[ITHACA, NY] Cornell University Vegan Society and ThankTank Creative, an Ithaca-based vegan consulting, design, and marketing firm, present a limited screening of the controversial documentary “COWSPIRACY: the Sustainability Secret” on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 7:30 PM at Regal Ithaca Mall Stadium 14. Reserved seating tickets are currently available and recommended.
“COWSPIRACY: the Sustainability Secret” is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. As eye-opening as “Blackfish” and as inspiring as “An Inconvenient Truth,” this shocking yet humorous documentary reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet.
“This is an important film for everyone to see,” said Eric C Lindstrom, President of ThankTank Creative. “Every few years a documentary comes along that everyone who cares about this planet needs to see, this is one of those documentaries.”
“COWSPIRACY: the Sustainability Secret” has been screening across the world since its release and this limited engagement screening at Regal Ithaca Mall Stadium 14 provides the Finger Lakes Region an opportunity to learn more about the environmental impact of large-scale factory farming around the world.
This is a milk filter after the milking.
This gross stuff is pus, or as the industry calls it: “somatic cells”. This pus is in every bag or carton of milk in the supermarket, along with the fecal residue, disinfectants and cleaners, and who knows what else.
Another reason not to drink milk.
And yes, this is true, not ‘vegan propaganda’.
Today’s dairy cows endure annual cycles of artificial insemination, pregnancy and birth, and mechanized milking for 10 out of 12 months (including 7 months of their 9-month pregnancies). This excessive metabolic drain overburdens the cows, who are considered “productive” for only two years and are slaughtered for hamburger meat when their profitability drops, typically around their fourth birthday, a small fraction of their natural lifespan.
Turning dairy cows into milk machines has led to epidemics of so-called “production-related diseases,” such as lameness and mastitis (udder infections), the two leading causes of dairy cow mortality in the industry.
Because of the mastitis epidemic in the U.S. dairy herd, the dairy industry continues to demand that American milk retain the highest allowable “somatic cell” concentration in the world. Somatic cell count, according to the industry’s ownNational Mastitis Council, “reflects the levels of infection and resultant inflammation in the mammary gland of dairy cows,” but somatic cells are not synonymous with pus cells, as has sometimes been misleadingly suggested. Somatic just means “body.” Just as normal human breast milk has somatic cells—mostly non-inflammatory white blood cells and epithelial cells sloughed off from the mammary gland ducts—so does milk from healthy cows. The problem is that many of our cows are not healthy.
According to the USDA, 1 in 6 dairy cows in the United States suffers from clinical mastitis, which is responsible for 1 in 6 dairy cow deaths on U.S. dairy farms. This level of disease is reflected in the concentration of somatic cells in the American milk supply. Somatic cell counts greater than a million per teaspoon are abnormal and “almost always” caused by mastitis. When a cow is infected, greater than 90% of the somatic cells in her milk are neutrophils, the inflammatory immune cells that form pus. The average somatic cell count in U.S. milk per spoonful is 1,120,000.
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- A Washington Post food critic has come out as a vegetarian (not vegan, mind you, heavens no!), with lots of excuses and worries, making me aware of how biased food writers apparently are toward animal products. I’d been ignoring them for so long I hadn’t thought much about it. How weird, that a food critic should be so afraid to openly reduce the suffering that he or she is causing. It’s a good thing. You don’t have to be ashamed to eat fewer dead things.
- Avoiding chemicals is hard, but eating a lot of relatively unprocessed vegetables is probably a smart move.
- Processed Meat Raises Risk Of Dying From Cancer And Heart Disease, Study Finds, recalling earlier studies finding the same conclusion
- The Partnership for a Healthier America, Let’s Move!, and USDA’s MyPlate came together to offer “healthy” recipes to folks on Pinterest. Disappointingly, they focus mostly on meat and put vegetarian food last. Because who needs science!
- Check Happy Cow to find good vegan food near you – you can search by ZIP code or town. It’s really useful for roadtrips, too. (They recently redesigned their site, so check it out if you haven’t been there in a while!)
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I read Lindy West’s F*ck Yes, I’ll Eat Some Horse Meat. Give It to Me. I Love It. on Jezebel with amusement and… shock? I’m not used to seeing things like this in mainstream media. It’s just so conscious, calling humans on our speciesism so clearly and bluntly and irreverently: Humans know that all animals are made of meat, she writes. (She doesn’t touch on the fact that humans are also animals, and also made of meat, but okay.) So if we eat cows, what business do we have being all upset when we accidentally eat a horse? Good point.
Back when I was 17 I went to Japan on a scholarship and resolved I would try to be really open, and would try any food that came my way. I was an enthusiastic omnivore then, comfortable with myself as an animal that had evolved to eat other animals (I, um, hadn’t read enough yet), and I was ready for anything. I ate a lot of flesh from members of species I never eaten before: octopi, eels, lots of unfamiliar fishes. No turtles. I had a ban on turtles and rabbits because I had had them as pets.
I had met a horse many times, a horse who was deeply loved by someone in my family, but I hadn’t ever gotten really close with horses. So on this trip, I ate horse. Raw, actually — there was a big plate of horse sushi at the reception the Japanese government folks held for us exchange students. I didn’t want to be rude, and I kind of wanted to show off how brave and culturally open I was, to defy some stereotypes about Americans. So I ate some. It tasted a lot like all the other sushi: Soft and chewy and kind of slimy. It was fine, but I didn’t enjoy it. And now, years later, when I’ve come to the realization that horses and cows and humans are all the same, I regret that I made the choice I did then. I have to live with that regret for the rest of my life. I wish that I had seen it then: If animals are all made of meat, what do we do? Eat all of them indiscriminately? (Why not humans then?) Or stop eating all of them, because we’ve realized that all the other meat is just as autonomous as we are?
For more on humanity’s apparently willful ignorance about our food choices, watch this clip from Real Time With Bill Maher, Episode 273 (wherein he says a number of insensitive things as he is wont to do, sorry):
It’s perhaps worth noting that despite his apparent grasp of the consent issues relating to animal exploitation, Bill Maher isn’t vegan.
I’m curious if human beings will always try to hold onto the idea that we’re somehow so special we should be allowed to treat every member of every other species on this planet like they’re property.
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Richard Turere, a 13-year-old Maasai from Kenya, invented a solar-powered solution to lions killing cows, and humans killing lions: A device that mimics the look of a person walking with a flashlight, to scare lions away from cow sheds, preventing humans from lethal retaliation against the endangered predators.
Vegans may be interested in educating themselves about the Maasai, who present some very interesting questions regarding animal exploitation. They are able to live in desert and scrublands that are otherwise uninhabitable, and are extremely self-sufficient. And yet their way of life could not continue without the exploitation of cows. A debate between a fundamentalist abolitionist vegan and a Maasai person would be very interesting!
Via NPR; photo by James Duncan Davidson
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Hear Michael Moss on Democracy Now, speaking about how Oscar Mayer and Kraft used clever marketing to get kids hooked on unhealthy products. Creepy story! If they had this playing next to every Lunchables display in every supermarket, no one would ever buy them again. That’s probably not going to happen any time soon, but we can sure share this video.