Small Dairies Circling the Drain

Bloomberg’s got a solid article on the financial trouble facing the milk industry, and the allegations of many small dairies that they are the victims of price fixing.

I’ve said it before: leaving animal suffering completely out of the picture, you’d still have to be nuts to try to make a living from animal agriculture. Every year, the noose tightens on independent producers as relentless industry consolidation continues. (Thanks Martin.) Link.

Weekly Ad: This Week’s Amazon Bestsellers

Our top-selling items from the past week from Amazon’s selection of vegan books and vegan groceries, all priced well below retail with free shipping available:

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Vegan.com earns commissions from any and all purchases you make whenever you visit Amazon.com through one of our links, even for products we haven’t linked to directly. These commissions enable me to keep this blog updated daily.

Moby: The Apologetic Vegan

Moby, the multi-platinum selling musician and the author of Gristle created a food diary covering four days over the past week. I’ve always found food diaries to be oddly compelling, and Moby’s self-deprecating tone plays off nicely against his simple but satisfying meals.

He may have misfired by calling fish-eaters “normal people,” while asserting a vegan diet is weird, but I think the rest of this piece strikes just the right tone, and has a disarming good-humoredness that could win over omnivores. Link.

Australia Seeks to End Japan’s Whaling “Research”

Australia is taking Japan to the International Court of Justice in an effort to end the nation’s whaling in the Southern Hemisphere. Peter Garrett, Australia’s Environment Minister, says:

We want to see an end to whales being killed in the name of science in the Southern Ocean.

On a related matter, yesterday the Sea Shepherd’s Peter Bethune pled guilty to trespassing and destruction of property, in connection with his sneaking aboard a Japanese whaling vessel last February. Though Bethune is now facing fifteen years prison, it sounds as if the plea must be part of a deal for a greatly reduced sentence. Japan must surely know it stands to gain nothing politically by locking up Bethune. Link.

Swimming Pigs

Yet another reason to like pigs. And if you’ve watched some of the Conklin Dairy Farms video, this pig photo will end your week on a brighter note. Link.

Slate.com: Which Cruelties Can Farmers Get Away With?

This week’s Conklin dairy cruelty video has prompted the writing of a superb “Explainer” article at Slate.com. The piece tackles the question of just how much animal cruelty a farmer can dish out without fear of prosecution.

The article serves as a nice introduction to the cruelties that exist within factory farming. And it’s required reading for any omnivore who assumes that sufficient regulations and enforcement are already in place. Link.

VegTalk: Nathan Runkle on Conklin Dairy Farms Investigation

Mercy For Animals founder Nathan Runkle is my guest on today’s podcast. We talk about this past week’s shocking video investigation of Ohio’s Conklin Dairy, and how you can get involved to stamp out this sort of viciousness. You can witness the undercover video here, donate to Mercy For Animals here, and support Ohioans For Humane Farms here. Today’s podcast is 20 minutes.

Wayne Pacelle on Conklin Cruelty Video

HSUS leader Wayne Pacelle just blogged on the Conklin dairy cruelty video. He has useful thoughts about the investigation’s relevance to the current Ohioans for Humane Farms campaign:

Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson told the Dispatch that the behavior he saw on the videotape was “vile and disgusting.” “If there was a way this could be a felony charge, I would push for that,” Nelson said.

Unfortunately, Ohio’s anti-cruelty law does not allow for felony-level charges for farm animal abuse, no matter how malicious the act. This is due to the lobbying influence of Ohio agribusiness interests.

Those same interests are fighting the Ohio ballot initiative to halt the abuse of downer cows, the strangulation of animals on the farm, and life-long confinement of veal calves, breeding sows, and laying hens in cages and crates barely larger than the animals’ bodies. Volunteers are now circulating the petition and have until June 29 to gather 402,000 signatures of registered voters in Ohio.

The video has put Ohio’s agribusiness officials into an impossible situation. There’s now no way they can credibly claim that current regulations and enforcement practices are sufficient. Link.