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Sonia Faruqi’s Project Animal Farm: An Uncensored Look At Factory Farm Cruelty

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

– The Dalai Lama

While we are no strangers to discussing the very real issues plaguing our modern food system at Garden Eats, today’s post is raw and hopefully emotional for most of you. We’re hoping that Sonia’s book is a game changer for people who eat meat everywhere and even for those who don’t. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments after reading.

Project Animal Farm

Sonia Faruqi takes her readers on a “journey into the secret world of farming to tell the truths about our food” in her debut book, Project Animal Farm. Unlike most food documentaries that concentrate on regional issues, Sonia traveled the world to create what would become an unknowing reveal of the cross-cultural, ethical atrocities taking place in the farming world near and far. I haven’t met Sonia, yet from her narrative, she sounds sweet, modest, thankful and genuinely aghast from what she learned about the mistreatment of animals for human food consumption.

If you read our blog regularly you are likely not purchasing meats from big factory farms, you probably know your local farmers because you visit their farms to pick up your meat and CSA boxes, or you know you’re purchasing locally and ethically raised meats… Or, you don’t eat meat at all. If you’re new here or just starting to explore foods outside of big chain grocery stores, you’ll be psyched that Sonia wanted to share her book with our readers. You might also cry, get mad, get sick to your stomach… Seriously, you just might. Not just because you’re pro-animal rights, but maybe you won’t be able to believe you’ve been eating foods that came from animals who underwent un-necessary torture before they arrived in your kitchen.

Sonia divides her explorations into two parts- domestic and international. We’re sharing a few of her very candid experiences from the US and Canada that disclose the beyond urgent public health implications of factory farming and the very real suffering of animals raised for food.

Organic Dairy Cows: A Primer
Chapter 1

Likely due to it being too open to interpretation, the practice of organic farming in the US is one of confusion that tends to favor businesses over consumer welfare. Sonia was surprised to learn that “access to pasture” really interpreted to a meager one out of three days outdoors. She observed that many farms allowed their cows outside simply to fulfill the agreed-upon federal and state laws, not for the actual benefit of the cows. This meant that the dairy cows she was observing stepped outside for only 120 days throughout the year, but were kept confined on all other days, inside.

What if the milk you consume isn’t organic- make you wonder about how your dairy-producing cows are being treated? If it doesn’t make you wonder and you’re thinking “who cares” consider this:

  • 80 % of antibiotics sold in the US are for farm animals, not human consumption {antibiotics are administered when sick and “preventively”; creating antibiotic resistance}
  • Dairy cows are continually forced into a yearly impregnation and lactation schedule. Decoded- cows only produce milk when lactating, so they must constantly be pregnant and giving birth. Their udders are hooked to mechanical milking systems where in many cases electrical shocks are administered and infections ensue {this equals additional antibiotics}
  • If you consume milk from non-organic dairy cows, you’re sucking down antibiotics with your milk- you’re not not, you definitely are. Wonder why when you’ve come down with a simple infection antibiotics that once worked for you no longer do? Bingo.

Think you’re doing the right thing because your milk comes from a local farm? If your dairy farm of origin is not organic AND does not contain less than 200 cows AND your milk is being homogenized and pasteurized, you’re drinking milk because you like the way it tastes, not because of any health-conferring benefits it could possibly offer you. Believe this.

At this point your milk is actually a watery, fortified with synthetic nutrients, swimming with antibiotic drink. True story.

If you still think this is bullshit, go watch Mercola’s videos on factory animal cruelty. It might be a see-it-to-believe-it thing for you.

Red, White and Bob Veal
Chapter 7

“The first stage, from the first to the seventh week of a calf’s life, was hutches. Fourteen calves lived in these individual white enclosures, tethered by metal chains that dangled down from the roof-like nooses. A small window was cut in the roof, and through it poured in sunshine, forming a radiant patch in each hutch… The day was sunny and cheery, but the calves could not skip or explore- or even walk a step.”

“Since calves are social animals, they should be kept in social groups wherever possible,” states the European Food Safety Authority. “Tethering always causes problems for calves… Individually housed calves should not be tethered… Exercise is needed for normal bone and muscle development.”

Canada produces red and white veal and the US produces white and bob. Here’s the differences:

  • RED: Grain fed and tend to be housed in groups.
  • WHITE: Tend to be housed in individual crates and are only fed milk replacer resulting in iron deficiency to keep their meat tender. With lack of sunlight from being housed in crates and lack of solid food, these conditions often result in illness. Because of this lack of essential nutrition coupled with their living conditions, white veal is highly susceptible to Salmonella and E.Coli. This results in overuse of antibiotics. {add another dose of antibiotic resistance}
  • BOB: These veal are born and then immediately killed. Faruqi notes that in 2009 Bob veal made headlines at a slaughter plant in Vermont where the animals were reported as being kicked, electrically prodded, dragged… The calves were carelessly stunned and then consequently alert and awake as they were shackled, butchered and skinned.

While veal conditions may be “improving” in the US and Canada Faruqi mentions, no veal in Europe are {legally} crated.

Who believes in FOOD K A R M A ? I do…

Undercover video footage released by the Humane Society of the United States at a California slaughter plant called Westland/Hallmark Meat Packing in 2008…

Workers were recorded torturing dairy cows who were too ill to move– they were kicked, rammed with forklifts, jabbed in their eyes and electrically shocked.

In response the US Dept of Agriculture shut down the plant announcing the largest recall of meat ever in the US of 140 million plus pounds of beef, of which over ⅓ had been paid for with TAXPAYER money and distributed to SCHOOL LUNCH and other federal programs.

A year later Bushway Packing, a BOB VEAL slaughter plant in Vermont was found to have veal CONSCIOUS at the TIME OF SLAUGHTER. What makes this case outrageous is that Bushway was CERTIFIED ORGANIC.

All In The Name of Halal

Confinement agriculture. It doesn’t just mean animals confined to a barn. It means confined to a box, a very small box, in some cases a cage no larger than a small kitchen cupboard. Not enough room to walk, sometimes not enough room to turn around.

Confinement agriculture visual. Swine stacked on top of swine with their legs falling through cages over the top of one another, thousands of chickens in tiny wire boxes excreting on one another and into one another’s food sources, pecking away at one another’s feathers…

Sounds awful right, but how about SLAUGHTER horror? Read Sonia’s experience about killing “Halal” below in her exact words.

Garden Eats Sonia Faruqi Animal Farm Halal

Garden Eats Faruqi Animal Farm Project Book

Garden Eats Sonia Faruqi Animal Farm Project Book

Garden Eats Sonia Faruqi Animal Farm Project Slaughter Horror

Endnote: please know that we are asked to review countless educational books on all matters of food here at Garden Eats. In this case we were given Sonia’s book as a gift and decided to feature it on our own. We present these subjective and objective thoughts with the sole intention of offering as many people as we can the opportunity to understand the implications permeating every level of the food system today. Thanks to Pegasus Books and Sonia Faruqi for helping expand the awareness of our readers.

The commentary on antibiotic use in factory farming was my own, not Sonia’s.

If you’d like to see some of the easy-to-access research-based websites behind the opinions expressed by Garden Eats for the purposes of this article, please visit the Cornucopia Institute and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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