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Doomed Cows (Don’t) Escape Killing Floor

Photo by Scott Bauer/USDA

Having seen a few Facebook posts today about cows escaping from a St. Louis-area slaughterhouse, I asked myself how many news stories I’d have to look at before coming across a stupid and thoughtless headline. 

One, as it turned out.

I typed “cows St. Louis” into a Google News search and clicked on the first story, whose headline, “Steak-out: Police try to corral cattle after escape from north St. Louis slaughterhouse,” loudly betrays the callous indifference that each year dooms billions of animals before they’re ever born.

Like countless animals before them, the cows who likely found nothing but fear and confusion on the streets of St Louis were born to have their throats cut so humans can “enjoy” a juicy burger or a nice steak. Shortly after escaping, they were captured and returned to the killing floor.  

I’m guessing that the newsperson who wrote the St. Louis Post-Dispatch headline hasn’t given much thought to the suffering that our species inflicts on others.

It’s not hard to not eat them. What’s hard is getting people to recognize them in the first place.  

This commentary was sent to St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Christine Byers and photojournalist David Carson in the hope that they’ll someday tell the stories of the victims who’re marched onto the killing floor and brutally slaughtered.

Related commentary: The Dairy Industry’s “Udder Truth” is Utter Nonsense 

Alligator Executed After Encounter with Florida Woman

Photo by Djngsf

Photo by Djngsf

Animals almost always lose. It’s the maddening reality that motivated me to launch this blog in the first place. The latest example of humankind’s arrogant expectation that other species play by our absurd rules involves a Florida woman who nearly lost one of her hands to an alligator when she reached into the water to retrieve a soda can. Not surprisingly, the alligator was executed.

From The Guardian: “Tammy Sapp, a spokeswoman for the (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission), said that alligator bite incidents were rare in Florida but that the wildlife commission worked to keep visitors to the Everglades safe and to remove alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property.”

You’ll remember that in June six alligators were executed after a toddler was pulled into Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The people who were reportedly in the habit of feeding alligators in the area are in part responsible for all seven of those deaths.

In addition to executing “nuisance” alligators—the commission’s Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program was responsible for the deaths of 7,513 animals in 2015—the commission organizes an annual alligator-hunting season as part of its “management” program.

“Wildlife management,” of course, is a sickening and insulting euphemism for sanctioned slaughter.

Make no mistake, Florida’s War on Alligators, which includes the state’s disgusting alligator-farming industry, is a year-round atrocity.

Unwittingly, the woman who reached into the water to retrieve a soda can created yet another opportunity for the state’s death squads to hunt down and kill an alligator.

The right response would have been to do nothing at all, to leave that animal and all the others alone to live their lives free from fear and harm. But killing is big business in Florida, as it is elsewhere. And it will continue as long as the majority remains indifferent.

Florida’s alligator-hunting season begins on Aug. 15. Send an email to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Chairman Brian Yablonski ( and give him a piece of your mind. 

Portrait of an Animal-Rights-Focused Play

I've been working on an animal-rights-focused play. Here's what that work looks like from my perspective.

I’ve been working on an animal-rights-focused play. Here’s what that work looks like from my perspective.

One Murderer Kills Another’s Would-Be Victim

Photo by Roger Green

Photo by Roger Green

A greedy murderer in northeastern England is whining that one of her would-be victims was mortally wounded by a sadistic interloper. According to The Press, “Joe Beckett, who farms near Marton, discovered one of her sheep with gunshots [sic] wounds early on Tuesday morning. … Its injuries were so severe it had to be euthanised.”

“As farmers we fully appreciate that most of our animals are bred to supply the food chain, however this was a totally unnecessary murder,” Beckett was quoted as saying, complaining that “shooting her in the neck and leaving her to die a slow painful death” has the farmer “absolutely furious at this barbaric act of animal cruelty.”

Beckett is suggesting, in other words, that as long as there’s money to be made, bringing animals into the world to cut their throats is both necessary and humane. That last word you might recognize from odious meat-industry propaganda, which, of course, targets the nonthinking and indifferent.

Among those, we can count the reporters and editors at The Press, who don’t see the sickening irony of covering an unexpected murder on an already bloodstained killing floor, and also the law-enforcement officers who’re hoping to bring to justice the individual who visited brutal violence on the sheep who was supposed to be brutally slaughtered by Beckett. Meanwhile, more victims are being born into stolen lives, to exist as pieces of property until it’s time to face the knife.

Rich Square, North Carolina, Where Heroes are Monsters

Photo by Ken Thomas

Photo by Ken Thomas

“Saving lives through slaughter,” the slogan I attached in 2013 to the Holley Fire Department, in Orleans County, New York, will also work for the fire department in Rich Square, North Carolina. On Saturday, April 9, Neanderthals from that company will host a fundraising event in which participating savages kill turkeys for the chance to win $500. Last year, according to The News & Observer, “about 150” savages entered the killing contest. The fire department raised $5,250, at $35 per murderer.

“A $35 entry includes a Friday night steak dinner that is cooked by the firefighters and features raffles and a rules presentation,” The News & Observer report tells us.

In other words, the violent thugs who pay to participate in the fundraising massacre will stuff their faces with the flesh of brutally slaughtered animals before brutally slaughtering other animals, all in the name of saving lives.

In 2013, representatives from Friends of Animals offered to raise money for the Holley Fire Department if officials there would call off their annual competitive slaughter, “Squirrel Slam,” which offers competitors a chance to win guns and cash. Not surprisingly, those officials declined the promise of blood-free cash, preferring to destroy as many lives as possible, all in the name of saving others.

The Holley Fire Department raised $6,000 in 2015, thanks to 600 murderers paying $10 apiece to unleash brutal violence on others. 

To raise the $5,250 it did last year, the Rich Square Volunteer Fire Department could ask each member of the community for about $6. Department members could organize a fundraising event in which no one gets killed. But it’s not about the money. It’s about the killing. And the loathsome degenerates who organize and participate in the annual massacre in Rich Square don’t want anyone from the surrounding civilization telling them how to live their lives while they’re enjoying taking others’–all in the name of saving a lucky few.

Like they are in Holley, the heroes in Rich Square are monsters.

Call Rich Square Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jonathan Morris at (252) 539-2933 and give him a piece of your mind. 

Ask your state legislators to support or introduce legislation that would outlaw wildlife-killing contests, and support the efforts of organizations like Friends of Animals and the Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting to bring an end to such savagery.

Related commentaries:
Holley “Squirrel Slam” is a Neanderthal Custom of Evangelical Barbarism
“Squirrel Slam”: The Holleycaust Continues

Make Bear Hunters Fight Other Terrorists

Photo by Terry Spivey

Photo by Terry Spivey

What follows is on open letter to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Gov. Christie,

On Tuesday, you once again voiced support for your bloodstained state’s annual bear hunt, declaring on Eric Scott’s WKXW (New Jersey 101.5) show Ask the Governor that “bears are everywhere” and “this is a really bad problem.”

Not surprisingly, you echoed the bogus and insulting claim that the state-sanctioned slaughter is “based on science” and gave your henchman, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, a pat on the back, saying he’s “done a great job administering it.”

At the beginning of this week, more than 8,000 bloodlust-full subhumans had secured permits to slaughter bears in your state. That’s more than twice the number of bears than are estimated to make their homes in New Jersey.

The DEP hopes to oversee the slaughter of some 700 bears this year — about 20 percent of the population. Reducing New Jersey’s human population by the same percentage, it’s worth pointing out, would mean killing approximately 1.8 million people.

But that’s entirely different, you would say with great bluster. We need to protect humans from the dangerous beasts who dare to wander out of our nightmares and onto our streets.

What your state’s annual bear massacre proves is that bears and other species are in desperate need of protection from violent thugs and the greedy opportunists, like you, who bend over for them.

How many humans in your state have been killed by bears? One. Since Monday, 366 bears have been murdered in New Jersey. Congratulations, you’re more than halfway to your desired body count for the year.

Morality, of course, can’t be measured in numbers. Your ridiculous claim that the bear hunt is a science-based necessity betrays the astonishing arrogance with which monstrous people like you operate.

If there is a problem, it’s man’s callous disregard for other species. For you, this is about power, just as it is for the knuckle-dragging, lead-filled-phallus-carrying sadists who right now are searching the New Jersey woods for potential victims.

All the bears want — and what they absolutely deserve — is to be left alone to live their lives free from fear and harm. And you deny them that to cater to the bloodthirsty desires of murderous psychopaths.

Why not send the 8,200 bear-hunt-permit-holding Neanderthals overseas to tangle with ISIS? Let one group of barbarians hunt the other. The world would be a much better place without any of them.

The above was sent to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, and WKXW’s (New Jersey 101.5) vice president of news and digital operations, Eric Scott.

The Dairy Industry’s “Udder Truth” is Utter Nonsense

While no one’s life is adversely affected by what’s depicted or not depicted on Starbucks’ cups, countless lives are destroyed so that the indifferent masses can add milk to coffee.

Starbucks is just one company whose bottom lines can be measured in stolen lives.

The dairy industry, needless to say, works very hard to portray the victims as willing — even enthusiastic — participants in their own brutal exploitation.

A recently produced video series unimaginatively and insultingly called “The Udder Truth” is a prime example of the propaganda the industry disseminates to make consumers feel good about supporting cruelty.

In the video embedded above, Annie Link, the owner of Dairy Discovery, which offers tours of the Alto, Michigan-based Swiss Lane Dairy Farms, makes the following statements.

“We do everything we can to make sure these cows are comfortable, well cared for. The better care we take of them, the better they’re going to perform for us.”

 “The more relaxed that a cow is, the more comfortable they are, the more milk they’re going to give. We have a great partnership with these cows.”

“The cows actually like to get milked. I mean, they can’t wait for their turn to go in and get milked.”

The “Udder Truth” video series was produced by Dairy Management Inc., an organization that exists “to help increase sales and demand for dairy products.” Dairy Management Inc. is funded by farmers through a federally mandated assessment (a so-called “checkoff” program), administered by the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board — whose members are appointed by the U.S. secretary of agriculture — and overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition to the video series, the “Udder Truth” propaganda campaign, which is presented by the Dairy Management Inc.-maintained website, involves a partnership with The Onion and the satirical news site’s spin-off,, each of which has created industry-sponsored content.

The truth, obviously, is nowhere to be found in any part of this shameful marketing campaign. The unavoidable truth is that cruelty is the very foundation of the dairy industry. Calves are taken from their mothers as soon as they’re born so that their mothers’ milk can be sold for human consumption. Most male calves are destined for dinner plates, while female calves are raised to be repeatedly impregnated and used as milk machines until they are “spent” and can no longer produce, at which point they, too, are turned into food for indifferent humans.

Just ask Annie Link.

In an email response to a handful of questions I asked her during a brief telephone conversation, Link explained that 2044 calves will have been born at Swiss Lane Farms in 2015, that “all heifers are raised here and will be our future herd,” and that “we raise the bull calves that we have enough barn space for (on average 40/month) and sell them to local beef farmers as feeder calves (about 350-500 lbs.). We have a few that we raise and use as bulls for breeding. Other bull calves are sold to a beef farmer or sold at the local livestock auction.”

Cows who leave Swiss Lane Dairy Farms are sold to other dairy farms or to beef producers.

How often a cow is impregnated at Swiss Lane Dairy Farms is determined on an individual basis, Link said, explaining that “they are bred when they are in heat. Their cycle is 21 days but we do not breed them until 70 days after they have a calf and will not breed them again if they are not pregnant after five breedings. On average the cows are having a calf every 13.5 months.”

Not a single cow who is born into the living hell that is the dairy industry has any choice at all. Each is bred into a stolen life that will end with a knife across the throat.

We, on the other hand, can choose to protest on their behalf.

Meet “Kid Schadenfreude,” a 4-Year-Old Animal-Attack Connoisseur

Photo by Jan Kronsell

Photo by Jan Kronsell

Yesterday, I ran into a friend whom I hadn’t seen in several years. It came up in conversation that her 4-year-old son is a budding connoisseur of successful animal-on-human attacks. Naturally, I proposed that my friend, whom we’ll call “Lady Gogo,” read my latest blog post to her son and record his reaction.

My most recently published commentary is about a dunce in Orange, Texas, who scoffed at warnings that an alligator had been seen in the area, defiantly said, “Fuck that alligator,” and jumped into a bayou, never to been seen alive again.

I later read that the alligator who killed the dunce was mercilessly executed by a vengeful asshole who believes animals should live by our rules. That subhuman thug, not surprisingly, was essentially given a pat on the back by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

What follows is a transcript of the conversation Lady Gogo had with her son, whom we’ll call “Kid Schadenfreude.”

Lady Gogo: So what happened was, the guy said, “I don’t care … I don’t like alligators,” and he jumped into the water, and then almost immediately he yelled for help. But then he was never seen again. What do you think of that?

Kid Schadenfreude: Hmm. I like it. Is there another story that he had?  

Lady Gogo: That’s it. What do you think about that?

Kid Schadenfreude: I like it. 

Lady Gogo: What do you like about it?

Kid Schadenfreude: I just do. Mama, why is there always blood in the water

Lady Gogo: Because some people are always killing animals’ environments. What do you think about that?

Kid Schadenfreude: Hmm. Sad. But [animals] killing people is happy! … Mama I would like a story about a person getting squeezed by an anaconda. I’m really interested in snakes … And a black mamba. A black mamba please. Mama? Mama I would like to meet that man …

Lady Gogo later told her son that the alligator in Texas had been killed, despite having been “an animal in its natural habitat, doing its natural thing.”

Kid Schadenfreude described the alligator’s senseless death as “sad.”

Alligator 1, Reckless Dude 0

Photo by Jan Kronsell

Photo by Jan Kronsell

I have an idea for a short comedic film about a guy being killed by an alligator. As the film begins, we meet a reckless young man who’s preparing to go for a swim in a Texas bayou.

Scoffing at posted and verbal warnings that alligators had recently been spotted in the area, he disrobes and dives in. Seconds later, he’s dragged beneath the water’s murky surface, never to be seen again, his female companion screaming like the star of some formulaic horror flick.

As the credits roll, we learn that the film is based on actual events. 

According to CNN, this very scene played out in Texas on Friday.

In the CNN report, Rodney Price, a local justice of the peace, was quoted as saying, “He removed his shirt, removed his billfold … someone shouted a warning and he said ‘blank the alligators’ and jumped in to the water and almost immediately yelled for help.”

If not a short film, this incident at very least calls for one of those cheesy reenactment videos.

Exploitation on Display in New York Art Gallery

Jannis Kounellis. Photo by Gabuchan

Jannis Kounellis. Photo by Gabuchan

In recreating Jannis Kounellis’ 1969 “art” installation Untitled (12 Horses), New York art dealer and gallery owner Gavin Brown is celebrating that which is most ugly about our culture. The sickening exhibit, on view through tomorrow at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, is nothing more than 12 horses tethered to the gallery’s walls.

“I’ve always wanted to show this piece,” Brown was quoted by ARTnews as saying.

The New York Times Roberta Smith suggests that the horses’ “accommodation in a space that is recognizably an art gallery foments an especially concentrated encounter with the brute power of art and its ability to transform space.”

That’s a whole lot of pretentious — and insulting — nonsense.

In an August 2004 interview with the Greek Left ReviewKounellis likened Untitled (12 Horses) to “a theatrical performance,” and said, “This was the significance of my action, which is defined by freedom.”

Whose freedom?

Kounellis’ exploitation of horses in 1969 marked the move of the Galleria l’Attico into a new space in Rome.

“Now that storied hallmark of Arte Povera is being used to say goodbye,” ARTnews explained.

Brown plans to move his gallery, in September, from the West Village to Harlem.

None of this, of course, matters to the exploited animals.

The horses tethered to the walls of Brown’s gallery space are not willing performers, of course. They are victims.

“The horses were tied to the wall of the gallery in order to make a connection between the living element and the idea of solid foundations,” Kounellis told the Greek Left Review in 2004.

Being tethered to a wall, unable to do anything but stand there and be looked at as an object, is not living. What Brown’s exploitation of horses does is reinforce and celebrate the arrogant notion that man is entitled to hold dominion over other species. Putting a frame around exploitation and calling it “art” does not eliminate the cruelty that, in this case, is the medium.

Contact Gavin Brown at 212-627-5258 and tell him that exploitation is not art.

Related commentaries:
Slaughtered Deer on Display in Syracuse “Art” Exhibit
Performance Artist Frames Animal-Testing Protest