Notes from the Field: part 1
Happy summer, y’all.
You’ll notice that I started using the “read more” feature on here, so my full posts are visible after the cut below (click on “read the rest of this entry” in each post to go to the full page).
I recently pulled out a stack of binders I had packed away from my days at university. When I cleaned out my desk at the end of the program, I recycled most of the notes I had, but some course notes I kept without really knowing what I’d do with them. The reason has become a bit clearer to me now that I’ve had a few years to recover from being in that environment.
I spent some time recently looking through each page of each binder, recalling some of the lectures, professors, and field trips I took part in during the course of my schooling. These notes have been sitting in a box for ages, but now I’d like to share some of what I learned at school by posting them here. Here are some photos of key pages, in addition to descriptions of what happened at the time the notes were made, or what concepts & practices the notes are referring to.
This post covers general practices in various animal exploitation industries. There will be more posts in the near future that are specific to each industry, ie. the “production” of eggs, milk, pigs, birds, fish & cattle. This is a chance to gain some insight into not only the practices used, but the language and resources employed by animal industries. Think of it as an insider look.
I will never forget the employee’s artificial insemination demo. He took a caged rooster into the hallway, where there was a small, dirty table. He “milked” the rooster – basically masturbated him – by pinning him onto his back and turning his vent area inside out. The semen was collected in a tiny tube. The employee then took the rooster back to his cage, brought out a hen from elsewhere in the building, then pinned her on the table and turned her inside out while releasing the semen from the tube into her body. He didn’t wear gloves. The birds’ wings were pinned between their own bodies and the table. They were used to create fertile eggs, which would be taken from the hens and hatched separately in another room in the building. The chicks would never know their mothers, who would normally teach them what to eat, proper social skills, how to dustbathe, and many other things about being a chicken. The adult chicks would either be killed for their flesh or trapped in the same system of exploitation inside that facility.
The same facility held dark, dusty free-run ‘aviaries’ where debeaked hens crowded a room walled with nesting boxes. It also had a room full of individual cages which housed blind roosters. I remember standing in this dim, depressing little room, observing flies land on the proud-looking roosters who pivoted on the spot inside their cages, their wings pinned to their bodies, because they were unable to take even one step inside of them, or open their wings.
Had I not had these experiences, I never would have believed such awful practices existed under canadian law. I now know better than to think our government gives much (if any) dignity or true protection to animals people classify as “food”. I know these are distressing topics to think and learn about, but I hope that sharing these notes and experiences will help bring more awareness to readers. Check back soon for more notes from the field – there will be many other posts coming.
Posted on July 26, 2014, in Note from the Field and tagged animal agriculture, animal confinement, animal feed, animal welfare, artificial insemination, birds, broiler chickens, broilers, chicken, chickens, cows, dairy, dairy cows, eggs, hens, milk. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.