasons including terrible and bitter cold winters. These cows didn’t get to run and play, they didn’t have shade or anywhere to comfortably lay. They were anxious and terrified - some looked empty in the eyes like they had given up all hope and I can’t blame them when I imagine all they have experienced at the hands of man. If you are buying meat from the grocery store its 99% likely that this is what you are paying for.
When you try to visit farms like these you are not welcomed. Why? Shouldn't people know where the animals come from and how they lived before death? Animal Agriculture does not want you to know because you will stop buying. You will be heartbroken that you supported these industries at one time or another. That you ignored the facts and pleas of others to open your eyes while you refused to believe what they were saying as you “were raised eating meat”or “we have been eating animals since the dawn of time.” It is hard for many people to accept, especially when they feel like eating meat is a part of their heritage. I’ve heard people tell me how much they truly love animals but then go to the grocery store to buy beef and veal to make their meatballs - a recipe passed down through the generations. How could they give that up? Easy. Just because humans have done something for years does not make it just or even okay. Killing sentient beings who just want to live is wrong and we have to open our hearts and minds to realize this. We can’t just pretend to remain ignorant of the suffering that goes into our ‘food’ before it makes it to our plates.
The calves shown in these images were taken from their mothers right after birth. Their mothers were being used for milk production until they could no longer produce anymore and then they too will be sent to a place like this one awaiting “processing” or sent right to slaughter.
When a male calf is born at a dairy industry you can look online and see what farmers write, here are some direct quotes: “Too bad this time she [the mother cow] birthed a male”, “If [the mother cow] doesn't produce a female calf by next year she will be off to market and will coming to a grocery store near you”, “We have a truck that comes every Tuesday and Thursday and we send [the male calves] on that. When they leave on that truck they go to a sale and end up on beef or veal farms. Many are against this, but our personal opinion is that some animals should be used for production.” Some animals should be used for production? That is so heartbreaking that people can look at little calves and just see them as a by-product. The same farmers will write about how cute and what personalities these babies are but have no problem shipping them off to their death.
These calves were terrified when they were taken and many or all of them were purchased at auction by the farmer. I have been to these auctions and I welcome anyone to go and also bear witness to the tragedies that occur at these places. Cameras are banned and you can be arrested for speaking out publicly against many of them - which if they aren't doing anything wrong I again ask why is this? It’s because these places are hell and will make you see that Hell is place we have created here on Earth. Many of the calves don't even survive being there. They are trampled on by other scared calves, they are too young to care for themselves, they were just born and thrown into the lot with the others to be sold. They are seen as one thing - money. When I look into the eyes of these beautiful, soulful animals I weep - they just want to be loved and to live out their lives in peace. They don't want to die and they certainly understand pain, suffering and separation from their loved ones.