Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Hope? God Is Watching...

"I saw an udder on one cow that was so gigantic that she had a hard time walking. ...I could tell just by the look on her face that all she wanted to do was lay down and die. It was probably one of the saddest things I've ever seen. She was at the back of the line and the employee [SIC] at the back was cajoling her to move along towards the milking carousel. It looked like it hurt her to move with every step. I'm sure she's dead now. Animals can only take so much."

I hope God was watching that day -- and that He also saw the cows who lay dead from slipping on the ice that formed owing to a heating system failure at the Fair Oaks dairy farm. There is no "Fair" in that picture... but maybe a higher power is needed to make it fair.

You know, I write quite a bit about the science; public health, the environment, the air, the water, the soil... may God forgive me for not writing enough about the animals that can't speak for themselves, and rely on eyewitnesses to tell their story.

Eyewitnesses like the person above who, as I promised, shall remain anonymous on this blog.

Most eyewitnesses won't tell their story. They're afraid for their jobs. They're afraid for their families. They're afraid about being sued for breaking their silence and violating non-disclosure agreements. Some, I've been told, are even afraid of being kicked out of the country...

Perhaps the best way to give the animals on factory farms like those witnessed above owned by McCloskey and the den Dulk brothers, is to put their employees on the stand, and ask them the oh-so-important questions under oath -- ask them to "...tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God."

I'm guessing there are more than a few of them who have trouble sleeping at night. As I commend this one eyewitness for coming forward, my heart aches for all of those employees who are afraid to do so.

If you live in Jasper County, Indiana ...stand up and help make a difference.

Join us December 11, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at the Rensselaer High School where the next den Dulk dairy plans are unfolding -- and where they intend to trash yet another area of Jasper County. The fate of 13,000 calves are potentially at stake here, too.



Anonymous said...

I hope you thank God you live in America where you can lie and get away with it, your comment are uncalled forand untrue. If you feel so threatened by Jasper county agriculture i would consider a move back to Canada.

Anonymous said...

you didn't have the guts to post my comment about you moving back to Canada-

kmyers said...

Sorry for the delay. I didn't have time to moderate comments for my blog until today.

Regarding the "lying" comment -- I simply relayed a story received from an eyewitness. You can call him a liar, if you like -- but, having spoken with him personally, I tend to believe him more than I believe your version. Call me with your version and -- who knows -- maybe you can convince me your version is true.

Regarding the "Canada" comment -- if not for my intense love for my husband and his desire to protect his family's legacy (5 generations of his family have lived here) -- we'd probably be there right now.

Regarding the ...ummm... "guts" comment. Uh-huh, okie dokie ... noticed you posted "anonymously" ... ummm -- ?

Lucas said...

I am not anonymous from the previous post but i am going to have to agree with him or her, you refer to animals not being able to speak for themselves. This just may be because God did not give them the ability to talk, also God put animals under man for the following reasons; meat, milk, and leather for your shoes.
Oh by the way your water numbers are way off, this is a 10,000 calf operation. Any way you cut this it is a reduction of almost half the animal units, water use, and nutrients from manure presently produced by 350,000 chickens.
Ps. Next time find a reliable source

Brian Myers said...

Hi Lucas,

Well in my opinion animals "do talk" if humans want to actually listen... Maybe they do not speak in a language we can understand but if watched closely animals will change their behavior and or demeanor as a direct result of what humans are doing to them. I mean scratch a dog on the back and he will react in one way - scratch the same dog on the belly and he will react in a different way... Now then if we want to listen to a dairy cow it is up to us to understand why they need injections to produce the required amount of milk or why their lifespan is 10 - 12 years SHORTER when they are housed in these CAFO's with thousands of their "friends"...

Since you are so up on "Gods" reasoning could you please explain to me what his intention was for a few other things such as mosquito's, ticks, blue/green algae, and ecoli - just to name a few?

hmmmm now it is a 10,000 calf operation? Geeze I would really be happy to hear the EXACT number at
some point. The IDEM permit states a 5,000 head calf operation, you say it's 10,000 head but at the BZA meeting last month we heard the numbers 5,000 head to be housed in the existing buildings AND 8,000 Head to be housed in additional outside "bubble barns" or in short 13,000 head...

As far as the water consumption compared to existing production I guess that would all depend upon WHICH set of numbers you decided to use. According to the University of Missouri and their chart The same amount of water is consumed by ONE calf as is by approximately 100 laying chickens.

Using their numbers:
350,000 laying chickens X .048 = 16,800 gallons of water daily
5,000 - 250 pound calves X 2.5 = 12,500 gallons of water daily
10,000 - 250 pound calves X 2.5 = 25,000 gallons of water daily
13,000 - 250 pound calves X 2.5 = 32,500 gallons of water daily

Now then as to the manure amounts

According to the Ohio State University and their publication
a laying chicken will produce between .2 and .34 pounds of manure per day. And according to the article in the San Francisco Chronicle
A well fed dairy cow produces 120 lbs of manure per day...

So lets see - 350,000 chickens would produce on a daily basis between 70,000 & 119,000 pounds.

Since we used the weight of the calves at 250 lb above lets do the same here and average the manure output per calf at 20 lb (1/6th of the amount of the cow)

5,000 calves would produce about 100,000 lb of manure per day
10,000 calves would produce about 200,000 lb of manure per day
13,000 calves would produce about 260,000 lb of manure per day

Not really sure what you are using to "cut" the numbers or which way you are cutting them to come up with that "reduction" statement but according to these numbers I see an increase of at least 80,000 pounds of manure and an increase of at least 8,000 gallons of water (using your 10,000 head count) The way that I see it is the only thing being reduced is the overall head count of the animals.

kmyers said...

Hi Lucas. Thanks for posting. Have you read -- Stop - Look - Listen? -- just curious.

Regarding the water numbers -- my husband has more info for you (see comment below).

The "source" I used for the water calculations (ie. average weights, gallons required, etc.) comes from a USA dairy industry source. If you say they're an unreliable source, well, okay... you're entitled to your opinion. I have a feeling they would beg to differ with you.

By your post, I'm guessing you think that I might be okay with 350,000 chickens being housed at the proposed calving operation location. Permit me to correct the assumption -- I didn't condone the poultry operation, just as I don't condone a calving operation going in there.

Regarding your "reliable source" comment -- I'm getting pretty tired of commenters coming in without backing up a single one of their "claims" without any links to research of any kind.

I mean, just look at the first 2 comments above. Can you believe how ridiculous the person sounds, spouting off as though my family has no roots (or rights) in this area, when in fact 5 generations of my husband's family have lived in this very same home.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, his family (now mine through marraige) was here long before any of these CAFOs showed up.

Just because they decide they want to come here means families like ours are just expected to "shove off" -- or in other words, shut up or get out?

But I digress...

How about supporting your water useage comments with what you consider "reliable sources" ... and a link to the actual application so we all know exactly how many calves are planned for this location?

As I mentioned in my Water post, we're frankly confused by the numbers we've heard, read and seen thus far, which is why we're going to the meeting on Monday night. We sincerely want to hear all the details... not just the rumors.

By the way, if you have links to better resources for calculating water useage on 10,000-head calving operations, I'm open to reviewing them and would be happy to post "estimate" revisions if any can be supported through another reliable resource.

I did find some Canadian water use estimate charts ... but those estimates put the water useage much higher than the conservative numbers I posted. Maybe they use a different style of farming... I don't know. But I kind of figured people would rather I used American Dairy estimates for my examples on this blog, since some of my visitors appear to be somewhat "antagonistic" towards Canada and/or Canadians. he-he-he

Anonymous said...

Hello, the Meyers
I have read everything in your blog, and i would have to agree with lucas on this one. You say facts that you dont know for sure that are true. Such as, the fact that Missouri is a different state than Indiana, and the fact that they have much different weather and humidity, so chances are that the way they and their bodies react are in a different way. They will need more water in Missouri than Indiana. And have you personally went to IDEM and got the numbers right? And another thing regarding your manure comments, even though chickens produce a less amount of manure, it smells a lot worse than a larger amount of cow manure. Chickens don't eat the same food that cows do. It is the amount of nutrients that are in the manure that makes it smell. All I ask of you is to find the right sources before you make a big deal of it. Thank you.

kmyers said...

I'm guessing most USA visitors to this blog already know Missouri is a different State than Indiana... so is Michigan... so is Iowa... so is Texas... so is California... so is North Carolina... so is Idaho...

And yet, isn't it simply amazing how many troubles each and every State listed above has had with CAFOs?

I wonder, if we took a nationwide poll of rural residents living near CAFOs, how many complaints would we hear overall?

That's one "study" that has never been done to my knowledge.

I also wonder how many nationwide non-point source pollution studies have been completed on tributaries near CAFOs clear across the USA. Another study not completed, alas. In fact, they say they CAN'T because no "model" exists to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the actual source is, indeed, the nearby CAFOs.

However the new DNA-style method for fingerprinting of pahtogens is proving interesting.

I also wonder how many studies have been completed regarding E. coli, salmonella, lysteria or other such dangerous pathogens leaching into groundwaters through soil. Oh, look, here's one. And another. And yet another. And oh my gosh, here's another study.

What about pathogen-laden animal slurry possibly infecting our fruits and veggies? Oh my, look... here's one scientific study on that. And another one. And oh my gosh, here's another study.

Even potting soils are at risk, you might be wondering? Why yes, here's a scientific study for that one too.

My Heavens, are there more scientific studies?


I'm not sure which IDEM numbers you are referring to in your post, but if you're referring to manure numbers, I went to a Purdue University expert.

Maybe you doubt Purdue University's expertise on the subject of agriculture and/or farming?

As for saying facts that I don't know for sure ... when I'm not certain of accuracy in any post, I clearly state so. For facts, I do my best to support all my facts with links to actual studies, trade journals and more.

But I find it ever so incredibly amazing how most every CAFO supporter who has come to this blog to post their comments won't even provide a single link to any INDEPENDENT SCIENTIFIC studies to back up their remarks.

I've mentioned that several times on this blog.

I'm still waiting...

Oh, and yes, I am aware that chickens don't eat the same food as cows or calves.

But isn't it simply amazing how the high price hike in corn is causing the price of eggs to go up, as well as the price of beef, and the price of chicken?

Let's not go down that path right now. Because, trust me, based on your post you won't like the news article links and studies. Sometiems, reality bites.

kmyers said...

Dang, I fogot to give you the link to the Purdue University expert info on the manure.

That's what happens when I have to stay up till 4 a.m. just to respond to comments. *grin*

Here is the link.

Anonymous said...

The den Dulk family is actually a very religious family. They have sent all five of their children to Christian education outside of the city they live in in Michigan.