One of the more interesting changes in my business over the last year has been the opportunity to present stress management programs for farmers. At first this didn’t seem to be a good match for me. I’m a city-girl, very much removed from the world of agriculture. However, here’s the thing: people are people. We are all trying to live our lives, raise our kids, and keep our heads above water financially … and we all have stress.
It has been an honor to share my knowledge with farmers. The knowledge they’ve shared with me has been incredible. What I didn’t know about agriculture could fill one of those huge silos you drive by on the highway.
I’ve met hundreds of farmers this year in the stress management programs – even more on Twitter and Facebook, and had the opportunity to visit two farms. One thing I know for sure is that farmers are under amazing pressure and stress.
Which is why the video just released about animal cruelty on an Ohio dairy farm is so upsetting. I watched exactly 33 seconds of this video. It is disgusting.
But, excuse me, are we to assume this abuse is common practice on dairy farms?
I cannot for a minute imagine any one of the farmers I’ve met kicking or smacking an animal in the head for what appears to be pure enjoyment. That is just ridiculous. Shame on anyone who believes the honest, hardworking farm families of this country would be so evil.
So, why does this rile me up so much? I guess it is the Girl Scout in me. There are groups whose mission is to end animal agriculture in America. Yes, they’d like us all to be vegetarians. It isn’t honest or fair (one of the lines in the Girl Scout law) to attack the people at the heart of our nation to further this mission.
Yes, as a country we are alienated from agriculture. Most of us have no idea how our food is produced. We are not however alienated from people. Would you suspect your neighbor, co-worker, or the checker at the grocery store of animal cruelty? Why are we so easily lead to believe it of people who have committed their entire lives to the care of the land and their animals?
So this Girl Scout is standing up and saying, “Hey! Stop picking on my friends!”
If you see or read something alarming about what happens on farms, check it out before you believe it. Even better ask a farmer on Agchat.
It isn’t fair to have good people attacked and I’d like you to help make it a litter better. Could you please – send a “Thank A Farmer” message out today on Facebook or Twitter. Our farm friends need to know we are thinking of them!
Hey farmers, please know there are people out here who honor and value you and your hard work to put #food on our tables. That’s why I ThankAFarmer!
Eliz Greene survived a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggled to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and searched for a way to hold on to the perspective and passion she found in her near-death experience. Drawing on her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.
As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.
24 Responses to “Hey! Quit Picking On My Friends. Why I Thank A Farmer!”
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eliz Greene and Sarah Hubbart, Eliz Greene. Eliz Greene said: RT @elizgreene: Hey, Quit Picking on My Friends! (My reaction 2 the Ohio "Farm" Video) http://bit.ly/c2YsHZ #nutrition @#worklife #stress […]
Thank you. From another AgChat member – with a lifetime of imperfection and farm experience this heinous behavior is NOT what is on most farms. Anyone touches my animals even close to what’s on that video it would NOT go on for weeks.
Oh what a great article! Thank you for seeing the truth and standing up for the American Farmers and Ranchers!
It is my pleasure!
Thank you Eliz! We need people like you! I posted your article on my Facebook site Farmers with Pitchforks. I say organizations like HSUS may have budgets of $120 million but agriculture can have 120 million voices. Thank you for helping to give agriculture a voice!
Thanks Madison – your Facebook site made me smile!
I respect your opinion & I understand your perspective, but as a vegan, allow me to throw in my two cents…
My main problem with animal agriculture isn’t HOW animals are raised for human consumption; it’s THAT they’re raised for human consumption. Of course there are varying degrees of treatment of animals on farms, and I absolutely understand that most farmers are good people, trying to make a living, who take pride in their work, and don’t abuse the animals on their farm. Do I have more of a problem with farmers who abuse their animals than I do with farmers who don’t? ABSOLUTELY. Most definitely. I think most people take issue with cruelty, and it is appalling to the vast majority of us. That goes without saying, as evidenced by the public outcry over this latest cruelty expose video.
However… Even when I ate meat, I found veal appalling. Keeping a baby calf (newly born & torn away from his mother so we humans can take her milk) in a tiny crate to ensure that his muscles don’t develop so that they’ll retain that “desirable” white color is ridiculously cruel. Seriously, take a moment to think about that. WHERE is the sense in this? The veal industry is a direct byproduct of the dairy industry, since roughly 50% of calves born to dairy cows are male. The female calves are usually raised to become dairy cows, and the male calves (seeing as they are of no use to dairy farmers since they don’t have udders) are sent off to be slaughtered & sold as “veal” 8-12 weeks after birth. All for our tastebuds & for the almighty dollar. They are sentient beings who can feel the very real emotions of fear, sadness, loss, stress, and so on. Just like humans.
I believe that animal use & abuse, though not always physical (or caught on tape), is prevalent on most farms for one simple reason: Animals exist for their own reasons & aren’t here for us to use them as we see fit. They aren’t here to have their reproductive systems manipulated (as in the dairy industry, since like all mammals, a cow must give birth in order to produce milk) for our tastebuds & our pocketbooks. If I may quote Alice Walker: “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.”
I’m not taking issue with the individual farmers who do not abuse “their” animals, but I take issue with animal agriculture as a whole. With the entire system. I am not saying that farmers are bad people, and I do not believe that farmers are bad people. I think they are trying to make a living the way that they know how. But it really doesn’t have to be at the cost of animals’ lives. Billions of animals every single year in the United States alone.
This ended up being longer than I intended, but I hope I was able to offer a little insight into why some people are so upset over the dairy industry as a whole. Yes, of course this latest cruelty video is disgusting & horrifying, but all farm animals, whether they are raised for their eggs, their milk, or their flesh, are eventually sent off to slaughter when they are no longer “profitable” to the farm. This, in my opinion, is not okay. The abuse endured on some farms is detestable, but so is slaughter.
For the animals, both human & non-human,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts – as always, I’m happy to hear from different sides of the issue. Especially when it is stated in a professional and civil manner as you did here.
One of the great things about American is that we have the right to share our beliefs and advocate for what we feel is right. What I take issue with is the sensational aspect of filming something so horrifying and trying to pass it off as what happens on every farm. It is fine to advocate for a vegan lifestyle, and to promote humane treatment of animals – it isn’t okay to vilify a very hard working group of people for feeding the majority of the American people they best way they can.
Again, thanks for sharing your insight. While I may not agree with your point of view, it is always good to better understand all sides of an issue.
Jessica — I respect that you have your own opinions and beliefs, and I find nothing wrong with that. I have lived on a farm my entire life, and find that many people do not fully understand the concept of farming or the agricultural industry. I am just as against animal cruelty as anyone, I cannot imagine hurting my animals, I love them like they were my children. Farmers take care of their animals better then their children in many cases. What I find absurd is that animal rights advocates will film these terrible events and not do anything to stop them. If they really cared why wouldn’t they step in at that moment and try to help the animal? I surely would step in an help.
There are parts of the agricultural industry that some people in that industry do not agree with. As a vegan you must remember that many of the same people who are involved in animal agriculture are also involved in crop agriculture. Everyone must remember that the U.S. has the highest standards for growing food whether it be animal products or grain products. Should people really be attacking our agricultural system, as we have all become so accustomed to such great food, importing all of our food is not something we want to have to depend on.
As far as the dairy industry goes the cows reproductive systems are not being manipulated they cycle and give birth as they would if they were simply out in the wild. Yes taking their calves away shortly after birth is part of the dairy industry but I can assure you that those calves are taken very good care of. Many of the bull calves that are born are either left bulls and used to breed the cows on another farm later, or they are raised as steers and used for meat after they have reached about 1300-1500 lbs. Raising veal is not a very common practice any longer. In many cases the animals are kept in cages or crates in order to ensure their safety, Such in the case with chickens and pigs. These two species will fight ’til the death in some cases or wound one another and they will then die of infection if they are just left on free-range. Keeping them in “confinement” barns ensures a healthy animal that can be closely monitored and cared for should they get injured or sick.
As the population increases more and more everyday it is obvious that famers are then pressured more and more to produce a great product cheaper and quicker than ever. This is a stressful task. Doing anything to hurt their livelyhood is not something they would do. Therefore any good, hardworking, honest farmer would not abuse their animals. There are good a bad people in every industry, that’s the way the world works, look at Enron.
Eliz — this was a great article thanks so much for taking the time to get to know people in the agricultural industry and really understanding them!
Thanks Ashley – very well put!
I’ve lived on a farm my whole life, raising cows, chickens and crops. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whatever that opinion may be on animal agriculture. However, when someone uses the power of government to force their opinion on others, it’s a crime!!!!!!! I enjoy meat, milk and eggs every day, but I’m not interested in forcing vegetarians to live my lifestlyle. So, will you vegetarians please give the rest of us the same courtesy???? Opinions are what they are, but don’t make laws telling us what we can and can’t do. America’s lifeblood is the idea of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t take it away!
Eliz, thank you so much for writing this and for thanking farmers…
It’s interesting to me that for all of the freedom we enjoy in this country, we sure spend a lot of time trying to force others to see things the way WE see them, and then legislate them in to behaving as we want them to behave.
I am a hobby farmer– I have a day job that supports me. I LOVE my animals, and I have learned enough about farming to know that MOST farmers take excellent care of their animals. But that doesn’t matter to the animal rights groups. Animal agriculture–hell, even pet ownership– is seen as a violation of animal rights.
I am a believer in animal WELFARE, not animal rights– and there is a huge difference. I wish people understood the difference and could then give discriminately to organizations based on which of these concepts they support.
Anyway, thanks again.
(and Ashley, I hope you don’t mind if I copy part of your comment and post it as my facebook status– nicely said!)
[…] Hey! Quit Picking On My Friends. Why I Thank A Farmer! by Eliz Greene […]
I don’t care where you were raised, or how you belief, to bring pain and horror to another living creature, human or animal, is totally unacceptable.Cow, snake, chicken, salmon or cat–a living being indeed has rights !! To think less means your heart is becoming dead! And then, if you do believe that, fine, just make another fish, or snake or cow, you know the one you just destroyed for no good reason. And,should my register clerk that I have none for years be an abuser, I would be first in line to make the authorities aware…I would practice what I believe. I have little empathy for those that cause uncessary grief, Look what these clowns have done to your entire community….the farming community oif Ohio. YOU Keep it in check—do your part—don’t be insulted–get informed…what is your neighbor like anyway? If you had been aware, people like me wouldn’t have to be made aware of the farming atrocities that had to be found in the paper to be rectified….doesn’t make sense, now does it? So stop being insulted and help out—keep your eyes and ears open and give a thoughtful prayer to those who need it—-tell the authorities of those whose heart is dead!!! And there is indeed a difference between welfare and rights to those of you who believe in ne and not the other. Do you know them really??Interpretation ???
Welfare= prosperity; well-being
Rights = proper; correct; to put in order; priviledge
Any living creature has a priviledge to be treated with respect an honor for what they are–alive!! Unless you can make one that looks just like them, of course! Can you??
My hat is off to those who have chosen a farm life for like many walks of life, it is difficult and one of submission. But cruelty—NOPE–UNACCEPTABLE–Therefore, welfare of my mind gives me the right, as an American, to say so—
Christine, thanks for sharing your passion and your thoughts. I agree, cruelty is unacceptable.
Thank you so much for your support! We need more folks like you speaking up for our industry. God Bless You!!!!
Thanks Andy, I’m happy to do a small part!
[…] I think you will like this one…I ran across a blog entry on Busy Woman’s Guide titled, “Hey! Quit Picking On My Friends! Why I Thank A Farmer.” The post was written by Eliz Greene is response to yet another negative YouTube video about farmers […]
Eliz, thank you very much for your beautiful support of agriculture, including animal agriculture. I would be very interested in pursuing the people that engage in such horrific treatment of animals. I can’t understand, if these people truly care about animals’ welfare, how they could film such treatment over the course of several weeks, without endeavouring to stop the treatment! I strongly suspect that these anti-animal agriculture groups are staging many of these videos.
The good-hearted farmers could never conceive of such duplicity and hence are unaware that these people have infiltrated his facility and are conducting such activities.
One of the primary things adding to stress amongst all producers…not just agricultural!…is the steady attack by non-producers on those producers, through media, legislation and regulation. Lack of understanding of other people is at the core of the problem, and you have dealt with it very well. Thanks heaps, Eliz! We need more like you in the world.
Thank you Janet – I’m happy to be part of the solution rather than the problem!
I just wanna know,which two farms have you visited? That’s so nice of you to partake knowledge with the farmers! Quite an impressive post and hey I just did thank a farmer!