As long as we exploit animals and kill them for food, we will exploit and kill each other. The willful numbness of our life as carnivores feeds our lack of empathy for the poor, our lust for war and ecocide.
MINISINK, N.Y.—The affable, soft-spoken dairy farmer stood outside his 70-stall milking barn on his 230-acre family farm. When his father started farming there in 1950 were about 800 dairy farms in New York state’s Orange County. Only 39 survive. Small, traditional farms have been driven out of business by rising real estate prices, genetic manipulation of cows, industrial-scale hormone use that greatly increases milk production, wildly fluctuating milk prices and competition from huge operations that have herds numbering in the thousands.
|For a look at conditions in large-scale dairy farming click here, scroll down to a picture of an array of meats under a heading that begins “Watch undercover videos …” and activate the video above the words “Milk Cow.”|
I grew up in the dairy farm town of Schoharie in upstate New York. The farmers would let me pick through the rocks in their stone walls as I searched for fossils of Crinoid stems, Trilobites, Eurypterids and Brachiopods. I was in numerous cow barns and pastures as a boy. I have a deep respect for the hard life of small dairy farmers. They are up at 5 or 6 in the morning for the first milking, work all day and milk the cows again in the late afternoon. This goes on seven days a week. They rarely take vacations. And their finances are precarious.