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4 May 2008 Issue

1. Sermon by Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
2. More Comments about Animal Welfare Reforms
3. Major Report Condemns Factory Farms
4. May Issue of The Peaceable Table


1. Sermon by Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

The Church of Spiritually Lukewarm People

2. More Comments about Animal Welfare Reforms

My logic and stance on this is based on analogies of slavery or victims of the Holocaust. I have never read of any abolitionist, who instead of working to abolish slavery, devoted their energies to seeing that “masters” just feed or clothe their slaves better or beat them a little less harshly. And I never read about, or spoken to, anyone who simply asked that the Nazis give their victims a little more room in the cattle cars that took them to their deaths. It would be laughable in the macabre sense to even suggest that this had been a valuable contribution to the causes of overcoming these injustices and tragedies. How can it not be the same in this case – we are not making strides when all we are doing is to send innocent animals to a terrible death – but they have had it a bit nicer on their trip to the slaughter house. What we are doing is assuaging our own consciences that we have made a difference, won a battle, and are on our way to victory. We have not and we are not.


Although I am an abolitionist (an important tradition among Quakers as regards human slavery), I think the advantages of reforms such as abolishing cages in favor of free-range production outweigh the disadvantages. It is true that some people who are troubled by the suffering of confined animals will become complacent rather than going vegetarian or vegan. But the population as a whole will probably become more sensitive to the issue through this kind of campaigns, including people who would only become more resistant if activists pushed Abolitionism Now. Later, as awareness builds, more radical changes can be urged.

Gracia Fay Ellwood

3. Major Report Condemns Factory Farms

[Article courtesy of Farmed Animal Watch]

PEW Report on Industrial Farmed Animal Production

“The goal of this Commission is to sound the alarms that significant change is urgently needed in industrial farm animal production,” said John Carlin, Chairman of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (see: http://tinyurl.com/35vqno).

The Commission released its 112-page report this week after examining the issues for 2 & ½ years. Large industrial farms "often pose unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and the animals themselves" while shifting rural economic power from farmers to processors, the report states. A Pew press release notes: “good animal welfare can no longer be assumed based only on the absence of disease or productivity outcomes.”

Among the report’s recommendations are that as soon as possible -and within a decade- battery cages, gestation crates, veal crates, force feeding for foie gras production and the docking of cows’ tails be phased out. It also recommends poultry be covered by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, antibiotics be banned as growth stimulants, and regulations regarding animal transport and manure management be strengthened and enforced. (The report notes that, in the U.S., animals in confinement facilities produce three times as much manure as does the human population.)

After industry representatives moved to prevent the Commission from accessing farms, it resorted to tours arranged by the Animal Agriculture Alliance: http://www.animalagalliance.org 

“We found significant influence by the industry at every turn: in academic research, agriculture policy development, governmental regulation, and enforcement,” the study reports. “[T]he agro-industrial complex -- an alliance of agricultural commodity groups, scientists at academic institutions who are paid by the industry, and their friends on Capitol Hill -- is a concern in animal food production in the 21st century," wrote the Commission’s executive director. The Commission recommends increasing public spending on research to avoid potential bias of industry-sponsored studies, and that universities disclose research sponsors. (Two-thirds of U.S. research and development money comes from industry and less than a third from the federal government, according to the National Science Foundation. In 1981, the funding levels were equal.) Industry groups counter that the Commission was slanted against them from the start.

The full report, which includes numerous photographs, can be found at (PDF): http://tinyurl.com/5oaao7.

PEW Commission Says Industrial Scale Farm Animal Production Poses “Unacceptable Risks” to Public Health, Environment

Pew Charitable Trusts press release, April 29, 2008

Panel Questions Factory-Like Farms
Associated Press, April 29, 2008

Farming Critics Fault Industry’s Influence
The Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth Williamson, April 30, 2008 http://tinyurl.com/5htdyf

Report Targets Costs of Factory Farming

The Washington Post, Rick Weiss, April 30, 2008

4. May Issue of The Peaceable Table

Contents include:

* Bonobos, together with other animals and birds, are featured in the Essay Review of "Minds of Their Own," the lead article in the March '08 National Geographic.

* In the Film Review, we learn of some surprising analogies between the situation of the hero of Horton Hears a Who! and that of animal advocates.

* A recipe for delicious tsimmes, encountered at a Passover Seder, appears in this month's Recipe column.

* Our Pioneer and Poet is another worthy from ancient Rome, the lighthearted and sometimes ribald poet Ovid, who in this excerpt from Metamorphoses (with translation) reveals a serious side.

You can view this issue online at http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue43.html

We always welcome comments, suggestions, and submissions.

Peace to all,
Gracia Fay Ellwood

Your question and comments are welcome

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