Hereford cow and her calf - (AP Photo/Michael MacNeil, Agriculture Department)
The New York Times reported today that a cow escaped from a New York City slaughterhouse located at 158th St. and Beaver Road in Jamaica, Queens. Police were summoned and returned the cow to the slaughterhouse via a trailer usually used for transporting horses belonging to the NYPD's Mounted Unit.
I'm positive that reports of a similar variety could easily be found in Gestapo records from the late 1930s-early 1940s, only the escapees in those cases were of the two-legged variety... Their stories, sadly, often ended in quite the same manner: death.
A Dirty Business
An excerpt from City Nuisances: The Slaughter-Houses of New York, published in the New York Times, December 18, 1865:
"Of all the offences (sic) against public health and decency which are perpetrated in this great city, there is none more gross and abominable, more pregnant with deadly and debasing consequences, than the maintenance, within the city proper, of those establishments, which nearly every other city on this continent has pronounced noisome and doomed to banishment, viz., the slaughter houses. For it is not alone the particular abuse of privilege consisting in the simple existence of these places, with the coexistent knowledge on the part of children and others of what is carried on there, and the numerous retinue of evils in the shaped of miasmatic odors, universal and unexceptional filthiness in the vicinity of each, and the sights and sounds emanating therefrom, that are open to criticism and invite the attention of every respectable citizen, because coupled with this great and crying evil are the manifold minor evils inseparable from the main one, and forming a series of disgusting facts in the hideous system of which we write... It is impossible adequately to describe this place of horrors. The moans of the poor brutes can be distinctly heard for a long distance, and the whole affair is pitiable in one aspect and utterly disgraceful in all... slaughter-houses... are frightful blemishers (sic) on the civilization of the chief American city, and plaque spots on creation."
My research indicates that there are numerous slaughterhouses still in operation in New York City, and that many of these have repeatedly failed sanitaion inspections and been cited for criminal violations of animal welfare laws. The processing of non-human animals for use as food by human animals is a dirty business on many levels. Giving it a sanitary name like "animal agriculture" does not change that fact.
Farm Sanctuary co-founder, Gene Baur and Opie
Farm Sanctuary, located in Watkins Glen, NY, is an organization that "works to end cruelty to farm animals and promotes compassionate living through rescue, education and advocacy", envisioning "a world where the violence that animal agriculture inflicts upon people, animals and the environment has ended, and where instead we exercise values of compassion." This oasis for abused and neglected farm animals has many times opened their doors to escapees like the one in today's news. The heartwarming story from 2007 of Maxine is one such example. According to the Farm Sanctuary website, "New York City is home to several slaughterhouses, live markets and auctions, and escapees from these facilities are not uncommon. [In 2007] alone, our New York Shelter has taken in more than 100 farm animals from the city, including Lucky Lady, a lamb found wandering an industrial section of the South Bronx in June, and Joey, a goat rescued from Brooklyn streets in January."
Cows and other sentient beings certainly know the fate awaiting them in factory farms and slaughterhouses. To think otherwise is to be in denial as to the intelligence and keen senses of these non-human animals, and to be egotistical in the way that only human animals can. One need only watch video footage of these innocent creatures awaiting slaughter as their fellows are killed to see their frantic body language and the terror in their eyes. Video documentation of horse slaughter can be viewed on the SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness) website at horsekillers.com WARNING: the videos are graphic and can be unsettling. If you choose to view, please do so with caution.
I believe there is a clear connection between the high incidences of cancer, heart disease and other all-too-common human illnesses* and the consumption of flesh from non-human animals who die in tremendous fear, stress and anxiety, their bodies flooded with stress hormones that become trapped in muscles and organs some eventually eat. For more about the links between meat consumption and cancer risks, please visit The Cancer Project website. For information on how adopting a vegan diet can improve one's health, please visit the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) website.
Remember that age-old bit of wisdom many of us have heard all our lives:
We are what we eat.
*personal note: within months of adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle in 2004, the psoriasis from which I'd suffered for many years completely vanished and has never returned. Prior to that, treatments by dermatologists had only managed to reduce my symptoms for short periods of time