Animal abuse is ubiquitous

The Sept. 25 cover story, “Homing In,” failed to mention that birds ceremonially released sometimes die due to collisions with cellphone towers, power lines and high-rises, or are killed by predators. When that happens, more are bred to replace the dead ones. Ashevilleans would be outraged if puppies and cats met the same fate.

In the Sept. 18 cover story, “From Cow to Cup,” the proprietor of Wholesome Country Creamery tells us that "milk comes from the soil." Milk actually comes from lactating mammals, and cows, like humans, only lactate after impregnation, a nine-month gestation period and delivery.

Babies are byproducts of the dairy industry. They are usually removed from their moms shortly after birth so that the milk can be sold.  The forced severing of this maternal bond is a heartbreaking event for both mother and baby. The infant girls typically follow in their moms’ hoofprints. The boys can't produce milk and aren't the right breed to be profitably raised for beef, they are usually raised for veal.

The promotional booklet for a recent tour of local farms featured pictures of adorable baby animals raised for their flesh, fiber and reproductive secretions. There was not one image of their young, dead bodies hung upside down to bleed out, which is how they all end up. I’m guessing the kids on the tour petted only live animals, not corpses.

When businesses use animals, they exploit them; it is part of the business model. For example, animals raised for food are killed at “optimal slaughter weight.” Their lives are measured in weeks or months, not years. You can’t profit off animals and protect their best interests.

There is a huge disconnect about this in our society; animal abuse is ubiquitous. I hope one day articles like the ones noted above tell both sides of the story, empowering consumers to make informed decisions and bring their actions in line with their ethics.

If you wouldn’t abuse an animal, why are you comfortable paying someone else to do it for you? To learn more, and meet some lucky animals who escaped enslavement, visit

— Stewart David

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